One of our clients was bemoaning the fact that they had spent quite a bit of cash with a channel media website and got no visible returns as a result. Hang on, we said, how do you know that’s the case? Quite simply, you don’t and you never really will – not unless someone calls you up and says: ‘I saw the article on the web and I’d like to talk to you about doing some business.’ That’s only going to happen once in a blue moon, if it’s ever going to happen at all.
It is much more likely that they will see the article, glance at it, absorb only a small portion if what it says and not even think about it again. But that small intake will have raised their awareness of the business and its involvement in that particular area of the market; it will have changed their perception, only by a small degree perhaps, but it will have made a difference.
If they then see another mention of the business in association with that key subject, the perception will be reinforced and they will start to get some real awareness. When they later have a real reason to look at that subject area – when they get approached by a customer with a particular need for instance – the lights may go on and they will seek out your business as a potential source of the solution. Then of course, your website and your sales process must take over; you can lead a horse to water but can’t make it drink.
You may never know if or how your media coverage influenced them to investigate your services and get in touch, but it will probably have made a contribution somewhere along the way for many new enquiries. And of course, some readers may well have taken in the original piece with greater consciousness, so it may have changed some perceptions quite considerably.
If you can get a few more stories out into channel media, the perception of your business will be lifted higher, and that will support your other activities – advertising, direct mail, social media – and give them more impact. John Wanamaker (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wanamaker) is famed for once saying that he knew half his advertising was wasted, he just did not know which half. It’s a similar story with editorial coverage and a lot of the marketing you do. You know it has some impact, you just don’t know who with and to what degree it’s changed their perceptions and influenced them.
One thing you can be sure of if that if you do nothing, it will be much harder for anyone to develop an awareness and perception of your business.