PR is one of the most effective ways for small businesses to drum up interest in its product or service. In fact, a magazine article or newspaper feature is worth far more than an ad: people think that it’s objective, and they’re more likely to read it (savvy consumers tend to skip what they think are hard-sell ads).
The best way to get a magazine or newspaper feature is through a press kit. Editors will either run the actual press release, or use the fact sheet to determine the best angle for the story. Here are tips for small businesses on how to make effective press kits.
What is a press kit?
A press kit (often called a media kit) contains information on the company and its products, services or recent activities and events. You can distribute it to media and other stakeholders: investors, clients, distributors, etc.
A press kit can accomplish any of these things:
1. The editor can run your story, or call you and ask you to tweak it to a particular angle.
2. The editor can schedule a meeting to ask more about your product or service. (In general, sending a press kit is more effective than cold-calling a magazine or newspaper and requesting for a meeting. It gives the editor a chance to see if the product “fits” his market and what kind of angle would work.
3. The editor can send a writer to interview you for a feature.
What should you include in the press kit?
Your press kit usually will have a Company Profile (basically, summarizing your brand in two or three paragraphs), a fact sheet, news releases (short, ready-to-use articles on newsworthy topics), feature releases (also ready-to-use, but often with a lifestyle twist) and a CD with high quality photos.
Do include a company history, and if you have a very specific and technical industry, a glossary of terms or frequently asked questions. You can also insert any existing brochures, marketing collaterals, or your recent annual report.
Do play up any accomplishments, such as awards received, customer testimonials, and include photocopies of previous write-ups in other magazines, newspapers, etc.
And don’t forget to include a letter of introduction, addressed to the editor-in-chief! Your letter should summarize your company, the contents of the kit, and any story recommendations. Don’t forget to end the letter with contact information: mobile number, landline, email address, social networking accounts. Even if you have inserted a calling card, this can get lost—especially when the editor-in-chief passes on the kit to a copy editor or associate editor for technical editing.
Make your press kit editor-friendly
Editors receive dozens of press kits a day. Yours have a better chance of being remembered and used if:
1. You have good photos. No matter how well-written a press release is, editors still need a high-quality photo to run with the article. Have your product shots done by a professional photographer.
2. You have a soft copy of all the articles in the CD. This saves the editor the trouble of having to retype the article.
3. You include product samples or free trials of the service. Editors will not recommend a product or service they know nothing about – especially since readers trust them to give objective reviews and recommendations.
4. You label the CD. Blank CD’s can get lost!
5. You add a page with thumbnails of the photos in your CD. It saves the editor and the art director the trouble of viewing all the images one by one.
Photo from mondobeat.wordpress.com