The following is a guest post from Alicia Lawrence, a contributor for simonoh.com.
With so much focus on new media in the advertising and PR world today, it’s easy to lose sight of the value of a good, old-fashioned press kit. Here’s a quick refresher course on putting together an effective press kit that will raise the profile of your brand without breaking the bank.
What To Include
The specifics of what you’re trying to promote will determine what exactly should be included in your press kit. As a rule, almost all press kits will include the following:
Letter of introduction: A short letter outlining who you are and why you are contacting the targeted media outlet is essential to any press kit. Think of this as your “elevator pitch” — make a quick and compelling argument as to why the reader should pay attention to you.
Copies of recent press coverage / press releases: Any other press you’ve garnered will be essential to making the case for more exposure. Including current press releases will give potential writers a convenient “hook” for crafting a story around your company. If you’re never written a press release before, About.com has a great introductory article.
Company profile: A short company profile outlining who you are and what you do is essential to maintaining brand integrity. Be sure to include short bios of executives / key staff as well as a brief word about your company’s origins.
Product brochures / demos: If your product is small enough to include as a demo, or of interest to a potential reporter, you’ll want to include a sample along with your press kit.
Quote sheet or sample story: The point of your press kit should be to compel a reporter / editor into doing a story about your product, so make it easy for them with a sample article or collection of pulled quotes they can base a story around.
Why Create a Press Kit?
If this sounds like a lot of work with potentially little payoff, think again. Everyone from struggling indie rock bands to top rehab centers can benefit from a well-crafted press kit. Matter of fact, I recently put together a press kit for a rehab center for their rebranding campaign.
Social networking and promoting your brand online are essential to modern marketing, but when it comes to generating positive PR, nothing beats the personal touch of a press kit at industry events and shows. Keep in mind a press kit doesn’t have to be printed. Some journalist prefer the press kit on a flash drive.
One last thing to remember about press kits: they have to have a news angle. A reporter won’t do a story on a company or product just because they think it’s cool. Major events like a product launch, merger/acquisition or news conference can all be promoted with a press kit.
But when you don’t have anything on the horizon, try thinking outside the box. How is your product making an impact on the community? How does your work relate to a hot current event? Think of questions and issues a reporter can build a story around, and focus your press kit on that.