We write about a lot of cool products here at Tools & Toys. Our daily “neat item” posts are in fact the backbone of the site.
In this line of work, writers like myself are constantly browsing product pages, online shops, reviews, videos, and press releases — whether we heard about them through the grapevine or by someone reaching out to us — in the search of neat items to write about. Because of this, we make extensive use of press kits. Personally I’ve seen some good ones, and frankly, a lot of bad ones. Some companies don’t even have them. Ponderous.
This guide goes out to all the indies and companies who sell stuff online and could use some tips on building a better press kit (or one at all).
Why Have a Press Kit?
I’ll be honest, I’m a hermit person. The less I have to interact directly with other people, the better. Your site says you want me to contact your PR person to get a press kit, and I will if I have to, but… *shudder*
The point is, it should be easy to get hi-res photos of your product without me having to email someone and wait for a response, which could take weeks. (No really, I’ve seen it happen.) It’s in a seller’s best interest to make it as easy as possible for writers and journalists to get the information and media they need to cover your thing.
A good press kit makes both our lives easier. Who doesn’t want that?
Types of Press Kits
There’s no one right way to build out your press kit. I’ve seen them come in many forms, including:
- Flickr stream of hi-res product photos, á la Studio Neat.
- Shared Dropbox folder. (It’s usually best to have an organized folder for every product you sell.)
- A .zip file containing all relevant files, folders, photos, etc. (This is my least-favorite option personally, as I work solely on iOS devices and opening .zip files can be a pain, though still possible.)
- Standalone webpage with individual download links, images, video embeds, FAQs, etc. If you must have an all-encompassing zip file, include it on such a webpage; this at least gives me the option of grabbing only the media I need, or everything at once.
Whichever style you choose, there should be an obvious link to the kit somewhere on your site. It can be in the footer for all I care, as long as it’s easily reachable. If all else fails, I should be able to type in something like
yoursite.com/press-kit and reach it without hitting a 404 page.
Also, for the love of everything good, you must stay on top of your press kit(s). Got a new product coming out? Have a press kit ready as soon as it launches. Got new photos of an old product? Update its press kit immediately; you never know when a writer will discover it. We want to write about your thing now, not months later whenever you get around to giving us something to work with.
What to Include in Your Press Kit
This doesn’t have to be complicated, you just have to put a little extra work in before launching your product:
High-resolution photos and/or screenshots. You’d think everyone who has ever taken nice photos of their products would make them easy to find and download, but…nope. I don’t even care if you’re selling on Etsy and have no site of your own; if you do literally nothing else, at least give us nice big — and needless to say, well-shot — photos to work with.
Different blogs will have different image size requirements, so err on the side of huge images. We can always resize them down as needed. Here at Tools & Toys for example, we prefer images that are 1920px wide and no more than 200kb in size (preferably closer to 150kb).
If for some reason you haven’t shot any nice product photos yet, invest in an Orangemonkie Foldio 2, which is a portable studio for shooting objects against a plain white background. Pair it with a nice camera and you’ll have professional-looking photos in no time.
Logos in various styles. Include any and all logomarks/logotypes you’ve got — in black, white, and/or full color — and preferably with transparent backgrounds. Speaking for myself, I sometimes use Pixelmator for iOS to add someone’s logo over an article’s “hero” image if the product photo itself is on the generic side.
If you’re an app developer, be sure to include an app’s icon in various sizes.
Promo videos you’ve shot. Preferably these would be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo for easy embedding.
If you opt for a Dropbox folder or zip file, you obviously won’t be able to include actual embeds, and we don’t need actual video files, so you could have a .txt file in there somewhere that lists all relevant video links with descriptions.
However, if your press kit exists on a standalone page somewhere on your site, just embed them there.
- PDFs of relevant press releases or company info/history. This one’s optional. Your site or product page should already tell the story of what you’re selling and why we should care, but if never hurts to include those things in the press kit too. You can also include the “nice things other publications have said” type of stuff too, if you like.
That’s it! Like I said, this isn’t rocket science. We love sharing the work of awesome makers and sellers, and a good press kit makes that job 100x easier. Don’t neglect it.