Tips from the top. What journalists really think when you’re selling-in


Selling in is core to a PR’s role and as the media landscape continues to evolve and develop, so must we. We are never too old or ‘good at PR’ to learn new tricks and getting insight from our peers is fundamental to growing our expertise.

That said, hearing those nine magical words – ‘can you send it through to the news desk’ – when you’ve finally managed to reach a real person after hours of being stonewalled by man’s friend, voicemail, can be frustrating.

News creation and distribution agency 72Point hosted a breakfast seminar last Thursday. Hosted by Doug Shields, Sam Allcock and Chris Brooks, the talk offered insider tips and advice to help extend the reach of radio, press and digital campaigns.

Notebooks, pens and mobile phones in hand to tweet using the official #72seminar hashtag, Account Executives Chidi and Rachel headed into town to hear what they had to say.

Here are just a few of the tips we came away with:

  1. Send stories early

Journalists on national news desks start their day around 7 or 8am and head into news meetings at 10am. Get your news to them as early as possible to give yourself the best chance of getting on their agenda.

News site web traffic is at its peak at 9am, 1pm and 4pm, with the most popular content featured prominently on home pages and in dedicated ‘trending’ sections.

  1. Keep it brief on the phone and don’t overlook the power of newswires

Tell them you’ve got a story and read the first paragraph. You’ll know if you’ve got their attention if they keep listening. Having the story on a newswire gives it extra credibility too.

  1. Paid for promotions are worth thinking about

So you’ve secured coverage on a national news site and have hit a KPI. Being published shouldn’t mark the end of your activity. You should share links on social media and consider boosting your posts. What works in print shouldn’t be confined to that – extend the reach of all stories in rounded and integrated outreach.

  1. Know your audience

Think about tailoring copy to fit in with style of your target title, as it will be noticed. This is especially true for radio. A press release written as a 15 second news bite shows the story at its full potential. Don’t forget to send the full story along with it for background.

  1. Time is a premium

Make a journalist’s job as straightforward as possible. They just don’t have the time to chase you for extra information. Put the story’s key facts in bullet points at the top – the body of your release might be edited when published, but the most important details will remain.