Monday, May 21, 2012

Preparing a Press Kit for Your Creative Business


Is your creative business media ready? A press kit or media kit (traditional or electronic) is a great tool for your business kit, and having it at the ready means that you are prepped for the press - whether it is the local paper, a magazine feature, a favourite blog, or any number of opportunities. A mini-media kit for an indie businesses should typically include a brief backgrounder or bio with information yourself, your art/craft, and the business supplemented by a few high quality photos and accompanied (of course) by your contact information and links.  There is no right or wrong, and it is important to tailor your kit to you and your business.  Here are some ideas:


The Backgrounder

Business Backgrounder Style
  • History: A paragraph over-viewing the history of your business, such as when it was founded, why, and how it evolved from concept to a start-up business to present day. 
  • Biography: Brief biographies of yourself (or each of you if it is a shared business). Include information about where you are from, pertinent education, experience, awards, and any other facts you want media members to know. People tend to be very interested in the personal side of creative entrepreneurs, so if you are comfortable, be sure to include things like family and other interests. 
  • Products/Services: List or describe your products/services and try to make mention of the benefits of your service or the unique selling point for your product.
  • News:  Keep readers up-to-date by including current news and events in your media kit. 
  • Other: You could include statistics, links to past press releases, published media, videos, etc if you wish. The best content will differ from business to business, so personalise your kit.
Interview or Bio Style

I sometimes refer to these as introductions, where there is a virtual "interview" between yourself and the press (or the reader), allowing you to talk about yourself, your own creative journey, and your work.  To help, there are some interview-style questions below for inspiration.  You can also use this concept for the history/bio sections of a Business Backgrounder style presentation and combine both styles if you wish.
  • Please introduce yourself and your handicraft specialty.
  • How did you first become interested in your craft?
  • What is your favourite creation to date?
  • What or who inspires you in your craft?
  • How do you promote your work? Where can we find your work for sale?
  • What has been your greatest challenge to date in your craft?  Your greatest success? 
  • What advice would you give a newbie on the handmade scene?
  • Tell us something unrelated to your craft but interesting about you as an individual. 
  • Do you have a favourite blog to share with us? A favourite handmade/indie shop?

Photos

This is your time to shine, so make sure you have the best possible photos in your kit. Check out our photo tips here. If you are a camera tragic, call in a favour from a photo savvy friend, trade services with a fellow artist, or consider splashing out for some professional assistance.  Here are some ideas of photos you may like to include:
  • A portrait of you, styled to suit the business. You might even want to do a little modelling.  Make jewellery?  Wear some.  Sell vintage clothes?  Dress up. At very least, make sure it is clear and you like the way it looks - after all, this is all about you!
  • A photo of your studio or workspace is an excellent addition, if it suits the style of your business.  Use natural light, tidy up, and take a little time to style the space before the photo is taken. 
  • A photo of you at work in the creative process might also be an excellent addition, if it suits the style of your business.  Follow the same tips as the studio shoot, take some time to style yourself (yes...we all know that the real creativity often involves trackies and a ponytail, but this is your superstar session!). 
  • Product photos, styled, in use, and against a plain backdrop to suit a variety of press styles.

Contact Information and Links

This is pretty straightforward, but please do be careful about what personal information you post openly (especially if you work from home).  It is also worth setting up a business email and/or postal address, if you don't already have one, as part of branding your business.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

After you have invested the time and effort in developing a press kit, use it to the fullest.  Reuse the backgrounder (or extracts from) for your profiles and about pages across the internet.  Use your fabulous new photos for profile pics, as well as sharing them in places like your Facebook Page, Google+, Flickr, and as supplementary images in your shop listings.

Looking for some more information or examples?  Check out the Etsy Blog on Electronic Press Kits and the Etsy Seller Tip: Present Yourself to the Press.  Looking for a real life example? For a full business-style press page you should check out the Etsy Press Page.

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