Critical to the success of any PR announcement is a tight and persistent sell-in process. Despite what journalists profess, unless you have a tight sell-in and follow-up process, you aren’t going to get the desired results [jumps back to avoid objects thrown at her]. It simply isn’t enough to just email an announcement to a press list and expect it to get great coverage. Now I am not talking about the understandably hated ‘have you got my press release’ but I am talking about calling a journalist more than once to run through the news, including why it is significant and what the story is.
So, our top tips for a tight sell-in process are as follows:
Draw angles out – Whether it is about creating news or drawing news out of a client story, it is the PR agency’s role to ensure that the angle is clear to journalists. For instance, Elastichosts was launching new container-based cloud infrastructure as a service, which would enable usage billing. Spark did a messaging session to draw out the benefits and angles. Following the initial launch, Spark developed a media alert looking at how much is wasted each year by companies on underused cloud capacity; by using statistics we were able to get more in-depth coverage in top-tier media such as Cloud Pro and ZDNet, which helped drive further demand for the product.
Pre-selling announcements – By pre-selling announcements we enable journalists to prepare and cover the news ahead of the official time, which means you can target a wider pool of journalists. This approach enabled us to secure comprehensive enterprise IT press for HCL’s SAP cloud research, including Computer Weekly and ComputerworldUK.
Tailoring the news – With any announcement it is critical to tailor news to individual publications and their readerships, both to provide relevant news and also to ensure that you secure increased levels of coverage.
Thorough press list – A really thorough target press list is also very important, for instance, ensuring that relevant IT media, nationals, verticals and freelancers are all included on any list. This helped in securing two rounds of press coverage for an FOI request to the police forces looking at crime figures for ViaSat and meant we got pieces in Daily Telegraph as well as The Register.
Persistence – Ultimately the success of any announcement is tightly linked with the persistence of the team continuing to speak with journalists until coverage appears.
We don’t just treat client news as a way to hit our coverage targets, by leaving no stone unturned we’ve achieved excellent instead of simply good coverage for our clients.