Your Public Face
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Picture This: You're trying to interest a journalist in writing a story featuring your brand-new company-or, even better, you've been contacted by a writer who wants to use you as a source for an article. And then the writer says, "But before we schedule the interview, can you send me a media kit?" What you do next can mean the difference between valuable media exposure and another month of relative business anonymity.
"Media kits are essential tools for any business that wants to gain exposure in print, on television and radio, or even through Internet sources," says Alan Seko, vice president of Axsys Resource Public Relations in Salt Lake City. "In addition to providing important in-formation, the kits help establish a company's credibility." After all, reporters want to know that the sources they cite are reliable and will be around for a while after their stories are published or aired. And, best of all, media kits are relatively inexpensive.
So exactly what is a media kit? Seko defines it as an informational package that reflects the personality of the company while providing important facts in simple, nontechnical terms. "The best media kits are those that can be easily customized to fit a specific story angle the reporter may be pursuing," Seko adds. He says the basic elements of a good media kit are:
- A one- or two-page fact sheet. Fact sheets provide quick overviews of companies in an easy-to-read format, and typically include information such as a description of products or services, company history, key personnel, the number of employees, the number of offices and locations, statistical information (number of products produced, sales, number of clients), any other notable company facts, and information for reaching a contact person. "Since many reporters work under tight deadlines, include phone numbers where your contact person can be reached after hours or on weekends," Seko advises.
- Biographies of key individuals. If possible, keep them to one page and focus on information that's pertinent to the company.
- A list of products and services. When applicable, include retail prices and outlets, or other information on how consumers can acquire the company's goods and/or services.
- Photograph(s). Depending on your specific business, you might want to include professional photos of your product(s), your services (or somehow depict the service being delivered), your facility and/or your key people.
- A news release. Ideally, the release should be specific to the reporter's needs, or it may be about any timely or event of interest to the reporter.
Always include a cover letter, which should either make reference to the fact that the kit was requested or, if you haven't had any previous contact, pitch a specific story. Keep in mind that more is not necessarily better. Reporters don't have time to wade through pages of material looking for the infor-mation they need, so make sure everything you include in your kit has a reason for being there.
Finally, let your media kit work for you in other ways. Seko says he's adapted Axsys's media kit to use as a tool to attract new investors. You can also use it as a recruiting device for top employee talent, to support loan applications or on any other occasion when you want to showcase your company in a positive way.
- Axsys Resource Public Relations, 1366 E. Murray-Holladay Rd., Salt Lake City, UT 84117, (801) 274-8616