Most PR pros have seen their fair share of media kits. Some are elaborate and impressive, while others are little more than some flyers and documents stapled together. These bundles, which often come in folders or even clunky three ring binders, are handed out by companies to the press in order to provide all the pertinent background information and recent news on a company. They may include the company’s specs, its key people, its financing, high quality photos, press releases about various aspects of the company, and even information on pricing and competitors. But are they really necessary?
The Internet v. Press Kits
Press kits are fine and dandy, but do you know where else you can store all that information where it’s easily accessible to any reporter who needs it? That’s right – your website. Press kits are expensive, not only to print and distribute, but to write and design. And what if there’s a typo? Oops, you just okayed the proof that allowed your company to pay for 500 press kits that call the CEO a “Master Cheese Player” instead of a “Master Chess Player.” Try living that one down next time you’re in the Big er … Cheese’s office asking for a raise.
Physical press kits also get outdated. Sure you can include amendments and additions within the kit, but if your company rebrands or introduces a new flagship product, then you get the pleasure of redoing the entire kit instead. Most PR pros who have worked for a major corporation have stacks of out-dated press kits littering their cubicle floors and store rooms.
On the other hand, you can’t beat a press kit for its sheer usefulness. Instead of making a reporter frantically search your website for the CFO’s alma mater, it provides that information in one handy bundle.
TV Stations Aren’t the Only Ones with Press Rooms
Fortunately, there is a happy medium between the expense of creating and maintaining a physical press kit, and the possible PR disaster of forcing reporters and members of the public to wander around your website searching for the information they need. And that happy medium is the Press Room. Include a link titled “Press Room” or “Media” or “In the News” on your site, and reporters will instantly know that they information they want can likely be found just a click away.
Include on your website all the information you would include in a press kit. Organize it so that reporters can quickly get their hands (well, their mouse) on the information they need. And use the power of the Internet to keep it updated. Never again frantically search through 500 press kits to remove all 500 single page press releases for a product that didn’t work out. Instead, simply delete the document from your press room.
So do you need a media kit? While these little packets can be slick, impressive and useful, they are no longer precisely necessary in the Internet age. Consider spending your press kit budget on 21st century PR – like a blog or a social media strategy – instead.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (https://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab your free 160-page copy of the Big Press Release Book – Press Releases for Every Occasion and Industry here: https://www.ereleases.com/free-offer/big-press-release-samples-book/
In most cases media kits serve only to make a CEO feel good about their company. You still need a hard copy media release at an event because journalists rarely remember to bring one – and in this age of inexperienced, short-staffed newsrooms the more you can steer a story the better chance you have of it going in the right direction. A full blown media kit though is outdated, they don’t have the time to read it or the interest to interpret it, give them the lead, some supporting facts and figures and a talking head – problem solved!
As an agency, we only put together press kits for clients’ events, each kit containing relevant background press releases. Now, we are transitioning to having reporters take the information off our website (after one of them did so on her own.) We make it a little easier by not only having a “news” tab on the home page, but tabs for each client on the “news” page. I’m sure an in-house PR Department could develop tabs to help the reporters find releases for specific topics within their organization.