I just spoke to a lovely journalist about what I think is a really interesting story. Obviously I would say this, but still. Her first response was – ‘oh wow, you called and explained the story, nobody does that anymore’.
And it got me thinking. Is the ‘sell-in’ a thing of the past nowadays? Or is the strategy of choice just the dreaded technique of press send, wait 15 mins and then…..‘have you seen my press release?’
Now, before I go on, there are a couple of things I think need to be pointed out. The first is that a lot of more junior comms consultants are literally forced to do this. To call journalists after sending a release, and then write down the feedback they receive. Often that feedback will be a variation of ‘seen it, not for me’ before the line goes dead. And that’s what you can tell the client – ‘we tried, but it wasn’t for them at this time’. It adds no value to anyone that, but still….
The second thing I need to point out, despite what more vocal anti-PR-person journalists like to blurt out on Twitter may have you believe, is that it works. Sometimes, not every time but certainly more often than many would have you believe, a journo will say ‘oh no I hadn’t seen that, cheers’. So this won’t stop any time soon.
But to hear ‘nobody does that anymore’ when I called to chat through a story was crazy. This job is all about story telling. For me, the best way to tell that story over the phone and work with a journalist to develop it. That’s why I’ve always hated the term ‘sell-in’. It’s not inaccurate, but the job is more than ‘selling the story’ – good PR people work hand in hand with journalists and clients to tell the right story. I think the phone (or Zoom etc.) still has a vital role to play….
Like any good Trequartista, we can operate and get results in any team. Our roots may well be predominantly in financial services, both institutional and retail, but our client roster includes clients from real estate to rugby, crypto to cleaning, football to food production, legal to learning, sponsorship to skincare and a whole host of other industries we could list in such alliterative fashion. Fashion to fitness in fact.