SPIN query on media kits

I received an inquiry from a mom blogger and copywriter who writes really entertaining and witty posts about being a suburban mother of three.   She writes: This Q & A is a great idea and so timely since I’ve got a question! I have a client who has asked me to create a media kit for them. It’s been a long time since I’ve done one so if you could offer your suggestions on what to include and how to use it effectively, that would be brilliant.  Thanks for the query Cynthia K… and please keep us chuckling!

The media kit, as a whole, is intended to provide an easy way for reporters and editors to access information that they might need without having to do extensive research.  Individual components of the media kit consist of various elements to paint a picture or create story about you and your company.  Here are those components as well as some guidance how to create and make the most of them:

Cover Letter
Write a cover letter that ties the package together by explaining why your new release should be considered for publication. In your cover letter, suggest article topics and list yourself as an expert source for future interviews on those topics.

News Release
Describe your product, service or event in a concise news release. Don’t forget to answer the following questions: who, what, when, where, why and how. Consider the question the editor will ask him/herself: “Will my readers find this interesting?””

Articles
Place any previous clippings referring to you, your product, service or your company in the media kit. This adds credibility to your release.

Photos
Insert a photo into your media kit. If it’s a professional-quality photo, it will be more likely to run with your news release and get more attention in the publications.

Backgrounder
Provide enough background information about your company and its products / services; Think of it as a one page positioning paper that outlines the product you offer as well as the mission/vision of your company.

Fact Sheet
Include a fact sheet listing bullet points with specific information and key facts. This is not the same thing as the backgrounder.  Fact sheets provide specific detail about your products and services such as data or statistics.

Bio
This is a biography about yourself and your business in paragraph form.  What are your most recent accomplishments? What makes you an authority on your products and services?  Why should a journalist use you as a credible source?

Q & A
Answering questions in the form of a “Q & A” sheet could also be helpful to the journalist when he or she is considering an angle for your story.

None of these items should be more than a page each and any can be created on your desktop cost effectively and professionally, presented in a simple folder with your company logo and contact information. 

I urge you to be selective when deciding what to include in your kit. In other words, be your own harshest critic. As great as your company is, you don’t want to overwhelm journalists with too much clutter (i.e., every clipping that’s ever been written about you). You’re trying to whet their appetite and get them to call you asking for more-why would they write about you.

In being selective, do not mail out a media kit to every journalist you can find. You will waste your time and money.  Careful targeting and newsworthy content will ensure your efforts are not filed under “G” for “Garbage”, or worse, “Goodbye”.  My advice? Follow reporters. Read what they write about.  If you have not yet established a relationship with the local media, read the publications and get the names of the journalists who cover your specific topic. Get to know them before introducing yourself, and do introduce yourself.

What about “thinking beyond the media” – kit?  A well produced media kit is an important portable sales tool that cannot only raise awareness of your company with the media, but also serve as a medium for networking with possible partners or to anyone who is interested in learning more about your company. With the advent of blogs, websites and email, there are many other ways to make the material available. Why not post it on your site!

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