When you receive media coverage of any sort, the conventional thought is, “hey, this will help us get some new business”. And that can and certainly does happen. Yet one of the hidden gems of media coverage is the impression it leaves on your current customers or clients and contact sphere.
For example, if you read a story in your local newspaper about your accountant hiring two new CPAs. As a customer, in general, that probably makes you feel good about your association with the firm (e.g. the firm is growing). The same is probably true if you know people at the firm. In fact, it’s probably not a real reach to say reading that type of coverage enhances your opinion of the company and the people you know, even if it’s on a very subtle basis.
Now, here’s how the Internet and social media have made PR make even more sense—it’s incredibly easy to put this kind of information in the hands of your customers and contact sphere. Where 20 years ago if those people didn’t stumble across the coverage on their own or at your offices, they would not have seen it. Today, it’s ridiculously easy to share coverage via e-newsletters, social media, your company website, etc. That makes it easier to create and sustain that good feeling with your customers and contact sphere.
In short, PR today is just as much about building credibility with your existing customers and contact sphere as it is attracting new business. While there’s no hard data to back it up, PR does factor in the equation of the word-of-mouth referrals you receive—especially if you’re e-mailing, posting, tweeting and blogging the coverage you receive.
Yes, the primary intent of media coverage is to attract new business. In the 21st century, in the age of the Internet and social media, Point A to Point B is no longer a straight as in years past—but it still gets you there.