Press Kits & the Art of Self-Promotion

by Cassandra Moffitt on

What is a press kit?

Press kits are the means by which you let members of the media, retailers, and others fully experience your product or service, and get to know your brand. Typically, the purpose of a press kit is to inspire a review or feature of your product or service, without being paid to do so.

There are a number of reasons for creating and sending press kits. Foremost among them is that a review is typically free and, therefore, more credible than an ad in the eyes of most consumers. For example, you’re probably more likely to take action and go see it when a friend tells you to check out a great new movie, as opposed to just coming across an ad for it in the newspaper. That’s because your friend is giving you their honest opinion on the film. You trust them and have found that your tastes and opinions often align with their own, so their review carries a lot of weight. The newspaper ad is simply a company paying the newspaper to advertise their product. It doesn’t carry as much weight as an actual review. The same applies to influencers anywhere. Their core audience believes they are credible and probably shares similar tastes and opinions as them. So when they recommend something, it’s given extra attention because of their credibility.

Another reason to have a press kit made is it simplifies much of the work of the journalist, making it easier for them to write about you. When a writer has everything they need to know about your company right in front of them, including a sample of the product, you’re much more likely to receive coverage, and for the details to be presented accurately.

What’s included?

If it’s a product you’re selling, your press kit will include at least one sample of it for the publication to hold, touch, use, play with, test, and inspect. You can explain to someone what a product does, its quality craftsmanship, or the way it works – but nothing will do it justice like putting it in their hands.

Along with your product, you should always include a fact sheet, which explains who you are, your company’s history, how your product or service works, and anything else you think is pertinent to understanding your company and your product or service. This includes, but is not limited to, major dates in your company’s history, the location where it’s currently operating, notable clients you have worked or are working with, pricing information, revenue statistics (if you want that information to be public), founder names, etc. This may also mean relevant data sheets (MSDS, CAD or instructional drawings, specifications, certifications, etc.).

You’ll also want to include a roundup of any media coverage you’ve already received. This could be in the form of press clippings, links to websites, a DVD or thumb drive of television coverage, etc. Media outlets will be more likely to run with your story if they see their peers have already vetted you to a certain degree and found you fit to publish. Credibility plays a large role here, as well. If you’ve been published in the New York Times, Popular Mechanics, and National Geographic, editors and writers will almost certainly put more credence in you and your press kit, over those with little to no coverage.

Next, try to anticipate what the journalist will need to do their job when covering you. Print and digital outlets will need hi-res photos of your product, company logos, pictures of your company’s founders, etc. Include all these materials in your press kit. If a writer doesn’t have to look far for everything they need to write about you, you’ll be more likely to get coverage than someone whose press kit is less complete.

Digital vs. physical

Some people prefer doing everything through their computer. Others enjoy holding paper in their hands. Satisfy them both digital and physical versions of your press kit! The digital version can be as simple as a link to a page on your website or elsewhere that contains JPEGs, PDFs, videos, etc., of everything in your kit.

Who gets a press kit?

There’s a very simple rule of thumb for identifying if someone should receive your press kit: If they are a part of your target market, or cater to those in your target market, and have a voice to reach people, you’ll want to consider putting a press kit in their hands.

Begin by taking a look at your target market. Where do they receive their news from? What other publications do they read? What shows do they watch? When they’re going to make a purchase decision, who do they consult? You’ll gradually start to build up an idea of who your customers or clients are and what their behaviors look like. If you’d like more information on how to identify your target audience, check out our article on The Importance of Market Research.

With this knowledge of your target audience in hand, identify the outlets most likely to reach them. Don’t confine your list to traditional media like newspapers, magazines, or television shows. Also look at new media like blogs, vlogs, personal sites dedicated to narrow interests, and even individual’s social media pages. Even if it’s a small group served by these blogs or individual pages, you may find that they’re a much more qualified audience, resulting in greater sales with fewer impressions.

The media is great for introducing your product and getting your company’s story out. But you’ll also want to consider other influencers in your target market when putting together your press kit sending list. Identify potential clients who may be interested in your product or service. Affinity groups are another audience to consider. If your product helps better locate mountaineers trapped by avalanche, you’ll definitely want to send your press kit to local or national mountaineering and first aid groups to get you company on their radar.

Targeting and what to include

A mountaineering group interested in life-saving tools, probably isn’t concerned with your company’s revenue statistics. Press kits are very dynamic, in that they should always be tailored to you’re audience. Include only the items that will most appeal to each individual recipient. If an editor receives a press kit overfilled with superfluous items, they’re likely to think it was mass-mailed and didn’t take into account their needs or their audience. Again, make the recipients job easier, and you are more likely to get coverage.

If you’re ready to put your product in the media’s hands, we can help! Contact us today to discuss creating your own press kit.