Copywriting – Winning With Online Press Kits

by Angela on July 30, 2008

One of the most interesting tasks you’ll take on in public relations (PR) copywriting is developing an online press kit.

In days gone by, press kits were lavish productions, packed into glossy folders, with equally glossy photographs and brochures. They usually contained a goodie for journalists too. In my tech journalism days, a particularly memorable goodie was a pair of Ray-Bans sunglasses.

Those days are over. Nowadays, journalists expect press kits to be delivered on the Web. Press kits contain PDF files, high resolution photographs, audio interviews and transcripts, and even videos.

In the past, a physical press kit was part of a media event, these days however Web 2.0 social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook are used to win not only journalists’ interest but also the interest of bloggers prior to the launch of the press kit, so it needs to contain all the information those audiences need.

So how do you construct an online press kit?

Let’s look at a step by step process.

1. Firstly, find out what the goal is for the press kit. A press kit is created to launch a product, highlight an initiative of a company, or explain (spin, that is) a blunder.

Once you know what the press kit’s goal is, you’ll have an idea of the kind of information you need to include.

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2. Your next step is to gather the material. If you’re writing for a long-established company, much of the material for the press kit will be available, but it may not be in a suitable format for the Web. For example, company backgrounders and biographies of the company’s principals may be in brochure and booklet format.

You’ll need to rewrite these, repurposing the content for the Web, ensuring that the Web pages include keywords and page titles and descriptions, so that they can be indexed by the search engines.

The online press kit will also offer key documents in downloadable PDF format, so these documents need to be created, ready to be put online.

You’ll also arrange for company principals to be interviewed, so the audio files and transcripts can be added to the online material.

3. Do you need to include video? Chances are that you will, so you need to script the video, and arrange for it to be shot, and edited. The full length video file will be added to the online press kit, but a snippet will be used on video sites like YouTube, in the media campaign to launch the press kit.

So there you have an outline for creating a winning online press kit. What the kit contains is up to you, and using multimedia tools will ensure that your kit meets your client’s goals.

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