Public relations

Breaking the misconceptions of doing B2B PR in the USA

Written by Sarah Tourville

7 November 2019


Running a successful PR campaign in the USA is about more than changing ‘S’ to ‘Z’.

Following on from the popularity of our guide for US brands looking to suceed at PR in the UK, Sarah Tourville, the founder and CEO of our US partner agency, Media Frenzy Global, outlines the differences between B2B tech PR in the UK and in America.

In this post, Sarah unveils some of the key tactical differences to note when doing public relations stateside. Find how to successfully manage PR and media relations in the United States as a British brand with Sarah’s expert advice. 

While PR professionals across the globe share similar overarching goals that involve shaping and telling the stories of brands they represent, approaches vary from region to region.  Storytelling tactics that may appeal to media across Europe will most likely not garner the same results in the United States. There are business and societal differences across these regions that PR agencies must be mindful of before embarking on a project outside their local borders.

In an effort to avoid story ideas and media pitches falling on deaf ears, I have outlined the top five misconceptions British PR professionals need to know before conducting a campaign in the United States.

You can only meet with the media if you have a story to share

There are less media outlets in the UK versus in America, making it difficult to have many casual conversations with the media as there are simply fewer reporters around. With more media outlets here in the United States, your interactions do not have to be limited to only sharing time sensitive news.

US media is open to learning more about the companies around them, even if the time for a story may not be here and now. It is about building the relationship and getting different brands on the radar of various reporters.

Liaising with the media is not transactional, but rather more of a courtship, where both sides have an interest in the other. American PR professionals plant the seeds that will eventually blossom into impactful relationships with the media.

Being British is enough to warrant media coverage

In today’s 24/7/365 news cycle, a global title is not enough to guarantee news coverage on its own. US media will not cover your brand or spokesperson simply because they are from the UK. The story has to make sense to that specific outlet’s readership. There must be a relevant news angle such as opening a new US headquarters, a global partnership or the creation of jobs in an American city.

The media isn’t going to write a story on your company just because you are exotic, as there’s enough news and stories already floating in the digital media abyss. PR professionals must find the connection for their British company and an American publication. Simply being from across the pond is no longer newsworthy.

Lost in New York

A PR executive just needs to change “s’ to “z” in a press release

When repurposing news from the UK to the US, there are a few grammatical changes that must take place. But these are not the only edits required to secure media coverage. You should adhere to United States grammar and spelling, AP Style preferably, but also see where any messaging or content needs to be tweaked.

You must be aware of what is trending in the States, in particular to the subject of your news item. What is very well a trending topic in Europe, may not be of interest to American readers. Your story must be relatable to the US news agenda, and it should localize a particular topic.

The US media is always looking for different perspectives, but you must be sure that your press release or byline article makes sense and will be digestible for the American reader.

Every state is the same – there are no nuances to consider

The United States is such a diverse nation that pitching media from different states in the same way will not bear positive results. There are different laws, preferences, behaviors and demographic make-ups that differ from state to state.

There is a lot to consider, especially if you are looking to generate news from the UK. An editor in California will be covering topics in significantly different way than say a reporter in Iowa. You must know what is happening in different states and the types of stories they typically feature.

As well as this, the United States spans six different time zones which is something else to consider. Most reporters could very well skip or miss an email sent at 3am, so you have to be aware of all these different nuances before you start your campaign.

Getting in the top tier media takes a miracle

There are many premier business titles in the United States, from Forbes to the Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur. It is a common misconception that it takes a miracle to land coverage in any of these outlets. Contrary to popular belief, a strategic approach and relevant, yet timely, story can do the trick.

Like any other publication, these outlets are looking for impactful stories and compelling news that will make sense for their readers and add color to their pieces. It is a matter of finding the appropriate media contact as these publications can be quite large.

Get granular in your efforts to find the reporter who’s written about topics that align with your own. These larger titles have more resources than other publications and are often willing to schedule interviews and do more of the heavy lifting in terms of crafting the article.

It doesn’t take a miracle, but rather a bit of research, a touch of creativity and great timing.

Gaining media traction in the United States can appear to be a daunting task, but with a streamlined approach and clear narrative, it doesn’t have to be. There are a few cultural differences to note, and partnering with a US media expert is another great way to help ease your introduction into the US market.

Looking to launch an international PR campaign? We can help. Get in touch to find out more

Find out more about doing PR in Europe

If you’ve found this information helpful, take a look at some tips from our partners on managing PR across Europe and the in the UK.

Read our guides to B2B tech PR in France, the view from Germany or find out how to manage PR in the Netherlands, or read about B2B tech PR in Spain. Bring US brands to the UK with our guide to PR in Britain.