(I originally published this story at medium.com.) With all of the options for publishing these days, you may not even realize that a blogger or a journalist was looking for something to write about you or your work. They hit upon your website, thought they could do a story, and realized that there wasn’t enough there for them. Or worse, they had a story written and didn’t have any photos or media to go with it. Maybe they tried to get a hold of you, but you weren’t available. The story missed its deadline and was never published. One solution to this is a digital press kit. Here’s what you should have in your press kit.
Photos and Permissions
The copyright of most photos belongs to the person who took the photo. The photos on your website need to be free to use for stories and news, so be sure you have those permissions before posting them. The caption should explain the photo and give credit to the photographer. You must have a good head shot, and a couple of action photos. Be sure they are sized for print as well as for loading to a website. You can note the size differences in the caption. The digital world is media driven. If you have videos, include them here as well.
You will probably write your generic press kit in your own voice. That’s okay, but be sure to get an editor to look over it for grammar and spelling. If you’re targeting newspapers or press outlets specifically, you’ll want your press kit to be written in Associated Press (AP) style. The closer you can get it to something publishable without changes the better. If AP style is unfamiliar to you, you can leave your press kit the way it is. However, any press releases you send to news agencies should be in AP style, so it’s good to get in the habit. The easier it is for the journalist or newspaper to use, the more likely the information you want will get published.
Your Story, Your Way
No matter how well-known you are, you still want to have a biography in your digital press kit. This allows you to tell your story in your way. Don’t let friends and family tell your story. You need people to understand your truth. Having a biography will allow people to learn more about you creating an emotional connection in a way that you want.
Articles by and about You
If someone has written articles about you, provide a short synapsis and link to their work. This will give you greater credibility. Share it with your social media fans, and the person who wrote it will see that your worth covering based on page views. Everyone who is writing is looking for more people to read their work. If you’re the reason their website is seeing a bump in views, they’re going to try to find another way to write about you and what you do. (Pro Tip: If they haven’t included a link to your website, ask them to when you inform them that you shared their article.)
A Quote Sheet
Quotes are nice for journalists because they are a required part of the job. If you have soundbite quotes attributed to the people who said them and what they do for a living, you’ll be making the journalist’s job much easier. Just be sure that you have quotes from people who are related to what you do. A quote about your fantasy novel from Neil Gaiman will be much more valuable than a quote from Bob, the Owner of Plumber Pizzazz in El Dorado. Bob’s probably a nice guy, and his quote is valuable, especially when you don’t have any other quotes, but Gaiman’s will carry more weight in this instance. On the other hand, if your book is about plumbing, Bob’s the guy to get the quote from.
All of this information should be uploaded to your website and marked as “Press Kit.” Make it easy to find, and keep it updated. You put a lot of effort into it, don’t let it just sit their waiting for views, get it out there. Do something newsworthy and story sending out press releases. Make a connection with bloggers who cover what you do.
Make It Easy
Journalists and bloggers are busy. The easier you make it for them to cover your art and your story, the more likely they are to do so. Creating a good digital press kit is a foundation you can build upon and use when sending out press releases and queries. Always include a business card with your communications. If you do send out a press kit, be sure to adapt it to the needs of the person to whom you’re sending it. (Adapted from “How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist” (affiliate link).)