Years ago, before the Internet got going, there was more or less a standard or typical “press kit” that a company used to promote new packages or services. But today there is much less consistency and much more variety.
If possible, for a very small business, I’d try to totally cut the postage and printing costs and do everything online. Even if I were making an in-person presentation, I’d use my computer screen in the place of literature. But for some purposes you still might want to have press material. One example may be at trade shows, when you want something physical you can hand out to passing media people who cover your industry.
But generally what I’d do today would be to try to get the attention of my media targets first with a simple email, a quick phone message, or maybe by social media. Then I would embed links to a landing page designed just for the media on part of my website. In fact, I might have different landing pages for either different types of media prospects or to promote different types of products or services.
On the media landing page I would give media people a sense of control, of choice, by giving them a variety of material to choose from. On the landing page I would include or have prominent links to all of the items included in a traditional media kit: pitch letter, press release, key contact information (taking the place of a business card), company background, photos, testimonials, and if appropriate, data page. I would also include a video. This is a huge advantage of contacting the media electronically: you can hot link them to a video. Videos can make all the difference.
When I was in the book business the hottest show to get on was Oprah. Of course, every publicist of a consumer product in the world was trying to book guests on this show! The competition to get booked was ferocious. I remember one of the best publicists saying that even if you found Noah and his Ark you still couldn’t be guaranteed a booking on Oprah—you would still also need a compelling video! We put a good number of guests on Oprah, and having videos helped.
Videos of what? Typically, it is you talking about information that the audience is really interested in hearing, not just blatantly trying to sell your product or service. For example, when I was promoting my book for job hunters that listed major employers to contact in different cities, I would spend most of my media appearances giving advice on how to get a job, not just talking about how fabulous my book was. And that’s how I got lots of media bookings!
Even though I suggest that you focus on a media landing page on your website, here is what goes into a traditional press kit.
The “Pitch” Letter
The first piece of information that an editor should see in your press kit is your “pitch” letter. This letter needs to immediately grab the editor’s attention. It should be typed or printed on a letter-quality computer printer in black and on standard-size 8.5″ x 11″ stationery. Ideally, it will be printed on your company letterhead. It should be personalized because editors typically disregard “blind” or “cold” letters.
The next piece an editor will look for is your press release. This piece should describe your product or service in detail and should provide the editor with enough newsworthy material to enable him or her to write a story about your product or service directly from the release. The press release should also be typed or printed on a letter-quality computer printer in black on your letterhead stationery.
Include your business card. Your business card should contain your name and title, company name, address, phone, fax, email, website, and/or any other communication avenue open to you. You should staple it to the top left-hand corner of the “pitch” letter, or at the top left-hand corner of the press release, if you have decided against enclosing a “pitch” letter.
A company background gives a short history of your company. It often includes profiles of key players within your organization. Again, it should be printed on your letterhead in the same manner as the “pitch” letter and the press release. Include the name of your company as a header or title, in larger type, at the top of the page. Indicate that this is the company background.
Photos of products can support the press release and create a more compelling story for your product. Use color photos if possible.
The testimonial sheet should be a one-page collection of quotations from anyone who has used your product and is willing to publicly support it. Again, use your letterhead for the testimonials.
The data sheet should contain all of the important statistics about your product, including, if applicable, size, weight, pricing, components, materials used in manufacturing, as well as a part number. Print it on letterhead with “Data Sheet” centered in bold at the top of the sheet.
The folder, which will hold all of your press materials, should be simple in design—perhaps your logo in two-color print. The folder size should be 9″ x 12″ with an insert on the right- or left-hand side for your business card.
If you are reluctant to spend the money to have a custom folder designed and printed, many office supply stores carry folders in a variety of styles and colors.
However you do it, remember that a press kit is basically a sales pitch! So think in terms of how you can make this appealing to your audience. Why would they want to feature you, your company, your product, or your service in their media outlet?
Takeaways You Can Use
- Create a media landing page.
- Get a great video.
- Craft a compelling pitch letter.