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As a small business owner, hiring an advertising agency to create a press kit that promotes your blossoming company may be outside your budget. But that doesn't mean you should do without a press kit. With a little bit of effort you can create a media kit that can be used both as a marketing tool to give key customers and also as an information tool that makes it easier for bloggers and journalist to find key facts about your company and products when they're writing about you.
What should be included in your press kit?
Although there are several standard pieces of information that go into press kits, there are no hard rules about what to include. In fact, you may want to put together different versions of your press kit for different purposes or audiences.
If you're a software developer who has developed a new app to help landscapers manage their business better, you might have one press kit to use to promote the app. If you want to make a name for your company by having your CEO speak at app developer conferences, you might use a press kit with some different materials to focus on attention on her prowess as a speaker as well as a software developer. If you're seeking funding, you may want a slightly different version of the press kit for potential investors.
The key is to include whatever marketing and background information that will be of interest to the audience to which you plan to distribute the press kit. Additionally, while the goal is to provide a comprehensive overview of your company, you do not want to drown the recipient with information overload.
Here is a run-down of the most common elements in press kits.
Company Fact Sheet
The fact sheet is your starting point. Its purpose is to provide the press and others with a single place to quickly find important facts about your business, nature of products and services, leadership and contact information.
There are several different formats you can use for a company fact sheet (to get some examples search Google or Bing for "Corporate Fact Sheet" and look at some of the fact sheets from real companies.) Whatever format you choose, try to keep the fact sheet down to a page or two written on your company stationery. A contact person's name, email address and phone number should be prominent on the top of the sheet, too.
Start the fact sheet off with a very brief description (just a couple of lines) of your company and its focus.
Other information to consider including are facts such as when the business was founded, key markets, key products, locations (if you have more than one), the names of top officers or managing partners, industry memberships and awards, funding sources, revenue and growth statistics, and community service projects. Remember, this should be brief, and you only need to include the information that your intended audience for the press kit will find relevant.
Founder and Executive Biographies
Each bio you include in the media kit should contain background information about the individual as it relates to the business. The individual's name, photo, professional background and experience and past successes should all be included. You should also include any appropriate stories about why the individual founded the business or became involved in the industry.
Show journalists and potential customers that you value their time by doing some of the research legwork for them. This increases your credibility and can target you as a go-to resource for future projects. Include relevant industry information and statistics, including any white papers that you have developed. Within this document, express how your company contributes to strengthening the industry and include information about your target audience.
Frequently Asked Questions
This all-purpose document is a major time saver for you and anyone interested in learning more about your company. Provide thoughtful, complete answers to the questions you receive most often, particularly focusing on who, what, when, where, how and why. These responses should be longer than a sentence but not ramble on. Be as detailed but succinct as possible.
Press kits are frequently distributed to provide background information when a company issues a press release. When that's how you are using a press kit, the press release should be placed in front of all other materials. You can also include copies of previous press releases to provide a historical perspective on your company's accomplishments. Additionally, compile a sheet listing any press coverage (with links, if available) you have previously received.
Depending on your business, a brief outline of upcoming events and promotions is key information for the media to have.
Photos with released copyrights are one of the most difficult things for journalists to get their hands on. Providing high-resolution photos for general media use greatly increases the chances of your company being featured in an article. The basic press photos should include headshots of key executives, images of products and clips of logos. Action shots, if available, are highly desired. If applicable, you can also create screenshots of your app or online service, high-definition video clips or short audio snippets about the company. You can add these pieces to your website under the Media section or distribute them to the media on a CD.
Journalists are always looking for personal stories and quotes to support their articles. A press package that includes first-person testimonials from customers about how your company's products or services affected their lives will capture a writer's attention. These pieces are also powerful incentives for potential investors and future clients.
Collateral Advertising Materials
Add any brochures, flyers, public service announcements, newspaper ads or postcards that you have developed to promote your company. If you have many such documents, choose the most important ones to include. The purpose of your press kit is to inform, not overwhelm recipients.
Where and How to Distribute Your Press Kit
You will probably want to make your press kit available in both digital and print formats. Uploading basic press materials on your website enables the media to quickly find accurate information about your company, increasing your chances of being featured in an article. It also gives investors and customers the information they need to choose your company over others. You may also want to put your press materials on a thumb drive to distribute as needed at trade shows or other events. Finally, you may want to have some printed copies of your press kit available, too.
Don't mass distribute your press kits. Doing so will be a waste of time and money and will be an annoyance to people who get them and don't want them.
If publications or individual journalists ask you for a press kit, ask whether they'd prefer to have one physically mailed to them, have a link to download it from your website, or have it sent as an email attachment. For email, have the individual documents compiled into a single PDF. Never send any kind of material as an attachment unless it's been specifically requested.
If you will be distributing printed copies of a press kit, consider ordering quality pocket folders imprinted with your company name on the cover. In addition to the inside pockets, they should have a slot to hold your business card.
It can be somewhat time consuming to assemble all the materials you need for a press kit, so don't wait until the last minute to try to put it together. You'll need time not only to create the documents, but also time to proofread them, convert them to PDF format, upload the documents to your website, have them copied onto thumb drives, or to have them printed.
But don't let the time to create a press kit stop you from pulling together the materials. The materials you use in the press kit come in handy for years to come. Keep the original documents on your hard disk (and be sure to have a backup copy!) and update them as needed. That way you'll always be able to say "Yes" when a reporter or a potential customer or anyone else asks if you have a bio, background information, or other key facts you can send along about your company.
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