The press kit is among the most useful tools in public relations.
Also known as media kits, well-developed press kits are a one-stop information source for reporters.
They are essential in pitching story ideas. They help journalists understand your organization and its value proposition, delivering comprehensive information about it and providing opportunities for PR staff to engage reporters.
By providing thorough background information, a neatly packaged press kit improves the likelihood of accurate and comprehensive media coverage.
Experienced media relations pros typically keep press kits on hand and ready to distribute to reporters at press conferences, after interviews with company executives, or when networking at conferences. When pitching story ideas, many PR pros include a link to the online press kit.
“Never leave a reporter hanging—especially one who’s ready to write about your company. One of the simplest ways to please any journalist, blogger, or even potential investor, is to have an easy-to-find press kit on your site,” says media and communications expert Jane K. Callahan.
Beyond news coverage
Press kits are valuable for more than just journalists. Companies often send their press kits to prospective clients, advertisers, investment analysts, investors, bloggers and anyone else who might be interested in learning about the organization.
Press kits can differ depending on the brand, intended audience and purpose. Though there are no hard rules, the best press kits provide a detailed look into the organization.
In earlier times, a press kit meant a folder or packet of information and photographs that PR representatives handed to reporters. Companies eventually began including CDs, flash drives and giveaways emblazoned with the firm’s logo. Now, press kits are more likely to reside on the corporate website.
Reporters and bloggers typically first visit an online newsroom when developing a story about an organization. They also visit corporate newsrooms when writing about an industry development or business issue.
Companies might place the information in a section labeled “For the Press,” “Media Resources,” “Press Room,” “Press Resources” or “Newsroom.” Access to the digital information is not restricted to “the press”; anyone can view it, including key audiences such as investment research analysts and prospective customers.
Here are the major components of a press kit. (Although the term “company” is used in the descriptions, nonprofits and government organizations can include most of these elements.)
1. Company overview explains what your company does, what it offers and what differentiates it from competitors. It includes the company history and tells its story and mission. Providing a basic description that avoids industry jargon and clichés is the best way to help reporters and others understand the company. Financial reporters might also wish to access the company’s most recent financial reports.
2. The fact sheet, which might be part of the company overview, is a one-page, bulleted list of vital information about the company, such as key statistics, achievements and important dates in its history.
3. Biographies of the CEO, chairman, founders and other key players, including their headshots, give the company a human face and provide insight into its leadership’s vision. Brevity, perhaps a few paragraphs, is ideal. This is not the place for life stories.
4. FAQs can differentiate the organization from competitors. When preparing FAQs, talking to the firm’s sales team and contact center can uncover common questions from prospective customers.
5. Press releases should be kept current; one or two will suffice. If the announcement is recent and newsworthy enough, a news outlet might publish it. When you’re distributing press releases at a press conference or other event, tailor the announcement to the theme of the event.
6. News coverage of the company can provide background to journalists and establish your organization as credible and newsworthy. If your company is unwilling to pay for expensive reprint rights, you can list the media outlet, story headline, introduction or summary, and date of publication. For online press kits, you should provide a brief description and link to the full article.
7. Product descriptions are best when simple and succinct, helping industry outsiders to understand them. Include a product sample in physical kits, if possible.
8. Multimedia elements include photos of your products, perhaps a video of your operations, or a map listing the company’s location. Indicate that media outlets can publish materials without credits. Also, include a high-resolution company logo, including one with a transparent background and ensure that it is 360 dpi so it is also suitable for print.
9. Contact information covers phone numbers and email addresses of company media contacts. Surprisingly, some press kits lack this information. These days, the contact information can include links to your company’s social media profiles.
10. Clients, especially if they are well known, help legitimize the business. Customer testimonials or product reviews are also powerful. It’s essential to obtain approval from clients to mention their name, even if you are not contractually obligated to do so.
A version of this post first appeared on the Glean.info blog.