How To Build An Effective Startup Press Kit

Last week entrepreneur Alyssa Richard stopped by the our office to drop off a press kit for her new startup, RateHub.ca, a mortgage rate comparison website. She was launching her mortgage calculator tool to the public, and wanted to approach media and bloggers with information about the company. A press kit is so integral for a startup at launch Рit can make or break whether media, key people in your industry and your consumers get the full story about what you do.

Based on our experiences building a media kit, and from viewing many startup press pages, here is our advice for building a press kit for your small business.

What it accomplishes

  • Gives journalists/bloggers material to use when they’re writing about you
  • Makes people more likely to talk about your startup because they’re informed
  • Makes it more likely that a journalist will include multimedia (photos/video) in their coverage
  • Gives people an easy, central place to pull information from instead of having to constantly e-mail your marketing person

What it should include

Online

Everyone should have a press kit they can e-mail out to journalists, bloggers or conference organisers at the drop of a hat. But having it on your hard drive isn’t enough – make it accessible on your press or about us page, and allow people to download a .zip file. Here’s what your press kit should include:

  • Company logos in different formats (.jpg, .eps, etc)
  • A demo video (if you have one – or if the file is too large a link to the video in your fact sheet)
  • Screenshots of your site
  • Team bios
  • Your about us/how it works section, including contact information
  • A release/one-pager about the launch (if you’re launching or debuting new features)
  • A “Startup 101” fact sheet – who you are, FAQ, where you’re based, and any other pertinent information. You can combine this with your about us/how it works if you want
  • Headshots for any company executives/spokespeople
  • Optional/nice-to-have: key features descriptions and customer testomonials

Hard Copy

Alyssa went above and beyond just having a press kit on her website, and instead dropped off a version of her kit in person. But she didn’t just drop off a few pages of information – she had a colour-coded folder with screenshots, fact sheets and her business card, as well as hand-crafted mini house with the our company logo on it. It’s clear that Alyssa went to a ton of effort to make sure people knew she cares about them individually, and they’re not just a name on an influencer list. Here’s some advice if you’re planning to drop off media kits in person:

  • Make sure you have an existing relationship with the person or ask them if it’s OK if you drop by. No one likes uninvited visitors, especially ones they don’t know
  • Package it all together. It’s easy to have an online media kit because it’s all in one folder – the same idea applies for hard copy media kits. Keep all the paper info in a folder, and include any business cards or additional material. This makes it easier for people to keep track of your information instead of sending it all to the recycle bin
  • Find a way to stand out. Journalists get pitched every minute of every day, and bloggers are increasingly receiving numerous pitches from startups and PR agencies. Do what Alyssa did – colour-code your kit, and find a way to be unique – in her case it was a hand-crafted Sprouter house that reflects what the company does, and now stands on display on my desk
  • personalise. Don’t write “To whom it may concern” on your intro letter, or have a generic press kit that goes to everybody. Find a way to personalise the pitch – include their name on all documents and include a name tag on any items. Make sure the recipient knows why you think they’re important and should be receiving it.

Hopefully this helps you build an effective press kit for your startup. Remember – journalists and bloggers can’t write about you if they can’t find the information. Make it accessible, and have fun with it. Alyssa did, and it helped her get some attention for her launch.

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