Along with business cards, media kits are a critical part of any business’s marketing arsenal. If business cards are daggers (used in a pinch and for tight one-on-one engagement), then media kits are cannons, dangerously effective at making crushing impact even at long range. More benignly put, a media kit is to your blog what a business card is to you as an individual: a snapshot conveying essential details to anyone who might wish to (or you might wish to) consort with you, including editors and other writers, producers and publishers, PR agents, advertisers and sponsors.
So if you’re serious about wanting to turn blogging into a revenue-generating business practice and you don’t yet have a media kit, now’s the time to start building casts for a shiny new cannon.
To help you along, here are some vital considerations.
What’s in a Media Kit?
Although I sometimes hear to the contrary, there’s really no such thing as a standard media kit. I’ve received scores of them and written a dozen or so; no two are alike for the simple reason that no two businesses are (or should be) alike. Brand differentiation spurs creativity and distinctiveness, as well it should. That being said, there are a several things that no media kit should be without simply because they serve useful purposes and, more importantly, because people expect them.
For a large company, a profile can cover a lot of ground and fill several (but hopefully not too many) pages. For a small entity, though, it may be no more than a paragraph. Regardless, this a brief but detailed and necessarily interesting introduction answers all five Ws (who, what, where, when, why… and how too) by ushering readers through an institution’s history, heritage, mission, values, core staff, vital statistics, and major projects, partners and accomplishments. Profiles are sometimes written in a FAQ- or Q&A-style format, although, in my opinion, rarely to very good effect.
Most independent travel bloggers would do best to produce a not-overstuffed one-page profile that includes at least the following:
- blog ‘logo’ (actual art, or word art and/or tagline)
- Web address (the http:// is not necessary)
- primary contact’s full name, title and preferred means of communication
- blog description (try to hit as many of the five Ws as is reasonable) and short bios of key participants
- blog statistics and demographics
The people who receive media kits are usually just as overworked and time-poor as you are. They therefore have no patience for vagueness or confusion. They don’t want to hack through thick blocks of text (don’t write them), an overabundance of adjectives (leave them out), unctuous self-promotion (be professional) or a thicket of statistics (delete delete delete). So the best way to help them is to prepare a fact sheet, which is a bullet-point-driven one-page summary of everything else in the media kit. Nothing but the essentials.
To prepare a fact sheet, bloggers who pull together a one-page profile will probably need to reformat things a bit and pare back on the words to make room for other high-priority inclusions. If you haven’t made it prominent anywhere else in the media kit, the fact sheet is a good place to clearly state your disclosure practices.
This means different things to different companies. For retailers, there may be very short reviews of featured items; from service companies, count on prominent displays of credentials. Artists (including photographers and writers) may include clippings, prints or other samples of their work. In all cases, testimonials often make an appearance, the more notable the referee the better.
For bloggers, the product is the service you offer through your blog and the skills you bring to maintaining it. You may decide to include ad placement, paid links, sponsored posts, reviews, giveaways, brand partnerships and sponsorships. You may also express your readiness to participate in press trips.
How Should It Look and Read?
First and foremost, remember what a media kit is for: to render itself useless. It’s a disposable foot that’s quickly jettisoned once you get through a door. As such, it needs to look and function like the best of all possible foots, but there’s never a need to upgrade it into a hand.
Choose an Appropriate Feel
Be serious about how your media kit looks. If you’re a snarky blogger, don’t choose serious colours (unless you’re being snarky about them). If you’re all about responsible travel, then using industrial designs probably doesn’t suit. Adhering to your blog’s own colour palette usually makes the most sense. Whatever you settle on, be consistent with it, especially over time. Maintain style across all pages. Of course, if you’re lacking in artistic acumen, hire someone who isn’t.
Be Brief but Absorbing
Think of the words I used far above: crushing impact, snapshot. Your media kit needs to get down to business straight away and deliver key details without leaving time for distraction. It’s got to be short and easy. And honest. The best way to come up with the right kind of language is to think about a killer marketing strategy.
Don’t Glorify the Numbers
There’s growing uncertainty about what blog-traffic and social-media numbers really mean, especially in terms of whether big digits guarantee big return on investment. By all means, include statistics, but also try to contextualise them by sharing details about your target audience, demographics, reach and influence (read more about this here.
The most common hard-number statistics are: numbers of subscribers, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, Google+ friends and Pinterest followers; Alexa traffic rank and Google pagerank; and analytics like the number of monthly pageviews and unique monthly visitors. If you’ve got a good Klout score, that’s worth mentioning too.
Make sure your contact information is included on every page, if necessary as a small inclusion in the header or footer. Also find ways to trumpet upcoming public appearances, especially speaking engagements at conferences.
Keep Things Fresh
Be vigilant about updating your media kit every three to six months. Make a note in your calendar so that you don’t forget. As you accomplish new things – develop partnerships with new companies, find new audiences and trip over new traffic thresholds – ensure that your media kit as up to date.
Media kits never act alone. Like a résumé or CV, a media kit needs a cover letter. In this separate file, you treat potential business partners like royalty and give them precisely what they need. We all love it when our work gets done for us, so do just that for a prospective collaborator. Come up with brand-specific ideas (the more innovative the better) about how you can can turn your expertise and audience to their advantage. As I wrote in a previous post, “Make clear who you are, what you offer, why you are different and how you can be of (financial) value.” Present actionable reasons for people to call you! Even if they don’t like the specific ideas you propose, they may see in you a commitment to breathing life into their ideas.
Make a Media or Advertising Page on Your Blog
Having done all the work you have, why not create an online version using the same content? Set up a ‘media’ or ‘advertise‘ page and don’t be shy about pushing it.
Do you have a media kit? Any further hints you would like to share?
Featured Image: Flickr/Burgermac
- 24 July, 2012 @ 16:10 [Current Revision] by Ethan Gelber
- 24 July, 2012 @ 12:12 by Ethan Gelber