How To Create Impactful Press Kits That Work
With an Effective Press Kit, You Can Really Stand Out.
You may have heard the term "press kit" being used in advertising and PR agencies, and may have even received a press kit for something. Although the form and function of a press kit can vary greatly by industry, the accepted definition of one is:
"A package of promotional material provided to members of the press to brief them, especially about a product, service, or candidate."
That really is a broad term though, and if that's all you have to go on, you won't be creating press kits that have the impact they're supposed to.
So, let's look a little deeper into the actual components that can make up a press kit, and how to assemble one that gives your product or service the best chance of free publicity, also known as earned media. If you do your press kit correctly, you will see a return many times greater than your initial investment, especially if the kit gets your product or service airtime on news stations, or great write-ups online and in magazines.
Creating Your Press Kit
There's no rule book on creating press kits that say what components you must include. Your press kits will vary based on what you're using PR to promote, and the type of venue where you'll be distributing your press kit. Most press kits are mailed out, often to people who have admin assistants, and it is your job to make a press kit that's interesting enough to get past that person. Content, and presentation, matters a lot.
So, what you include is a very important decision because a press kit is an easy way to put the spotlight on you or your business.
You can even think of it as your company's greatest hits compilation, because you're compiling the info you want the media to know about you and your products and services into one tidy package. Having said that, the main press kit components you'll want to consider are:
1. The Press Release
Your press kit's press release announces the whole idea.
If you've got a new product, the press kit helps introduce it. If your company is merging with another, the press kit champions it.
You can include multiple press releases in your press kit, or you can issue a press release before the kit goes out. For example, a trade show press kit might contain a company merger press release, three new product press releases, and a press release announcing a new CEO.
A word of caution; don't pack your press kit with more than one press release just because you can. If you're sending a press kit to an editor, you'll need just one press release. If you're handing out your press kit at a trade show, multiple press releases inside aren't uncommon. But remember, the more you include, the more work you're making people do. You want to make their job as easy as possible.
2. A Brief Letter/Table of Contents
This is especially helpful for any kind of press kit that included a lot of different, but equally important, elements. Your letter can be addressed to the media thanking them for their interest in your company, and then you can provide a summary of what's included.
Be sure to make your media contact's name, and contact information, clear on this page since it will be the first one he or she will see.
All of these elements help your content come together and feel much more organized than papers and samples randomly stuffed into a folder.
3. A Brochure
PR pros use press kits to announce a new product, but you can also include your brochure. Brochures are especially helpful to explain your product or service outside of a simple press release. It's one thing to create a press kit for a new type of health snack; it's something else entirely to create a press kit that brings a new financial product to the investment market.
For a trade show press kit, you can include a number of brochures that give the editor/reporter a large amount of information about your product/service. This helps them determine if they even want to cover what you're offering up for free media exposure.
4. Product Samples
If your product is small enough, and you can afford to do so, you should put a sample inside the press kit.
This gives editors and reporters the chance to test the product out on their own, and give it a genuine thumbs up or thumbs down.
If your product is too big and you'll be holding a demonstration at your facility, include that information so the editor/reporter can come to your location and get their hands on your products. Or if your trade show booth is having a demo, that's another great way to give a mass amount of editors and reporters from around the country a way to see your product in action.
If you can only send a few samples out, created a tiered press kit mailing. The top tier may only consist of five to ten prospects, but they'll be the most important. They receive the actual item. The other tiers get less, based on their influence. Some may simply get a postcard or letter that covers the basic information.
5. Past Press Coverage
If you've received free media coverage before, you can include a sheet that details those media outlets. Some companies like to include copies of articles written about them in their press kit, and that adds a level of credibility to the campaign. Just don't go overboard. Publicising past successes are one thing, but a bragging session is offputting.
If you're including articles, a few pages will be more than enough content for your press kit. Determine if a simple sheet identifying these outlets instead would better serve your press kit and the editor/reporter.
6. A Fact Sheet
This can be a great addition to a press kit because it details features, benefits, and other specific information in a way that educates the reporter or editor about your company and/or products with quick hits of info. Fact sheets can be used for product launches, press kits about new hires, news conferences and other areas where you want to give the editor key facts that they may want to use word for word.
7. Company Background
Writing a company history page can be valuable for current and future press kits. This background details your company's beginnings; from where you've been, to where you're going, and your plans for expansion and product development. Be sure to update it with recent accomplishments and other good news in your history.
8. Executive Bios
Whether it's a new CEO, a new PR executive, or a new member on your board of directors, this is the place to inform people about them.
Executive bios, along with high-resolution images, give the editor much-needed background information about the people behind the company. Some publications print a bio word for word, so write the bio in the third person point of view rather than first person point of view. And, it goes without saying, make sure the bios are accurate and current. It can be embarrassing to include contact information on people that have quit, or been let go.
9. A Quote Sheet and FAQ
Your media contact's info should be very easy for any editor to find for additional questions about your press kit. But a quote sheet (featuring direct quotations from the people in your company) can also be used to give busy editors quotes they need to complete an article without tracking down a company's PR person.
This sheet can feature quotes from your executives, product developers, and even the PR contact. One sheet of quotes can answer the most obvious questions an editor's likely to have, and can be put in a format that is professional and informative. You want each quote to look good on paper since that quote will most likely be used verbatim in print.
10. Hi-Res Images on a Flash Drive
Are images relevant to your press kit? If so, be sure they are high-resolution images, stored on a very handy media device like a flash drive, or a CD/DVD.
You can also include high-res images on your Web site for the media to download as well. Just be sure to include the direct link to your image gallery in your press kit materials.
11. CDs, DVDs, Flash Drives, Software, and Video
These materials can be costly when you're creating press kits in mass numbers. Are they required? Not always. But how effective they are depends on what coverage you're looking for.
If you're creating a press kit for a band, a demo CD or link to downloadable music is going to get you more mileage in a press kit than just a release announcing it. If you're trying to get coverage for your company's video games, a CD that has several demo versions of your new titles is a much better way to get an editor's interest than five press releases. If you've just opened up a new manufacturing facility and you're sending your materials to editors/reporters too far away to travel for a tour, a DVD can offer a video tour of the facility. And, of course, as technology evolves, so must your press kits. You could include a QR code that sends people to a unique website, with a message tailored just to them.