Your biggest ally–or greatest enemy–will be the press. The press has the power to raise you up or bring you down, so it’s important to behave in a way that makes them like you. Not coincidentally, the same behavior is what gets the public to like you, too.
The Press Kit
A basic tool of gaining media attention is the Press Kit. A press kit is a collection of information for journalists and the media to give them basic and background information about your company. These days, the Press Kit is usually digital, but it’s still nice to have some parts printed out. The full kit can be burned onto DVD or copied onto a USB thumbdrive (with your company logo on it, of course). Every kit is different, but some of the basics include:
Letter of Introduction
A short letter introducing your company to the press. It’s your way of saying “hello” and giving the reporters a sense of who they’re talking to or about.
If your company has a mission statement (and it should!), include it in the kit.
A small book (8-16 pages) which gives an overall description of your company, products & services, staff, location, history, and awards. The book isn’t full of details, just basic facts that they can use to understand who you are and how you present yourself.
A folder of images the press can use in their articles or newscasts. It’s important to provide these images, so you can control how your company is presented. If you don’t provide the images, the press will find their own–and those aren’t always the most flattering. The files should include the company logo, headshots of the primary staff, pictures of the offices, and B-roll images and video of your staff, products, and other aspects of your business.
Samples of past (positive) articles written about your company and/or staff. Show that other media outlets have found you to be interesting enough to write about. The more that’s written about you the more interesting you look. Only include a few samples (don’t overwhelm the reader), and pick samples with a range of approaches.
Awards and Distinctions
Photos and descriptions of any awards, certifications, and/or professional distinctions. This is where you get to brag a little bit–but humbly. Include a page for each award or distinction, with information on when it was won and what it means–using the words of the awarding body if possible. Don’t limit yourself to the big, prestigious awards. If Einstein Elementary School presented you with a crayon-drawn award for “Most Funnest Company in Smallville”, include it in the Press Kit.
The thing to remember about the Press Kit is that it’s only a tool–a foot in the door of the media. To really get positive media attention, you–both company and staff–must be accessible to the press, and ready to speak.