Do you understand the difference between a press release and a media pitch, or an electronic press kit and an editorial calendar? Keep reading for a free guide that shares the differences between various public relations documents.
What’s an Electronic Press Kit?
An electronic press kit is a one-stop-shop for journalists to find information about your company. It should include details about your business, high-res images and contact information.
The key to an electronic press kit is to anticipate what the reporter may want so they can find the answers to their questions quickly and easily anytime of day – without needing to wait for you to call or email them back.
See examples of electronic press kits here.
How to Create an Electronic Press Kit
Remember your audience when you create your electronic press kit; you’re writing for journalists, not consumers, so make sure you write about the facts instead of using sales-y language.
I always start an electronic press kit by thinking about the questions I want to answer:
- How can you be contacted? List this at the very top so it’s easy to see. Make sure you include a phone number and email address so they can get a hold of you quickly and easily.
- What does the company do, and what makes them unique? This should be clear in the very first paragraph.
- Is there anything your company specializes in that you need to explain?
- Would it be helpful to include details about yourself as the proprietor? For some companies it makes sense, although for others it’s not necessary.
- How much does your product or service cost?
- Where is your company located? How can consumers contact you?
- What would be a great story about your business? We like to suggest 3-5 basic ideas for journalists visiting our clients’ Electronic Press Kits.
- Is there anything else you think needs to be included? Some companies have an interesting story behind how they started or have some sort of initiative worth sharing.
Write your answers to these questions as clearly as possible. Then step away, do something else and come back with a fresh set of eyes. In addition to thinking about how well you’re representing your brand, consider how easily it shares important details with someone that doesn’t know anything about your company.
Once you’ve written all the text, upload it to a separate page of your website. Include high-res images (at least 3×5 inches at 300 dots per inch) to the page for journalists to download, too. Ideally, you’d include your logo, products you sell (take photos of them on a plain white background without any props) and any other images that make sense, like maybe your headshot.
What’s a Sample Letter or Fact Sheet?
A Sample Letter is most of the same information in the Electronic Press Kit, but limited to one page. This one-page information sheet is important to include in every single sample package you send out to journalists so they have the vital information they can reference quickly – especially contact details and the URL to your full Electronic Press Kit.
For clients that offer a service as opposed to a product, we recommend a Fact Sheet to send interested journalists in lieu of a Sample Letter. This is the same information that’s in the Electronic Press Kit as well, but formatted more like a bulleted list that is easy to skim and pull specifics from quickly.
What’s an Editorial Calendar?
A valuable tool in trying to secure media coverage, an Editorial Calendar is a list of planned stories for upcoming issues in magazines and newspapers. Advertisers use them to decide which issues to place their ads in, and public relations professionals use them to know when to pitch specific outlets and with what angle.
How to Get an Editorial Calendar
- Decide which publication(s) you’d like to target.
- Check their website to see if it’s posted online or downloadable. The best places to look are in their media kit and/or their advertisers section.
- If you can’t find the Editorial Calendar online, call the media outlet, ask for their advertising or sales department and request a media kit, which will include demographic information, ad rates and an Editorial Calendar. They’ll either email you a PDF or mail a hard copy version.
How to Use an Editorial Calendar
- Make note of the stories that would be applicable to your company.
- Look at the close dates listed for “Features” or “News” and check the calendar to make sure there’s still time to pitch them.
- Carefully craft a pitch that ties your company to their upcoming story and email it to the appropriate reporter at the publication. For example, if you’re pitching a food angle you should contact the Food Editor. For a line of beauty products, a Beauty Writer.
What’s a Media Game Plan?
A Media Game Plan lays out which media targets you plan to approach and with which angles each month. It’s an important step to stay organized and see an overview of your strategy quickly and easily.
Here’s how to make one:
- Brainstorm media outlets in which you could see your business. As you read newspapers, magazines or blogs, think about ways your company would be a natural fit. Make sure you write down media outlets you come up with.
- Think about ways you could see journalists covering your business. Are you a good fit for holiday gift guides? Write it down!
- As you start looking over your list of media outlets and potential angles to use when you approach the media, think about the times of year that would be best to get the ball rolling. It’s important to remember lead times, which are how far in advance journalists start working on their stories. It varies by media type:
- Magazines: 4-6 months
- Newspapers: 6-8 weeks
- Websites/Blogs: 4-6 weeks
- TV & radio: 3-4 weeks
- Write out all the months of the year, and then plug in the media outlets you want to approach and the angle you plan to use for that specific outlet. Now you have your media game plan!
What’s a Press Release?
A press release is an announcement of a newsworthy item that is issued to the press. Think about what you want to get the word out about for your business. Does it appeal to a wide audience? Is it something the media, investors or other key constituents would be interested in? Another good reason to write a release is to increase a company’s SEO (search engine optimization). By writing a release with keywords in mind and distributing it through a major distributor like BusinessWire, you can help drive traffic to your website.
How to Write a Press Release
- Research keywords. If you want to increase SEO through your press release, it’s important you sprinkle high-ranking words and phrases throughout the document.
- At the top of the press release, write “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” followed by your phone number and email address. You want to make it easy for anyone seeing your release to contact you for details.
- Follow the inverted pyramid. You want the most important information at the very top of the release. In addition to making sure the reader sees the point right away, if a reporter decides to use part of your press release in their article but they don’t have room for all of it, they can cut details from the bottom. Make sure the most important details are included in the first two sentences.
- Insert quotes. Adding a quote or two to the press release gives it a human touch and allows a reporter to cite a source without coordinating an interview. Make sure the person quoted is someone notable from your organization, such as the CEO, president or founder.
- Keep it brief. Clear, concise writing is vital for effective public relations. Stronger writing uses fewer words; make your press release powerful by writing with brevity.
- Include a link to your website. You want to make it easy for the reader to find out more about your business, plus if you distribute the press release through a wire service, the additional links pointing to your website will help your SEO.
- Add a boilerplate about your company. This is a brief overview about your business; it shouldn’t be more than three to four sentences. I’d recommend adding a link to your website at the end of it, too.
What’s a Media Advisory?
A media advisory is a document used to provide a reporter with all the details for an upcoming event, such as a grand opening, fashion show or other noteworthy happening. When you create a media advisory you can literally write:
- Contact Info: [Include your phone number and email address]
- What: [Clearly and concisely write a brief paragraph or two about the event]
- When: [Include both the date and time]
- Where: [Remember the name of the venue in addition to the address]
- Who: [This can be 1-2 sentences about you or your organization]
- More Information: [Don’t forget this step! It’s extremely important to include a link to the event page for more information]
At Three Girls Media, we generally send advisories to appropriate media contacts a few times: once about 4-6 weeks before the event begins, again 1-2 weeks prior and finally 1-2 days before as a last-minute reminder.
What’s a Media Pitch?
A media pitch is a professional yet casual introduction to your product, service or business that entices the journalist to ideally want more information, such as an interview, samples or additional details for a story or review. We always recommend you pitch by email because:
- It’s less intrusive; the journalist can take a look at the most convenient time for their schedule.
- It allows for easy-access to additional information; all you need to do is include a link or two to your website and high-res photos.
- Many journalists prefer receiving pitches by email.
There are a few key elements you want to make sure you include in every single pitch you put together:
- A strong, appealing subject line. This is what entices the journalist to open the email, so you want to grab their attention right away, give them a reason to open the email and avoid looking like spam. It can be tricky, but it’s very important!
- A hook right up front. Make it clear why their readers, viewers or listeners would care about your story idea right away – within the first two sentences.
- A little bit of background information. You don’t want to overwhelm the journalist with massive amounts of information, but you do want to give them enough so they know if they’re interested or not.
- A link to more information. Always include a link for them to find out more. In fact, this is a great place to include a link to your electronic press kit.
- An offer for product samples, an interview and more information. Let them know you’re happy to work with them to provide what they need, such as product samples or an interview.
After creating your pitch, step away from your computer for a while and then come back to proofread with fresh eyes. In addition to helping you find typos, your brain might have subconsciously come up with a better way to phrase something or a more enticing subject line idea. I also recommend having someone else read over any pitches you plan to send before distributing them; they might catch something you missed or have a helpful suggestion you can incorporate.
What’s a Media List?
A “media list” is a grouping of individual reporters, editors and producers that would potentially cover your business.
Start building your lists by writing down your dream publications. Go to each media outlet’s website and research who the best contact is. Some sites actually list all the reporters on their staff, whereas for others you’ll need to read through the various articles to determine who the best fit is. As you research, save appropriate contacts you find (along with contact information and any notes) in an Excel spreadsheet.
Once you’ve researched your initial list of dream media outlets, start thinking about similar outlets that might be a good fit as well. For example, if you came up with a magazine like Harper’s Bazaar, you might want to consider including Vogue, too. You can also Google types of publications for ideas, like “Men’s Websites” or “Parenting Magazines.”
Want to know more about various public relations documents? Feel free to contact us to learn more, or read more about them here:
- Press Release is a 4-Letter Word
- Pitch vs. Press Release – What’s the difference?
- Develop a Media Pitch That Gets Attention
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