The All Important Press Kit
by Alfred Lautenslager

How many marketers at printing companies have considered the use of press kits? Press kits aren't just for the larger, hi profile businesses. Whatever your size or line of business, whether you are a start up entrepreneur, a franchise, a broker or a large commercial company you need a press kit. While many companies adopt aggressive marketing campaigns, when it comes time to address the media's request for a press kit, many are at a loss.

What is a media kit?

A media kit, sometimes called a press kit, is simply an information packet about a business or product. It is called a media kit or press kit because many times potential advertising mediums (press, media) will ask for more information on the potential advertiser. Since most of this advertising is press and media related, the term media kit was adopted.

What is in a press kit?

A press kit is like a resume for your company. In it is a collection of company information and articles put together to address questions from media, investors, potential clients, and others. The goal of the press kit is the same as all other marketing that a company does. It should grabs the reader's attention, make a lasting impression, and create enough interest that they will contact you for more information or follow up action steps.

There are many items that can go into a press or media kit, depending on the situation, the audience or the use. A media kit for potential investors is much different than a kit for potential clients. Although a press kit should be comprehensive, every promotional item or piece of marketing collateral ever produced by a company should not be included.

Only put information that is current and most relevant to your target reader. When targeting media editors be respective of their time. Here are some ideas about what to include in it. (This is a comprehensive list and intended only to provide ideas for what is needed for your target audience. Do not include all of this in a press kit)

  1. Letter of Introduction, sometimes referred to as the Pitch letter. This first impression item is where you will grab or lose the reader's interest. Tell them up front why they should care about what you are telling them. Provide a table of contents or brief description of the items enclosed in the actual press kit. Let them know you are available for any follow up interview or questions. Also make sure to include contact information in this letter; how the reader can best get a hold of you.
  2. Information on the company: Company history, company profile, profile of chief officers, senior management and ownership. Include bio sheets if appropriate.
  3. Product and service information including a product/service/performance review. This will let editors see what others are saying about you or help the editor to write his own review. This is also supported with product or service fact sheets, sell sheets or company brochures that are product and service specific.
  4. Recent Press Publications and Articles: Copies of recent press coverage is very appropriate for a press kit. After all, what other media has done, will be of interest to current media targets. This can include article reprints and print outs of an online press that a company might have received.
  5. Press Releases - A lot of times these are what instigated and caused the printing of the articles described above.
  6. Audio and video files of radio/television interviews, speeches, performances and any other media covered event. Hardcopy will suffice if the actual media is not available. Today, some companies are now putting online audio clips on their web pages and in online media kits.
  7. One thing that I am a big proponent of is including a Sample News Story. This is your chance to help guide the media or your reader. Often times an editor will print this verbatim. Editors see ready-to-print-stories as an easy way to fill up space with little effort on their part. They do of course, too, many times, edit these stories substantially so be prepared.
  8. Since many media kits are put together for investors, any news related to the industry, financial statements of any other Investor News is very appropriate for the press kit.
  9. List of Frequently Asked Questions? (This helps the editor to think of questions to ask you in an interview or include in their article)

Other items to include:

  • Non Profit and Community service Involvement
  • Recent Awards
  • Photos (If appropriate)
  • Factual background material/white papers
  • Specific information and schedules of upcoming promotions and events
  • Significant statistics-specific to industry, demographics, target audiences
  • Feature article material - articles written by company officers or senior management
  • Photos
  • Missions/goals/objectives
  • Samples/examples
  • Camera ready logo art
  • Giveaway information
  • Order form

Getting Your Press Kit Noticed is Key!

Busy editors sort through piles of press kits each day. Getting your press kit noticed is the key to publication and action! Remember getting attention is not only important with audiences, it is important with editors. Package your materials in a way that may be different and make sure the materials are presented professionally.

Follow Up is Another Key

It's crucial to follow up to make sure that your intended recipient got your press kit. Follow up calls provide the perfect opportunity for editors to ask questions, or schedule an interview. Use this opportunity to build relationships with editors. Building relationships do in fact improve your chance of publication or acceptance by your intended audience. In the world of developing relationships with editors for purpose of ongoing PR, distribution of media kits is key. This can however get a little expensive and is only good if that relationship building is part of your marketing strategy.

You Have Part of Your Press Kit Done Already

The best thing to do is to start assembling part of the press kit now, with the available materials. Don't wait until an editor, investor or potential client requests the kit to assemble one. Add to it as you see fit and develop new materials.

The challenge is to put it together on paper, electronically or both. There is a trend now for online media kits. A lot of these items can be developed for online distribution. It is a matter of putting what you already have on line, onto letterhead and fact sheets or visa versa.

Typically the media kit doesn't have to be as fancy as people think. Those requesting media kits want information, not necessarily glitz. See what items you already have and work on the rest.

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