A Micro-Course Academy Lesson
A press kit, also known as a media kit, digital press kit, or an electronic press kit is a comprehensive messaging package posted on an organization’s website or online drive (Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc.). Press kits contain key information, such as a school or nonprofit’s mission, vision, and campaign goals, along with digital resources, such as downloadable multimedia resources. You can think of a press kit as a curated collection of branding resources organized to communicate your organization’s core messages.
A well-organized press kit will allow reporters to easily and quickly gain an understanding of a school, nonprofit, or business.
Press kits should include a flagship press release, pdf of the organization’s marketing materials, high-resolution logos and photos, FAQs, accreditations (ex. Middle States, MicroSociety, Charlotte Mason, etc.), awards, and other information that helps to tell a school or nonprofit’s story. The media expects to find leadership photos and footage they can download for publication in press kits.
Some organizations password-protect their press kits, or, as mentioned above, some will store the contents in an online drive for request-only access.
Let’s look at why your organization should have a press kit and discuss the contents the media expects.
Why do schools and nonprofits need press kits?
Schools, nonprofits, and businesses need press kits for when the media comes knocking. Press kits also come in handy when seeking philanthropic dollars or applying for grants.
Press kits make it easy to promote your school or nonprofit, share its messages, and highlight its successes and your message. Press kits can save an organization a tremendous amount of time dealing with journalists, philanthropists, partners, enrollees, or members.
Press kits are the easiest and most comprehensive way to share all of your essential school or nonprofit messages with the press. If a reporter wants to write a feature story about your school or nonprofit, just send her a link! Is a stakeholder trying to share about your school or nonprofit? Tell him to send the link!
Posting your press kit online will empower you to keep your content fresh and relevant. Thanks to PDFs, flipbooks, and the like, gone are the days a school or nonprofit needed to engage in costly brochure updates, resulting in outdated materials after two years or sooner.
WHO Needs A PRESS KIT?
- You need a press kit if your organization receives tax dollars, foundation grants, or philanthropic support.
- You need a press kit if your nonprofit or school conducts major fundraisers or capital campaigns.
- If you operate a private school that relies on tuition and donations, you need a press kit!
- If you are a charter school leader, you need a press kit for all the above reasons and a myriad more, including the target special interest groups, have on your school’s back.
We can go on, but for the sake of time, if your organization is a school, nonprofit, or business that the press monitors, you need a press kit.
WHAT kind of content must every PRESS KIT contain?
Your press kit should include anything your organization needs to communicate to the press, the public, and the politicians.
The following are essentials the media expects in a press kit for all organizations, whether schools, nonprofits, or businesses.
- Boilerplate – A boilerplate is a 150-word blurb about your organization. Boilerplates condense and weave together an organization’s mission, vision, key messages, and website address.
- Biographies – These are 150-word or fewer professional summaries of your organization’s leadership, board members, and key staff members. You should include bios of interim executives, consultants, and third-party partners who interact with the public, the press, or politicians on behalf of your organization.
- Quotes & testimonials – The press likes to convey what outside stakeholders have to say about an organization. Why not give them some great material right up front? Your school or nonprofit probably has a system to capture quotes and testimonials annually to keep them fresh and current. If not, either do it to it or give us a call!
- Logos – Include high-quality logos to keep the media from scarfing a fuzzy logo off the internet, which would reflect poorly on your organization. Include various formats such as jpeg, PNG, AI, and EPS.
- High-resolution images – As above, under logos, your press kit needs to include high-quality images in various sizes so the media doesn’t grab a fuzzy low-resolution photo off Google Images, which would make your organization look sketchy. Include multiple formats such as jpeg, PNG, AI, and EPS.
- Contact information during and after hours – Though the media will likely download the press kit from your website, you need to include contact information if it is printed, forwarded, or shared. The less media must hunt for “things,” the more focused they will be on your story.
- Because the press kit is for the media, include how you wish to be contacted after-hours in the event of breaking news or an urgent matter. For example, a teacher went home to find the police surrounding his house, search warrant in hand based on a tip from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children that the teacher was detected sharing child pornography online.
- The media wanted to report the incident as fast as possible, which meant they would run the story online as breaking news, and air coverage on the 10 pm news.
- Because the school provided after-hour contact information in its press kit, the media was able to include a statement from administrators in the report.
- Not being available for comment leaves a big glaring hole in a media report, and in crises such as this matter, it would only exasperate an already horrible situation. Make sure your press kit never leaves you “without comment” when one is necessary.
- Social Media – Provide your organization’s social media links to make it easy for the press to find you. Be sure those venues are monitored, as the media sometimes initiates contact via social media.
- Fact sheet – Offer your basic information in a bullet point or simply formatted fact sheet.
- FAQs – Include Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about your school, nonprofit, or business encounters. You should also use your FAQ page strategically by including items you want the media to ask. Do so with finesse, so it does not come across as promotional.
WHAT ELSE CAN Be INCLUDEd IN a PRESS KIT?
You can include the following optional items in your press kit based on availability and policy.
- Video and audio content – Visual and sound clips have become popular as they can be linked in online articles.
- Media coverage –Important media features and stories will help reinforce your messages. Press hits are a part of an organization’s “media resume,” which is helpful if you are seeking national media or syndication coverage.
- Client Roster – By adding specific high-profile clients, your organization can underscore its credibility. The roster can include high-profile foundations and prestigious partners.
- Accreditations and awards – Providing proof of accreditation can significantly impact the kind of media you attract and help shape the type of coverage it gets. Industry awards can underscore an organization’s credibility.
- Case studies – These “homemade” articles can bring to life your messages and help the media understand your organization better.
- History– Sharing your organization’s milestones, timelines, and historical information, such as growth data, is another powerful way to underscore credibility and relevance.
A good rule to follow when building your press kit is, “include it if it supports your organization’s credibility, reputation, and relevance.”
Keep in mind that your press kit is not a place for humility. Instead, it is a venue the media expects you to highlight what differentiates your organization from its competition.
A press kit is essential to promoting your school or nonprofit, and it is a tool that can help you get the story told the way it should be told.
Commit today to ensure your organization has the most powerful press kit possible. Doing so will pay dividends.