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Biz Talk - Press Kits


#1

I’m in the need to put together a press kit, and I honestly have no
idea where to begin. Can someone tell me what is involved, what needs
to be included in a press kit?

Thank you. :slight_smile:
Catherine


#2

A good resource for this is the books by Barbara Brabec on small
business issues, primarily for craftspeople.

Your press kit will vary depending on your goal. But here’s the
general idea.

Basically:

- resume
- bio
- press release
- these days, I'd say a CD with images
- some clippings of your previous press coverage

Elaine
Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

Handmade for Profit! Hundreds of Secrets to Success in Selling Arts
and Crafts (Revised Edition)
By Barbara Brabec

Price: $10.17

The Crafts Business Answer Book & Resource Guide : Answers to
Hundreds of Troublesome Questions About Starting, Marketing, and
Managing a Homebased Business Efficiently, Legally, and Profitably
By Barbara Brabec

Price: $10.85


#3

Hi Catherine,

A press kit should contain the following:

1.  resume
2.  jury quality slides and/or cd of your work
3.  price and description sheet which corresponds to your images
4.  photo postcards which they can keep
5.  cover letter to the person that requested the information
6.  business card
7.  any relevant press clippings which are recent, include 3-5
8.  self adressed stamped envelope for returning your images

Get a nice one color, glossy folder

On the left side, the cover letter first, behind that the resume,
slides, description and price sheet

On the right, photo postcards, press clippings. Your business card
goes in the slot which is provided. If you find one without it, don’t
use that folder.

-k
Karen Christians
M E T A L W E R X
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
http://www.metalwerx.com/
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio


#4

Hi Catherine,

Ooh, ooh, ooh – I can answer this one! I have a journalism degree
and have worked at several newspapers, so I can give you an inside
perspective.

First of all, here is an excellent Web site with a lot of useful
info:

http://www.stetson.edu/~rhansen/prguide.html

I can tell you from experience to get your press kit to get noticed,
you have to make it something special. Editors are pulled in every
direction and time can be a precious commodity. We get press kits in
all the time. We can be snowed under with promotional materials. What
makes an editor pause and take notice? A press kit with panache.
Anything with a small “gift object” included also gets more mileage.
Let’s face it, why do people eat Cracker Jacks — it’s not for the
peanuts ;-D

Not that you should bribe or spend lots of money – but I can tell
you right now that I have at least 2 “promo” items from press kits
sitting on my desk right now. Both are puzzles. Some newsrooms have
limits on the value of gifts people can accept. Unisex items are
better than gender-specific items.

Before I get too far, I’ll drum it in your head that you need to do
some homework first. Call the newspaper; ask for the newsroom; ask
for the editor in charge of features. GET THEIR NAME — and make
sure the spelling is correct. Get the mailing address for packages
(if you’re sending in a boxed kit). Now, you can ask for a reporter’s
name instead, but most stories are assigned by an editor.

It’s probably best that you don’t speak with the person unless you
have questions. Editors/reporters can be a grumpy lot, especially on
a cold call. Call them on deadline and it won’t be pretty. Talk to a
secretary or someone who handles calendar items.

Ahhhh … calendar items. Free local listings. You can still get
something for nothing these days. Having an event? You can have it
listed for free in most newspapers. Call and get their guidelines.
Also get the person’s name who will be typing in the calendar. Plan
ahead and make sure you get everything in by the deadline. Most
calendar listings follow the same format. List by event (what), time,
date, place plus contact and any other pertinent info. (Ex. Susie
Smith will have an art sale at 8 p.m., May 12 at 123 Studio, 123
Studio Drive. A portion of sales will benefit the animal shelter.
Call Smith at 555-5555.)

Just don’t cry when it doesn’t appear and nobody shows up. Don’t
rely on free listings alone to publicize your event. Calendars run
depending on how much space is available. Take out a paid ad to
guarantee you choose the wording/placement/run date.

Where was I? … oh yeah, press kits. The Web site I mentioned
really goes over what you need to know. Right before you send out
your press kit, call the newsroom and CONFIRM that the editor whose
contact info you got earlier STILL WORKS THERE. Newsrooms have a
horrible turnover rate. Plus people move around to different jobs
often.

In general:

Have a hook: Have a compelling story, but don’t embellish.

Get their attention: Make your kit a showpiece with a theme. Use
humor if you can. Have all the in there, but not the
kitchen sink. Leave reporter/editor wanting more, but enough basic
to start with.

Have handout art available: Both a portrait shot and professional
shot of your work. Color 8X10s are great. Computer discs are fine as
long as you have the pics in proper format. But by all means, have
the visual images in there, too! Editors will only look at a disk
after they’ve decided to assign your story.

Don’t call and pester for an interview. Do call and inquire if your
kit arrived. If you catch the editor at a good moment, you might be
asked to set up an interview, so be prepared. Let the editor or
reporter drive. BE READY. If you’ve never been interviewed before, it
can be different to see your words in print. Practice with a friend
— but don’t rehearse answers – to help focus your thoughts.

Don’t be surprised if you don’t get an interview right away.
Newsroom schedules are this side of chaos.

If you want to see some killer self-promotion kits, check out a back
issue of How magazine’s self promotion competition winners. This is
a trade pub for people in the marketing field:

Please let me know if you have questions. Hope this helped some.

Tracy
Tracy’s Treasures


#5

Tracy,

Your suggestions are good, although I wouldn’t give out jewelry as a
bribe. Just my personal ethics.

What has worked for me is finding a writer in a my local paper whom
I like. I contact that person by mail and include the press packet.
After a week or so, I contact them by phone and ask if they need any
additional It’s better than asking, “did you get to my
pile yet”.

Rather than quick announcements in the Calendar section of
newspapers, I work towards a full blown article. These are clippings
you can use for future articles.

Mostly, marketing takes incredible patience and perseverance. You are
here for your career and for the long run.

Good luck!

-k

Karen Christians
M E T A L W E R X
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
http://www.metalwerx.com/
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio


#6

Hello Everyone!

Calendar listings were mentioned in the Press Kit post. Here is my
2cents!

I put together the Calendar section for a local bimonthly arts and
entertainment magazine. This mag has a printing of 15,000. I started
doing it to help out the publisher who is a friend. It’s a great way
to make extra money while working in my pajamas, since I do the
listings a little at a time each night! It makes me absolutely
INSANE that artists, artisans, musicians, etc. don’t take advantage
of this FREE opportunity. I usually have to search for this stuff
and I know I’m missing lots of great events! The bigger venues have
this stuff down pat, so we always know what they’re doing. We need
to hear from the little guy!

If you’re having any kind of event such as a studio sale or
exhibition, submit a listing along with an image (.jpeg). Remember,
if you don’t send an image or two, it definitely won’t get printed.
Sometimes it’s the image more than the listing that catches the
attention. Most publications are set up to accept info via email and
prefer it that way. Keep it short and sweet, it’s a listing, not a
press release. If you provide to much info, what’s important to you
may not be what gets printed. Event name, description, time,
location, cost (if any) and contact info is all you really need. Let
the publication know that more info and/or images are available upon
request. Give them a reliable way to contact you because they will
most likely not leave a message if you don’t answer. If this contact
info is not for publication make sure you make note of this (not for
publication).

Check out each publication. There are different ways to get your
work mentioned. In our particular publication we have a section
called ArtBeat which typically includes an image along with a
paragraph or two. If you’re having a show, exhibition or want to
promote new work, new medium, etc. send a press release and images
along with an abbreviated listing with the info mentioned above.

If you don’t toot your own horn, no one else will do it for you!

Now get out there and promote yourselves!!!

Pam Farren
Newburyport, MA