Got Something to Sell? Then You Need an Online Press Kit

Online Press Kit

Why you need an online press kit

As a tech entrepreneur with a growing business, you need to get the word out – which means engaging with journalists. But journalists are busy people, deluged with email, and usually simultaneously working on several projects. To maximize your chances of press coverage, it’s vital to make you, your company, and your product as easy to write about as possible.

In short, you need an online press kit.

What is an online press kit?

An online press kit is a digital set of promotional materials for your business, which are neatly organized and make available to media outlets. Traditionally, press kits included printed documents, photographs, and other physical materials that were sent to the media as part of a company’s public relations or promotional program, but as print media has all but gone extinct in recent years, your company should be focusing on acquiring digital media coverage and that means making an online press kit.

What is in an online press kit?

The elements of an effective online press kit depend on the company, product, or service in which it’s focused. For instance, a press kit for a music production company will be very different than if it were for an anti-virus software product. While there are no specific rules for exactly what needs to be included in an online press kit, there are a number of key elements that are common among them.

What to include in an online press kit

  1. Backgrounder: Backgrounders provide media outlets more information on a company, product or service and typically supplements a press release, featured story, or media pitch of some sort. Backgrounders not only let reporters and editors know that you are a legitimate and credible business, but they also provide complementary information to strengthen your pitch once they are interested.
  2. Fact sheets: Fact sheets for products and services are in most press kits to quickly outline the most important features in a format that’s neatly organized and concise.
  3. Photos: High resolution, professional photos are important, especially for product press kits.
  4. Biographies: Online press kits often include bios for key members and staff of the company who are available for interviews, speaking engagements, and other press worthy efforts related to the product or service.
  5. Press Releases: Companies often keep a collection of important and recent press releases in their online press kit, so media outlets can easily find updated newsworthy information.
  6. Contact Information: It should always be easy for media contacts to get in touch with you.

How to make your online press kit a success

1. Make your press kit visible

Make your press kit visibleDon’t hide your press kit away. Too often, companies only provide press details when asked. In an era of tight deadlines, this means lost coverage – if a writer has two items to write about and one slot, but lacks the information they need right now about yours, they may go with the other option.

So whatever you include in your online press kit, make it readily available. If you have a website, add a press kit/media resources link to your press, about or contact page. Don’t make journalists search for press assets – they haven’t time. And if you don’t already have a website, get one, even if only for basic contact details and press info.

2. Make text interesting and relevant

Make press kit text interesting and relevantIt’s tempting to go big and bold, but what you most need is clarity. Digestible facts are key. If you’ve got a story about a new product, describe it in a sentence, and then a paragraph. More expansive content can be offered for those who need it. Cater for all eventualities.

Minimize marketing jargon, avoid “best ever” boasts (journalists will glaze over), only include testimonials if they really add something, and ensure media mentions link to the source. If you’ve got a house style for your brand, mention it, but don’t be angry if editors refuse to go against their own guidelines.

Lay everything out in HTML, which can be copied and pasted. By all means offer downloadable PDFs too – but don’t hide content away in those alone.

3. Offer high-quality photos and videos

Offer high-quality photos and videos in your press kitMost stories require images, but many entrepreneurs don’t have any, even when selling a product or app. If that’s you, rectify this – fast.

You need imagery for web and print, and the latter requires high-quality and uncompressed images. Aim for 2000–3000 pixels on the long side for print. If people and office shots are important to your story, add them, along with logos. But don’t add them at the expense of products – a press kit with only a photo of the CEO and a logo isn’t enough unless the CEO is what you’re selling.

For software, shoot screenshots and supply them as-is. Don’t ruin them with overlaid captions and other imagery, nor place the likes of an iPhone app inside a picture of an iPhone, or your image will be unusable for press.

Video is good for crowdfunding, software, technology, and projects better explained with moving images. Keep videos short, get to the point quickly, and ensure what you’re selling is prominently displayed. Make the end result public – YouTube videos can be embedded in an article in seconds.

4. Include key contact details

Include key contact details in your press kitIf you have a great press kit, journalists may not need anything more – but don’t assume that. Include an email address, so people can ask questions and contact you at any time of day, from anywhere in the world. A phone number is handy too, for urgent requests, but more suited to larger organizations than solo tech entrepreneurs.

Whichever methods you choose, ensure there’s someone responsive at the other end. It’s fine to use info@ and hello@ email addresses, or online forms; but this doesn’t work if there’s no-one regularly checking the inbox messages are sent to – and answering them in a timely manner.

5. Keep things professional

Keep press kit professionalIf you’re not a writer or photographer, hire someone for those tasks. It’s a false economy doing things yourself if the end result isn’t objectively impressive. And once your press kit is online, don’t let it stagnate. There’s no point having images of an app if the last time they were updated was three years ago.

Finally, whether you start small or have a press kit that’s grown, keep things organized. Use headers to categorize content. Ensure files are named logically so journalists can quickly find downloads. Provide links to relevant web pages, press releases, and brochures. And never, ever have your press kit be one massive ZIP for someone to download!

Ultimately, you’re trying to make it easy for someone to research what you do and find what they need. This makes it more likely they will write about what you do, rather than discard it and move on to whatever’s next.

Have a question or feedback about this story? Drop us a comment below.

Craig Grannell

Craig Grannell is a technology writer, specializing in helping people get more from their computers and devices. He’s written for a range of publications, including The Guardian, BA Business Life, Macworld, and TechRadar. Although currently immersed in all things Apple, he first caught the technology bug when using a VIC–20 as a kid. He still thinks Metagalactic Llamas Battle at the Edge of Time is a perfectly sensible name for a video game. Connect with Craig on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.