Perfect Your Story, Not Your Media Kit
You’re getting ready to take your startup public, and you’re working tirelessly to create a picture-perfect face for your company –one that’s ready to face the world. Founder bios, media releases, everything that’s needed for your big launch is being perfected to a tee.
Hold on! Before you put any more work into your media kit, isn’t there something else you’re forgetting?
While your media kit is important, and deserves all that hard work that you’ve been putting into it, there’s something else that you should focus on first: your story.Your company’s story is what should take center stage, and if you don’t have a darn good one, then no amount of sales sheets and bios will be able to save you.
Of course, we’re not advocating that you neglect the media kit. These assets provide writers with essential information on your startup. But in order to create a media kit worth reading, you’re going to need a compelling story. It’s the only thing that can help your company to stand out and get the publicity that it deserves.
Go on! Read further for ideas on how you can use your media kit to tell your story!
What’s in a Name, Anyway?
Forget trying to knock their socks off by mastering the art of a neat and tidy media kit, you want to grab their attention –and keep it, by telling your story.
- Media Releases – Media releases are a high-level summary of your company story and your product offering. They include a positioning statement and highlight important features that your product possesses. Keep in mind, every good story needs an engaging introduction. Provide a glimpse of the big picture, but hold back enough to inspire journalists to want to know more.
- Founder Bios – Your founding team help greatly in telling your company’s backstory and offer details on both where you came from and where you’re headed. Biographies serve to provide excellent background material for journalists to grab content from.
- Logo – Always include your company logo. Provide several different orientations and a black and white version to ensure that your logo will look good in several different contexts.
- Company Headshots – Company headshots add personality to your company. What story is complete without pictures?
- Screenshots –Your ultimate goal is to inspire readers to become customers, so choose compelling photos of your products in action.
- One Pagers or Sales Sheets – Sales sheets, information on market opportunities and your product’s potential are important facts that help tell your story. These elements offer journalists with great story angles such as how your product solves a common issue, what your unique product proposition is and how you differ from your competition.
Stories Forge Deep Connections
The most interesting people have a deep and compelling story to tell. With companies, it’s exactly the same.
It’s your job to show your company to the world, and we all want more than just another pretty face. Most companies dress to impress, but for actual customer retention, you’re going to need more than a well-polished exterior.
Think of your media kit like clothing and accessories - important, but still, they’re not everything. It’s truly what’s inside that counts. Your story, who you really are, is what is of interest, not your blazer.
If pressed for time, you should focus on your story, rather than perfecting the finer points of your media kit. While the kit is important, many times journalists won’t even ask for it. At best, they will just ask for something specific, like an interview, a link to product shots, or a press release.
If a journalist does ask for company info, you can always direct them to your website’s about page or send them some high-level bullet points.
Keep it Short and Sweet
Nothing’s scarier than a big block of text! No one wants to hear a long story that drags on, and on and on… It’s like being at a party with someone who monopolizes your ear for the whole night. Be sure to consider the contents of your media kit in the same manner.
Get to the point. Edit ferociously and be ruthless. Ensure that nothing is in there that doesn’t have a reason. It’s better to pique curiosity and offer further details at a later date than lose the reader entirely, or never get their attention in the first place.
“But, I’m not a storyteller”
The truth is, we’re all storytellers. Some of us just don’t realize it. Every company has a story to tell. It may be painful to birth it, but trust us, it’s worth it once you go through the exercise. Who knows? You may find an entirely new way to frame your startup by taking the time to immerse yourself in this work.
Keep it Real
Think of Whole Foods. Love them or hate them there’s no denying that they’re a success. What is it that sets them apart from the myriad of other health food stores?
It’s their story. Their story helped to forge their identity, and is reflected in everything they do. The company was founded by two youngsters with a dream. It’s a classic rags-to-riches tale, and a compelling one at that. Think of Apple, Google, and Facebook, these giants had humble beginnings but guess what? Their founding stories make an impression. They work.
In many ways, people don’t buy products anymore; they buy stories. Having a well-polished and compelling one helps set you apart from the pack. Truly, it’s one of the most important ways to communicate your brand’s message.
Pack for Success
Just like planning for a trip, you wouldn’t start throwing things into your suitcase until you know your destination.
While you’re putting together your media kit, keep in mind the goal of each piece. What do you want the recipient to do with it? If a piece is just tossed in your media kit without a purpose, it’s no more useful than a snorkel for a trip to the Alps.
While media kits are one of the core elements to a startup PR strategy, they do need to rely on storytelling in order to be effective. Successful communication requires compelling content in order to gain any traction outside of your four walls. The more interesting you are (or at lease make yourself out to be!), the more likely that journalists will take notice and seek to cover you in their publications. Think of the power of the noted ‘Most Interesting Man in the World’ - an actor in a beer ad who is now a cultural icon and popular meme. If he can do it, then you can too. It’s all thanks to the power of a great story.
So what’s your story? We’d love to hear it!
Photo Credit: Unsplash - Galymzhan Abdugalimov