Key Elements of a Press Kit
One of the first things new businesses want to know about is how to put together an effective press kit. Though they know that PR is important, they don’t know how to go about generating a buzz about their business, or how to go about growing their readership. The following is designed to help you assemble a press kit. There are no hard and fast rules about what to include; basically, you want to include enough information to inspire an editor or producer to do a piece on your company, product, service…or you.
Don’t be dismayed if you don’t have all of these elements initially. Just collect them as you go. And remember that it’s called “a press kit” because it’s supposed to get you press. One of the best ways to get press is to already have gotten press, so links or samples of articles, interviews, radio or television clips, etc., are key.
Sometimes referred to as the pitch letter, this is where you grab or lose the reader’s interest–which, in this case, is an editor or producer. Tell them upfront why they should care about what you’re telling them. I’m going to presume you are sending an electronic press kit (EPK)–which is increasingly the industry standard. For an EPK, the cover letter is the email that accompanies the EPK attachment.
Assuming you are sending this press kit electronically, the pitch/hook appears in your subject line, the cover email, and probably in the headline of your attachment. It should be attention-grabbing, provocative, and/or dovetail with the recipient’s known interest(s). Three ways to do this include asking a question, upsetting the conventional wisdom, and offering a list (editors love lists), such as:
- Do nuclear weapons keep us safe?
- Why nuclear weapons don’t keep us safe.
- Ten myths about nuclear weapons.
Summary of Company/Product/Service/Person
Here you state your own/your company’s/your product or service’s credentials. Do it briefly on page one, but include a more detailed description later on. Or you can provide details early on in bullet-point fashion:
Five reasons Miracle Clean should be on your shelf
- All natural
- Non habit-forming
- Organic Mothers approved
- Works like a miracle!
Testimonials/product, service, or performance reviews
Great things other people have said about you. Famous people are impressive, but anyone with a credential in your field is good, as are compliments from your consumers, even if no one has ever heard of them.
More detailed product and service information
Fact sheets, sales sheets, or company brochures.
Other publications and articles
PR is cumulative. The more press you’ve gotten, the more newsworthy editors will find you. In an EPK you don’t include copies of other media coverage, but links to them on your website—or to the media outlet’s website.
In practice, it is often a press release—in other words, breaking news about your company—that prompts you to send out an EPK. Using David Krieger and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation as an example, a press release (and the subject line of the email) might announce David Krieger’s newest book. The introductory paragraph of the email will encourage editors to inform their readers about this newest title, and also encourage them to interview Dr. Krieger, referencing the EPK attached.
Similarly with Lucky Penny Press, a children’s eBook publisher, a new title might prompt a press release, but also serve as the opportunity to encourage editors to do a larger story on LPP, and/or its founder, and/or the eBook phenomenon for children.
Suggested topics, or a sample news story:
Suggest topics that your company spokesperson can speak to, or even include a sample news story (if not a press release). Some editors will print it verbatim, or they may edit it, which is their prerogative.
List of frequently asked questions
This helps the editor conduct an interview or outline an article.
At least one print-worthy photo!
Other items to consider
- Nonprofit and community-service involvement
- Factual background material and/or white papers
- Schedules of upcoming promotions and events
- Significant statistics specific to your industry, demographics and target audiences
- Samples or examples
- Camera-ready logo art
There you have it – all the elements to successfully put together a press kit. The above information has been hard-earned from 20+ years in the industry, so take it to heart and you’ll be just fine. Do you have any successes with your press kits that you’d like to let us know about?
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