I write a lot of press kits for Etsy shops, niche websites and non-profit companies, and I can tell you right now, if you want to do something this year to grow your business, and you don’t have a press kit or some kind of media-schmoozing strategy, now might be a good time to consider it.
What is a Press Kit?
Your press kit is a little booklet, in either PDF form or hard copy, that tells a reporter / writer / TV host / radio exec, etc who you are and why they should care. I bolded that because it’s very important.
You send your press kit to the press – usually magazines to start with. You might also have it on your website for potential browsers to download. Many craft shows and industry events also require you to submit a press kit.
Your press kit consists of two main components – the design and layout, the the words. You could either make up your kit yourself, or hire someone to do it for you. (Heck, you can even hire me).
What Goes in My Press Kit?
There’s no hard-and-fast rule – some publications have specific things they like to see, others don’t care as long as you send something. However you create your press kit, it should look professional, branded nad should be easy to chop and change should you require a specific format for a particular publication.
Here’s how I normally structure a press kit.
- A super catchy, funny or evocative opening paragraph explaining what your business does and why it is awesome.
- A bit about who you are, why you’re awesome, and why you are the perfect person to talk about what you do.
- A page outlining your products, with an emphasis on what makes them different and why people should care about them
- A section about any other interesting information – maybe unique ingredients, or a couple of testimonials from customers, or a profile of a major installation you’ve done, or some statistics – some kind of extra “Bling” that makes a reporter think “Gosh, I could write a story about this!”
- Contact details – super important
- A press release – also super important.
Your designer will then take all that info and whip it into a neat branded package. They will fill it with gorgeous pictures of your work because, if you’re an artist, you probably have some kind of visual element to your business. If you’re a personality like me (I’m all personality, baby) you might like to use a few pictures of yourself.
Now I’ve Got My Press Kit – what do I do?
The first thing I advise people to do is to create a “Press List” – a file containing names and contact details of magazines, blogs and publications you’d like to be featured in. To find these, try googling keywords relating to your business with the work “magazine” or “blog”. This can also include places you might like to advertise.
Always add to your Press List whenever you find a new publication, station or site that relates to your niche.
Now, choose one magazine from the list, go to their website and figure out how to contact them. Write a letter of introduction (or get your writer to do this for you.) and send it off with your press kit. Now, do the same for another magazine on the list.
Personalise each letter – you need to address it to a specific editor, not “Dear Country Living” or “To Whom it May Concern”.
You should also add your press kit to your website.
Ensure you keep your press kit up-to-date – you might need to update it in six-twelve months after you release a new collection or your contact details have changed.
This all Sounds like a lot of Effort. Why should I bother with a press kit?
All this schmoozing with the press will push your business further forward than you can ever imagine. A feature on a popular blog or national magazine can LAUNCH your business from a hobby to full-time – just ask Princess Lasertron. She launched her wedding bouquet business from a single feature on Offbeat Bride.
When you’re featured in one publication, it builds upon itself – someone reads a magazine article about you and wants to put you on their blog, another person sees you on the blog and now you’re collaborating on an exciting project. Someone hears about that project and wants you on TV. Your website’s gone from 10 hits a month to 10 000. It’s all good.
And that’s why I’m declaring 2011 the year of getting off your ass and putting your work out there – and the first step would be a well-crafted press kit.