Imagine you have a large event on the horizon. The office is buzzing and the marketing team is going through their regular checklists: Twitter, blog post, Facebook, email. Sure, this may be enough, but maybe it’s time to take your promotions just a little bit farther. Read our tips below on how to create a press kit that is sure to impress publicity circles and give you a better chance at getting noticed.
What is a Press Kit?
Before you learn how to create a press kit, let’s look at what it actually is. A press kit is your company’s calling card for the media and any other publicity outlets you’re looking to pursue (ex. Influencer blogs). The best time to send out a press kit is during a product or service launch, or other major event you want to promote.
Remember that just like all other PR material, the press kit needs to be targeted to the intended recipient. This is not the time to blindly send 100 copies of the same package. You’re trying to stand out, so the kit needs to be as personalized as possible. Not every element needs to be changed, but definitely the pitch letter and press release at the bare minimum.
Use the pitch letter to introduce yourself and the company, as well as WHY you’re sending the kit. Did you notice something on their website that would indicate they would be interested? Is their audience the same as yours? Do you know the recipient personally or were you referred by a mutual acquaintance? Don’t be shy to name drop if it’s relevant. If you’re not sure who to send it to, you can usually find the masthead online, or just give them a call. The front desk will be more than happy to send you in the right direction. Don’t know where to start? There is a great media list at mediajobsearchcanada.com.
The next chapter should cover the company history, starting from the beginning. The key here is to hit all the major milestones that shaped the company into what it is today, but not to ramble on. Consider this the appetizer, not the main course. The main course is, of course, the Press Release.
The press release is the meat and potatoes of any press kit. This is the reason you’re sending the kit in the first place. Your press release should outline what the promotion is about and include a quote from a higher up director.
Not only should you include this most recent press release, but it’s good practice to also add in a few past releases as well. Don’t include all of them, maybe just 3 or 4 of the most interesting ones, and make sure they are fairly recent. The media doesn’t need to know about something from 10 years ago.
High Quality Photos
The photos contained in the press kit need to be professional quality. Now is not the time to try your hand with your new camera phone. If you don’t have a suitable candidate in house, get in touch with a professional photographer or someone who can point you in the right direction.
Include photos of the senior staff and directors, a great company shot, interesting company events and even shots of the building itself if it is an impressive or overly creative space. Photos of charity events would also work.
The bio section of the press kit shouldn’t be too long, but encapsulate the staff’s expertise and why they make their company great. Include just the top directors, but if the company is small (and everyone is important), you can include short blurbs for all staff,
If you’ve been becoming a real media darling recently, don’t forget to include a page with press mentions and all awards. Press mentions from other media sources can give serious weight to your press kit (nobody wants to be last to the party). Include links to interviews, TV and radio appearances or mentions, or even a podcast the company was a guest on. Don’t forget to also link to your own podcast!
Publication writers are busy people, so they appreciate it when most of the work is done for them. Adding high quality logo files is a smart idea. That way if the publication wants to include you they have all of the files needed without chasing you. Include different sizes and file types as well, just in case.
This may seem like a given, but you would be surprised how easy it is completely leave out the contact information page or include it incomplete. The contact page should include important phone numbers, email addresses and all social media addresses and handles including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the blog.
Don’t forget to mention the point of contact for interviews and 2 or more ways to reach them. As mentioned above, the less time the journalist has to take to track down the needed information, the better.
Once all the pieces are put together, it’s time to decide on a delivery method. There are really three ways to get your message out there; print, email and online. Definitely have a few hard copy kits ready to go. However, electronic packages (just by email) are easy and quick to send out, and an online press kit is a possibility as well.
Although a tangible press kit seems dusty and old fashioned, they can really create a buzz with the right creative flair. Check out the award-winning press kit for Stephen King’s “Bag of Bones” event on A&E. Now is the time to get your team together and let your imaginations run wild.
If you’re looking to promote that great new idea and boost your audience reach, a creative press kit is an imperative piece of the PR puzzle. If your company doesn’t have one, it’s time to get to work. You never know when opportunity will strike!
Diving into the year without a marketing plan is a setup for disaster. Arming yourself with a marketing strategy including a solid content calendar is not just good business – it’s imperative for success. A content calendar is one of the first steps in putting your overall plan into action. Don’t know how to get started? Start with what you already know.
There’s an old saying: To see where you’re going, you have to look at where you’ve been. Before you start putting together the content calendar, do a content audit of past marketing projects and pay attention to the timing of successful elements. Did something not work? Strike it from the list. Also look at what themes were discussed (i.e. sales, product lines, customer awareness, links to interesting articles), and take this into account when putting together the current marketing/social media content calendar.
The other benefit to looking to the past is finding older content that can be refreshed or updated. If you decide to publish or post on weekends, these relatively low activity times are perfect for recycled content. But remember; there is a difference between refreshed and repetitive content. If you decide to add past published work to your calendar make sure it’s at least a few years old – not last month’s.
Stick to the Plan
Before putting together your content calendar, have your specific marketing goals in mind. Look back to your marketing plan and make sure the content reflects the goals outlined in that original strategy at all times. These goals should include how often you would like to post or the responses generated from each element. Also, something to keep top-of-mind is your target audience. All activities have to come back around to the target consumer.
Putting it all Together
Content calendars can be set up for any amount of time, but most are designed for one year.
A few elements to outline in your yearly calendar include:
- Which days to post to all social media accounts
- When blog posts will be published & basic theme of each post
- When you plan to release any videos or podcasts
- Important product or service launches as well as any lead up projects
- Keywords to target
- Authors if more than one is utilized
- Any holidays or important company days (sales, launches, offices closed)
Below we’ve included a very simple content calendar example for those just beginning their marketing initiatives. As outlined, it doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy, but rather give a basic road map of what the marketing team is working toward:
As always, track the success (or lack thereof), of each element, so adjustments can be made to the calendar as the year progresses.If by the time you put together the whole year you feel overwhelmed by the amount of posts and tweets, remember that your content doesn’t have to necessarily be original. There’s nothing wrong with retweeting something you think your audience would benefit from or writing a blog post about an interesting article. As long as you cite the source properly, these elements can add more dimension to your marketing strategy.
Holidays are of utmost importance to your content calendar. Make sure you make note of all days that are important to your business including Cyber Monday, special sales or promotions, and any launches. Secondly, include all days that the office will be closed, so you know to work ahead and make special adaptions if any posts need to be scheduled at special times.
The content calendar is a great tool for bringing the entire marketing team together. Even if the marketing manager is the only one authorized to make changes to the master document, the rest of the team should have access to at least view it. That way everyone is working toward the same goal and knows exactly what is happening when.
Since the content calendar is a team effort, it doesn’t hurt to contact other departments that work closely with marketing, such as sales. They may be able to offer valuable insight as to what projects they’re working toward that cross into the marketing territory. If these are implemented into the content calendar at the beginning stages, there are fewer surprises and missed opportunities.
Using a simple spreadsheet (like in the example above), is a great beginning tool, but for more complicated strategies you’ll need something a little more functional. Hiring a company like Milgrom Marketing not only gets your plan started from a content perspective (SEO, social, media, video, etc.), but also can point you toward the right tools for your specific needs.
Just like a marketing plan, the content calendar is never static. Think of your content calendars as living, breathing entities; they can change at any point and need to be looked after to function properly. One best practice is to review your content calendar at the end of each week to see what’s coming up and what may need to be changed. This way you’ll know basically what to expect over the next week and the opportunity for missing any important dates or elements is greatly reduced. Quarterly content calendar team meetings are a good habit to get into as well.
Not only do content calendars give you a full view of all marketing strategies, but also keeps your entire team on the same page, and is a great tool for tracking and avoiding any repetition. Without a content calendar, you can’t see where you’ve been, what you’re doing or where you’re going. So, keep your eyes on the prize and your content calendar close by.
Of all the tools in the marketing and PR tool box, good press coverage may be the trickiest to utilize. It may take a while to get the hang of the right people to talk to and how to properly word a pitch letter, but once they are mastered these skills can take a business to the next level.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 5 steps you can start implementing in your PR/marketing strategy today that will get you started on the right path.
1. Have a Solid Press Kit Ready to Go
Don’t even think about approaching journalists or TV talk shows without having a professional, complete press kit ready to give out. You never know when someone will be asking for one, and it’s too important to be just tossed together.
A professional press kit needs to contain the following:
- Bio(s) of the president/founder/partners with photos (if desired)
- Company background information
- Brochure or one pager with product or service details
- Photos of the offices
- Any promotional materials
- Current press release
- Past media coverage & press releases
- Contact information
Press kits can either be traditional hard copy or electronic; but whichever you decide, think outside the box! This is the time to get creative. Brainstorm a fun way to deliver your message through eye-catching design or delivery method. Create a package that grabs their attention and don’t let them forget your company name.
2. Approach Journalists the Right Way
Grabbing the attention of a journalist isn’t a tough job – as long as you have something interesting and relevant to say! They’re always looking for the next big story, and are willing to give anyone a shot if that story is relevant to their audience. The important keys to remember when pitching a story to media is developing an angle without hard selling your story, choosing the right audience, and talking to the right person. For example, at a major TV or radio station it isn’t necessarily the hosts that book guests (although they may have some say), but usually the producers. Take the time to find out who exactly you need to talk to. If you can’t find it, pick up the phone and call. Don’t email – call. Create a good impression starting with whoever answers the phone.
Another great tool is to utilize services that connect journalists looking for stories to sources. Help a Reporter Out is a fine example, and a great way to get free press coverage.
3. Write a Professional & Engaging Press Release
A press release is a first impression. If a press release is poorly written, contains spelling errors or isn’t formatted correctly, it will end up in the trash – not in the papers. To make your press release stand out, include an attention grabbing headline, get a statement from the president or another VIP in the company associated to the news item, and make sure it’s news worthy. Don’t send out press releases for everything the company does or the really big items will get lost in the shuffle. Save your press releases for important events. Read over it with a new vision – would this item be interesting to you if it crossed your desk? If not, scrap it and find a new angle or wait for another big opportunity to present itself.
Once your press release is perfected and ready to send out, research a few free online press release directories to add to your list of media. Newswire.com and Babbler are both great places to start.
Finally, don’t forget to include all contact information. It may seem obvious, but when the creative juices are flowing, sometimes the mundane, yet important details get overlooked.
4. Form Relationships, Not Hard Sells
For a marketer or PR person making a transition from sales, it can be a hard lesson to learn that not everything is about the quick, hard sell. In public relations there’s something to be said about the long game. You may not get into a journalist’s good books the first, second or tenth time you reach out, but with a little patience, and a great newsworthy story, it will pay off eventually.
To really make a good impression, make sure to be a bit personal, and always be positive. When writing an email, avoid simple cut and paste tactics and include something that relates specifically to them, for example, why you chose to reach out to that particular journalist or outlet. If following a journalist on social media, comment on an item you liked and add to the discussion. For more tips on how to get more PR through social media, check out our blog post on 5 PR Tips that Seem Impossible (but Aren’t).
5. Follow Up & Stay Connected
Once you’re on their radar, you want to stay there. The key to being a “press darling” is all about cultivating relationships. Think of it as gardening. Once you plant the seed, it needs care; sun, water and even weeding. Journalists like calling on people they know, so don’t let them forget you. Reach out every 6 months to a year, and not only to pitch. Follow them on twitter or add them to LinkedIn and become part of their community. If you become a positive light in their circle, and gain trust that you can deliver professionally when they need a statement or an interview, it will be you they call. Not your competitor.
If you’re just starting to learn how to get press coverage and need a little more help, contact Milgrom Marketing for a turnkey marketing solution, including PR. Get your 30 minute free consultation today to see how Milgrom can take your marketing strategies to the next level.