Putting Together Press Kits
I recently was lucky enough to attend the Buyers Market as a member of the press. While getting my permission badge to carry my camera and take photos, we were directed to the press table which turned into an eye opening experience. On this table were folders, envelopes and brochures from the various vendors displaying at the show. Every vendor did not provide a kit and after looking through many I couldn’t understand why? These little packs gave me a good idea of who I wanted to seek out and talk to as well as a great deal of information about their company which is invaluable to a potential buyer. Do you need a press kit? Businesses both big and small can benefit from putting together a press kit or media kit as they are also known. These packs are not overly expensive to produce and can be used to gain some much needed exposure for your handmade business. You can gain exposure by getting your information into the hands of bloggers, television shows, and print media who cater to the market that you are trying to reach. These packs can also be sent to potential buyers if you are looking to sell your work wholesale. The press kits that I saw varied greatly in how they were presented. Some were as simple as a colorful folder while others were glossy, professionally printed brochures. One that I found interesting was actually a small paper bag held closed with a clothes pin on which the owner wrote the company name. When I opened this intriguing little bag, I found a CD with their complete media kit. Is an approach like this appropriate for everyone? No, but this particular company, LittleManOriginals.com, felt that taking a different approach worked for them. What do you include in your press kit? Cover letter or Pitch letter: This letter is used to introduce yourself and your product. This letter should tell the reader why they should be interested in interviewing or writing about you. Biography: This is different from your cover letter in that in your biography you are trying to show yourself as the face behind the company. You want to show them the soul behind the hard work. This should not be a five page novel but more like a few paragraphs written in a friendly and approachable way that gives them a face to put with the art. Photos of your work: As a handmade artist you are selling your work so include pictures. These images should be clear and bright as well as be a fair representation of the work that you do. When a writer finds your website or show booth, the feel and style you presented in the kit should be what they find when they arrive. These photos don’t even have to be printed out but can be put onto a CD or flash drive and included in the kit as we found a number of artists doing. Photos of you working: You are selling yourself as a handmade artist so celebrate that! Show photos or a video of you working in your studio and show off the fact that each and every piece you are showing was touched by your hands. Press coverage: If you have been interviewed by a prominent blog or printed magazine or paper you should include links. This shows that you are serious about getting coverage as well as gives a writer a bit more information on you. Your contact information: This should be on EVERY piece you present in the kit as when you have a stack of papers on your desk (not that I know anything about that), papers can become separated. On each and every piece in the kit, including the cover or folder, one should find your name and website or other contact information. In this world of instant gratification, if you make a person search too long to for something they will move on to something else. Business card: While this might seem like a no brainer, I did run into a few kits without one. Often times I am not going to sift through a large stack of folders but will pull out a business card to check out later. Business cards are fairly inexpensive to buy from various printers or even print them yourself. If you don’t have the printing ability to print your own, there are many handmade artists and graphic designers that are more than happy to help you design and print your cards. Story openings or ideas: Does your work fit into a single niche or could you be placed in a variety of places. Give an idea of the categories that your work fits into, such as Kitchen Décor, and then give a short paragraph explaining how your work fits into this area. The idea of this idea sheet is to make it as easy as possible for person to write you up. Samples: These are absolutely not required but we did run into a few that gave a small trinket within their kit. This could be a magnet or button or even a small sample of your work if your talent lends itself to doing small, inexpensive pieces. Keep in mind, however, that your time is valuable and if your art is to labor intensive, you may be spending time on a sample that will not bring you a great return. These samples can be particularly effective if you are looking to send out your kits to potential buyers when you are selling wholesale. Wholesale price list: This will only be appropriate if your kit is being used as a bid to sell your work wholesale. Ok, now before you panic about the sheer amount of paper you are going to need, you can also consider e-kits. You can put all of the above information together in the form of a PDF email it to media you think you might be of interest to. This is something you can do for yourself or there are a number of websites that will guide you through and email you the finished product. With this approach you can reach more media outlets without the same expense. Keep in mind, no matter how you set up your press kit or what information to decide to include your kit should represent you and your business. If you art is happy and colorful then don’t present your kit in black and white, if your company leans towards elegant then you would not want to use cutesy font or folio cover. This packet may be the first time a potential interviewer sees you or your work and you want to give them a good idea of what you do and who you are as a person and as a company.
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