The Latest

Having these 4 things ready before you contact a reporter will make you more successful

rlw-uc03gwc-glenn-carstens-peters

You have a great idea for a story to pitch a reporter. You decide to call or email the reporter with your idea. He or she responds with interest. Good news, right? But, have you thought through what the reporter may request in addition to your pitch?

Having a strong pitch is, of course, vital to your PR effort. The trouble is, no matter how great the idea is, if you aren’t prepared to provide the elements to back up your story, it may never see the light of the day.

Reporters who do a thorough job will always look deeper and want more than your side of the story. This validates what you’re saying. Because part of PR is to make things as easy as possible for them, before you ever hit send on your pitch, you’ll want to be prepared with information to back up your story.

With that in mind, here’s a helpful guide for what you need to have ready when you contact a reporter:

Continue reading Having these 4 things ready before you contact a reporter will make you more successful

13 things to include in a virtual press kit

What goes in a press kit?

As I often work with startups or small businesses doing PR from the ground up, from time to time I’m asked what goes in an online press kit or media room, as it’s sometimes called.

Do you have one? Do you even need one?

While hard copy press kits are optional (a word about that later), you should have a virtual press kit. Be sure to create a place for it on your site. Preferably, it has its own drop-down menu, but some companies choose to put it under “About,” which is fine, as long as a reporter can easily find it.

Here are some of the elements most often included:

  • Company profile/backgrounder/fact sheet: This document gives an overview of the company and what it does. The fact sheet can include year founded, executive team members, vertical markets, number of employees, and so on. The idea is to capture the key information “at a glance” to make it easy for reporters to grab what they need and to include answers to commonly asked questions.
  • Bios: Bios of the executive team should be part of the press kit. Include all C-suite executives. Keep them relatively brief, or include both a longer and shorter version.
  • Multimedia content: This is becoming increasingly important, as reporters want more visuals:
    • Photos: A professional head shot should accompany each bio and should be downloadable. You can also include photos of the team together, company headquarters and/or product photos, if desired. These should be high resolution (300 dpi is ideal for print).
    •  Screen shots: If you have an application or software product, it’s a good idea to make screen shots available.
    •  Logos: Include camera-ready logos in both color and black and white.
    •  Video: If you have any YouTube or other videos, you can link to those here, as well.
    • Infographics: If you have any that might be useful to media, you can post those here, too.
  •  Press releases: Of course, include any and all press releases that you’ve issued about your company, product or service. Include them in reverse chronological order.
  •  News stories: If any stories have appeared about your company, product or service, include those—again, in reverse chronological order.
  •  Press contact: Include a contact, in case they have questions or need something further. If you don’t have a designated PR person on staff, it should be someone who responds to email and phone calls promptly.
  •  Customer success stories or case studies: If you have them, it’s a good idea to make these available in your newsroom.
  •  Customer or third-party quotes: Again, if available, customer quotes can be a useful item for reporters. If you have partner, analyst or influencer quotes, make those available, as well.
  • Press references: Here, it might be best to say, “Available upon request.” This allows you to provide the best reference for the particular reporter. It also gives you the opportunity to let the customer know a reporter may contact them.
  • Links to social media profiles: If they’re not already included on every page of your site, include them here.
  • Awards garnered: Include any awards your product, company or executives have won.
  • Executive appearances, conferences, and tradeshow participation: List all appropriate public speaking appearances, tradeshow and conference participation, and other events in a separate calendar section. Remember to include any international events. Keep the older listings up for at least a few months after the events to show that you are in demand as experts in your field, but be sure to keep the list updated.
  • Sign up box: Provide the opportunity for them to sign up for your email list, as well, so they can receive your press releases or any other company news you may wish to send.

Also, a word about online vs. hard copy press kits. Hard copy press kits are no longer necessary, unless you’re attending a large industry conference and want to bring along a few to hand out to reporters you may be meeting with. Some conferences have a press room where you can leave materials for reporters to review. It may be better to leave a one-sheet or a press release versus an entire press kit. I don’t know of any reporter these days who wants to tote a bunch of press kits back to their office in their luggage, so chances are they could wind up in the trash.

And finally, here are a few examples of online press areas from companies in various industries that are well done:

Cisco has always been the “gold standard” of online press areas: http://newsroom.cisco.com/

Outrigger Resorts: http://news.outrigger.com/presskit/

Kaiser Permanente: http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/

Johnson Controls: http://www.johnsoncontrols.com/content/us/en/news.html

The Walt Disney Company: http://thewaltdisneycompany.com/disney-news

Here’s hoping this gets you rolling on creating your own online press kit!

press kit