As a PR company, ultimately our goal is to raise awareness of our brands. This can come in all sorts of forms from profiling key stakeholders, including CEOs, to landing broadcast interviews to campaign or product launches. Ultimately, whatever coverage we are aiming to secure for our clients, begins with a sell-in – reaching out to our target media with what our client can offer them. However, it can be difficult to know the best approach to reach out to media, and with journalists being so busy (and receiving over 1000 emails from PRs every day), how do we make our brands stand out?
Below I’ve outlined my three top tips for a sell-in:
The perfect subject heading
The subject heading is the first thing a journalist will see. So, it’s vital that it is engaging and entices the journalist to want to find out more. This then trickles down to the pitch. If you have a press release to share as well, this is where journalists can find out all the specific information, the pitch just needs to encourage them to keep reading. Make sure your pitch is short and concise explaining the key messages.
Ensure the timing is right
It’s always worth considering when you are planning to do your sell-in, traditionally mornings work best and avoid Friday afternoons – no one wants to give themselves more work at 3pm on a Friday. It can also be beneficial to know what’s coming up on the news agenda too, the papers have been dominated by Brexit and Coronavirus recently making it hard to get stories to land. Whilst these constant developments are hard to avoid, you can plan around events such a general elections and celebrity deaths that are likely to takeover publications.
Know your media
I’ve spoken to numerous journalists who have, understandably, said the most annoying email they receive from a PR company is one that is totally irrelevant to their sector. Before you start sending out press releases check your media list is up to date and make sure that you are targeting the pitch to the journalists at those publications who are interested and write about your category. If the subject of your pitch is about a new food launch and you send it to the fashion reporter, chances are it will get deleted straight away. Make sure you personalise your pitch – which means ditch the BCC. Whilst it may take you more time, if you can’t be bothered to write the journalists name, why should they be bothered to read your email?
Bonus: Build relationships
However, ultimately when it comes to achieving results, the best advice is to get out of the office and meet journalists. This can be over breakfast or lunch or even at launch events. Building relationships with journalists helps them to recognise your name amongst the sea of emails and will allow you to chat through upcoming opportunities and see what they’re interested in, both on a work and personal level.