Takeaways for B2B Companies from the PR Week Social Summit

Moderating at PR Week (photo credit: Stacey Strothard)
Moderating at PR Week (photo credit: Stacey Strothard)

Yesterday, I moderated a panel at PR Week’s Social Summit on social media management and where it fits within the public relations department. My panelists include Nicola Dodd, Cancer Research UK; Craig Hepburn from Nokia; and, Justin Hunt, Social Media Leadership Forum.

Some thoughts on where we are going this year and topics I planned to discuss based on my research included the following:

  • Big data meet content marketing. It’s no longer enough to have an editorial calendar, you need to better understand the content that works
  • Authenticity, trust continue to be critical. This is further highlighted in this year’s Edelman Trust Barometer.
  • Real-time marketing matters and not just for the Super Bowl. Today PR departments need to constantly monitor social channels for trends, issues and opportunities.
  • Where does social sit? Does anyone own it? How does is work across functional departments?  Altimeter found although 78% of companies have a dedicated social media team but only 26% of companies say they have a holistic approach to social.
  • Social media jobs are in abundance: SEO Specialist, Social Media Strategist, Online Community Manager, Social Media Marketing Manager, Social Media Marketing Coordinator, and Blogger or Social Media Copywriter are many of the job titles companies are looking to hire.

We didn’t talk about everything I wanted to ask the panel, but two things stood out to me from the panel discussion

Content: Everyone seems to be getting their arms around content and how to manage it. Both Nicola and Craig spoke in terms of their teams and how they have essentially formed news organizations. I continue to believe that content can be extremely useful to differentiate your B2B business, whether that’s through thought leadership, innovation, humor or customer service. Successful brands big and small recognize that content is an extraordinary piece of their strategy and planning, thinking and responding like a news organization makes a difference. This year, brand journalism remains a top priority for organizations and it’s something to embrace.

Culture: A topic that we kept coming back too during the panel, and one that seemed to be a theme of the event from other speakers, involved the importance of corporate culture in adopting social media. Has social media changed your culture forever? Does being a good place to work impact a company’s results? From my own experience and being involved with an innovative culture I firmly believe it matters. If you want to know more about the importance of culture this report from McKinsey — Givers Take All: The hidden dimension of corporate culture — is worth reading. You should also read this from Mitch Joel on social media and corporate culture.

As a side note, Nicola’s team worked on release of Play to Cure™: Genes in Space and it’s worth a look if you are interested in health sciences or gamification.

If you enjoyed this you may also want to read the following:

How to Think Like a Content Manager

Three Ways to Explore Big Ideas

Who are Your Content Superheroes?

Social media management


FIR B2B: A New Podcast on B2B Communications

I’m excited to be joining Paul Gillin as this week we launched the podcast FIR B2B as part of the For Immediate Release network run by Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson. You can listen to Episode 1 of FIR B2B here.

In the first episode we discuss a recent McKinsey research report that indicates business leaders – not communicators — need to be taking the lead in social media adoption. We also have a bit of fun discussing a number of facts from ad agency Earnest that produced a collection of facts and figures about B2B marketing. Finally, we talk about the ongoing success of email, and how reports from McKinsey and Experian indicate we should be sending more e-mail.

We hope you enjoy the series and of course Paul and I will be looking for your ideas and thoughts on guests and our commentary.



B2B Communications in a Haiku #B2BHaiku


A caption haiku? It is possible to do I need more coffee
A caption haiku?
It is possible to do
I need more coffee

Write a haiku. It sounds easy. It’s not. Here are some of my thoughts on B2B communications in haiku form.

Content marketing now
Pulling together ideas
Make it count for you


Do you know your ROI
Sales leads helps drive revenue growth
Build LinkedIn strategy


Email marketing
More effective than social?
The “in” box still works


A long sales cycle

Focus on relationships

Time will pay returns


Social Listening
Track other brands and people
Build understanding


A B2B example
Building a community
Go TerraCycle!


B2B brands can inspire
Images, thought leadership,
Social media


Does B2B need social?
Crises, recruiting, educate
Examples to do


Big Data worries
Ask your team the right questions
Focus on your goal



Go ahead and write your #B2Bhaiku and add it to the comments.


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What B2B Communicators Can Learn from Bruce Lee


This weekend my son and daughter stayed up late with me and we stumbled upon the TV movie, “I Am Bruce Lee.” The three of us were mesmerized by the flow of the show and biography of Lee. It was a great documentary about his life and philosophy and as I watched it there were some great analogies to use for B2B communicators.

Here are a few quotes from Bruce Lee that hopefully make you think a little differently about how you approach your B2B efforts.

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”
Bruce Lee

What type of goals have you set for yourself and your organization and how often are you reviewing them? Are they about sales and lead generation? Or do you focus mostly on getting content right? Do you view your goals as an end point or as a way to build on your progress? In my opinion, both are correct, but you need to have a goal and work toward what you want to achieve. It’s just as important to define goals for a team as much as it is for a major project. My advice is to make the time to write down what it is you want as a result of your work and share that with the people who need to know.

“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”
Bruce Lee

In today’s digital world taking risks can be rewarding or punishing. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take them, but you need to assess them properly. As things move more quickly and B2B content is driven by more people on the move via mobile devices, you should try to focus on making your message more shareable and assess the risks properly. But at the end of the day are you simply creating things to create them or are you focused on building opportunities? For example, does your brand’s Twitter feed create a community or just push out links?bruce lee

“I will live the way I please and achieve inner harmony and happiness.”

Bruce Lee


“Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.”

Bruce Lee

It’s great (and easy) to benchmark against so many other brands today. Keep in mind that your efforts — whether digital or not — need to fit within the brand and culture of your own organization. If you decide to copy or emulate another company and what they are doing try to make it fit with what you are trying to do, otherwise you won’t be fooling anyone but yourself. Here’s a look at the most recent B2B benchmark study from MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute.

“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”
Bruce Lee

“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”

Bruce Lee


We saw a lot of changes in 2013 in content marketing, metrics and lead generation, so knowing what you want to achieve in 2014 can be difficult to define sometimes and we already know the landscape will change — from the tools you use to the new competitors. As a leader of your team are your efforts flexible too? If you’re not the leader of the team are you building ideas and selling them internally? One major change coming is the CMO CIO Alignment Imperative that Accenture researched. How are you handling that? Exploring big and small ideas will continue to be important. There are lots of tales of brands that remained inflexible and resisted change, so learn from their lessons and try to build change into your regular routine. If you don’t, your competition will.

“Be happy, but never satisfied.~

Bruce Lee

You should take pride in your work and what you accomplish and be motivated to find new ways to inspire. The B2B landscape can be extremely competitive and the sales cycle very long. With the resources we now have available from blogs, on Twitter, via YouTube and more we can continue to learn and improve on our past performance.

This is my last post for the year and here’s a look back at the most popular posts. Once again, thank you for reading and sharing all of the things you felt were helpful. Have a great Christmas and see you in 2014.


A Look Back at 2013

With the continued rise of digital in 2013 some of the themes and posts here reflected what many people were asking: How do I create and manage content? With so much data coming in what matters most? Where should we focus our efforts? What’s next?

With so many changes in resources, data and issues B2B communicators in 2013 needed to constantly be looking for ways to leverage digital.
With so many changes in resources, data and issues B2B communicators in 2013 needed to constantly be looking for ways to leverage digital.

Here’s a look back at the top posts from 2013:

Do B2B Companies Need Social Media?

Craft Work: What’s Your B2B Expertise? 

Can B2B Brands Inspire?

How B2B Brands Can Leverage Events

What’s Ahead? The Changing Role of Communications

A Manifesto for B2B Communicators

When Dealing with Big Data Ask the Right Questions

What Does Twitter’s IPO Mean for B2B Communicators?

Other Voices: An Interview with Ann Handley of MarketingProfs

Thank you again for your continued readership and interest in B2B Voices.





Stop Ignoring This Valuable Piece of Content

There has been much ado about content — from curation to evaluation — and the rapid rise of content management is no mistake. Content has become central to so many B2B brands.

When you build your content you need to focus on your boilerplate as well.
When you build your content you need to focus on your boilerplate as well.

But content isn’t just about the heavy lifting pieces of text around thought leadership or trends/issues. It can also come in small but significant pieces of text. Like your company boilerplate. Yes, your boilerplate should be a key part of your content strategy. Why? For two reason.

  1. It tells the story of who you are and what your company does that should be embedded throughout all that you write and communicate about your company.
  2. It’s everywhere (or should be). It’s that one paragraph you produce that gets shared everywhere: your website, brochures, social media, email and over the newswire over and over and over and over.

I’m not going to give you ideas on how to write your boilerplate. If you want that advice you should read these three posts:

How to Write an Effective Boilerplate — Diane Rose

How to Make Your Boilerplate Sizzle — Jeremy Porter

Build Better Press Releases — Stacey Miller

So, when was the last time your read your company’s boilerplate? Maybe now is a good time to read it again.

If you enjoyed this post you may also want to read these:

Keeping Your Messages Connected