The Media Kit – A Snapshot of Your Company
“You only get one chance to make a good first impression.”
Have you ever noticed the way people present themselves to the camera? They suck in their gut, stretch to appear taller, turn their faces to show off their ‘good side’ – to project themselves in a positive light. We have all done this at some point or another.
Now think about it. We want to present ourselves the way we want others to perceive us – as attractive and outstanding. Just as you would want your photograph to be compelling, a media kit should do the same – it is essentially a snapshot of your company. You want your kit to best capture a positive, yet unique image of you and what your company represents.
Your media kit is an essential part of any public relations plan. It’s your calling card and speaks for you when you aren’t there to share the story of your or your client’s brand yourself. It is a packet of information that makes available all the necessary details a journalist needs.
When trying to sell a story, you’ll often get the response, “Send me your media kit and I’ll look it over.”
Though more people rely on sending media kits electronically, a physical media kit, or “hard copy” is still essential to your PR campaign as they will be requested time and again. Your basic media kit should include:
Press releases – You want to include a copy of your release along with an online version for easy access to the data.
Bios – A condensed biography of key members of the team like the founders and senior management will suffice. Include key points you want the media to know about, like education, expertise, and professional experience.
Organisational profile – This should briefly summarise the history of your company: who founded the company, why and when? You can also include any big events or interesting changes that have happened along the way.
Business cards – Insert this in your media or folder in its own slot. This makes it easy for the journalist to contact you
Products and Services – This section includes a list of all the products and services you offer, focusing on the benefits of each. Photographs or images and short descriptions can be compiled into a CD for the journalist’s convenience.
Selling your Message
Media kits exist to make the journalist’s life easier, not for you to present hard-selling messages and hype. Good PR people are journo-centric, they always think from the perspective of the reporter, not the organisation. They take the time to learn about what the journalist would need to create a solid story in a very short time. We know only too well that journalists are always working against the clock. This not only demonstrates your knowledge and understanding of your trade and their job, it contributes to a stronger PR-journalist relationship.
While the ultimate goal is to create publicity for the company, being journo-centric and providing just the bare essentials will get you further than playing up your company with unnecessary embellishments. Do you really need a media kit that weighs the same as a pygmy hippo, or has a pop-up figure of your company’s CEO singing the praises of the company’s core values and mission statement? Okay, maybe that was hyperbole, but considering how elementary media kits are to the PR trade, it’s quite astonishing how abysmal some can be. The typical press kit we’ve come across, is a verbose, overstuffed file filled with irrelevant information, hype and self-serving ballyhoo. A poor media kit is the corporate equivalent of an insufferable braggart – we all know one or two in our lives, and they’re generally ignored, ridiculed or both.
It’s very easy to go wrong with a media kit, leading to creating pointless atrocities that do little besides kill trees and feed journalists’ bins – and you’re increasing the likelihood if you include lots of technical business jargon. Sifting through the bombardment of information takes time, which is something that journalists don’t have a lot of. With the pressure of looming deadlines and the option of countless other press kits and press releases vying for their attention, busy reporters often move on to other sources when they are on a deadline and can’t get your information quickly and easily.
Less is More!
Less is more really is applicable when it comes to press kits. The written content should be relevant and neatly trimmed of all the fat. This minimalistic approach should also be taken with the appearance of the media kit. You would be hard-pressed to find journalists or editors who base their decisions to run a story on how a press kit cover or folder looks like. Yet businesses spend thousands of dollars on glossy, attention-seeking, four-colour folders when a simple folder with the company logo on it will work just as well. Forget the bells and whistles – keeping it clean and unpretentious will help tighten any organisation’s publicity budget significantly.
An elegant and classic photograph always wins out over a loud, ostentatious one that will become cringe-worthy in a few years. The media kit, being the snapshot of your business should encapsulate the same qualities that impress and catch the eye of that special someone – the editor who will run your story.
Before we go, a couple of things to remember – quality writing is important, so bear this in mind – it can make or break a story! Most editors prefer the standard media kit because the elaborate ones often have poorly written material and visual aids, or too much literature. Sometimes PR people forget that these should be simple, factual, and should be concentrated on a particular audience.
By Nellia Ho, PR Associate @ Corporate Media Services