I’ve noticed a lot of local businesses, artists, cultural attractions, etc. in Desert Hot Springs do not seem to give much credence to the value of press relations. Most people in general have a sense of what a press release is, but few know the specifics and those who are versed in the nuances of these ubiquitous documents are rather rare, even in large metros.
So, I guess it is understandable that in our sleepy little resort town it would be difficult to find folks that are up on the latest trends in public relations. However, regardless of where you are, who you are, or what you do… if you do anything that involves attracting people to a place, a web site, a concept, a movement, or generally distributing any kind of information to anyone that is not already your own, personal, captive audience, there are great benefits to learning about and embracing the art of media relations.
Now, I am going to spare you all the tedious “basic training” about formatting a press release and the difference between a press release, a media alert, and press package, etc. That will just ensure that you never want anything to do with it again. Instead, I am going to WOW YOU with the breathtaking beauty of a really, really, really well done press kit. To clarify the terminology without boring you to death, a press kit is simply a collection of press releases and other media like photos and videos that journalists and reporters can use to put together a story.
Now, take a deep breath, clear your mind, imagine that you are a dynamic media producer working on a high production value magazine show for a cutting edge network.. Your looking for diverse locations with stimulating and unique cultural experiences to be captured by your top notch crew and high paid talent. You’re googling for something that makes you want to jump on the plane and be shooting by 8am. All of a sudden you come across this:
Now, don’t spend too long on there… HEY! Come back here! Remember me? Yes, that’s better, now. Thank you. What did you think? Great wasn’t it. The story ideas, the videos, the prewritten copy you can just paste right into a script. No worries about copyrights, this whole site was MADE to be COPIED! Those beautiful videos, they have studio quality masters of those that you can give right to your editor for stock footage. Those awesome photos, they have a whole catalog of different angles, different outfits, different lighting. Did you notice the “Press Trip” link on the right? That’s what makes you wanna get on that plane and be sipping mamosas by… I mean, setting up shots by 8 am.
Granted, this press kit is for a whole friggin’ state. Your average Desert Hot Springs business in not going to have, or need, anything this elaborate. But, the concepts are still the same. So, don’t bother learning why press releases have to end with — # # # — Just get somebody that knows a little about PR or journalism, a student or retired reporter, or an amateur writer or photographer, and show them an example of an AMAZING press kit like this one. If they are not instantly inspired and busy snapping away photos or taking notes by the time you click to the next page, hire someone else.
I hope this has made you think of press kits in new light. They don’t have to be schlocky, schpealsy, schmaltzy pitches. They can be artful, tasteful, and most importantly USEFUL to the people who will be telling your story to your future customers, clients, collectors, donors, or fans. They can also be a lot of fun and if you are willing to devote some time to doing a good job and get involved in the process, you may find that the experience really opens your eyes to what the public actually sees, what you really want them to see, and how powerful showing them things you don’t necessarily want them to see can be. Sometimes, showing your human fallibility goes a lot farther than sitting on your high horse and tooting your own horn.
Be yourself, use common sense, remember who and what you are writing for, and learn from the experience. It’s well worth it.