Knocking down press coverage doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes more than a phone call, a fancy press release, a targeted email, a flashy social media post and a reach out.
Think about it—its a zillion people with a great idea, interesting story or event or need–all with the same desire for coverage in this every changing world of what we call life. Generating press coverage requires planning, steady outreach, constant tweaking of media relations strategy, endless pitching tweaking and contacts. Oh did we mention contacts! Yes, we just did, and it’s so important to the success of getting a “yes” that we are mentioning contacts again! However, before beginning any press outreach, an excellent starting point for your media relations strategy is creating the right digital collateral packaged in the form of an electronic press kit, EPK.
Think about it—its a zillion people with a great idea, interesting story or event or need–all with the same desire for coverage in this every changing world of what we call life.
An EPK is designed to help members of the media develop stories related to your business, products or services. It contains all of the content a reporter, blogger and/or producer might need to tell your brand story within their coverage. It also gives background on previous media placements and is essentially a visual “bragging” tool all about you. The content will vary depending on what industry you are in, the size of your business, your target audience and the type of media you are targeting for coverage. Think of it as bragging all of your goodness and collecting the goodness to showcase to the world. You want to highlight it all in engaging content to intrigue buzz for more coverage.
The media needs to know who you are and what you do. Period! This “about us” section should include all of the basics: who, what, where, when, why, and how. Give it clear, concise and consistent messaging. Be brief to the point, yet show your value and what makes you and this brand different from the next. Imagine yourself talking to a friend about your brand—how would you tell that story? This portion is directed at the media and their time is valuable; therefore, you should use headings to help them find the portion that is most important to their needs and creativity to help entice them to add you to the must cover to-do list!
Sell! Sell! Sell! Bios are especially important if there is a member of management who is suitable for interviews, an expert commentary, and/or if speaking engagements are on the deliverable “click your heels and make a wish deliverable to do list.” If any members of management have been quoted in articles or appeared on news segments, be sure to make the note. The bios should talk more about who they are in their current roles and how they can help the media, than what they have done in previous roles—unless they were previously at well-known and noteworthy organizations. Again—sell, sell, sell— don’t be shy here…
Choose the most newsworthy or exciting press releases for your EPK, but make sure they are recent—with nothing older than six months. Dates are important in PR. It’s a going saying in the PR business, “You are only as good as your last story.” Your mentions can regularly be swapped out to keep things up to date and fresh. The press release heading should clearly describe its content for an easy glance in case the media is looking for a specific announcement and give a little bit of your character to help seal the deal of interest.
Quick, quick, quick! Give it quick….outline the most important features and details in quick simple bullets. This is where you should include things like pricing, where to purchase, what you are about or offering, what sets you apart from the competition, and so on. Another useful tip— add a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) component—especially if the industry, product, or service is technical in nature or changes on a consistent basis. Your goal is to provide information as simple as possible by giving the reporter an additional idea that the writer may not have previously thought of.
Case studies are another great way to showcase the effectiveness or success of your product or brand to the media. When crafting this document, think of it as customer testimonials, work completed, essentially taken to the next level. Be sure that any collateral, including case studies, is not written from an angle of marketing highlights. It is common for the media to include your case studies in their articles, but they will not use it if it is from the angle of self-promotion. Be aware of the case studies you choose, your wording and your intent.
This is your additional chance to brag! You want to lay out a visual red carpet of your press goodness mentioning all noteworthy press coverage. You want to show journalists that other outlets care about you and what you’re doing.
This will vary depending upon your industry, but artwork files that are typically included are high-resolution logos, product images, headshots of key members of management or celebrity spokespersons, music artwork if you are a label or artist. Include all digital assets that are media-ready, meaning they can instantly be put up onto a website, embedded in a story and/or pulled and used to help tell your story. You may already know that the trend of visual content marketing is on the upswing, and the use of interesting imagery is just as important to PR. This is an area to invest in. You should consistently update photography so that you have something new to offer outlets on a regular basis. Be sure that you have the rights to every image, for both sharing and reprinting, before putting them in your EPK or passing them along to the media.