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Friday, April 10, 2009

The Dish on Press Kits; PART TWO

First, please read PART ONE if you haven't already done so.

So, now that you know what goes into a press kit, how do you package it? This is where heads butt and everyone has a different opinion. In the end, you'll need to decide what type of packaging works best for what you hope to accomplish. Here's why...

You've likely heard other business owners chatting about how expensive it was to create their press kit packaging, or how they hired a graphic designer to create custom folders, letterheads, etc for their press kits. You may have even seen examples of very artistic press kit packaging or those with embellishments and lots of flair.

Once you have all your pieces written, you'll need to package them in an orderly, attractive way. This is where some people run into their largest expense in the entire press kit creation process. As mentioned in part one, media and retailers are often overwhelmed with press kit submissions, and one rule of thought is to make press kit packaging colorful, unique and even decorative in order to grab attention (and be pulled up out of the slush-pile, as it were).

Does it work? Maybe. For some. However, having worked with, read blog posts by and chatted with reporters and business owner who receive press kits on a daily basis, the consensus seems to be that 'pretty' and 'expensive looking' does not guarantee you a lifeline out of the slush pile.


Instead, most reporters and others will say that a nice folder, embellished with an attractive business label, and filled with attractive, well written and well placed press kit components, (and maybe even a little treat or product sample) is preferred. Yes, be creative and add your own flair, but also remember that spending a lot on design does not guarantee anything. Ultimately, your persistence and willingness to follow up on each press kit sent will help determine your success!

So, the general rule of thumb is:

  • Assemble your press kit in an attractive pocket folder or folder of your choice. Feel free to use a nice colored folder, especially one coordinated with your business label and logo. You can print your press kit on glossy paper, professional weight paper, or any type that you see fit.
  • Having professionally printed business labels with your company name and logo is fine
  • Be sure all of your press kit components are printed on your company letterhead (many times, your copywriter will be able to create this for you).
  • Keep your press kit packaging simple.
  • Feel free to add a little treat (candy is good), or a small product sample or promotional item if appropriate (like a business pen with your name on it). Treats can actually be helpful!

In the end, there is not a clearly defined need to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on your press kit packaging.

So, if the recipient might just throw your press kit in the 'slush pile', how do you get noticed? The answer to this question is PERSISTENCE.

Keep a calendar at your desk specifically for the purpose of marking when you sent a press kit out and to whom you sent it. Then, be sure to follow up in a few days to a week to be sure your recipient received it. A phone call is best, but if you want to work your way up to a phone call by emailing first, that's OK too. You may not receive an answer, but continue your follow up process until you do!

Alternately, you can assemble your entire press kit electronically, saving the need to physically send them out all of the time. How? The simplest way is to have your writer save your press kit documents in a PDF file and then host the file on your website or press page. You can then send the link to the press kit page (or even the PDF files) directly via email to your recipient. Each business should consider having their press kit hosted electronically as this is becoming the preferred method to receiving press kits. And, you still do need to follow up after sending an electronic kit, just as you would if you sent a paper one.

OK, Examples of press kits for you to see:

Elaborate, nicely decorated kit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/prixprix/sets/72157604457132575/

Bright, colorful kit: http://www.sophieandspice.com/kitphoto1.jpg

A simple, pretty electronic press kit: http://www.2houndsdesign.com/skin1/presspacket/about2HoundsDesign.pdf

Adjust your kit to your budget and taste, and don't forget to get help if you need it! Feel free to contact me via Creative Writing Studios if you'd like help on your own press kit.

~Lisa

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