Thursday, January 15, 2009

Article: Art of the Press Kit

Started an online business? Check.
Have a blog to promote your business? Check.
Myspace, Facebook, Twitter etc. for additional promotion? Check.

Now what?

I ran into the same wall a couple of months ago. Having utilized all the online tools to grow a successful business, it was time to take another step forward and introduce myself to local stores. To do this, I needed a professional press kit that really showcased my business and myself- something that would catch my prospect's attention. This article will help you put together your own professional press kit.

To start, you'll need to gather your materials. I recommend enclosing the following items in your press kit:
  • A Presentation Folder. Rather than stuffing everything an envelope, I recommend purchasing some presentation folders. I purchased mine from, a chocolate brown 9" x 12" presentation folder. It's definitely worth it to coordinate your folder with the color of your materials, as this is the first thing your prospect will see.
  • Letter to your prospect. Upon opening your folder, this is the first thing your prospect will go to. For a more personal touch, I suggest finding out the prospect store's person in charge so you can address the letter and press kit to them. People like to know you've done your research and aren't just there for the heck of it. In your letter you can thank them for their consideration, give a brief overview of what's in the packet, and maybe let the prospect know you'll be in contact with them to follow up.

  • Product Guide. This can come in many forms. I am pretty handy with Photoshop and was able to create a booklet. My booklet has an "About Me" section, many pictures of previous work completed, a section explaining my business and why I chose to open it, client feedback, consignment/wholesale information and perks, and my contact information. Not so handy with Photoshop? This information can easily be compiled in Microsoft Word or any other text-editing program. I do recommend having a majority of this information in your packet, so you prospects can easily identify you and your business.

  • Business Cards. This is vital. I put my business cards everywhere and always leave more than one. In my packet I have three business cards in the perforated slots, and also have a business card magnet. Your prospects need to know how to get in touch with you!
  • Product Samples. I highly recommend product samples! Samples are better than pictures because your prospect can actually see and feel your product. This allows them to check out its quality and construction. You'll want to make sure the samples included are the best you can possibly make. This is the first impression your prospect will get of your product.

  • Promotional Materials. In my press kit, I enclose a post card, a note pad and a pen- all with my business name on it. People like free stuff. In business, it's all about what you are going to do for me. This is on both sides, the buyer and the seller. I think the more you give, the more a store is willing to give back... By carrying your line.
"You must have spent so much money getting all this together."
Really, I didn't. I would say not more than $15 goes into each packet. Snagging a store will profit you much more than this in the long run, so I am all about investing my time and money. The folders were $10 for 10, my samples take up a few sheets of paper and the design work takes up my time. The rest of the goodies? Thank you VistaPrint. If you have not tried VistaPrint, I would highly recommend checking them out. Don't let the initial prices set you back though, I definitely do not pay full price for anything on VistaPrint. The trick is signing up for their e-mail list (to a junk mail account, cause you will receive spam after signing up). They send out promotions all-the-time for free business cards, free flyers, free pens, free stamps, free, free, and free. You still pay shipping and handling, and also may have a wait a few weeks to get the special you want, but it is definitely worth the wait. I have ran into only one problem in all the orders completed through VistaPrint, I called and their customer service was amazing, fixed the problem and I was on my way.

Creating all the documents needed is the most time consuming part, but I recommend investing the time. It took me about a month to design everything and make sure it was exactly how I wanted, then a couple weeks to receive everything the mail. Compiling it all together was the most easy, fun, and rewarding part of the job. To have all your time, effort, and money come together for a fabulous presentation is a great feeling! Your prospects will also notice this. Now that you have an awesome and crafty press kit you can promote to stores, blogs, magazines- anything and anyone who might be interested in selling your goods! Next step is to put your foot out there and do it. I'll be here wishing you good luck!
Renee Nordholm of GreenerMe Invitations wrote this article. She has a blog and an Etsy store and is apart of the EtsyGreetings Team. Feel free to contact her if you have questions regarding the article!


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sassypackrat said...

I used to compile these press kits for my workplace all the time. Lately I've been thinking I need to do one for my business and this post just came at the perfect time. Thanks so much!

little cardmaker said...

Great post and great information. I'm not yet ready to venture out, but this is still very helpful.

pinkpatrice said...

Very interesting and informative! Thanks so much!


CardsByEmily said...

Beautiful! Thank you so much for taking the time to share these tips. I will be adding invitations to my portfolio this summer, and this article will be very helpful!

Have a great day,

babycheeks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
babycheeks said...

Found you on Twitter, very nice kit. I worked with PR people to put a lot of these together over the years. Most of the kits are done electronically these days, but I think the old fashioned way of sending something via snail mail is better since there are fewer people doing it this way anymore and you get noticed. The only thing I would say that you need to add is a fact sheet. The fact sheet should be the who, what, where and why of your business. Also include copies of clippings or press that you have received (lends credibility) and a list of where you are distributed (if you do wholesale) as well as a range of prices.

You're work is gorgeous!

Funny Ernie said...

Great post! I tried sending out to potential clients with no luck. I'll have to venture out and try the "fancy" version. Maybe I'll have better luck. Half the work is already done thanks to this blog post!

Renee said...

So glad to here this is useful for you all, thank you for the comments!! We really appreciate it ;)

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Ctina said...

This is very helpful! I've also been wondering what is the best approach for working with local shops. Thanks!!

AndiD said...

Great article! Very useful info, thanks so much!

Molly said...

What a wonderful article! Thanks for sharing -- lots of great tips and ideas. I LOVE this blog

waisze said...

This is very handy info. The press kit looks great!