As Benjamin Franklin once said” “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail,” and you’ll have spotted this theme running throughout our advice. Whatever stage your business or brand is at, you can’t just go out there with your social media, PR strategy or marketing activity without getting your ducks in a row first.
One of the best ways to do this is a press pack – aka a press kit, media kit or media toolkit. Sorry, we don’t always make life easy… in PR, there’s often more than one word or phrase to describe the same thing. Regardless of what you call it, a press pack is integral to your journalist engagement; it tells them the core facts about your business in an easily digestible and easily accessible digital format.
There are some key things to include in your press pack and hopefully, once you’ve read this, you’ll be all set to create the most engaging and effective press pack. Keep in mind that this is about saving the journalists’ time, but also your own, so do it properly first time rather than cutting any corners, and you’ll reap the benefits.
The press pack is the foundation of any good PR strategy, as it forces you to make sure that your messaging is concise.
The elevator pitch
Can you describe your business or brand, in an engaging and informative way, in under a minute? Try it… it’s harder than you think! To craft an elevator pitch, you want to imagine that you’re on a 30-60 second lift journey with someone and you only have the ascent to tell them what you do. You want to create something brief and succinct, interesting and persuasive, but most importantly, memorable.
If you’ve read the A-Z of PR, you’ll know that a boilerplate is the extra information that you provide to a journalist at the end of your press release. The aim is to give them background into what you do, how long you’ve been doing it, information about the founder(s) and any notable milestones. I often find this is a great introduction for a press pack, and it keeps consistency with the press releases you’re sending out.
Including biographies for your founder(s) and any key spokespeople is really important. It provides credibility for your business, but also opens up the opportunity to pitch them as experts. Don’t give lengthy biogs – no one wants to read a CV – but outline their professional credentials, memberships, board positions, and areas of expertise.
Ok, you know what I’m going to say… HI RES IMAGES (if you don’t know why this is in capitals, I refer to hi res images as “the bane of every PRs existence” in the A-Z of PR). Thankfully, in the press kit itself you just want to include a page or two of images (4-6 on each page) that the media can choose from. Good photography is essential in PR, so please don’t think a blurry iPhone photo will do the trick; get your founder headshots, product photography and lifestyle pictures done by a professional.
Factsheets and case studies
Depending on your business, you might want to include product factsheets that outline all of the highlights and technical information about your product. If you’re a service-based business, this could be case studies instead; ones that demonstrate why your business is needed and how it’s helped solve a need.
Linked to the above is testimonials; be those customers, clients or industry experts. This is another chance to provide credibility and show the journalist that you’ve got something exciting to offer. Ideally, have one or two of the testimonials available for interview… a great little ace up your sleeve!
Comment pieces and thought leadership
This won’t be relevant for everyone, but if you’re looking to pitch yourself or other spokespeople as experts, having comment pieces prepared can really aid your PR efforts. Don’t over-complicate things and include them all in the press pack, but you could include a couple of headlines and introductory paragraphs to draw the reader in.
In your press pack, include your key press release(s), so that they’re readily available and easily found in one place. Think about how many emails the reader probably receives each day, so don’t expect them to trawl back through their inbox to find what you’ve sent to them before; including it all in your press pack makes everyone’s life easier.
This might sound like a stupid thing to say, but don’t forget to include contact details in your press pack. Whether you’ve sent it to a journalist, producer, potential sponsor or collaborator, make yourself easy to reach; with your name, address, email, phone number, website and social media handles included.
So, there you have it… the foundations of a great press pack! Of course, the way that you design and lay it out will also play a part in how engaging it is, and whilst you don’t need to be a graphic designer, I’d recommend investing in someone who knows their way around a good presentation. In terms of the pack itself, don’t use a fancy program that the recipient might not be able to open; save it as a low res PDF that won’t clog anyone’s inbox (but check that compressing the file hasn’t made the images blurry… that won’t make a good first impression).
Don’t forget, as well as this go-to pack, you need to have all of your key press information in one easy place, so make sure you get grips with different systems like GoogleDocs and Dropbox. Make sure everything is safe and secure… and not liable to disappearing should your computer crash one day.
Go forth and get that press pack ready to send out. You’ll be proactively using it when you pitch your stories, but it can also be the perfect way to send everything the media needs if they request “more information”.