Media Kit is the modern term for what used to be commonly referred to as a Press Kit. Traditionally press kits comprised a set of pre-packaged materials for distribution to members of the press and media for promotional purposes. These used to be created in physical form for posting to journalists, presenters, editors (newspaper/magazine) and other media personnel. However, with the increasing decline in print circulation and readerships new methods had to be adopted e.g. electronic format availability/delivery. Usually referred to as an EPK (Electronic Press Kit). This discussion primarily relates to the latter.
Important: Media Kits should not be confused with advertising packages. The purpose and aim of each is completely different.
A media kit should only relate to one topic/aspect as governed by the intended purpose. For example; if a company is looking to inform about its creation, constitution or work then the kit should be about it, its organisation, its purpose; its history; and so on. If the aim is to inform about its product(s), the kit should centre upon those. If the aim is to inform about an event, it should centre upon that and not bring in extraneous information.
What goes into a Media Kit?
There are no definitive rules as to what should be included. The contents are determined by whether it regards a person; company; organisation; cause; etc. or by product type and by the intended aim and purpose for the kit. This discussion will consider what could be included but throughout readers should remember content will depend upon the purpose and aim for the kit. There is no requirement to incorporate everything. Whatever the situation, care must be taken to ensure content is as clear, and of as good quality, as possible.
Note 1: Though the following presents an overall look at the subject, there will, in view of this website’s primary aims, be frequent reference to authors and books. This is not intended to make the information exclusive but is just a way of assisting the site’s regular visitors, many of who are authors and readers.
Note 2: The sequence for how information is presented/included is up to the kit creator and the following is not intended to set any particular order.
Summary of what included
This is especially important if there is a lot. Summarise either with a covering letter or contents list. Naturally, for electronic kits, the contents list is best option. Ensure this is clear and as concise as possible. Most people are busy and do not have time to plough through an endless amount of material. If they cannot get to the core of what interests them quickly they may well abandon reading further, which would be counterproductive for the sender.
No matter whether a company, organisation or individual some background information will be necessary. Journalists etc. want to know who they are dealing and how they came to be where they are. In addition their readers would appreciate some comprehension of why they should be interested in the company/individual etc. It should be kept as concise as possible but not omit essential detail.
Explaining, as briefly as possible: the product; specific features; benefits; statistics; etc. For authors this may be about their book(s), website and so on. But, it must be remembered these kits are not advertising packages as such. They may be used to support them but essentially are a means for informing the media about the company, individual etc. – Why it or they would be of interest to the general reader.
These should be brief biographies (bios) of key executives (directors, chief executive officers, site owners, etc.), individuals, artists, authors and so on. There is no need, and in fact it would be counterproductive, to include information about everyone involved when there are many. If possible, it helps to include a photograph of each person mentioned. Of course, for the individual author, this will comprise their own biography together with the profile photograph or image they utilise in their books, website, blog and social media.
It goes without saying the company logo or, when the kit relates to an individual, profile photograph/image should be included (in effect this is their logo). These should be of high resolution as the journalist, blogger, media person will undoubtedly wish to download it for use in their article. For independent (indie) authors it may prove difficult to obtain a high resolution image (300 dpi). Nevertheless, they should always include one utilising whatever they have available and hope for the best. Of course, they have the option of investing in one of the available photo/image editing services though it is acknowledged many indie authors do not have the resources to do so. Positioning of the logo is up to the kit creator: It may be included in its own area with, if appropriate, any explanatory notes considered necessary. Alternatively it may simply be placed against the company/individual name. The only criteria: it is easily downloadable/copyable.
A short list of positive reviews; testimonials; feedback. It is best if these are allowed to speak for themselves without adding any bragging comments. In fact, any such comments may well turn the reader off. A list of awards, if any, may also be included, again avoiding any temptation to boast.
There is a suggestion, to forestall potential questions that may arise in someone’s mind, team members, if more than one, provide answers to questions they foresee as possibly arising. Could be done as a Q&A (Question and Answer) but in the interests of brevity would probably be better presented as a simple list of quotes.
Past Press Coverage
Naturally, if there has been previous press coverage the journalist, media contact, etc. will be interested. These would help set a definitive, viable, background for the company, product, individual, etc.
Of course, most product samples would only be appropriate for physical media kits however, an EPK may include some of the following: downloadable video files, audio files or books; extracts from written works (brief excerpt; sample chapter; short story); etc.
Note: Many independent (indie) personnel, who often have very limited resources, only have ‘hosted’ websites. These are sites they do not own. For example: where the website url/name includes the name of the host such as ‘wordpress’, ‘blogger’, etc. The subject of hosted and self-hosted websites is not a topic for this discussion but most readers of this article will comprehend. For those who may like to read further: the subject of Websites – Hosted v Self-Hosted has been previously discussed. Hosted websites or blog sites do not enable users to provide downloadable material. For them the alternative is to provide a link to where video files, audio files, etc. may be accessed.
If the company, organisation, person or event the subject of the kit is primarily involved with producing certain products, good quality product images should be included. For an author, depending upon the principle aim they have set for the kit, this could comprise book cover images. But it must always be remembered a media kit is not an advertising package per se. It may support these by providing background information but must never be used as the promotional package itself. Again, the purpose of the kit must be carefully considered e.g. if an author wishes to promote their website/blog it would probably be wise not to include endless details about their author career and books. There are other ways for providing information about the latter.
Because this is unlikely to apply to most readers here, the point has been left until this latter point.
Press releases normally relate to the establishment of a new company/organisation or the release of a new product (book or new website/blog in an author’s case).
As previously mentioned there has been a general decline in print distribution and readership consequently, most, other than larger companies and organisations, tend not to utilise traditional press releases, well not in a major way. However, if a press release has been issued and relates to the subject of the media/press kit, it should be included. These provide increased validity for journalists etc. Logically, it should be positioned near the start.
Why News Worthy?
A statement as to why the information is considered news worthy (of interest to the general public). All media personnel, journalists, bloggers, etc. tend to be inundated with requests and unsolicited material screaming for their attention. They will wish to know: Why this particular company, organisation, cause, event, product, person, etc. should be of primary interest for their readers; Why they should invest their limited time in writing about the topic. Naturally, it will hep if the information in the kit could be related to anything concurrently in the news or to an ongoing public issue.
These should be clear, concise and easily found. It could, should, include an option for the information to be sent in a different format e.g. downloadable files attached to an e-mail or, if really required, in physical format by post. Some may prefer not to offer the latter option but they should be offering the e-mail option. If has been suggested the material should be provided as pdf files to avoid any accidental (or perhaps intentional) alterations.
As already stated the above is not in any particular order though there are some elements that should clearly be incorporated at or near the start.
For any company, organisation or person anticipating public interest a media kit is a useful tool and some would consider an essential one.
Before deciding upon the final content the specific purpose behind creating the kit should be determined. There is no point including unnecessary information/detail that makes the kit too lengthy for someone with limited time. Nevertheless, bearing in mind the need, as far as possible, for conciseness, all that is relevant should be included. It is advisable to always include a content list when there is a lot of material. Many would say it is an essential.
Authors may not consider very much of the above applies to them. This may be true however, if their book(s) are selling well, it may be useful to have something other than their ‘About’ page.
Note: There are other styles of kit besides media that may suit an author better. (The writer will consider a further article that specifically looks at these.)
It does take time to create a quality media kit but once done it is a useful tool. Naturally, it should always be kept up to date. For those that anticipate receiving any public attention it is a worthwhile investment of time.
As may be seen this is an involved, and some may even say complex, subject with many possibilities. The above is simply intended to provide an overall view of the topic.
Disclaimer: The writer is not a public relations or marketing professional. The above information has been primarily gleaned from research and observation.