Press Kit? What’s That and Why do I Need One?
Authors have them. Car manufacturers have them. Speakers have them. Anybody who wants publicity should have a press kit. As a journalist who receives hundreds of unsolicited gadgets, packages and promotional items from those seeking coverage, I can tell you that a press kit doesn’t have to be expensive to get a reporter’s attention. Neither does it have to be large or kitschy. In my opinion, journalists prefer simple kits, so that they don’t feel like an individual or business is trying to buy coverage.
Anybody can create a basic kit, and most professionals could benefit from having one, since it’s really just a collection of why you’re great and worthy of news coverage.
A typical press kit arrives on my desk in the form of a folder. It contains a couple of press releases, a bio, suggested questions, a photo, contact information and copies of newspaper or magazine articles that have already been written on the book, the speaker, the product or service.
Some folders are custom-made with a fancy latch and an expensive logo. Others are the cheapest the office supply store has to offer. Most of the time, I don’t even notice the folder, I dig right into the contents to see if there is any meat.
Depending on your angle or your service, you might consider other items in your press kit. Authors often include a book or at least a chapter from their latest release. Automakers are sending CD’s in the place of the slides they used to include. Speakers might want to include a demo tape or list of references in their press kits.
The purpose of the press kit is to give reporters a collection of items that will give them background information so that they can cover the story better.
If publicity would help boost your business, your image or your cause, I recommend making attractive, readable press releases available to the media.
When you start to get media coverage as a result—and you will, if your angle and content are newsworthy–collect the articles and begin creating a list of typical questions you are asked. Soon, you will have the most important items journalists need to spotlight you: high content and an impression that counts: other media has shown an interest, so you must be deserving of headlines.
Lorri Allen is a journalist and media coach. She works with people that want to look smart on TV and groups that want to use the media effectively. To contact her, please firstname.lastname@example.org. For permission to reprint this article, please call the numbers below.