Developing a press kit for your small business

As a normal course of doing business, every company should have a press kit that puts forth key information about its business or product in a convenient, cohesive marketing package with the goal of attracting further attention.

A press kit, also known as a media kit, is a packet of promotional material created for the media and its representatives as well as your prospective clients, vendors, investors, and others. It essentially serves as your company's calling card.

The purpose of a press kit is to have a centralised compendium about your company's history, activities, achievements, and press coverage. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you like or as your budget allows. But it must pull together company and product information to make a good, solid first impression. The most important element is the information contained within, but clever appearance and packaging might give you a leg up in some markets.

For the uninitiated, putting together a press kit may seem daunting. A good starting point is to have a clear idea of the expected contents. The following key elements, introductory letter, corporate history, single-sheet documents on relevant topics for easy reference, positive press coverage, supporting industry or product data, and photographs, camera-ready logos, CDs, or DVDs, are worth including:

  • Letter of introduction: This letter should describe your company and product, providing a quick and compelling portrait of your business and an indication of why it's important for the recipient to delve further into the informational material. Include business cards or contact information and make clear you're availability to discuss your company or product.

  • Corporate history: Your press kit needs to offer basic information about your business, so outline the company history, from its founding to its current status, including recent awards, honors, and achievements when relevant. You might also consider highlighting your company's core mission, goals, and objectives on a separate sheet. It's useful for the press kit to include biographies of your company's key players, providing photographs when appropriate. Single sheets: Company fact sheets about specific products, a glossary of terms if your business or industry is particularly complex, and a list of frequently asked questions and answers about your business are all worthy of inclusion in your press kit. It's also a good idea to include attractive, up-to-date company collateral, from brochures to annual reports. And for added perspective, background on the business, industry, demographics, and target audience are entirely appropriate. Depending on the circumstances, your media kit might be well served to include a schedule of any upcoming promotions and events as well as a list of where products are sold. A checklist of what is contained within the press kit can be helpful but not always necessary, depending on how elaborate your kit is.

  • Press coverage: Include any positive press coverage of your business and any press releases you may have distributed previously, plus white papers and even credential-setting articles company leaders may have written.

  • Photos and other images: If you have camera-ready logo art, include it. A CD or DVD with high-quality JPEGs or videos is often helpful, or a list of photos you can e-mail would work just as well.

The press kit material needs to be presented in an orderly fashion, and most often that means a folder for print or a logical online directory for electronic media kits. Take the "chunky bits" approach to organising, focusing on completing key core components so you won't be overwhelmed. Whether you're producing printed or electronic media kits, you'll want an attractive, well-organised bundle of facts and material a recipient will be eager to flip through. You'll no doubt have other ideas for assets to your press kit, but incorporate a logical flow.

If you keep these model components in mind, you can create an easy-to-update press kit that will give potential clients an abundance of information about your company and establish your business as an industry leader.

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