As many job adverts and industry professionals will tell you, the world of PR and marketing is a multifaceted one that involves many different jobs and responsibilities. It’s one of the reasons it’s so exciting. Yet the sell-in still lies at the core of everything we do, it is the beating heart that drives the industry, so it’s probably worth knowing how to do a good one, huh?
Sell-ins vary in their demands. Perhaps you’ve got a pre-written press release, or perhaps you’ve been given a brief to write up the content yourself. Either way, you need to have a solid foundation of knowledge in whatever sector you’ll be writing about or selling in to. This means research, and the more time you put into it, the better the outcome will be. You need to make sure you’re reading key publications and keeping up to date with industry news and trends. It’s a good idea to subscribe to industry newsletters, and then putting aside half an hour at the beginning of your day to read through any in your inbox along with your morning coffee. All this is invaluable and will help you position yourself as someone with their finger on the pulse of industry issues.
This ideally will be an on-going process, so that when a brief comes in you’ll be prepared no matter the timing. Copywriting, or content-writing, is perhaps the most basic tool of any PR or marketing exec, yet it can be deceptively tricky to get right. You can find many different guides and courses online that can help you get to grips with whatever type of copywriting you may need, from B2C to B2B, from posters and brochures to articles and press releases. I won’t get into the intricacies here, what I will repeat however is the closing line of a LinkedIn course I did on the subject, which I think is an important thing to remember: Copywriting is half art, half science: Refine your art. Learn the science.
The science behind copywriting? I like to keep it simple and remember the PAS formula before I start writing something. The PAS formula reminds you to:
- State the problem
- Agitate the problem – further describe the challenge or the issue facing the intended audience
- Provide a solution
Problem, agitation, solution. PAS.
It’s a neat trick that you can note down in the corner of your page when you begin to plan your writing and does a good job of emphasising the real point of the job. You’re not there to write a Nobel Prize winning work of literature, you’re there to communicate something to an audience on behalf of your client. Of course, some creative intuition does not go amiss, but the simpler your work is, and the easier it is to understand, the more effective it will be as a piece of content.
So that’s the first step of a sell-in, but that’s only half the journey! Now that you’ve got your content it’s time to start getting it out there. Make sure you come back for part 2 of this series where my colleague @Kieran Baxter will be walking you through how to find the right publications and start pitching to the editors. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and drop me a message if you have any questions!
If you’re interested in finding out how we can help your business’ content needs, you can get in touch here.