The press kit puts a face to your soap and cosmetic business. It is essentially a company resume for the press to use when writing about your company. It's also a professional way to grab the attention of potential wholesale customers.
Traditionally, press kits were provided in paper form, usually in a branded folder of some sort. Today you have the advantage of offering current and up-to-date information about your company in digital form. Videos, photos and files can easily and quickly be transferred to your desired recipient.
It's important to assemble your kit now rather than after being asked for it so that you are prepared and put your company's best face forward. Gather and present the following elements to best represent your company.
The following items could (and should) be included in your press kit. When you start you may not have all the items, but work toward getting them into your press kit. The more you can clearly and concisely communicate about your business, the more likely it is that an writer or editor will be interested in telling others about it.
1) Company overview
Your press kit is a billboard that introduces you to someone who hasn't ever heard of you. Only offer information that is current and most relevant to your target reader. When targeting media editors, be respectful of their time.
What to include:
- What is your company about, your culture and your goals?
- When were you established?
- What makes you different than other soap and cosmetic companies?
- What is your specialty?
- Who is your customer?
2) Audio and video files
The files could be of radio or TV interviews, speeches, performances and any other media-covered event. If you don't have actual media coverage yet, create a mock/sample audio or video interview as if you were being interviewed by the media. Talk about your company, new products, favorite products, etc. Be professional in your manner and appearance (for video) and show them how friendly you are, how comfortable you are in front of the camera and how much you enjoy talking about your business (see 10 Ways to Interview Like a Celebrity for tips). A well done sample audio or video file not only gives a reporter a feel for how you would do in an interview, it also provides them clips to use directly.
3) Press release
Since editors and potential customers alike are very busy with their day to day, providing a press release about you and your business offers them convenience by giving them something almost ready to print. For example, a story about your latest efforts in supplying the local women's shelter with donated soap from your company offers them a ready-to-go human interest story. Be creative and true.
Several difference press release templates are available in the How-To Library.
A short biography gives a brief overview of your history and experience. Well written, it provides a personal glimpse into you and your company.
Tips for a professional biography:
- Use no more than three paragraphs about yourself or other key players in your company.
- Include information about who you are and your experience that is relevant to your current activity; don't include extraneous information (you can probably omit that you were in a rock band in 7th grade).
- Keep in mind that your bio puts a human face to your company. Most times, we are the soul of our soap and cosmetic businesses, so let that shine through.
- Include a professional headshot.
- Communicate the vision for the company and where the roots of your company are grounded.
Remember to keep it short (no more than three paragraphs), sweet and interesting so as to not bore the reader. You only have moments to make a first impression.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is an easy way to provide lots of information in a readable format. Structure your FAQ's as an advertisement that differentiates your soap and cosmetic shop from others. Think outside the box as to how to present them to your benefit. Use real questions you get on a regular basis about your company and products. Having a FAQ helps an editor or reporter determine which questions to ask you in an interview or what to include in the article.
6) Testimonials and Product Review
A one page summary of testimonials or product reviews about products you want to highlight.
7) Media coverage
Always include one or two of the most recent press releases you sent out. Keep these updated to give yourself a fresh face. Also include any places your business has been mentioned in the media, including features or mentions in newspapers, magazines, news editorials, online blogs, and online publications. If you have a lot of publicity, select the most complimentary and/or the ones from the largest publications. If you don't have any published media yet, fill in with a new press release (see #3 above) and a mock/sample audio or video interview (see #2 above).
8) Contact info
This may seem obvious but you want to make it easy. Include:
- Name of the person handling inquiries for your company (most times, it's you!)
- Phone number
- Email address
- Social Media Connections. (Only include the social media that you keep up to. If you have an Instagram account but have no current content on there, for instance, it's best to not include it.)
9) Product samples
Product samples can be an effective way of communicating how great your products are.
- Keep samples minimal and cost effective. It is very inefficient (and high cost) to send a full product with your press kit to the media outlets you desire. In addition, sending out full sized products may give the impression that you throw your product at anyone who will take it. Sample sized products, however, give the impression that your line is valuable and a must-try.
- Send out sample sizes that reflect the look and feel your actual full sized products.
- Be aware that at times, the media may look at this as accepting gifts.
- Always send samples to wholesale and customer prospects.
10) Ordering info
Include a simple order form or information on where and how to order products. If the press kit is going to a potential customer, this is vital information. If it's going to a media outlet, having a list of products and their pricing gives the reporter/editor additional information for the story.
HOW your information gets to its recipient plays a part in how well the contents communicate and are accepted. You have options:
- Your website is a great place for media contacts or prospective customers to easily download the files of your kit.
- A flash drive with your information is also a convenient way to distribute your information. If you expect to send out a lot of press kits, you can even get small flash drives imprinted with your business name and pre-loaded with the documents.
- Paper press kits are traditional and remain useful. Keep in mind all of the innovations in printing, such as postcards, irregular sizes and shapes or unusual paper and go with styles that reflect your soap or cosmetic business. Paper press kits give a good "hands-on" feel, but can easily get expensive with multiple items requiring color printing.
With everything you choose for your kit, create it as if you are the industry expert. That is the image you want to portray. Make sure it fits with the feel of your company. For example, if your soap and/or cosmetic company is focused on all natural/organic, choose recycled paper or opt for digital to reflect your environmental efforts.
Spend time researching the media likely to cover your business or activities. Look for local print, radio television, or website venues, as well as regional or state media outlets. Local media outlets are more likely to carry "home town" news and human interest stories. From there, statewide publications and nationwide will follow.
When you decide where to send your press kit, research the exact person to send it to and include a personalized letter. Addressing it, "to whom this may concern," gives the impression you are spamming anyone and everyone. Take the time to do the research and find the proper person and address the person by name. Make it personal and sincere. (The article "PR Tips & Tricks has some good tips on finding the right contact person.
The best thing to do right now is to start assembling your kit with material you already have. Add to it as you see fit. It's best to have something ready and at your fingertips when the opportunity strikes or you need to spread the word in a focused manner.
The challenge is to put it together on paper, electronically or both. There is a trend now toward online media kits. A lot of these items can be developed for online distribution; it's simply a matter of putting what you already have online or onto letterhead and fact sheets.
Lastly, be aware of the costs of creating and sending press kits. Creating the necessary documents, putting them on a website, flash drive and/or printing them all takes time and money. Set a reasonable budget, know what it costs you to send your press kit (and any samples), and work out how to stay within your established budget.