In the old days, a “press kit” was created for newspaper reporters. It wasn’t intended to be seen or shared with anyone who wasn’t in the press. Today, your media kit is no longer for just the press—and should be created to be seen by more types of people than ever before. But who are all these other people, and why do they want to see your publicity materials? Below, we outline the five types of people who want to see your publicity materials.
This is Part 3 of a 3-part series on book marketing and building your author platform:
Part 1 – Five Reasons You Can’t Build on Amazon, Facebook, or Google…
Part 2 – 5 Essentials for Building Your Author Platform
Part 3 – [You Are Here] – Why You Need a Press Kit for These 5 Important Influencers
NOT JUST FOR THE MEDIA: REACH THESE FIVE TYPES OF INFLUENCERS WITH YOUR BOOK PUBLICITY MATERIALS
Once upon a time, the “media” was like a faraway castle. There were high walls, and there was a moat, and there were lots of people guarding the entrance.
The media was controlled by the rich and powerful. Only these few who owned a printing press, or a broadcast tower, or a distribution network had access to all those readers, listeners, and viewers. Anyone who wanted to reach that audience could only do so with the permission of the media baron.
Today, the internet and the explosion of niche media has given you more access—and more opportunity—than at any time in human history.
Why do I need a press kit?
A press kit offers a quick snapshot of who you are as an author, what you write, and why you write it. Everyone with a story or a message needs to have publicity materials online.
- If you…
- want to be interviewed, profiled, or featured in print, broadcast, or digital media
- want your book to be written about or spoken about or reviewed
- want to become known as an expert in your field
- want to establish your authority
- want to build your audience
- want your book to be sold to book buyers and made available to library patrons
…then you need a press kit.
It answers important questions. It builds your professional credibility. It lays the groundwork for that interview, it provides context for that review, it gives media producers something to work with even if they don’t talk to you.
What is included in my press kit?
Your press kit should provide a quick overview with all the necessary information is one place.
- As such, it should include
- information about you as an author
- up-to-date information about your latest book or your topic of expertise
- at least one strong author photo
- a strong image of your book cover
(NOTE: If you want to know the specific pieces that belong in a basic press kit, we have a free checklist of all the things you want to include.)
Where does my press kit go?
Your author website should have a dedicated page for your press materials. In addition to your press kit (which includes the original materials you created or commissioned yourself), your media page should also provide links to or list your other awards, accomplishments, and appearances in the media. The website navigation should include a button that goes right to this media page.
Your press kit should be easy to find, easy to access, easy to share, and easy to download. Don’t hide it or put it behind a password. Your online press kit should be available to everyone who visits your website.
Why is this important? Keep reading…
Who is my press kit for?
Anytime someone visits your website looking for more information about you, you want to have the right set of information in place that explains who you are, explains what you write, and establishes why you are a trustworthy author in your space.
Not all these visitors are members of the media.
So who are all the people coming to your website trying to learn about you? Let’s take a look…
#1. MAKE YOUR MEDIA KIT FOR GENERAL MASS MEDIA.
While your media isn’t exclusively for members of the media, this group of influencers is certainly one of the key reasons you need to have your informational materials in place.
Imagine that you’re being considered for an interview. Depending on the particular media outlet, your press kit may be consulted by multiple people in that chain—including media editors and producers, columnists, reporters, and other staffers who work at professional media companies.
Who are these people, and why do they need to see your press kit? Let’s take a look…
The media decision makers include those who pick guests and subjects get covered by a media outlet. These are the segment producers who book guests for television talk shows, news editors who assign stories for their department in the newspaper or the magazine, and anyone else who serves as the primary gatekeeper between you and that audience.
Anytime a guest shows up on TV or on the radio, anytime someone is profiled in print—editorial decisions were made to schedule that person or assign that story.
Imagine that you’ve been contacted for an interview or appearance. These people don’t actually know you, so somewhere in that editorial decision-making process they would have consulted your press kit. (Especially since, as an author, they consider you the type of guest who should have a press kit.)
If you want to be eligible for that possibility, a press kit will go a long way toward making your case for you. These people want to see your press kit to figure out if you need to be added to the list.
Your press kit frames you correctly. It explains quickly and succinctly everything they need to know in deciding whether you are a good fit for their audience, and how they would present you to their audience.
The second layer of media personnel who would want to see your press it are the actual media creators. This would include reporters, hosts, columnists, and staff reviewers. These people need to see your press kit because it gives them important context for their coverage of you.
Your publicity materials will help them to ask better questions, place your work in the correct context, and explain you correctly to the members of their audience.
At a media organization, there will also be staffers who facilitate the editorial coverage in a supporting role. These people may need your press materials because they’re fact-checking or proof-reading a story, or because they’re the ones crafting the interview questions, or they’re the ones writing the promotional copy to explain to the audience why to turn to that profile or stay tuned for that interview.
Your press kit helps them get their facts right, and helps them write about you more accurately.
#2. MAKE YOUR MEDIA KIT FOR NICHE MEDIA.
When he was interviewed by two different media outlets, one author discovered something interesting: Following an interview with one of the most venerable media institutions in the world, his appearance barely made a blip in his book sales. However, when he was featured in a smaller, more niche-oriented publication, that appearance was followed by a noticeable bump in sales.
Why did this happen?
It may sound glamorous to find yourself booked on a major television show with a large audience. However, you’re more likely to find your target readers among the niche audiences being served by bloggers, podcasters, and online reviewers.
When you reach a general audience, most of those people have the TV or radio on in the background, or they’re flipping through that weekly magazine in the waiting room at the doctor’s office.
On the other hand, the smaller audience for a more targeted media outlet is very often highly engaged. You’ll find that they are more likely to be interested in what you have to say, and more likely to want to know more.
As such, it would be a mistake to dismiss these smaller media opportunities. Especially when you consider that several smaller media appearances position you better for larger media opportunities down the road.
Imagine now that you’re in the running to be featured on a niche media outlet that reaches the exact people who want to know about your book. So, what kind of solo media are we talking about here? Let’s take a look…
There are literally millions of blogs on the Internet. These range from diaries written by hobbyists who post every once in a while, to online magazines updated hourly by a team of professional writers.
Whatever your category or topic of expertise, it’s likely you can find dozens (if not hundreds) of active blogs that serve an audience interested in what you have. Your press kit may be the vital link in helping bloggers understand what you have to offer to their audience, and give them the appropriate context to follow up with you.
A podcast is an on-demand audio or video broadcast that can be subscribed to through such podcast catchers as Apple’s podcast app or Stitcher. The audience for these types of programs is growing every day. And, like blogs, podcasts have a unique opportunity to serve a very small niche audience.
You should be able to find a few or several podcasts that speak to your audience. Depending on what type of podcast it is, your press kit might help them prep for an interview, give them context for a news item, or give them the necessary background for a review of your book.
Once upon a time, there were only two kinds of reviews—those written by the few professional reviewers granted access by the media baron, and then those reviews that members of the general public shared among their circle of friends.
Today, with the explosion of blogs, podcasts, and social media, there are literally thousands of reviewers in the world who have access to an audience.
A good reviewer wants to review your book in context. As such, he or she may come to your website looking for background information to help them understand who you are, what you write, and why you write it.
Your press materials won’t (necessarily) turn a negative review into one that’s positive. But when a reviewer consults your kit, it raises the odds that your book will be judged by the correct criteria.
#3. MAKE YOUR MEDIA KIT FOR BOOKSELLERS AND LIBRARIANS.
Whether your book is a print edition or strictly a digital work, there are more opportunities all the time for readers to buy your book through retailers and borrow your book through libraries. A press kit on your website can go a long way toward leveraging those opportunities in your favor.
Now, imagine that a bookseller or a librarian has taken an interest in carrying your book on their shelves or placing your book in a featured slot on their website. What does your press kit do for retailers and librarians? Read on…
It will help them trust you.
Please remember that your most recent book is literally one of millions of books that exist—and one of thousands that are currently vying for the attention of that bookseller or that librarian.
A well-made online press kit will make you look more credible—more professional—and will put you heads and shoulders above so many others who didn’t make the effort.
It will help them understand you.
One of the most invaluable facets of an online press kit is that you have a created a one-stop-shop to find all the pertinent details about what you write and why you write it. While you may share these details in other ways through your website and your online presence, the press kit means that you have explained it in a manner that makes it quick and easy to find what they need to understand where you’re coming from as an author.
It will help them root for you.
Breakout authors who find success in bookstores and libraries often do so because people on the inside were hand-selling the book to customers and patrons. A well-made press kit that helps booksellers and librarians believe in you and understand you may help that bookseller or that librarian become a fan who wants to promote you to more potential readers.
The value of your kit isn’t just in getting your book into the outlet in the first place. It has more to do with how your book is positioned to the customer and patrons.
#4. MAKE YOUR MEDIA KIT FOR EVENT PLANNERS.
Your book isn’t necessarily an end in itself. For many successful authors, a book is a springboard for more business opportunities—as a speaker, as a teacher, or as a thought leader in their space.
Your online press kit can position yourself with event planners for these types of opportunities.
Who are these “event planners” and what do they want from you? Read on…
They can be looking for a speaker.
You can be a speaker at conferences and other types of events. Remember, we’re talking about giving a talk on the topic that you write about—not a talk on the writing process itself. (Most writers won’t buy your book—they’re too busy working on their own.)
Think about crafting a signature speech that further demonstrates your authority in your sphere. Whatever it is that you write about, that’s where you find your signature speech.
Your press kit demonstrates your authority in your area of expertise. It shows that you are a great choice to speak on this topic to that audience.
They can be looking for experts to lead a workshop.
Does your topic lend itself to teaching a group of people in a practical way? Whether you’re teaching them something to think about, or leading them through the steps to making some kind of craft, or helping them create their own work, a workshop is an opportunity for you to prove that you’re the expert.
Note—don’t feel like you have to be the world’s best expert at your topic to be eligible for this. You only need to be a couple of steps ahead of the members of your audience.
Your press kit shows that you have something of value to teach.
Looking for speakers to visit their school or club.
You may be invited to speak to students at various kinds of schools—including grade schools, universities or colleges, and even trade schools. You may also be invited to speak at local businesses or with community groups, including charity organizations, church groups, civic groups, service organizations, and similar types of groups or clubs.
Your press kit reinforces your position as a thought leader or expert in your category. It helps event planners understand why you would be a great candidate to come share with their group.
#5. MAKE YOUR MEDIA KIT FOR READERS.
The end goal of all of these activities, of course, is to build your reader base. That way, when you have something to promote—your next book, a public appearance, an event, or a course—then you have a group of people who trust you and want to be alerted to whatever you have to offer.
Your publicity materials are for these people, too. How does that work? Let me set it out for you…
Imagine that your current readers get to the end of your most recent book and now they want to know more. They want the behind-the-scenes info, or they want to know more about the author behind the book.
Your press kit serves as the “bonus materials,” not unlike the kinds of materials you might check out after you watch a movie. For this audience segment, your press kit helps them to draw closer to you.
Imagine those readers who may have a passing acquaintance with you or your work. Maybe they saw your book included in search results on a bookseller website, or saw your book at their local library in a display with similar titles. These potential readers are circling the outer edges—they like your category or they like books that are similar to your book, but haven’t quite entered your orbit.
Your press kit can be the bridge to this audience segment. It gives them the necessary encouragement to come close enough to learn more about you and learn why you (and your book) need to be on their list.
Strangers who learned about you from your appearances in the media
Imagine that your amazing press kit and your promotional campaign garners you some appearances in the media: An interview on a podcast. A write-up on a blog. A profile in a magazine. A blurb in a news column.
Each time you are featured in one of these outlets, you are being presented to that audience. Some members of that audience might not yet be ready to buy your book, but they may be curious enough to look you up online.
Your online press kit is a great way to give them the right kind of information quickly so that they bookmark you for future reference. (And, yes, some of them might even buy your book.)
Ready to make your press kit? Get a free press kit checklist here.
If you want to get there more quickly, we also have a mini-course that teaches you how to create your own press kit fast and cheaply.
What about you?
Have you been able to leverage media influencers to draw attention to your own author platform? Post your experiences—and any tips you want to pass along—below!