by Jargon Writer

Writing my way to becoming a freelancer

Creating a Press Kit

A press kit, or media kit, as defined by Wikipedia is a pre-packaged set of promotional materials of a person, company, or organization distributed to members of the media for promotional use. They are often distributed to announce a release or for a news conference.

I would add to this that press kits are one way (some) companies can introduce themselves to new clients. A well-developed press kit will showcase the company’s accomplishments and make a convincing case for why a client should utilize them. While this wouldn’t be appropriate for a retail store, it would definitely be appropriate for a b2b company or a freelance writer’s press kit.

There are two general physical formats a press kit can take – it can either be in the form of a booklet (stapled or bound together) or it can be a folder with multiple pages inside. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type.

A booklet generally looks more professional; it is more permanent and has a polished, finished appeal that encourages clients or the media to take you seriously.

A folder format, while less professional looking, can have pages swapped out (so you can include up-to-the-minute information)as a company gets press coverage, releases new products or other news-worthy events take place. They can be printed out on any color printer, while a booklet needs to be printed by a professional (although some Staples / Office Depot locations may offer this service). Finally, when press information is in a booklet format editors or clients are likely to consider it as one piece – a whole – and judge it as such. Meaning it gets glanced at once and then either tossed or kept. With separate pages in a folder each piece is generally judged individually.

No matter which format is chosen, a press kit consists of the same basic elements.

A basic press kit includes the following: (included are some download-able samples I’ve done)
A Company Bio which discusses how the company was founded, why and by whom. How it has changed since that time. What products or services (briefly) the company offers and any recent company news. If the company is still very new, the founder(s)’ qualifications or past experience can also be included (attached is a company bio I did for an events planning company).

Press Releases on anything the company has recently created a press release on. This includes events the company has hosted, new products or services it is now offering, new hires, sales or special promotions,  anniversaries and/or any other occasion (attached is a release I did for an author on the release of his book). If the press kit is being printed in a booklet or brochure format, then it may be more appropriate to include a single page that includes a brief blurb of recent newsworthy events.

Samples of Company Work can be included where appropriate. For example, as a writer my press kit will include all the samples attached to this blog post plus some sample articles I’ve written. I may even reformat one or two of my posts and lay them out to include in my press kit. Some other samples that could be included: posters for an event the company sponsored or hosted, design work or statements from satisfied customers.

Services Offered should appear in a list format somewhere within the press kit. Including pricing is optional, but personally I recommend it. One of the leading reasons that people do not buy a product or service is that they cannot find a price. That’s a silly reason not to gain a client (IMHO). In this post I listed (w/o prices) the services I offer.

Contact information should definitely be included. Ideally, each page will have at least the company website across either the top or bottom of the page – but a complete header or footer might include a contact email address, website and phone number. A business card can also be included if desired.

An Intro Letter that pitches the company’s products or services can be on top (in a folder) or on the opening page (in a booklet). Essentially, an intro letter will basically be a sales letter, making a case for why the editor you’re sending the press kit to should write about you or why the client you’re soliciting should be interested in your services (attached is a sales letter that I did for a graphic designer – this is an example of what you’d use for a client-focused press kit).

OPTIONAL: A CD with high-resolution images of products, a company logo, a head shot of the company founder, or image from a recent news event / sale. Be sure you have rights to the images you include; the idea here is to offer the editor an image to include with his/her story.

OPTIONAL: An Expert Interview / A Helpful Article on a topic of interest to potential clients and/or an editor. This can take the form of either a Question and Answer article with the company founder on a topic tangential to the company’s products or services or an article discussing a related topic. For example, I could include a piece on SEO when pitching web content writing to a new client. An event planner might include a piece on picking the perfect venue – the idea is to position a company employee / the company as an expert in its field and to illustrate the benefits of its services / products.

February 17, 2010 Posted by | in practice | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Types of Writing Jobs

Chapter 3 is both one of the most useful chapters and one of the least interesting – in it, Parker lists 60 bread-and-butter (or, as she calls them meat-and-potato) jobs for freelance writers. The idea is to think objectively about the types of jobs a new writer can get and the types of jobs that pay the bills… and to find where the two intersect for you.

One of the worksheets in chapter two asks each of us to critically analyze our skills – what we bring to the table as a writer that is unique. What we are qualified to write about and who we might know that we can work with. Chapter 3 looks at who we can work for.

Parker asks the reader to look at the jobs and decide if each job is something he or she would like to do, could do now or could learn to do …. and, if the job is something he or she has no interest in, it’s assumed that she’ll just ignore it and move on.

The jobs I could learn to do (and would like to do):
*if you are reading this and have a job in one of these areas I will offer you a discounted rate in exchange for the experience
Advertising Copy
Collateral materials (order forms, spec sheets, invitations, etc.)
Direct mail packages
Radio & TV ads & promotions
Telemarketing Scripts
Annual Reports
Policies & procedures writing
Catalogs & Product sheets
Conference & Trade show materials
Contributing Editor Assignments

Things I can do now:
Sales Letters
Public Relations services & materials
Resume Writing
Personal Statements (though this involves a very in-depth interview and takes up a LOT of time)
Website Content
Blogs (clearly illustrated here)
Letter writing
Press Releases & Press Kits

This week I’ll go through some of the more common of these (things I can do now) and discuss how to do them and what differentiates a “good” piece vs. a “bad” piece.

If there are any in particular you’d like to me discuss please leave a comment.

February 17, 2010 Posted by | research | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment