Do you have a media room on your website? If not, you could be missing out on valuable PR opportunities, so now’s the time to get one, writes Katrina Fox.
Recently I was putting together an article for my Forbes column (I’m a regular contributor to the online platform, specializing in writing about vegan and plant-based business). It was a roundup article highlighting the key numbers, players and developments in this sector, demonstrating the growth of this market throughout 2017 and into 2018 and beyond.
This was a comprehensive article that mentioned a lot of vegan or plant-based businesses and I needed to make sure I had plenty of interesting images to break up the text and make the article look more attractive. It was just before Christmas and I was on deadline so I needed photos quickly, without having to email a publicist or business owner. So I went to the websites of the businesses I’d featured in my article to see if they had images that media could use.
Sadly, most of these brands either didn’t have a media kit or required a password to access it. As a result, several of them missed out on having a photo of their product featured in the article.
Being featured in the media editorially is free publicity. So it’s a no-brainer to make it as easy as possible for journalists, bloggers, vloggers and podcasters to do our jobs – and having a media kit on your website plays a big part in this.
What is a media kit?
A media kit (sometimes known as a media room or press kit) is a dedicated page or section on your website for journalists to find and download helpful information about you and your business.
A media kit is a ‘brochure’ that gives reporters and producers useful information about you that they will use when deciding whether or not to feature you in their program or publication.
In the past a media kit was a full-color physical brochure that was posted out to media outlets.
Nowadays you get to save money and trees by making it available on your website.
So, what should you include in your online media kit?
There are three essential items – regardless of how much or little media experience you’ve had:
1. A DYNAMIC BIO
So many professional bios are boring and bland. Instead of sending a journalist to sleep with your bio, you want to entice and excite them. Sure, you need to put in the key essential information about you, but also include the quirky stuff that makes you different.
For example, in my media bio information, I’ve got a section called ‘5 fun facts you probably didn’t know about me’. This is gold for journalists. In fact, in one interview I did, the presenter read these out on the show and asked me to expand briefly on each of them.
Yes, we want to know you’re an expert with solid credentials – that’s taken as read and you do need to include this information. But what makes you stand out and maximize your chance to be featured in the media is that difference. So if you’ve done something amazing or have an unusual hobby (a legal one!), even if it has nothing to with your expertise, include it anyway because it makes you interesting.
Make sure you include your bio in different lengths: short, medium and long. You can even include a tweetable 140-character bio as well as a one or two-sentence summary that can be used at the bottom of opinion pieces or articles you write for the media.
It’s far better that you provide journalists with this information, firstly because it saves us time so we’ll feel warm and fuzzy towards you, and secondly because you get to control (to some degree) how you’re positioned.
If your business is an SME or corporation, include (dynamic) bios of key staff members.
Include a link to your LinkedIn profile where journalists have the option of checking out your professional experience in more detail.
2. ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS OR ORGANIZATION
This is different to your personal bio or those of your staff. In this section, you want to present information about the business itself, such as:
• How it started
• How long it’s been in operation
• Why it was founded
• What it does
• The main products and services
• Its point of difference
When journalists are in the planning stages of a story, we do background research on you and your business. Yes, we’ll Google you, but by providing key data in your online media kit, you save us time and can have a greater influence over what information appears about your brand.
Include your website URL and links to your business’s social media profiles.
I encourage you, if you haven’t already done so, to invest in a professional photo shoot. Make sure you get a decent headshot, as well as some standing and three-quarter-length images.
You can also include in your media kit some non-professional character or action shots, although these must still be good quality, but they must be in addition to, not a substitute for professional shots.
If you sell products, make sure you get good-quality shots of these. Again, it’s worth investing in a professional shoot as photographers will know to shoot your products in the best light and positions.
Images are important for visual media such as TV, online and print. A standout photo can also increase your chances of being featured in print. Sometimes there’s not room for a long story, but a picture and caption can bring you just as many leads. Also many radio stations and podcasts have shownotes pages on their website and need good-quality images.
Make sure your images are high resolution for journalists to download. Digital images are packed with pixels and the more there are, the better the image will look when it’s enlarged. This is particularly pertinent when it comes to print publications. The last thing you want is the designer to blow up your image to take up a whole page and the image to ‘pixellate’ or become grainy.
For the web, lower resolution images can suffice, but to be on the safe side, always offer the option to download high-resolution images.
These are the three essential things you need in your online media kit right now.
There’s also one more, if you’ve already done some media:
(4.) Clips and logos from previous media experience.
If you’ve been featured in any kind of media, don’t be shy about it!
Put those clips in your media kit with links. Radio and TV producers will often look at these to see how you come across before booking you as a guest.
You can have a dedicated page on your website for this. I used LeadPages for mine or you can get your web developer to create a page for you. Make sure you can easily add to it yourself as you get more media so you don’t need to keep going back to the developer every time you want to add new content.
Also include the media logos of the outlets you’ve appeared in with as ‘As featured on’ or ‘As seen in’. If you’ve been featured in a lot of media, just select some key outlets. This gives you massive credibility, not only to the media but also your customers. It tells the journalist that you know what you’re doing and that they can trust you to offer a great quote or be a charismatic guest. Put this somewhere prominent on your website. I put mine in the header/banner area of the website you’re looking at now and it appears on every page that someone visits.
Don’t worry if you haven’t had any media experience, but if you have your own media channel such as Youtube or a blog, put a link to that. Nowadays everyone can – and should – be a publisher.
What format should your media kit take?
You can make this as simple or fancy as you like. Impossible Foods uses a dedicated page to showcase the media it’s been featured in (I recommend this approach), and at the bottom includes a link to download its media kit. This takes the journalist directly to a cloud-based storage system where there are PDFs with information about the company, its founders, press releases and images. You can use Box, Dropbox, Google Drive or any cloud-based storage system.
You could also put this information on a web page or pages or put it all (except media coverage which is constantly changing as you continue to get featured) into a single downloadable PDF. You can do this yourself or hire a designer at a reasonable rate to make your media kit look snazzy.
Again, I used LeadPages to put together a media kit based around my book and expertise as a vegan business and PR consultant which you can view here.
One of the things I continually reiterate in my PR coaching and consultations and online PR course and group coaching program for vegan business owners is the importance of making a journalist’s job as easy as possible. Sometimes it’s just not possible to email a publicist or business owner in time to check some information or source images. Make these resources readily available so you don’t miss out on the opportunity of free publicity.
So, what are you waiting for? Go and get your media kit sorted out!
Need some help with your media kit? Or any other aspect of your PR? Find out how you can work with me here.
Katrina Fox is an award-winning vegan journalist, publisher, speaker, PR consultant and media trainer who teaches vegan business owners, entrepreneurs and change makers how to get free publicity by sharing their stories. Katrina was a regular contributor to Forbes for a year, writing about vegan and plant-based business. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Vegan Business Media, the host of Vegan Business Talk podcast, and the author of Vegan Ventures: Start and Grow an Ethical Business. Katrina is also the creator of Vegans in the Limelight: Online PR course for Vegan Business Owners and Entrepreneurs. For more information and to hire Katrina, email her at katrina [at] veganbusinessmedia [dotcom]