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A press kit is a package of promotional material used to provide members of the media with information about a product or company. Companies keep stacks of prepared press kits to hand out to members of the media by request. In addition, press kits can be distributed in advance of a press conference or mailed out to coincide with a new product release. Also known as a media kit, a press kit is a powerful public relations tool.
The contents of a press kit vary, depending on what it is being used for and the nature of the company. A typical press kit has background information on the company and its major officers, contact information for the public relations department, recent press releases, and press clippings that mention the company in a positive way. For a major announcement, the press kit includes information relevant to the announcement, such as a biography of a new chief executive officer or information about a new product.
Press kits are usually packaged attractively so that they catch the eye. They can also include things like company-branded pencils, magnets, and so forth. These branded giveaway items are intended to make their way onto the desks of journalists and other press kit recipients so that they keep the company in mind. Some companies prepare electronic press kits that may be uploaded to the Internet, allowing journalists to quickly access press materials, including audio and video content, online.
Companies use a press kit to make information readily available to members of the media. Many media questions will be answered by the contents of the press kit and they can be used as a reference by a journalist who wants to write a quick story without doing a lot of research. In addition, the press kit provides contact information so that journalists who want to go more in depth have a point of contact at the company. This person can answer additional questions, make arrangements for company tours, and send out samples as requested.
Press kits are useful for companies of all sizes. A company that is well prepared with press kits is more likely to get coverage in the media, as the kit makes it easy for a journalist to pull a story together. In addition, demonstrating a willingness to work with the media will mean that a company will come to mind when a journalist needs interview subjects or information. This can translate into more publicity for the company.
No one sends interesting press kits anymore. I guess they're too expensive. Most of the time, it's just a folder with a few glossy photos, maybe a CD with some digital images and a couple of information pages, along with a card from the PR person for the company. Nothing spectacular.
I've heard of some pretty interesting kits, but my company doesn't send those out either, anymore. Postage is through the roof, and there's not a lot of evidence that they do much good if the company will never be interested in the product. I have a friend who works for a newspaper and she saves all the recipe cards they get from places like the National Pear Growers Association. They have some pretty interesting recipes, so I have a good collection.
I've worked for a newspaper for over 20 years and we used to get really cool press kits. Companies used to send all kinds of cool swag with press kits. I ended up with a coffee grinder, about 2 pounds of good coffee and a bunch of other stuff, just from press kits!
We got a box in the mail once that was from Disney, and had some kind of red substance all over it. The delivery guy was a little suspicious, but I looked it over and smelled it -- nail polish.
Disney was promoting some book series and sent four different nail polishes and the red bottle broke in transit. It got our attention.