Most business owners are eager for positive publicity, but their reasons for trying to garner media coverage are murky at best.

“No one knows we’re here” is not a valid reason to tell your story. If that’s your reason, just admit that it’s about stroking your own ego. Publicity is like any other business investment that is part of your public relations strategy: it should be based on rational factors and objectives related to the bottom line. Here are six valid reasons for seeking publicity:

1. Raise awareness across your customer base. If the story you are telling and the media you are targeting to tell it will help you attract and retain customers, go for it!

2. Raise awareness and reinforce loyalty of your referral base. Some referral sources are just too jaded or busy to pay much attention to the local daily, but aim your story for a respected trade journal, and you are on the right track.

3. Reinforce loyalty of funders and shareholders. Targeting a story and medium to appeal to your financial backers helps to reinforce their good judgment in trusting you to deliver on their investment.

4. Introduce yourself and establish credibility among potential funders or buyers. The right vehicle for the story is always important, and it’s even more vital here. Correctly positioning your brand and product or service can open doors – and wallets.

5. Establish a reputation as a preferred employer. Today, no one is really competing for employees, unless specific training and experience is in high demand for a niche job. Eventually, though, unemployment will decline, and businesses that have created a reputation for offering a solid, innovative and humane workplace will be better able to skim off the cream of the workforce. Positive press also boosts employee morale.

6. Invest in the bank of goodwill. There’s something to be said for creating a positive vibe for your brand and the people behind it. If a crisis befalls your organization, the community and your key audiences will be much more willing to give you the benefit of the doubt if they already think of you as the “good guys.” This is an intangible that only becomes measurable when the gunk hits the fan. When that happens, the long-term publicity investment will be deemed priceless.

Seeking publicity – the good kind – can be a sound business investment. Just make sure you’re doing more than packing for an ego trip.