The Media Kit for
Before approaching any media sources, you must produce
all the written materials the media will need.
Which is referred to as the Media Kit.
Why Do I Need A Media Kit?
A good place to start getting noticed and the most effective low cost way to promote any business is through publicity. You will find that the effects of publicity are more dramatic than a paid ad. That's because of "third party endorsation". People perceive that if your product is mentioned in a newspaper or magazine than it must be endorsed by that media. Read the following article for more detailed information on publicity: Getting Free Publicity for Your Jewelry Business
The best way to get your story published in any media is to prepare a media kit which is a pre-packaged set of promotional materials of a person, company, or organization distributed to members of the media for promotional use.
Before approaching any media sources, you must produce all the written materials the media will need. Approaching the different media sources on your list will be easy, the real thought and preparation will occur in drafting and assembling the materials of your media kit.
What you need, of course, will depend on what objectives you are trying to accomplish, and who you'll be dealing with. The following is a list of documents you will need in dealing with the media:
This is a brief introduction letter to the editor. A separate cover letter is optional and is usually sent with your media kit if you are trying to get a feature article written. This letter should briefly explain why you think your press release would interest the editor's readers and give some background information not included in the release.
Be sure to type each one on your business letterhead. If you include a cover letter with the release, never ask for a free write-up or publicity. Editors are not interested in giving free space to you, but in providing news and information about a product, service or event that will be interesting and useful to their readers.
A press release is a story or item of news interest, written by you about your product or business, in which you send to newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and television news programs with the hope of having it made public. Editor's and program managers are constantly searching for material that could be of interest to their readers, listeners, or viewers. The secret is to create a release that is newsworthy, interesting, and topical.
The following is a list of guidelines to help you in preparing a successful press release.
- Keep it short, simple, easy to understand, and to the point. There isn't time to say everything. Generally, five hundred words should be your maximum, that should give you two typewritten pages, with 250 words per page double spaced, but if you can say it in 200 words, don't ramble on.
- Use only one side of a page — never type on the back of a sheet. If your release extends over more than one page, type "more" at the bottom of each page except the last, where you type "end". Try to keep your release to one page, and not more than two pages, or it might not be read. Keep in mind that editors are pressed for time and have to select from many releases received every day.
- Your release should be typed on 8½" x 11", letter-size white paper with plenty of margin space on all sides so that the editor can make notations, corrections, or any comments.
- If your release is not typed on stationery, the name and address of the sender should be typed single spaced, at the top right corner of the page.
- After the address skip a few spaces and at the left margin, type the date for release to the public, such as "For Release October 1st - 7th" or "For Immediate Release." Immediately below it type the date the release is sent.
- On the same line as the "Release date" or "For Immediate Release" but far to the right, type the name of the individual who can be contacted for further information. Immediately below that, give the person's telephone number with area code. Many times they may send out their own reporter and photographer to do a more detailed story on you.
- Your press release should have a short headline —usually 10 to 15 words centered on the page and typed in capital letters — that quickly conveys the main idea of your story. The headline must be interesting, intriguing and grab the editor's attention. Editors generally write their own headlines for actual publication of an article, but you first have to grab their attention to get them to even read your press release.
- The most important information should be in the first paragraph of your release since editors will usually cut from the bottom up if it is too long to use. This first paragraph should state the key facts and information you want the media to know. It should include the five Ws of journalism and answer the who, what, where, when, why and how. Not all may apply to every story, but where they do, they should lead off the release. If you are announcing a new product, you might want your news story to answer the following questions: What major problems does it solve? What are its unique features and benefits? Why is it better than similar products on the market? How does it work to solve theses problems? Where can you get it? etc. If you can't cover all the basic facts in the first paragraph, finish in the second.
- The second paragraph should contain strong human interest, and may include a quotation from yourself or the chief individual associated with the story. Here you may cover further benefits of the product, service or event and/or why it is unique. It should hook their interest and compel them to pay further, closer attention to the rest of the story. If referring to yourself in the release, always use the third person: "she" or "he" rather than "I". This will make it sound like someone else has written about you, which is the impression you want to create. Readers tend to believe that reporters and/or columnists write all the news stories and also believe what they read as being credible and accurate and feel that it must be legitimate information if it appears in print. But this belief could be undermined and the reader will know that you wrote the article yourself if the first person is used.
- The third and subsequent paragraphs contain supplementary information and should be written in descending order of importance so that the least important information comes at the end. These paragraphs should contain all the facts and minor details, adding quotes from supporting experts. This is also where you provide information which adds colour to a feature story. For example, simple questions consumers could ask themselves; discussion of the trends or styles involved; more benefits and features of the product or event discussed; the impact on the community; or an award received.
- The last short paragraph could be used for further information. Many releases don't include this paragraph, but it could be an appropriate one for your type of craft business, especially if the purpose of your release is to obtain a direct response from the public. Dr. Jeffery Lant, in his book The Unabashed Self-Promoter's Guide, suggests that this last paragraph be used to: "Indicate to the reader what you want him to do as a result of learning about your story. Include all necessary follow-up information: how much does your product, service, event, etc. cost? How can the reader get involved? Who does he call? When? Where? Look at this paragraph as a specific free ad and write it accordingly. Unlike advertising, however, leave out the hype; what media people want is the facts, just the facts."
Alternatively, this last paragraph may simply state that the product is now available in certain retail outlets, will be showing in a particular exhibit, or for sale at a particular craft show.
Although this further information paragraph is a form of advertising, editors will generally include it if they think it will benefit the readers or audience to have it noted.
- Your press release should be newsworthy and factual or genuinely entertaining. Write it like a story. Don't just supply facts and expect the media source to edit and rewrite for you. Your release should bear as near a resemblance to an actual printed story as possible, quotes and all. It helps to think of yourself as the reporter writing the story. A well-written press release will often be printed verbatim by a smaller newspaper.
- Make your release clear and easily readable. Use short sentences, short paragraphs, and simple English. Michael Scott, in his book The Crafts Business Encyclopedia, advises that "Good stories are written to appeal to readers, not the egos of writers. Fancy words with obscure meanings may impress your in-laws, but they'll turn off most readers —and most editors. The simpler and more direct the press release, the better its chance of being printed."
- Keep in mind that your release is not an advertisement, you are writing a news story or an announcement of news. If your press release sounds even slightly like a warmed-over commercial, or nothing more than a sales pitch it will end up in the trash can. Editors are interested in news and features, therefore, it is imperative that you have a good story angle or it won't get picked up.
- Don't exaggerate, be highly accurate as to numbers, dates, facts, names, etc.
- Try to keep coming up with different story angles to keep your name in the front of the press and keep the momentum going. As with advertising, publicity needs to be repeated over and over to be effective — once is not enough. Be creative and try to think up humorous or unusual situations you can publicize. With every new event or activity that you do, write a press release telling people about it. Whether its another award you have won, a show you are exhibiting in, a place where you have your work displayed, a new store where people can purchase your work, a new product or product line that you are coming out with, etc.
- Unless your release is a general news announcement, such as an open house, or exhibit opening, do not give the same story to more than one editor at a time. Give each editor a few days or a week to make a decision on a feature story. If the first one isn't interested, then take it to the next.
Editor's don't want to see a story they're running appear in several papers at the same time. If this happens, they will probably not give you any more publicity in the future. Try giving exclusives on your stories. This is done most effectively by alternating between different media and allowing each an exclusive (i.e. a chance to be the first out with a new story). They are more likely to pick up your story if they have an exclusive.
- Aim your coverage. Although this kind of advertising is free you must still select your media carefully in order to single out those that are most likely to hit your target market. For example, it would be a waste of time to send a press release about a new line of fashion jewelry to a Sports Fishing Magazine. First, they would not run your story since it is of no news value to their readers (unless your jewelry is made of fishing lures and hooks, then it might get picked up), and second, even if they did run your story, the people who read a Sports Fishing Magazine are not likely candidates to buy fashion jewelry. Instead, such a story would be better sent to media that appeals to fashion conscious women. Your job is to 'match' your product and your story with the right media and the right audience. Therefore, the key question to ask is "what publications and shows, etc. are most likely to be seen by my target audience"?
- Once you have created your release make extra copies. Send a copy of your release to every possible media outlet on your list that appeals to your target market. If you have a contact address in your release for the readers or audience to request further information or some kind of response, be sure to include a code in your contact address so that you are able to key each publicity release.
- Ideally, your release should be addressed to the specific editor involved. For example, if you have a fashion-type product or a fashion-type story, you would want to contact the fashion editor of each media source. Usually each section has a separate editor — though a community newspaper which is published once or twice a week, may just have a general editor. There are several directories in your library (ask the librarian) that lists the names and addresses of the magazines and newspapers as well as the editors for each topic section or department.
- Be sure to consider timing factors. A daily newspaper can process a release overnight if it wants to. A weekly newspaper often has deadlines a week ahead of publication date. Magazines require that you send in your release at least two months or more in advance. If you would like them to do a feature story on you, then you better let them know at least three months or more in advance. If you are publicizing an event be sure to send your release at least two to three weeks in advance. In no case should you wait to mail out your release until the date before you want it to be published. It is much better to mail your release in advance and state on the top "Not to be released until April 15." or what ever date you choose.
- Have back up information prepared and ready to be sent out. The publication itself may call for information that is more detailed than what you originally sent. Once your story is published, not only will orders for your product come pouring in, but inquiries from other media sources to carry your story will also increase.
This is a personal profile of your career, education, achievements and awards. Media people need biographical information about individuals being featured, this helps to give them more information on who they are and what they do.
This information should be written in narrative form consisting of 200 - 250 words. Here you could also mention major shows you have exhibited in, your membership in various organizations, previous positions held, publications written, even a few personal tidbits on your home and family life. You could also include a personal statement about yourself as an artist and your work. Anything that helps to establish a sense of the person you are, a person who is interesting, creative, and imaginative.
This is a simple document giving factual business history and information on work you sell or the services you provide. Your biographical information gives the details about you as a person, whereas the business/product/service information gives facts and a background profile on your business and what it provides. You may also consider enclosing one of your brochures or catalogues with your media kit to provide this information.
Photocopy any articles or words written about you or your business on your stationery with the name of the publication and the date the article appeared. Previously published articles helps to prove to editor's that you have a worthy product or story to tell.
Next to your press release, photographs are the most important part of your media kit. As the old saying goes "a picture is worth a thousand words" and editors know readers look at photos and captions first. A great photo and caption can be the deciding factor on whether your article gets published. Even if the newspapers don't use them, the photographs may convince an apathetic editor to feature your product or story. The following is a list of guidelines to consider regarding the use of photographs in your media kit:
- Use a professional photographer who knows what he is doing and knows how to take quality photos both of you and your work. Once you have scheduled your photo session, work with your photographer and plan the results you want to achieve. What effect do you want to create? What image do you want to portray? What message do you want to pass along?
- Action shots will create more interest. Have photos taken of you at work in your studio creating, designing, producing, or displaying your crafts at an exhibit. If you are having photos taken of your work, then show your product in use rather than just sitting there.
- Media sources want high quality black and white glossy-finished 8" x 10" professional photographs. Some papers will take 5" x 7" shots, but the bigger size stands a better chance of being reproduced. Any other type of picture format will not be compatible with their equipment.
- Never write on a photograph (on the front or the back) as this writing will come through when they process it.
- Be sure your name, address, and telephone number is securely taped or glued to the back.
- Every photograph should have an explanation or caption giving the who, what, where, when, why and how. This brief caption should be typed and lightly taped to the back of the photograph so that it can be easily removed without damaging the photograph. It should give the name and title of everyone in the picture according to their position (i.e. left to right or top to bottom).
- Naturally your photograph should tie in directly with your written story.
- If you use a model in any photograph for any purpose (even if they are your friends) it is important the you get these people to sign a release and consent form.
- If you plan on sending out lots of press releases each with a photograph, then consider using a good discount photo duplicating company to have your prints made. You will have to pay the photographer extra to acquire the negative, but it will still be cheaper in the long run, than to have him print each photo for you. Like with any other business expense, do some comparison shopping.
- Be sure to mark on your envelopes "Do Not Bend or Fold" and insert a cardboard stiffener so that your photo does not get ruined in the mail.
Sandy Redburn in her book Crafty Marketing, The "How to Succeed" Manual for Creative Home Based Business in Canada, suggests that "Samples can have more impact than any photo if there is more than meets the eye, or it's so novel it will get passed around and create a stir. Keep your budget in mind here and narrow down your best contacts. If it's impractical to send a whole sample, brainstorm other ideas to create interest. A home decor or fashion editor may get excited over fabric swatches, color photos, samples of unique buttons, tassels, resulting in a feature article on your personalized mobile home decor service. Design wedding florals? Send a tips/trends sheet and tiny bouquet in Spring."
Like Sandy suggests, there are many ways you can use small samples of your work to get the editor's attention. Be creative and send a little something that will spark his interest and tickle his fancy. Of course you can't afford to send a sample to every editor on your list, but pick the major ones who you feel may do a feature story on you. The cost of the sample you send will be worth the investment if you get a full feature story.
Calendar of Events
If you are involved in different activities such as studio tours, open houses, holiday boutiques, work shops, courses, gallery openings, exhibits, craft shows, etc., then prepare a calendar of events complete with dates and addresses. Ordinarily the media will not publish your calendar of events, but it is always a good idea to include one to give the editor an idea of how actively involved you are with the craft community. Who knows, maybe the editor may send out a reporter to cover one or more of these events.
One of the best ways to catch the editor's attention is to present your media kit in an attractive and distinctive presentation folder. Office supply stores carry these folders with pockets in a variety of colors and finishes. Find or make one that best suits your image. Put your name and logo on the front or attach your business card and photo to it. Be creative and make it eye catching and unique. You will be amazed at how many editor's will be impressed with the extra effort you put into your media kit, it will prove that you are a creative and imaginative individual.
Return to top of The Media Kit for Jewelry Artists
Return to Getting Free Publicity for Your Jewelry Business
Return to Promoting Your Home Based Jewelry Business: the Art of GETTING NOTICED
Return to Beading Design Jewelry home page.