Pros and Cons of Different Press Kit Formats, by Samantha Hilsenrod

2 Jan

Depending on your promotional needs and the type of organization involved, different press kit formats may be more effective than others. The goal of a press kit is to generate positive references in the media, so choosing the right format is a critical aspect.

Online Press Kit

By far the most common format today, online press kits have a number of clear advantages. For one, they are cheap to distribute: just e-mail the press kit URL to the intended recipients; no need to print materials and distribute them by mail. In addition, many journalists appreciate online press kits that allow them to download important materials instantly. Especially for photo-heavy journalism, an online press kit makes a good choice.

The major disadvantage to this approach is also its strength: ease of distribution. Busy, in-demand individuals may not pay much attention to your online press kit unless they specifically request it. Similarly, if you have materials that should not be distributed widely, they are more vulnerable in an openly available digital press kit.

Flash Drive Press Kit

One popular alternative to the online press kit is a digital press kit embedded on a flash drive. This allows for the personalized delivery of the press kit, which can have a strong impact on the recipient. After all, receiving a press kit along with a handshake and a smile is more memorable than receiving an e-mail. In addition, the flash drive allows for the quick transmission of large quantities of media, such as videos or photos, which might be cumbersome to download.

One drawback of this approach is that flash drives are easy to lose. Another is that the recipient may not have all of the necessary software to access the information you have provided, so make sure to stick to the most common formats and standards available. Finally, when someone requests a press kit via phone or e-mail, an online version is much more expedient than a flash drive.

Paper Press Kit

Probably the most noteworthy benefit of the traditional paper press kit is that the recipient can look through it while you talk. For instance, at a trade show, a journalist may ask for a press kit, take a quick look, and then ask a few pertinent questions about your organization. Online and flash drive press kits make this process cumbersome, if not impossible. Therefore, it can still prove beneficial to have a paper version available.

The biggest drawback, of course, is the need to print high-quality, bulky materials that cannot be transferred to a digital medium. Paper press kits today are more for in-person communications; they are not ideal for sending to remote recipients who need to download media and quickly produce a story about you.

About Samantha: Samantha Hilsenrod, a junior at Tulane University, has interned with PR firms, putting together press kits and other promotional materials.

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