The PR professional has many tools in his toolbox, but most would agree that one of the most valuable public relations tools is the press kit.
Somewhat elaborately designed, the press kit is a compilation of thorough background information on your client along with information and photos relating to the product or service to be publicized. When done correctly, it gives the media representatives an appealing presentation of the information they will need for the story.
Building a Dynamite Press Kit
There are six main components to an effective press kit:
1. The Cover
You’ve always heard, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but if the general population followed that rule, Fabio would never have attained the celebrity status that he enjoys. The cover of a press kit, a pocket folder that contains the slicks, brochures, and pictures to be presented, should be graphically, albeit professionally, designed to set it apart from the myriad of press kits that inundate an editor’s desk.
Backgrounders are information sheets on the background of the company and management team, the products and/or services offered by the company, and any new products and/or services being offered.
3. News Releases
The kit should contain a news release on each new product/service being offered.
Preparing an effective news release is an art in itself. Its purpose is the dissemination of information in ready-to-publish form. The data in the release should be newsworthy and timely.
The main facts must be stated succinctly and accurately in the opening paragraph so they can be quickly recognized by the editors. There is a generally accepted format for an engaging release:
- It should be on plain 8½ -by–11-inch paper.
- Your company name, contact name, address, phone number, fax number, and email address should appear in the upper left-hand corner. The phone number you provide should be for a real person who can either provide accurate information or can transfer the caller directly to you or another well-informed individual.
- Directly below your contact information should be the words “For Immediate Release.” If there is a time restriction, state the desired time as “For Release at 5 p.m. EST May 5.”
- Leave two inches of space before the body for the editor to make notes.
- The most important part of the press release is the headline. If the headline doesn’t catch the reporter or editor’s attention your release will go straight to the shredder.
- Begin the text with a clear, concise summary with timely, relevant information.
- The news release should be doubled-spaced with a 1.5-inch margin.
The brochure should be approximately six pages, full color, on quality paper with information about the company and its products/services.
5. Black and white photos of the major products of the company.
6. Color slides of the new products being publicized.
Of all of the public relations tools you will use, the ability to put together a dynamite press kit will get you results that will set you apart from your contemporaries.
Dennis Wilcox, Phillip Ault, and Warren Agee. Public Relations Strategies and Tactics, 5th Ed. (New York, Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc., 1998