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Disclaimer

This is not advice. Items herein are general comments only and do not constitute or convey advice per se. The information contained in these articles is for guidance only and should not be relied upon without obtaining professional advice having regard to your direct circumstances.

 

Getting your kit off

Are you looking to attract coverage of your company in the media this year? A media kit will help get journalists up to speed with your business, writes Nicola Mendleson

The first step in getting coverage of your company is getting journalists up to speed on why it is worth writing a story about. A media kit provides the journalists with the ‘who, what, where, when, why, and how’ of your company and can be a valuable promotional document that showcases your business.

But, take note, often companies want to simply publicise their products or services, even if there’s nothing new or exciting about them. For a journalist to be interested in a story about your products or service it needs to be newsworthy - it must be exciting, new, unique or benefit the community in some way.

Getting started

As always, when you undertake public relations work, you need to have a clear and strategic communication plan in place. It is crucial that you identify clear aims and objectives for your communications so you know what you want to say, what your key messages are and how you plan to evaluate your success.

Once your aims, objectives and key messages are in place, do some background research to identify the appropriate media outlet or journalist that you want to target. This can include trade media, community newspapers, daily metropolitan newspapers, TV or radio.

It’s important to become familiar with these outlets so you know what subjects and geographical areas they cover, and which journalists report on the issues that are relevant to your business.

TOP 10 HINTS FOR PREPARING YOUR MEDIA KIT
 
1- Follow up your media kit with a phone call to ensure the journalist got the kit, sell your story and see if they need any more information.
2- Make sure your media releases and case studies are newsworthy.
3- Only send your media kit to journalists who cover areas relevant to your business.
4- Be realistic about what you can achieve. A media kit is good for building your profile, but won’t always result in a story.
5- Check spelling and grammar in all your documents and proof read.
6- Only use facts or statements you can back up, don’t embellish or lie.
7- Follow up with appropriate journalists once you’ve sent out your kit.
8- Use your kit in all your promotions- it can be good for new clients and investors as well as the media.
9- Use professionally designed brochures and flyers in your kit.
10- Be creative so your media kit stands out from the crowd.

Your research should also include talking to a couple of relevant journalists to check that they would be interested in your company/services/products and, if so, what will attract their attention so that you can present your information in the right way. Journalists will only be interested in your media kit if it presents a newsworthy and interesting story.

ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS

Media kits gather all the information on your business and provide it to a journalist all at once in the right format for them to use. Kits usually include;
• Media release
• Backgrounder/fact sheet/case studies, if relevant.
• Contact details for your company and/or spokesperson
• Promotional material, including brochures, flyers, merchandise; and
• A CD of images.
Kits can either be printed, collated into a folder and posted to media outlets, or can be created as word documents and emailed. It’s a good idea to find out which method your target journalists would prefer.

WRITING A MEDIA RELEASE

Most media releases follow a set formula:
1- Date your release and mark it ‘Media Release’
2- Write a short, snappy headline to explain what it is about
3- Include all the important information or the main point of your release in the first paragraph
4- Make sure your media release covers the ‘who, what, where, when, why and how’. Try and answer all these questions in the first paragraph if you can.
5- Be accurate and back up your claims with specific evidence, examples and statistics. Include some interesting quotes from your company spokesperson.
6- Keep your sentences short and try to limit your media release to one page.
7- Use simple words and avoid jargon or technical language; and
8- At the end of the release include contact information including your name and email address. Don’t forget to include area codes if you are sending your release interstate or overseas.

Don’t forget your key messages when you’re writing, and make sure they are included in the body of the release.

When you’ve written your media release, have someone in your office check it for spelling, grammar and accuracy. Once it’s ready to go and has been thoroughly checked you’re ready to send out your release. Most publications prefer to receive releases via email; however, some companies still accept media releases by fax.

It’s also a good idea to follow up your media release with a phone call to the journalists to check that they received it, sell the story to them and see if they need any more information.

DEVELOPING YOUR BACKGROUNDER AND FACT SHEET

People are often confused by the difference between a backgrounder and fact sheet- and both are important parts of a successful media kit.

A backgrounder is a brief, succinct history of your organisation. It could include the key milestones your company has achieved, biographies of the key people in your organisation as well as interesting tidbits about your company. Remember a backgrounder is supposed to be short and sweet; a journalist doesn’t want to know every single thing you’ve done, just the highlights!

A fact sheet is exactly what it says- a sheet of facts. This could include statistical information that is relevant to your company, definitions for key terms or explanations of technical issues or acronyms that are commonly used in your industry. Your fact sheet could also include any financial data you have made public or any general data on your company or industry that can be of assistance to a journalist. This information may not necessarily be something that will be used in the article or story, but will give the journalist a good understanding of your industry and your company.

BRING YOUR CASE STUDIES TO LIFE

Including case studies in your media kits is an excellent way to provide a journalist with extra background on your company as well as giving them an interesting story angle for your future stories or an in-depth feature. However, once again, they must be newsworthy- so think about why a journalist would want to write an article on your case study.

Case studies are often used to demonstrate a company’s success or to emphasise a particular item or service they provide. As with the media release, your case study needs to be well written and should include quotes from your spokesperson and, if applicable, quotes from a supplier or valued customer. Your case studies should each be about one page in length and include a snappy headline.

Case studies are a great opportunity for you to showcase your business, and could cover a myriad of topics including products and services, long-standing business relationships, successful sales or projects that you have completed.

A PLACE FOR PROMOTION

It’s important to think of your media kit as another way to advertise your business, so you should include any relevant promotional material you have.

Brochures, flyers, business cards, and merchandise such as pens and other promotional material should be included in the media kit.

If possible, it’s a good idea to create a CD of images including headshots of your CEO or media spokesperson, images of your products and services, and any other company images you have. These need to be quality, high-resolution images, preferably taken by a professional photographer.
  
My Business
March 2008

 


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