News Cycles Are Lightning Quick and Digital Footprints Offer Lasting Value


Media relations isn’t a new approach to building brand awareness, but its value should be assessed in a more integrated, digital-first way.

During the last 12 months, our digital PR team has supported a prominent law firm in central Ohio. The firm takes on high-profile cases, some of which attract national media attention. One of the cases we’ve supported has generated more than 11,000 media mentions and it’s likely thousands more will be added to the list as the case moves forward. For all intents and purposes, that’s a significant amount of media coverage that certainly builds credibility and awareness for the law firm. However, news cycles are lightning quick, and it’s the lasting digital footprint the coverage leaves behind that is truly valuable.

While paid and SEO efforts can improve a brand’s online visibility, positive media coverage provides quality third-party validation, fortifying the consumer journey with trust. For example, if anyone conducts an online search for our client or one of the attorneys on the case, they will discover three high-ranking results: the firm’s website, the firm’s social media channels and media coverage. We call this a brand’s digital footprint, where every touchpoint matters and should be regularly monitored. Why? Because all pieces of information, particularly those that rank high on Google, either influence potential clients and customers toward or away from a brand. 

Brands that make the effort to generate media coverage should not consider landing a story to be the end goal. Instead, they need to connect the dots by amplifying coverage on owned channels. Having a news story appear in a Google result is good. But what’s even better is amplifying that story on high-ranking social media pages, sharing the story prominently on a brand’s website and seeking re-shares or links on other channels. While an original news story may reach 750,000 people, amplification extends the impact of the coverage beyond the moment.  

It’s also important to not look at PR in a silo, separate from other digital marketing efforts. It should be incorporated into an integrated plan that supports and complements every effort to drive awareness and acquire customers. A brand’s digital footprint must impact all efforts. When paid efforts are supported by strategic and positive media coverage, that money goes farther. The contrary is also true. If a brand invests in paid, but Google search results reveal negative media coverage, trust is lost.

Earned media coverage on the radio, in print and on television are tried and tested ways to drive brand awareness. But the real value comes from a strategic approach that ensures the coverage leaves behind a digital footprint that fortifies the consumer journey.