The business-to-government (B2G) market is a lucrative and growing sector, with the U.S. government spending on goods and services totaling more than $6.27 trillion during fiscal year (FY) 2022 alone. The government is highly selective when choosing vendors, and companies must demonstrate a proven track record of delivering high-quality solutions that can address the government’s mission objectives. Even during times of economic downturn and debt ceiling discussions, it’s important for companies to remain relevant in this market. As such, B2G public relations (PR) remains a first-line marketing tactic to reach federal, state and local government contracting officers and other key decision-makers.
B2G PR will build your brand and establish your credibility for government buyers while creating lasting relationships with government officials, news outlets, key influencers and decision-makers. B2G PR also builds credibility in the federal, state and local government market by highlighting your company’s leadership and subject matter experts (SMEs), achievements, awards and industry recognitions. Here are a few tips to help position you for procurement success.
Build strong relationships with media contacts, government analysts and influencers, and government employees
“Relationships are key – this is true in PR in general, but even more so in the B2G space where limited outlets and reporters are dedicated to the market. These resources get inundated with pitches, so it is even more important to build relationships that help you – and your brand – rise to the top,”
– Carmel McDonagh, senior vice president of account management, B2G.
Reporters want a story - not spin, fluff or marketing jargon. They will identify whether a PR professional (and ultimately their client) understands the government market. Pitches and conversations with reporters should include language, terminology and government-specific details. Ultimately, it goes back to the agency's mission or the policy driver in the market.
Avoid product pitches as well as ambiguous and inconclusive news. Every company has the best widget, and reporters in the B2G space rarely want to hear about them. It’s essential to frame your pitch or outreach around your organization’s capabilities, but more importantly, how those capabilities help agencies solve their mission. Or how they help agencies address mandates/directives from the White House and other government agencies, such as the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Additionally, building relationships with government contacts is vital to success. Attend government procurement conferences and other industry events to network with government officials and contracting officers. Submit speaking abstracts to showcase your company’s thought leadership and subject matter expertise.
By building strategic, ongoing relationships with government contacts, journalists, bloggers and government influencers, you can position your company as a trusted partner and increase your chances of winning government contracts.
Prioritize strategic communications and media relations content development
“Journalists want to interview people with the expertise needed to round out a story, particularly government spokespeople. Prioritize crafting strategic messages, preparing press statements and outlining concrete company processes and protocols for rapid response communications. You’ll also want to find ways to put a public sector angle on quotes and content that align with your company messaging,”
– Megan Wagoner, senior public relations account executive, B2G.
Federal, state and local governments are accountable to the public, and organizations must demonstrate transparency with their operations. B2G PR helps companies communicate with the public by showcasing their achievements and addressing concerns or criticisms. For example, you can hold press conferences and train leadership and critical stakeholders on how to interview with the media. Hence, they stay on message and brand.
It’s also essential to highlight your company's expertise in your PR materials, such as press releases, blogs, press kits and online newsrooms, to show the value your company will bring as a government partner. Publish and share case studies, new public sector research, government trends and testimonials from other government agencies to round out your PR materials.
Master the art of commentary
“Most B2G outlets welcome thought leadership-based commentary articles. This is an excellent tactic to pursue from a PR perspective to help get across your desired brand messages from a thought leadership perspective. These articles are not an opportunity to sell products or services but unique ideas to help solve the government’s biggest challenges,”
–A.J. Guenther, vice president of public relations and account management, B2G.
Commentary articles allow your company’s SMEs to share their perspectives and insights on industry trends and news. By consistently publishing commentary articles, company SMEs will establish themselves as thought leaders in their respective fields, which can help build credibility and trust with their target audience and increase visibility through exposure to reputable government publications. This can generate interest and awareness of your brand or brand messages.
Commentary articles can also be a powerful tool to engage with your target audiences and spark conversations around government topics and challenges that your company could solve. By sharing SME perspectives and insights, they can encourage others to join the conversation and share their thoughts and opinions.
Embrace award seasons
"Nominating your customers and other key company stakeholders for their work provides third-party validation of their achievements and can help build credibility and trust with government agencies. Awards can also generate positive media coverage and buzz, which increases brand awareness and differentiates your company from its competitors,”
– E.V. Dundon, PR account executive, B2G.
There are numerous award programs in the B2G market for companies and organizations to consider. That said, it’s often your government clients that companies and organizations put forth for these programs to highlight their outstanding work for the nation. The positive impact of government programs are not often showcased, so pursuing these award programs on your customer's behalf is a significant relationship builder.
Use B2G PR to boost your brand’s visibility and reputation
“It’s crucial to stay informed about media topics and issues that affect your brand and prepare to respond quickly and effectively. This can help you establish your brand as a responsible and proactive partner to government agencies. Consider crafting clear and compelling messages in your PR materials that communicate the value of your brand to agencies and stakeholders. These messages should highlight your strengths, expertise and unique selling proposition,”
– Rutrell Yasin, senior writer and content strategist, B2G.
The government is highly selective when choosing vendors, and a positive brand image can help you stand out from your competitors. B2G PR will help you highlight your company’s strengths, values and mission. For example, you can use corporate social responsibility (CSR) to showcase your commitment to sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) or community engagement.
Measure the impact of your B2G PR efforts and evaluate their effectiveness in boosting brand equity. You can use this information to refine your approach and improve results.
Power up your PR strategy with digital marketing
“Many government agencies use online channels to research potential vendors and suppliers for procurement selection, which makes search engine optimization and social media critical components of your B2G PR efforts. By integrating SEO and social media into your B2G PR strategy, you can amplify your messages, increase visibility and reach, and ultimately drive more traffic and conversions for your brand,”
– Jillian Goodrich, communications coordinator, B2G.
Search engine optimization (SEO) and social media should be considered when developing your PR materials. This includes optimizing your PR and owned content with your target keywords, such as press releases, blogs and social media copy. Even using branded and industry-related SEO keywords in spoken interviews with media can help optimize your brand for search engines when reporters’ articles are published online - allowing your brand to reach government decision-makers before your competitors.
Capitalize on procurement timelines for PR campaigns
“Timing your PR initiatives around government procurement timelines is key because it can help generate positive publicity and build credibility for your company at a critical moment in the procurement process when federal, state and local government contracting officers review proposal bids and make partner selections,”
– Kay Logan, senior account manager, B2G.
Winning government contracts helps your company’s financial stability, strategic focus and ability to secure valuable resources. This builds investor confidence, attracts new government customers and positions your company or organization as a leader in its industry. This makes B2G PR essential for reaching the federal, state and local government contracting officers who read and look for expertise in government publications as part of the overall procurement selection process.
During the bidding process, government agencies look for various competencies when reviewing proposals, where positive company reputations and performance records are required criteria for selection. Using B2G PR can help meet this requirement. Consider partnering with an agency that understands government procurement and its timelines to help appropriately time your B2G PR campaigns.
Most importantly, be patient and persistent in your PR and marketing efforts. Follow up with government agencies regularly and stay top of mind with the media. Remember that winning a government contract can be a long-term investment that pays off in steady revenue over several years.
By incorporating B2G PR into your overarching government marketing strategy, you can increase the likelihood of winning government contracts over your competitors and increase revenue for your company.
Interested in learning more about our B2G PR work? Let's continue the conversation.