Opportunity is a rare commodity
Your phone is about to ring. Are you ready? Or maybe it all starts with an email inquiry. Or – and this is really something to think about – a reporter or journalist just jumped on your site, decided you are interesting and are considering you for an upcoming article they are writing. Oops! They can’t find any “news” or even a basic story about you or your business. You seemed so promising, but they can’t even find a phone number.
So now let’s move into the next phase. They find your number and call you. Ask yourself: If a magazine writer from your industry called today and said they wanted to do a small feature article about you, are you ready? Are you a few clicks away from giving them the basics they need to build on? They have a deadline to meet. They want to interview you! But they need your help.
You might need a press kit!
Also known as a media kit, you need some specific and essential information ready to share within minutes. This would be a file on your computer at the very least. Or one that already is sitting in the cloud with all the various pieces of the puzzle ready to download. But for some of you reading this, it’s really not a bad idea to actually devote a page on your website. You don’t need to clutter your main menu up, just have a link in your footer. That’s where most of the reporters and editors will go to first.
On your page, you will have a collection of information designed to make it really easy for reporters to quickly learn about your product or service. It will give them instant or nearly instant access to photos and marketing materials that they can plop into their column or page(s) in their newspaper or magazine – online or offline.
You will need professional photos. Please spend money as needed to make sure you have photos that print media editors can publish. That means, for a print publication like your local newspaper or a regional or national magazine, you need “high-resolution” photos.
Here’s the basic elements whether it’s on your site on a Press Page or in a collection of documents in a file folder on your desktop that you can send in a couple of clicks:
- Doh! Your contact information. All of it. Everything. Land line and cell phone number. Mailing address. Email address. If you are creating a Press Page don’t even think about a contact form. If you are looking for publicity, you are certainly not trying to keep a “low profile” are you?
- A headshot. That’s the jargon used that means they need a “professional” photo of you to use in their article. It’s called a head shot because that’s what they need. A nice close up of your head. Smile, but not too much – and no, I can’t recommend a selfie. Somehow they always look like a selfie, right?
- Pictures of your brick and mortar or place where you create. If you have a place of business, invest in some pics of the exterior and interior and your sign – or pics of your workshop or kiln or shelves full of yarn. Mobile service? Show off your truck or van. Where you work is fascinating to our increasing world full of voyeurs and hence terrific for reporters.
- A short bio/history of your company or business. This is really short. It just gives some foundational information. If you are unsure what to write, I have you covered, just contact me. Or set up an appointment to discuss your needs. Bottom line, you need to wow the reporter or editor, so they feel that your story will be interesting to their readers. They need to have cool stories to share. Got Wow?
- Pictures of your product or your product/service in action. If you are selling ice cream, then you better have some really yummy pics. Maybe a picture of a “grandpa and his grandchild sharing a cone. If you are selling organic weed killers, then the product shot might need to include a backdrop of a nice lawn. If you are selling yoga classes, then… well? Think about it. Pictures of people in a class, right? Or a person in a pose might be good to have on hand, too. You can never have enough pictures. A really compelling picture among your media files, might be the “thing” that puts the writer over the top and gives them the impetus to do a story about your business.
- Your logo or something that you use as a branding. If you don’t have a logo, you might want to give it some thought. Even artists, who have their name as their business name, will often use a deeply stylized approach to their names to distinguish and maintain a professional look to their online presence. By using a specific font, they can turn a name into something with a bit of style
M C K E N N A H A L L E T T
H A L L E T T
Studio of Fine
Okay… I think I made my point. You all know what the “My Golden Words” logo looks like and that took weeks and many dozens of drafts to come together. But, every piece of your presentation to the public deserves deep thought. And whatever little pieces of the puzzle you are still working on, you might want to put “add a media page” somewhere near the top of your list.
My newest project creates my recent need. My new “Press” page is underway.
Up until the recent release of my new publication, the guidebook called “The E’s of Selling Art System”, I had very little reason to imagine getting a lot of press or having much of a story to share. I’m just another blogger/marketing consultant, like thousands that join the ranks everyday. So a “Press” page seemed like overkill. I have always had a blurb ready, a bio and short history ready to go though. I was always “ready” if someone took interest.
But I just released my second edition of my guidebook after seeing a great response to the first trial run and I now need a Press Page. It’s close to complete. I am putting my money is where my mouth is. I am waiting for the professional photos and then I will launch my media page. It’s almost done and when it is, I will share it with you.
But make no mistake, once it’s done, it won’t sit there idly awaiting the press to stumble upon it. No, no, no. I will promote that page. A press kit is more than a static page with a collection of stuff for reporters. There is no way to guarantee you will get noticed by the press. It is, however, a way to capture a reporter’s interest should they land there and it is designed entirely to make their job much easier. And when their job it easier, you are much more likely to get in their article.
But even better (and this is a bigger reason for me to do this), it gives you a place to send anyone at any time. If you see a publication you think you might fit into, you can now contact them with a link to your Press Page. For example, you have a food truck that has an organic garden on the roof (I totally am making that up, but I bet there is one somewhere! LOL) and a food trade magazine is doing a feature on either food trucks or garden to plate food trends and you can send them a press release with the link to your press kit on your press page and bada bing as the saying goes…you have yourself a story. When it’s published, you have a “trophy”!
A Press Page with a proper media kit will help you will look professional, marketing savvy, and ready to cooperate. If you really want to take it a step further, you can write a few different stories so you are ready to roll and they barely need to even to contact you.
And now you have another great outcome
You have the bragging rights, now. You can let your customers and clients know that (insert your target magazine or newspaper) did a feature about you. How cool is that? And when you have that important news on your site, you now look even more credible to people who are seeing your site for the first time AND (closing the loop) you also are more attractive to other writers and reporters, bloggers and podcasters, and people in general who are looking for a story. You are interesting.
Of course, you can access reporters directly, but be aware that they are often on deadline and not easy to woo. The bigger the readership, the more “pitches” they get from total strangers every hour. You can be a better “partner” by paying attention to what they are actually looking for.
Most magazines will let you know their editorial schedule for the upcoming months. But one site I really love is called HARO aka Help a Reporter Out. There are 35,000 journalists that use that site to reach out to the public and ask for “story pitches”. Be aware that the site has very strict rules of engagement, but it’s fascinating to sign-up and start learning what stories are being developed.
I must warn you however: you will get three emails every day. I delete most, but more recently I have started looking for categories where my new publication might be of value for a story line. Who knows? I might be the perfect fit one day for some magazine or other publication.
And you might be too!