Latest posts by Amanda Triest
- How to Build a Press Kit for Your Startup - March 17, 2021
If you’re interested in garnering visibility for your business now, or in the future, you’ll want a press kit. Alternatively referred to as a media kit, press kits can be one of the most valuable resources that you invest time and money into, as they consist of elements that you will use over and over again throughout the lifespan of your new business.
What is a press kit?
A press kit is a designated resource that provides access to information about your brand, products and company. A press kit is your company’s highlight reel bundled into a well-organized, easy-to-access package.
Historically, press kits have been physical, printed assets that are collated into a branded package or folder. Printed press kits can cost a small fortune, especially when you start adding customizations. In the past, I’ve worked with clients who wanted to go the extra mile with their press kit by adding gold foil, custom bindings and even special glossy effects. While nice, it’s not necessary.
For startups looking to keep costs low, I recommend building a digital press kit that is housed online. Digital versions can not only be just as nice as the printed versions, but you save greatly on costs related to printing and shipping. Additionally, digital kits allow for frequent updates to be made and give access to the most current information at the click of a button. And, most importantly, interested parties don’t have to go hunting for the physical copy when they need it.
Hosting your press kit
Press kits are only valuable if they are easy to access. While it’s ideal to have a dedicated “Press Kit” page on your website, sometimes that’s not feasible, given time and money.
In lieu of this approach, consider building a Dropbox folder that contains all of your press kit assets thoughtfully labeled and link to it by adding “Press Kit” to the footer of your website. If you use Dropbox or another file sharing program, make sure that the settings are enabled that allow folks to download the assets, but not make any changes.
What is in a press kit?
The main purpose of a press kit is to provide clarity and information in a single source. Press kits are your opportunity to lay out the details of your business. Consider answering the important questions of “Who, What, When, Where and Why,” providing journalists the information needed to craft a factually correct story about your business.
A press kit can be as unique as you want it to be, but several core components should be included.
At a minimum, here’s what your startup should include in its press kit:
A one-pager that shares the story of your company from the very beginning, including when your business started, where you are located, what your business does, and any stats that help showcase your business’ successes (e.g., customer count, revenue growth, employee count).
This document should also highlight any major accomplishments or awards. Don’t forget to also include the handles of each of your social media accounts. This ensures that a journalist can find your social accounts easily, as well as tag you when any coverage is published.
Product or service collateral
Many businesses have brochures or pamphlets about their products or services. This section of your press kit shouldn’t reinvent that information, just recycle what you already have!
If you don’t have any existing collateral, create a one-pager for each of your products or services. Use these documents to provide a clear and easy-to-understand description of what your product or service is, how it works, pricing, and the unique value proposition that makes you stand out from the competition.
A frequently asked questions (FAQ) document is a great resource to include in your press kit, allowing you to share information that doesn’t easily fit into the other sections.
For example, an FAQ document could contain information about your return policy, where products can be purchased, care details, etc. If you don’t already have a list of FAQs, you can start to gather these by revisiting your social media platforms where users may have asked questions. Alternatively, if you have a customer service team or a representative that interacts directly with customers or clients, ask him or her to provide a list of the most common questions they’ve had to address. If customers are asking, a journalist is probably curious too.
Bios and headshots
People love knowing who’s the master behind the curtain. Including biographical information about your company’s founders, executive team and subject matter experts is a great way for journalists to get to know more about the individuals at the company.
The purpose of including bios is to establish credibility and provide insight into who works at your business. A bio, written in third-person, should focus solely on sharing the professional side of the individual, including the individual’s full name, title, description of their role in the business, degrees or certifications relevant to their role, background on how they got where they are today, and any impressive achievements or awards. All bios should be less than a page, and a professional headshot of the individual should be embedded in the document. But, don’t stop there, make high-resolution versions of headshots (in both black and white and full color) available either by uploading directly or linking them in the document.
Regardless of the stage your business is in, it’s important to have professional headshots. A headshot is probably one of the most frequently requested assets and can be used in a variety of different ways. If you don’t know a photographer, try reaching out to your local Chamber of Commerce to see if they have a recommendation. For the photo, dress in a manner that reflects your business and personality. For example, if you’re always in a company-branded polo shirt, consider wearing that in the photo. Keep accessories to a minimum and don’t forget to smile!
A few years ago, I was working with a company that had a basic press kit. They had all of the written content, but no visual assets other than a logo. While we were able to secure significant media coverage for their company, all of the images that accompanied the pieces were stock photos completely unrelated to their brand.
By not providing visuals of your own, you leave no other option but to have visuals picked on your behalf, allowing someone not associated with your company to pick what they think works best.
Preventing this from happening is simple. Your kit should contain:
- High-resolution photos of your product or service and team
- Variations of your logo, including different sizes and ones with transparent backgrounds
When adding visuals to your kit, be sure to label them clearly so that journalists understand what the asset is. For example, instead of “Img_1234,” rename the file “BusinessName_Team” or “BusinessName_Office.”
One of the most important elements of a press kit is contact information. When journalists are working on a story about your business, they may need additional information or want to conduct an interview. To ensure that they can easily connect with you, make contact information easy to find.
If you’ve opted for a dedicated press page on your website, be sure to prominently display an email address or phone number for where press inquiries can be directed.
If you’ve opted to host your press kit via a file sharing program, add a folder called “Contact Us.” In the folder, include a document that shares the email address, phone number and name of the individual journalists should reach out to with any questions.
If you’re concerned about publishing or sharing your email address, create a separate email address specifically for the media to contact you at. Keep the email address simple, like “[email protected]” If you choose to do this, it’s imperative that you set up the email address so that you receive all the emails in an inbox that you check frequently to check for any inquiries or requests.
Branding and format
Each of the documents you create for your press kit should reinforce your company’s brand. If you opt to create a stylized press kit, stick with colors and design elements that you’re already using. Keep documents clean and organized, making it easy for journalists to review the contents and find the information they are seeking.
Unless you are publishing your press kit information directly on a webpage, you must create PDF versions of all your designed assets. This ensures that not only can information not be alternated, but journalists can easily copy and paste the information they need.
Share your kit
Once your press kit is complete, you need to share it. First, share the kit with your employees. Let them know that this kit is the source of truth for media inquiries and remind them that any media requests should be directed to the designated press contact. Next, share the kit with any established media contacts.
Keep your kit current
It’s important to remember that your press kit is a living resource that will need to be continuously reviewed and refreshed as your business grows and changes. Conduct quarterly reviews of your press kit to ensure that all information is accurate and update anything that is out of date.
It takes time to create a thoughtful press kit that accurately represents your business. Take your time developing this resource and triple check your grammar and spelling. You don’t want to get off on the wrong foot by having errors in your kits. Also, keep in mind, elements from this resource can now be reused throughout your business. For example, your bio and headshot can now be used on LinkedIn or as an introduction at a speaking engagement.
Creating a press kit doesn’t guarantee that your business will be featured in the media. It does, however, increase the chances that any media coverage about your business will include factual information and your company’s branded assets.