It’s all in the 'sell-in'…

Contrary to common belief, generating media coverage isn’t always as simple as compiling a list of journalists and then contacting each of them about something you consider to be newsworthy.  The key to generating coverage relies entirely on your sell-in; your approach to a ‘story’ that makes it appealing to your target media.

Having been on the receiving end of the PR effort,  I fully appreciate just how many media releases are likely to end up ‘binned’ on account of their: unsuitability, poor structure, weak content, confusing jargon or, poor timing.  In fact, research suggests that up to 92% of media releases that are sent to journalists are ‘binned’.

If you have ever lived the life of a journalist, you will understand that time is of the essence, timing is key and a good story is fundamental!

As an Editor, on average, I would receive as many as 80 releases in one day and countless calls from PR’s.  I would become most frustrated by those who hadn’t taken the time to consider the publication to which they directed their material.  I was equally frustrated by those who considered fluffy adjectives suitable for their release; appearing as advertorial (paid editorial), rather than newsworthy editorial.

It was perhaps the telephone calls that surprised me most of all.  Rather than strong pitches, the patter I’d hear repeatedly, would typically consist of: "I sent you a release (yesterday, last week, etc)… will you be including it in your next issue?"  This type of call would infuriate me and was completely detrimental to their cause… serving no purpose other than to waste time!

The art of crafting a good media release and/or conducting a productive pitch relies on the ability to ‘sell-in’ a well thought-out story.  To do this several key pointers must be considered:

  • Understand who’s who
  • Tailor your media sell-in: Consider the timing and topicality. Identify the human interest and the ‘news’ value that underpins the story.  Define the What, Who, Why, When, Where and How of your story
  • Do not be too creative, or too clever
  • Give facts, not flowery adjectives
  • Avoid jargon and confusing acronyms
  • Confine opinions to quotes from relevant individuals linked to your story
  • Keep it short and sweet
  • Avoid attachments on emails (unless asked)
  • Send your media release to named individuals
  • Make yourself accessible
  • Check deadlines to avoid contacting at a bad time
  • Devise a script for when you telephone a journalist and like your media release, be concise

If you require assistance refining your sell-in, do get in touch, I’d be happy to help!