What is the difference between b2b and b2c PR?

b2b b2c

When preparing a PR strategy for your business, it’s important to think about your channels and target audience.  This will dictate your PR approach, and whether you target b2b or b2c media outlets, or a combination of both.

While you may be left confused by the jargon-y PR world, it’s actually easier to differentiate between b2band b2c than you think.

So what is b2b?

This simply means business to business.  So if your target audience is other businesses, b2b PR may be the approach for you.  For example, if you are a law firm that provides services to businesses, or an accountant that helps set up SMEs (small medium enterprises), your main targets would be the b2b media, such as the local business press, or the legal trade publications.  Essentially, you’d want to be featured in the publications that your target audience is likely to read and take note of.

With b2b media, the devil is in the detail.  As you’re targeting a specific sector, you are dealing with a relatively captive audience, so they should have a basic knowledge of your industry.  You can write more in-depth press releases on your topic, and go into technical detail.  However the story still needs to be compelling, engaging and innovative.

What about b2c?

B2c simply means business to consumer.  So if your business sells a product or service to the general public, you’d want to engage the consumer press, which consists of mainstream media such as the national press and online magazines.

An example is if you own a clothing line or makeup range aimed at women in their 20s-30s.  You’d want to be front and centre of the publications and media they consume, such as magazines, blogs, and social platforms.  Like b2b, your stories have to be compelling and interesting to engage the b2c media, and you’d have to write in plain English terms, cutting out any waffle and technical speak.  The key with b2c is that your audience isn’t captive, and you’re competing with a whole host of other businesses for that spot in the paper or e-zine, so you have to keep your story simple and to the point.

A working example

When working with healthcare clients, I’d often be asked to promote the delivery of new CT scanners.  So for b2b media, I would target the likes of RAD Magazine and Health Investor (publications read by experts in the industry such as radiologists and hospitals directors) with press releases talking about the shiny new kit.  However, a new scanner alone wouldn’t engage the press, so I had to delve into the detail – is it a new type of equipment?  How will it improve efficiencies in the hospital, i.e. will more patients be able to be seen in a day?  Does the equipment process faster?  Is it a substantial investment?

This information would form the ‘hook’ – which is the juicy bit of news that would get the interest of the journalist.

The ‘hook’ would be supplemented by some technical information, such as the product specification, and what it actually does, and how it differs from its predecessors.  An example of b2b coverage secured is below:

Corporate / investment PR

When promoting the same story in the b2c media, I adopted a slightly different approach.  Again I looked for the ‘hook’, but the questions were along the lines of what the investment meant for patients, had it created any additional jobs for the community, and how it would improve the patient experience.  See the difference?

Crucially, as the b2c target was the local media, I invited key journalists to a photo opp of the scanner arriving and being lowered into the hospital.  Often newspapers like to use their own photographs, and you’re more likely to get a local journalist to attend as it’s in their area.  The resulting coverage is below:


So they key takeaway from this is that b2b press focusses more on the business and product offering, whereas b2c has a greater emphasis on the person using, and the people it may affect. Simples, right?

Halima Khatun

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