The business-to-business sub-specialty is among the industry’s largest, according to Council member surveys. Recent data shows that  23% of Council member firm Us.S. revenue is derived from business-to-business work, according to the Council’s 2015 Benchmark Survey.

The role of PR firms within B2B organizations has shifted from simply disseminating news to sharing insight relevant to core constituencies. Content that benefits these constituencies can prove difficult for organizations to develop in-house, as it has to rise above product promotion, steer clear of company politics, illustrate current external trends and influences, and cut through the jargon and ‘inside baseball’ nature of many traditional B2B marketing and sales initiatives.

Looking closer, we find that public relations firms are expert at mining stories, case studies, trends, and data that tell the ultimate story on the right platform to the marketplace and its influencers, providing thought leadership, issue ownership, and a clear point of view.

According to a recent report, social media is a “maturing” platform for B2B communication. However, only 38% have a defined strategy for their social media usage. Public relations firms have vast experience in social media strategy and are valued by clients for that expertise.

When it comes to media relations, the focus tends to be on activities targeting influential trade publications in an industry. Firms seek to capitalize on planned editorial coverage that relates to client companies and deliver a consistent flow of news about clients’ new products and services. The goal: Establish the client’s brand and executives as recognized sources for commentary about industry trends. Public relations professionals also highlight the success of client products and services by publishing case study articles, white papers, and byline articles.

Beyond media relations, firms typically draw from expertise in other areas — including brand positioning, social media, channel communications, digital communications, and industry analyst relations — to develop solid, effective business-to-business initiatives.

Today’s opportunities in business-to-business revolve around digital’s ability to create communities of like-minded people – either short-term spontaneous communities or long-term committed communities. B2B companies that can harness this power creatively, and then curate the conversations important to their constituents, deliver value that adds significantly to the brand. As one executive reports, “Other major opportunities are now arising from the blurring of lines between paid, sponsored and earned media and from the strong power of partnerships and cooperatives.”