The marketing strategy for many B2B companies has until recently been more traditional in the form of exhibiting at fairs, participating in events, exchanging business cards, and building business relationships through dinners.
But the digital progress has slowly changed the strategy and way of thinking when it comes to marketing for B2B. The pandemic has, to say the least, accelerated that development and more or less forced B2B companies to create a stronger digital presence.
Today it is digital content that you need to keep up with: Social media, pods, blogs, short videos, webinars, and more. According to figures from Accenture, a vast amount of B2B deals initiates online, and three out of four B2B brands use social media platforms as their primary channels for information to clients.
Many B2B companies are familiar with platforms such as WeChat and Weibo, they might know the importance of running an account on social media platforms. But how do customers reach that account, and why should it be trusted?
In this guide, we will talk PR (public relations). In China, adding PR to your marketing strategy can be the key to success.
The importance of Industry Media in China
The physical newspaper has long been appreciated in China, but like everything else, they have also moved into the digital landscape. For B2B companies in various industries, there is a range of different media platforms, local news- and e-branch papers.
Being visible through PR in industry media, not only creates credibility, but it’s also a way to increase your SEO in China. Read more about Baidu SEO here.
So how do you create PR to increase your online visibility and credibility in China?
Get to the language and localize your content
Back to the basics, to start, in China, there are two types of written Chinese:
- Traditional Chinese which is primarily used in Hong Kong and Taiwan
- Simplified Chinese which is primarily used in mainland China
When writing articles or making press releases, it’s important that the language is authentic. Getting it done can be difficult, but a slippery slope can quickly throw you into a media crisis. Therefore, always use local writers who have good local knowledge.
Don’t underestimate the role of local media
PR creates momentum with local media, but it requires patience, long-term goals, and relationship building. It requires that you build credibility with qualitative material and interesting angles for the journalists to work with.
The more exclusive material they get the more they will publish.
To ensure that your narrative is local and demonstrates your expertise, get outside help. Collaborate with an agency that has experience working with PR in similar industries and has good contacts. Because yes, in China the PR media world is very much about the right contacts.
Use press releases
A cost-effective way to create visibility is to do press releases and create visibility on industry blogs and websites. Articles and news updates direct visitors to your website and your business.
Get better ranking in search results
Google may be the search engine you have to deal with in the west, but in China, it is Baidu that is “The” search engine. To get the most out of your articles, it is important that you optimize your content for Baidu. Read more about Baidu here.
High visibility on Baidu increases your credibility, and visibility and generates more traffic to your website. This, in turn, also makes you more attractive to industry magazines and industry sites, which in the next step increases your credibility and speed even more.
It’s an ecosystem or a loop that can lead to massive success if you play your cards right.
Use social media
As we mentioned at the beginning, traditional media is being replaced more and more by digital media. In China, social media is huge and there are many platforms. Some of them are also particularly important to keep in mind if you are active in B2B, for example, Zhihu and Bilibili.
Working with PR and gaining visibility can also provide content for one’s own account. Because who doesn’t want to share a really good industry article about one’s company that a big digital industry magazine published?
Collaborate with KOL:s
Doing PR in China is expensive. The costs in recent years have dragged on and are significantly higher than in the West. The main reason for that is KOL:s (influencers).
KOL:s have a much stronger role in B2B in China than in the West where we perhaps mostly relate influencers to B2C collaborations. Collab with a KOL in your field can add value to your targeted customer. The important thing is just to find the one that suits your industry the best.
If you are active in wind power, a local researcher with high credibility may be an option. In pharmaceuticals, it can be doctors, etc. Broaden your perspective on influencers and do careful research on which ones are the most tailored to your specific area.
Don’t forget that China is a big country with a huge population. Local differences can be large and therefore local knowledge is critically important.
NBH expertise in Chinese online behavior and the Chinese digital market can help your brand to increase your digital presence in China.
We have extensive experience and great references working with B2B clients. We act as a full-service agency and can make your company reach new levels with the help of PR and digital marketing in China. Find how we work with PR for China here.