Sunday, August 23, 2009


Website Media Kits:

Downloadable Free Marketing

Fortune 500 companies have press kits available on their websites. So do most of the sites that comprise the Russell 2000. Even small, one-person service providers make press kits available in the hopes of getting some free “ink.” And why not? Print media needs green content just as much as web sites so, if you have an interesting idea, promo, freebie, service, give-away or contest, put together a downloadable press kit.

What should your press kit include?

1. Well, obviously, it should include a brief description of your site, your goods and services, coupled with your unique selling proposition. What makes you so good?

2. A one-page list of bullet points. Remember, this press kit is being read by a journalist who wants the facts fast so she can move on to her next assignment.

3. Your picture, and one that’s been done by a professional. A picture of you playing with the kids at a theme park does not say “Professional Investment Advisor.” You, in that standard corporate pose from the waist up, set against seamless paper, as boring and mundane as these business pictures are, represents the best of you.

Dress the part. Suit. Take out the ear stud and, if at all possible, cover the neck tattoo. (What were you thinking?) It’s not a trust builder and that’s what your picture is all about. Building trust. There’s a guy behind this web site and you’re looking at him in a suit.

4. Complete contact information including: name, email address, phone, physical address, Skype user name – whatever makes it easy for a reporter to contact your PR Director for more information.

5. Production values count. Yes, the media kit will be downloaded and who knows what will actually appear in the viewer’s browser. It depends on which browser he’s using and what settings she has clicked on or off.

Do bear this in mind. As many as 50% of all recipients of your media kit will not be able to view images – charts, graphs and other picture-type files. Instead, they see that box with the red ‘X’ inside it.

Send images as bitmaps (bmp), gif or jpg files. One of them should work in the reporter’s browser.

Back to production values. You can look good on a budget. One advisor rented an office from a friend to shoot his online video. No deceit. You see this kind of thing on TV ads all the time. The advisor, who worked out of his house, was shot using a broadcast-quality DV camera with interchangeable lenses, the set was lit to compensate for image compression (needs a bit more light in this case), the shooter rented a teleprompter ($25 for the day) and the video welcome looks absolutely first rate on this financial advisor’s website.

Remember, as we’ve said many time before, perception is reality on the W3. If people perceive you to be a well-established consultancy because your web site maintains high production values and offers a lot of good information, you’ve done a good job. And it’s not cheating if you deliver high-quality services to fit the standards set forth on your online outlet.

6. Testimonials. A few, not pages and pages of raves from satisfied buyers. A couple of good testimonials using complete names and community addresses to add validity is all you need in a media kit. Reporters want facts, not opinions – unless they’re professional opinions.

One web site sells used medical equipment – expensive stuff – hundreds of thousands of dollars for a CAT scan with only 40,000 miles on it. Any way, the owner of this site has testimonials, with pictures, from MDs and hospital administrators who testify about the money they saved buying this or that piece of medical hardware. Those “professional” testimonials work better than the one from Martha B., Los Angeles.

7. Often forgotten, be sure to include your company’s logo in the most common image formats (bmp, gif and jpg). A reporter may use your logo in the piece and that’s free advertising. Don’t miss the opportunity.

8. Finally, include a contact card. A business-sized card with your company name, your name and other contact information. The reporter may not want to run a story on you now, but may want to keep your name on file. A contact card is ideal, especially if it slips right into the Rolodex.

A press kit that presents the best image of you and your business takes a little time and a little money to compile. And, for sure, not every site owner needs one. However, if part of your marketing campaign is to grab some local or regional ink from your hometown print media, a press kit will more than pay for itself after your first feature runs.

So, do it right. Look good. And create a link on your site for a downloadable press kit. As one of millions of web reporters, I promise – we’ll all appreciate it.

Looking to grab a little digital ink for your web business? No sweat. Drop me a line or give me a call and let's start seeing some traffic. It ain't rocket science.

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