Media professionals have been through the wringer the past few generations with HUGE, life-altering changes to how they do business and attempt to make a profit. In this new digital age, it is more important than ever for marketers to find that competitive edge to make our business stand out amongst the rest. And we need to do that with media as well as with consumers. This means we need to enlist a multi-channel integrated marketing plan that includes several inbound marketing and public relations initiatives in order to meet marketing and lead generation goals and a press kit, though it sounds traditional, can be a highly beneficial part of that plan. Let’s talk about why.
Historic Overview of Press Kits
(in Yvonne's opinion)
As marketing professionals, some of us have witnessed this media transition from a printing press to a stagnant digital database of offerings and now to a dynamic, always fresh, plethora of content online. During the printing press era, press kits (or media kits) were a brand consistent folder of information containing printed (yes, I said printed – like from a large-scale printing press or print shop) materials. These were sent (yes, like mailed via the US Post Office) or hand-delivered to local, regional and national news stations or media outlets as reference tools for the creation of news stories. They contained various things including a logo sheet, reproducible photos, a company fact sheet, leadership team bios (with headshots available on the image sheets), past press releases, and other relevant hard copies of information like product fact sheets or industry studies. These were used as reference pieces for media professionals to create factual, in-depth news pieces that their audience wanted to read. This necessitated a mutually beneficial relationship between companies and media professionals.
And then that World Wide Web thing happened and screwed the whole process up! So now what? Both the media and companies had to figure out how to leverage this new technology offering while maintaining business productivity and budgets. (and then it all got screwed up again with the advent of social media!).
At HIVE, we are enamored with digital marketing trends and endeavors and how they can have an immense impact for businesses of all sizes and in all industries. But remember that term, multi-channel? Using multiple digital marketing tactics is necessary. BUT you can also put a digital twist on some traditional initiatives, like public relations.
We mentioned recently that you need to add public relations to your digital mix and introduced you to our Inbound PR services. Public relations is not just writing and distributing a press release to media outlets though. In order to stand out in the crowd, you need to do more. One way is to make sure your company makes it as easy as possible for a journalist to write a compelling story about your business/angle/product/offering. But since they don’t work for your company, don’t always have time for long interviews, and may do their writing outside of business hours, you need to provide them with information accessible when and how they need. They want access to content in the same way we do as consumers – easy, immediate, and online. In order to provide this, you need to create a space on your website that is easy to find and utilize. But let’s put a little more perspective on this scenario.
We have all been experiencing the dwindling of media outlets in this digital age. Newspapers and magazines are being forced to turn digital and offer their content online – which of course means a change in how they produce their content. But there are still some consumers that want the old school hard copies. So they are literally doing both. But think about it – this is being done with LESS budget since fewer are subscribing to hard copies and thus fewer are buying hard copy ads. Everyone has turned to digital. And we also want to consume these news pieces for free on the web. It makes sense that the number of media professionals is dwindling right along with their average pay. Throughout this process, media professionals are also expected to do more. They need to find, source, and verify the validity of their newsworthy content while producing 2-3 times the amount of content that earlier professionals were expected to produce – I mean the news is a 24-hour, 7 day a week industry! And now consumers expect real time updates on live breaking stories to top it all off.
So one tactic to ensure we stand out from the crowd among media professionals is to ensure we provide them with background, details, and assets that make their jobs easier. Enter the online press kit. But this is not just a give, give scenario. Your business should benefit from this as well!
Back in the 2000s we saw companies simply take the printed PDF version of their traditional media kit assets and place that online. The really fancy companies used a tool that allowed you to flip through those assets like a BOOK! Oooooo ---- ahhhhh. But who knows why that doesn’t work in today’s digital age?
If search engines can't read and index it, it might as well not be there. The PDF files were seen as files by search engines, not content. And although consumers like the look and experience these DO NOT help SEO. But remember our main goal -- make things easier for the media. This format often times did not achieve that goal either. As images and content were not reproducible from this format. Companies needed another way.
With the move towards mobile friendly websites and pillar pages, content on websites got long and lean. This works well for sharing several layers of information that is easily snagged from a page and included and referenced in a news piece.
SEO Inc adds that sharing media coverage on your website also adds instant credibility along with an organic back linking campaign. They also say NOT to share this via your blog -- I disagree. There is a place/situation for that. It just needs to be framed properly in your blog post. We dive into that more in our next blog post on press kits.
So you can see why we are advocating for businesses to build a press kit on their website -- such a better situation for them AND the media! Combining the traditional public relations field with the new digital landscape is what we call Inbound PR. We have found this content can get your business media attention, make it easier for journalists to get the information they need to do their jobs, and increase website visits by optimizing the whole scenario for search engines.