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Why Media Coverage Is Your Most Powerful Sales Tool Here's how to leverage positive press the right way so your brand will acquire more leads and, ultimately, more loyal customers.

By Kristen Shea Edited by Kara McIntyre

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In my years as a publicist, I've seen firsthand how earned media coverage can increase brand awareness, web traffic and, ultimately, conversion rates. But this doesn't happen in a vacuum. Landing sought-after placements is just the first step in a comprehensive campaign to curry excitement.

Much like the tree that falls in a forest with no one around, you need witnesses to those impressions, which requires a mix of unapologetic self-promotion and clever manipulation of modern communications tools. Failing to maximize those placements' reach only does a disservice to your business and the effort you put into garnering wider recognition.

Press coverage grants sales representatives and the brand as a whole credibility they can use at multiple points in the life cycle of a product, reaping maximum profits. Here's how.

Related: How to Transform Media Coverage Into Leads and Sales

Multifaceted sales-funnel impact

Many veteran sales professionals will tell you that press coverage is most helpful during the exploratory conversation phase of the sales cycle. And it's true you should encourage reps to share relevant media coverage with prospects during the earliest stages of communications, encouraging them to do more research on the brand and how it's represented to, and perceived by, the public.

However, others will assert that it's a helpful sales-enablement tool at all phases. For instance, using existing press coverage in fresh email-marketing campaigns can help reignite interest in leads that have stagnated. In the same spirit, an article or interview highlighting your business can be re-upped through Facebook ads when customer engagement flags.

This is a case where there is more than one way to skin a cat. It takes some persistence and endurance, but it's effectively tantamount to planting a seed, watching as it grows and continuing to add water and sustenance as needed. If approached with that level of diligence, a single slice of positive press can flourish into an asset with perennial returns.

Discoverability and driving traffic

Getting coverage in top-tier media outlets is a proven mechanism for increasing web traffic and improving discoverability, whether that be directly from the article where the brand was mentioned or from an enhanced presence in relevant search-engine results. If you have room in your budget to hire a reputable publicity firm with credibility in your niche, it will likely pay dividends that justify the expense.

When journalists at top-tier publications buzz about a brand, people are more inclined to listen. Web traffic driven by media coverage also demonstrably outperforms overall web traffic. For customers who visit your site directly, make sure to maintain an online newsroom showcasing your press coverage. This is even more important for journalists logging on to your site.

In general, this kind of virtuous cycle of exposure only happens when a business properly touts positive coverage across its platforms — including social media channels — and drives traffic back to its website as both a source of information and point of sale.

Related: How to Convert Your PR Wins Into Sales

Harnessing social media

In the coming month or two, share each piece of coverage your brand has earned a few times to prolong the win's shelf life. Tagging the journalist who wrote the article is a good practice that can occasionally result in them re-sharing your post with their audience. This will also allow current customers and potential prospects to see the news in a new place, further legitimizing your business.

Social media also offers brands the opportunity to take advantage of features like Twitter and Instagram hashtags for engagement and discovery. You can also be creative with short- and long-form storytelling via Instagram and TikTok in particular, including repackaging press hits into catchy affirmations of the waves your brand is making. All this manifests yet another way of putting you in front of potential new customers who may be unaware of your company and its offerings through more direct-to-consumer outreach.

It's understandable if you're reading all this and thinking, "Wait, you're telling me that not only do I have to launch my brand, monitor its operations, scale it and sleuth out ways to get people talking about it, but then I need to commit fresh energy into publicizing its publicity?" But the truth is that, no matter what market you're tapping into, that kind of end-to-end consideration is the only way to stand out in an atmosphere flooded with startups and ecommerce hopefuls.

Moreover, this process evolved directly from the days of pasting together press clippings for a portfolio. If anything, it's become more self-regenerative and reaps more bang for your buck. So rather than wasting the shelf life of your hard-earned press coverage, strategically share and promote those wins to achieve maximum results, and in doing so, increase its return on your investment — and your bottom line.

Kristen Shea

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

President, Society 22 PR

Kristen Shea is a publicist and the president of Society22 PR, an award-winning PR firm. Kristen is an industry leader and public relations expert with over a decade of experience across all company stages, from early through IPO.

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