Authors, How to Create a Digital Press Kit the Media Will Love
The post, Do You Need an Online Makeover? discussed the importance of establishing a polished web presence. Your news page will be one of the most visited links on your web site. Whether you’re a fiction writer, author/expert, or speaker, you can create a go-to press page that wows the media. If your book is still in the works, that’s even better Pre-launch is the ideal opportunity to educate the market about the problem or need that your book will address.
Authors, Create a Digital Press Kit Like a Superstar
Many media outlets are stretched incredibly thin so anything you can do to make a reporter’s job easier will benefit you both. If your press materials are easy to access and professionally presented, this can take you far, especially when a writer is working against a deadline.
Your Bio and Your Personal Story
• In addition to having a compelling plot, your personal story should be rich with quotable sound-bites. Make it easy for a journalist to cut and paste directly from your bio materials. To quote publicist, Rick Frishman, “Your sound bite must make listeners want to buy your products, champion your causes, and fight your wars.”
That’s a lot of weight for ten to 20 words. “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself,” is an example of a powerful sound bite that conveys a world of meaning in only ten words. Metaphor and emotion are your friends.
• In addition to your riveting personal story with lots of copy-and-paste friendly sound bite material, create a 25 word, 50 word and 100 word version of your bio referencing your track record and unique difference.
Don’t Skimp on Your Head Shot
• Your press kit should include a professional head shot and a lifestyle shot that’s resonant with your personal brand. Spring for some professional photos unless you’re a really good photographer or you have a friend who has a talent for fine art portrait photography.
• Have your head shots (and book cover art) available in both web, and high resolution formats for print media.
• Until your face becomes familiar, keep your head shot consistent across all of your sites including your social media sites.
• Register your head shot with http://en.gravatar.com/ so it will be visible on your blog posts and blog comments.
• Title all of your online branding photos with your first and last name so they will appear in Google image results. Along with your name, add your area of expertise or your book title to some of your photos.
Show Off, but Be Cool About It
• If you have media clips, post them on your press page.
• If you don’t have clips yet, post links to your press releases.
• If you don’t have press releases yet, write some. Here are some thoughts on writing press releases and crafting irresistible headlines. Your press release should read like it was written by a fair and unbiased reporter. Any overt endorsements should appear in quotes from you or as quoted testimonials. This is where you can put one or two of your sizzling sound bites to work.
• There’s no rule that says you need to distribute a press release over the wire, but if you have something newsworthy to say, press releases are still a great way to boost your search rank and spread your message (even after Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithms). PR Newswire, Business Wire and Market Wire are the main press release distribution services. If you’re on a budget try E-Releases or PR Web. If you have no budget, PR Log will post your press release for free.
• If you’re an author/expert, a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page is a great way to interview yourself. Put yourself in the shoes of a sharp reporter and ask yourself some hard questions. Go deep, but teach in simple, clear language.
• Highlight key testimonials on your press page. It’s okay to name drop here. Associating your personal brand with bigger established brands is a powerful way to strengthen yours.
• If you’re positioning yourself as a speaker or pitching radio or television, a two or three minute video showcasing you and your expertise is a priority.
• Know the difference between features and benefits. It’s not about your book, service or product. It’s about the vast possibilities ahead for your listeners and readers. Solve a problem or help fulfill a dream.
• Teach. Be of service. If you don’t feel some joy and purpose around your brand message, you’re not doing it right. Work on aligning and defining your personal brand strategy. When you get to the truth of the gifts you can offer, you’ll feel a shift and you’ll automatically move into high gear.
• Make sure people can link to your press kit page from your main websites. Include a clear way to reach you or your designated media contact by phone and email.
Prioritize the highest yield actions and do one thing at a time. Learn on your feet. A good marketing program is like working with Lego pieces. Everything builds on everything else. Keep it modular and you’ll be able to cross-purpose your content and automate your systems. That means, the tasks you do now will make your next projects flow that much easier.
The preparation that goes into creating your press materials will serve you well when it’s time to interview with the media. The more aligned and practiced you are with your message, the easier it will be for you to speak from your heart with fluidity and passion.