Sunday, June 10, 2007

16 Things To Include In A Press Kit

I’ve been taking you through an explanation of how to get a public relations program up and running. Over time, this can be more powerful for you than conventional advertising. PR is gold. It’s more credible than advertising. It builds mindshare.

A key element in any public relations campaign is a press kit. It takes less effort to put one together than you might think. Plus, much of the content in a press kit can be repurposed. You can use the copy in your marketing.

Tell someone you’ve got a “press kit,” and it sounds impressive. But putting one together seems intimidating. It’s not.

A press kit is a simple a collection of background information about your company that you give to media people. It’s designed to make their jobs easier. It’s designed for a sound bite world. Remember, the media reads in bullets, so give the media information in bullet form.

Assemble the different pieces of your media kit loose leaf in a folder. Voila, you’ve got a press kit! Bind them and you’ve got a company brochure.

Here are the separate elements you should consider including in your press kit.

1. Areas Of Expertise For Stories

Could you be an expert for Channel 4 or the Daily News? Sure. You know more about your business and industry than anyone at the news station or paper. You know more about upcoming industry changes and how they might affect consumers. You know what’s going to make an impact even before the media does because the consumer media are generalists. Generalists depend on specialists. That’s you!

Headline a page with “Areas of Expertise.” List the different areas in bold with bullet points describing the area/issues and your unique ability.

A swimming pool contractor is an expert in pool maintenance, how to achieve a good chemical balance, and resurfacing. The contractor can cite certifications, the number of pools he resurfaces, and so on to build his credibility.

A plumbing contractor could address water purification. Or slab leaks. Or tankless water heaters.

Changing technology and regulations are opportune areas to show expertise. Air conditioning contractors should contact local media now about the upcoming change in refrigerant mandated by the government.

Every business owner is a de facto expert in selecting a quality company in their field. Every owner is an expert in new technologies and trends. The new technologies may not even be new, as long as they’re new to the media and most of the public.

Search Google News for your industry. What are people writing about? What’s hot?

2. Articles By You/Your Employees

If you or any of your employees write articles for a local newspaper, local trade association newsletters, or the national trade press, include the articles or cite them in bullet form. This further establishes your expertise.

If you haven’t written any articles, get started. Publications are looking for material. If you’re worried how well you write, ask someone to ghost write for you. I’ve ghost written for people. I know others have done it too.

Publications want to hear from you by virtue of your position. You are the expert practitioner. Once I hired a guy who wrote regularly for the national trade press. The position required one to write well. I’d read this guy’s work, so I knew he could write. Uh, wrong.

Simply stated, he couldn’t write. His editor could edit. He was the expert. He had the insight and knowledge, but he struggled to assemble it coherently. The trade magazine recognized the power of the message, delivered with credibility from someone who had done it, so the editor made it flow. If you’ve got good ideas (and I bet you do), an editor can make it work.

So try it. Write an article and send it in.

3. Appearances

If you or an employee has spoken publicly on subject, cite it in bullet form. This ranges from presentations at national conferences to your local Rotary Club meeting. Every speaking opportunity is an inherent opportunity to promote your company. Take them when the come. Seek them when they do not.

Don’t forget media appearances, such as radio or TV. Producers are much more apt to invite someone with media experience on a show than someone without any. They (correctly) figure you’re less apt to embarrass them if you’ve done it before.

4. Articles About You/Your Employees/Your Company

If anything’s been written about you, about your employees, or about your company, include the articles or cite them in bullet form. It’s a credibility builder.

If nothing’s been written, try writing your own article. Even if it’s never been published, you can still format it like it was published.

5. Company Background Page

In one page, tell the media about your company. Lead with your unique selling proposition, which is a one sentence description of your company’s uniqueness.

Outline the history of your company using bullet points. Who were the founders? How and why did it start? What was the legacy? What are the milestones in your company’s history?

When presenting milestones, do so creatively, in ways everyone can relate. For example, Time Magazine reported in 1973 that “if all the 12 billion McDonald's hamburgers sold to date were to be stacked into one pile, they would form a pyramid 783 times the size of the one erected by Snefru.”

I have little doubt that the magazine benefited from corporate PR statistics. Twelve billion is hard to grasp. A pyramid 783 times the size of the Great Pyramid is big! It offers a point of reference.

If you laid all of the pipe you’ve installed end to end, how far would it stretch or how high would it reach? How many football fields could be covered by all of the carpet you’ve cleaned? What is the cumulative value of the energy you’ve saved your customers through the years? Remember, if you save someone energy ten years ago, you continue to save that person energy ever year since.

6. Mission Statement

On a single sheet, state your company’s mission statement. If you lack a mission statement, consider writing one. It concisely defines what you will do and by exclusion, what you will not. It helps you stay focused.

The mission statement must be concise. It should be short. You and everyone in your company should be able to recite it. For example, the mission of the Service Roundtable is

To help contractors improve
their business and financial performance,
leading to a profitable exit strategy.

7. Your Company Philosophy/Core Values

Your company philosophy goes beyond your mission statement. It’s a philosophy. It speaks to how you conduct business. It’s a list of the core values of your company.

Here’s a test to determine if something really is a core value. Would you hold this value if…

There was no benefit?

It put you at a disadvantage in the marketplace?

You operated in a wholly different industry with all new people?

Your philosophy and values govern your believes and conduct related to your investors/owners, employees, customers, suppliers, and the public in general. They should define you. They should be timeless.

State your philosophy and/or list your core values.

8. Profiles Of Each Employee (Depending On Company Size)

Include a collection of employee profiles. Let the employee write the profile (with help, if necessary). The profile can include a photograph (and for key people, must include a photograph), education, work background, awards, accomplishments, and achievements, clubs, hobbies, and personal information.

The profiles should build up your company by building up your employees. They also provide multiple touch points or points of connection. Touch points increase the chance a media person will find something in common with your company.

If your company employs dozens, you might want to limit the profiles to key people. If your turnover is high, you might want to limit the profiles to key employees and those with a year or more of tenure.

9. Suggested Questions

For broadcast media especially, provide the questions to ask and state the time required to answer each so the interviewer knows whether he should even pose a question when approaching a hard break. In almost all instances, you will be asked the exact questions you pose.

If it seems you are doing the media’s job for them, you are. By doing it you accomplish three objectives. First, you will increase the odds you will be interviewed. Second, you will ensure you are asked the questions you want, where you’ve already thought out your answers. Third, you show that you are a professional, reducing the odds that you will embarrass the producer who schedules you.

10. Lists & Quizzes

The media loves lists. These can be posed as quizzes to build interest…

The 5 Most Unusual Ways To Stop Up a Toilet

7 Easy Ways To Cut Your Summer Air Conditioning Costs

10 Most Pesky Weeds And How To Kill Them

11. Description of Products & Services

Provide a bullet point list of the products and services you offer. Think it through. Err on the side of specificity. Pool contractors should not assume that people will think they resurface pools. Air conditioning contractors should not assume people think they will provide heating.

12. List Of Brands Carried

List all of the brands you sell. Depart from the bullet point list and simply include the logos with the brand names below them.

13. Customer Comments/Testimonials

Provide a list of customer testimonials, including the names and cities. Do not use initials, which look fabricated. Use the whole name.

For your press kit, keep the testimonials short (you can always expand them on your website). Prioritize based on the strength of the testimonial or the fame of the provider.

14. Media Testimonials

If you have testimonials from radio or television producers or hosts, include them. These reassure the producers of broadcast shows that you will not embarrass them, that you will be a quality guest.

You gain media testimonials like any testimonials, by asking. After a media appearance, send the producer and hosts thank you notes. These are so rare they’re notable. As part of the thank you note, ask the producer/host for feedback on you as a guest. If you receive positive feedback, ask if you can quote their response.

15. Awards You Have Won

If you or anyone in your company has won any awards related to your profession or your community, list them in bullet point format. Do not be modest. Remember, winning the slightest award makes your company “an award winning company.”

16. Contact Information

Last, but not least, include your full contact information. Let people know all of the ways to reach you and key people in your company.

© 2007 Matt Michel

No comments:

Post a Comment