Putting together a Public Relations Media Kit
How Bright Do You Want To Shine?
You decide. Set your intention. Do you want to be a star? The biggest myth of our times is that of the "overnight success." People who seem to "suddenly rise to fame" understand that behind the sudden stardom that transports them out of obscurity lay years of hard work.
Taking your big idea public
It takes a lot of courage and gumption to stand where you are in this moment. And it's been hard work. That's the good news. The CHALLENGING news is that now the REAL work begins. Writing a book, or launching a product is only 10% of the work. The other 90% is made up of Marketing and PR (Public Relations). If no one knows about your hot new breakthrough, then no one will buy it (and you won't make the big bucks you've been anticipating.) It doesn't matter if you have the greatest idea since sliced bread - if you don't tell the world about it, it will end up sitting on a shelf somewhere gathering dust (but no profit)!
One of the most important tools for marketing a new product, service, or book is to create a Public Relations Media Kit. A PR Media Kit is a package of advertising materials that explain your business and services. If you plan on doing public speaking, it is an opportunity to provide the background information that will be required before people will book you to speak at an event.
Here are some tips on creating an effective Public Relations (PR) Media Kit:
1) Put your contact info on everything
Always include your contact information on every single piece of paper that leaves your office. This includes your name and/or your business name, your phone number, mailing address, email address, and web address if you have one. Be creative. If you are scribbling a quick note, put it on the back of your business card.
You would be amazed at what happens to your publicity papers after they are sent out. Letters get separated from envelopes, PR materials get shuffled to different people and offices, brochures get moved. Or perhaps your original contact person leaves the company and a new employee assumes the PR responsibilities with only a file folder of loose information to refer to. If there isn't a way for you to be identified and contacted, you may lose opportunities. Your product, book, or workshop topic may be of enough interest when the materials first arrive for the prospect to file the information, but it may not become "hot" for them for months. Don't miss your opportunity because pieces of your PR kit became separated from the cover letter that had your address and phone number. Include your vital information on PR photos, press releases, copies of newspaper or magazine articles about you, workshop descriptions, hand-outs -- in short, everything you release to anyone. It can be small and discrete, in the case of photos it can be on the back, but make sure it's THERE.
2) Business Cards
Your business card is a mini billboard. These are one of the least expensive forms of advertising. Hand them out to every one you meet. Enclose them in every new correspondence. Send one to every vendor with payment. Keep a stash on you, so if you need to jot down a note to someone, you can put it on the back of your card. Post your business card in public places. Ask business owners if they would leave your cards on the counter if you provide the card holder (available at office supply stores for only a dollar or two). Blank paper is wasted opportunity to put your name out to the public.
3) PR Photos
If you plan on doing public speaking, you will want to create a public image that will help your audience recognize you and become familiar with your face. You will want to engage the services of a professional photographer. (I beg you, don't use the services of a friend or family member unless they are a professional photographer!) A professional photographer is well worth the expense. They have the expertise and the equipment to see that your photo is well lit and professional in appearance.
Use color photos. When a photo is screened (turned into a halftone), the software can easily convert the color photo to a black and white halftone if that is what is needed, but a black and white photo cannot be turned easily into color. As more and more people get into posting events on the internet or using in-house color copiers and laser printers, color is definitely more attractive and noticeable than black and white.
Use photo prints made from a high-resolution (don't use 72ppi JPGs! 300ppi TIF files are best!) digital image, or a negative or transparency ONLY. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER (did I make that clear?) have your PR photo mass-produced by printing or photocopying.
Technically what happens when your photo is screened is this:
When a photo is printed on a printing press, it must be converted to a halftone screen. Look at any photo through a magnifying glass that has been printed by a press. Whether it is a National Geographic quality image, or your local newspaper, you will see a dot pattern. This is the halftone screen. In order to print your photo, it must be screened. If you submit a picture that has been printed on a press, it means the photo has already been screened. But the person who receives your photo will have to screen the picture a second time in order to turn it into a usable digital image. The screen-from-a-screen will produce a distinct and very unattractive "hounds-tooth" pattern called a moiré. It will cause your face to look like you have a virulent skin disease. It's not a very professional image. Bite the bullet and pay for the cost of photo prints.
As a graphic designer, I urge you to ask your photographer to NOT crop the photo tightly. This isn't a fashion shoot. You are providing the graphic artist the tools he or she needs to do a professional job promoting you. Let the graphic artist decide whether a close-up/crop is really required. If you are part of a "line-up" of other authors or speakers, the graphic artist will be trying to achieve a common look or theme to tie all these faces together pleasantly. If you send them a picture that is pre-cropped (say, just above the eyebrows and tight around the cheekbones to show only your face) it may look horrible in the line-up, or may be discarded all together in favor of someone else who had a better picture to work with. (Trust me, this is the voice of experience.)
While I'm on the subject, keep your hand off your face. There is nothing more stupid-looking than a face shot that is tightly cropped with a set of floating knuckles on the chin. If you feel you must pose in "The Thinker" style, go ahead and do it, but keep that picture for the dust jacket of your book and send a nice, friendly, handless face shot out with your PR Media Kit.
4) Product Photo
Include a photo of your product. If you have published a book, have the publisher print extra covers for you. Send them out with the PR packet. It can be scanned to show a "picture" of your product or book.
5) Be concise
In your cover letter, or PR kit, summarize the most valuable information people will gain from your book, product, or workshop in the first paragraph. Use an easy to read dot-point format that is presented in an "inverted pyramid" style. (Read Writing an Effective Press Release.) Present the most critical information in the first paragraph. Picture the busy newspaper reporter or marketing executive who is skimming through the tons of unsolicited mail they got that day. You should make your point in the first 2-3 sentences, because that may be the only chance you have to grab their interest. ABSOLUTELY NEVER bury your most important information in the text of your message. The person reading your media kit is not an archeologist, and will not take the time to dig for the information. In fact, if you ramble and don't come to the point right off the top, it will be a red flag to the reader of your media kit that you aren't very professional. At the very best, you will irritate them for wasting their time. At the very worst (and most common) they will chuck your kit in the circular file unread. Once you've grabbed their attention, you can provide a more in-depth explanation if necessary.
6) Do it Again (and Again... and Again)
PR work never stops. Getting your name out there and advertising your product or service requires constant effort. Sometimes it feels like pushing a boulder. But even a pushed boulder will eventually gather momentum with energy and enthusiasm behind it.
7) Value vs Dollars
Dollars are limited, and people don't want to spend them. Emphasize the VALUE of why people should pony up the bucks to purchase YOUR book or workshop over the gazillions others that are on the market. What will you tell them that they won't learn anywhere else? Find your unique niche in your market and stress it. State the advantages in clear terms. What measurable benefits will they gain from purchasing this product or service?
Find the emotional appeal. Will your service provide a sense of security, fun, peace of mind? Appeal to the consumer's emotional needs. People rarely buy because they are forced to; they generally buy because the product fills an emotional need.
When you are ready to launch your Marketing and Public Relations campaign, give us a call. Thunderbolt Designs can help you put together an effective PR Media Kit. If this is the next phase of your business, then contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org