Yes, Virginia, You Still Need A Media Kit
“Media Kits are so linear and old school Lee, we don’t need one,” stated the PR manager who did a one-day boot camp with us to work through her company’s strategy, messaging, communication initiatives and plans for the year.
I gathered myself before responding. (Double Forte peeps have told me that I should never play poker, and that when I’m thinking and my eyes bug out a bit, it can be intimidating.)
Suffice to say, by the end of the day, we had a Media Kit (or Press Kit for the OG crowd) on the plan, fleshed out and scheduled, with quick due dates for them to finalize and publish online.
Perhaps the Press Kit is dead – particularly the pre-Internet version – but the MEDIA KIT is alive, well and more essential than the Press Kit ever was.
Because it is your story, your content, your positioning, your images, your messaging in media-friendly formats that any reporter, blogger, influencer, newsletter writer, partner can use in their own work. In a time when there are fewer reporters to write about your category, but more other media who should be interested (bloggers, associations, partners, podcasters, etc.), creating a Media Kit is paramount in any earned media campaign.
What is a Media Kit?
The Media Kit (now usually all online in a specific page on a company website) is the one-stop destination for reporters, producers, editors, analysts, bloggers, podcasters, (anyone who might write, create or produce a story about your company or brand) to read and download information they need to write or produce a story about you for their own publication, blog, or show.
Also the Media Kit should feed all content development for the company or brand. This is where the words, the positioning and the messaging is crystal clear.
Assembling the Press Kit – Old School. Create a custom folder that will stand out on a reporter’s desk. Develop 6-10 documents, from press releases to fact sheets, Q&A, bios, photos and lists of captions, related research. Print 100s of each of these documents out on high quality paper. Create the “reference kit” so the team knows what document goes where. Assemble. Attach a personalized cover letter. Insert into pre-addressed envelope. Then someone came through at the end to make sure the letters and the envelopes matched up. It’s so much easier today!
Two Mandates For A Good Media Kit
The definition of a good media kit is one that is used by the media in their work without compensation. If it’s not delivered in an easy-to-use journalistic style, it’s not a good media kit.
#1 Mandate: A Media Kit is definitively NOT marketing material, in that it should be written to help journalists and other media tell your story and use your company, brand, executives, or news as positive examples in a category story. Use AP or Chicago Style in writing.
#2 Mandate: Don’t over promote your company or brand names in your text. Ever.
5 Essential Elements to Any Media Kit
(Your own documents should be text online and available as downloads as well.)
Contact Details: Always list a person someone can reach with questions or requests. Always list a phone number and email. (Some PR people carry 2 phones – one for media and one for other.) If you’re not reachable for clarification or further information, trust that your information will not be used.
- A Company Background describing the company mission, brands, market position, etc.
- A Founding story – how did the company come to be? What was the inspiration? Who helped the company come to fruition?
- Company History – often a timeline of corporate milestones that gives reporters context of what the company has done until the current day.
- A “backgrounder” or a series of backgrounders on the market and how the company/brand addresses the market opportunity. This might include a general “Background on the XX Market” and “How XX Serves the Emerging YY Market”
- Bios of the key people in the company. Usually includes C-level executives.
- Research: have you commissioned or is there 3rd-party research that helps make your case? Add it here as a deeper resource.
- News or Press Releases are the most efficient way to announce information for the media to report. Make them good. Use AP or Chicago Style. Don’t use jargon. Don’t over promote. Give the news to the media in as close a form as you can as to what they will use. Pro Tip: The more your news release looks like an article the more likely it is to be used verbatim
Visual Assets: photos, diagrams, infographics (all with good AP style captions) that can be used to help illustrate a story.
The Media Kit Lives!
We started Double Forte before Twitter was founded. Needless to say, we’ve seen a LOT of changes in our world. However, the importance of creating a robust “kit” of all the information the media — a reporter or producer (and now a newsletter editor, a blogger, a podcaster, and an influencer) — might need to write about your company or brand or executive has not diminished.
In fact it has increased.