In this episode we’re going to talk about press kits! But first, some exciting news. Novel Marketing is in Top 30 Marketing Podcasts You Must Subscribe and Listen to in 2018.
What is a Press Kit?
- Back in the day, it was a packet you mailed to journalists.
- Then we faxed them.
- Now they’re a page on your website specifically for media people who want to interview you.
- It can also be PDF
Why have a press kit?
- Makes you easier to interview.
- Makes your interviews go well.
- Can help create more media opportunities
- Makes your PR outreach more effective
- Gets you in the media more.
Who Looks for Press Kits?
- Journalists (Magazine & Newspapers)
- TV Producers
- Radio Show Hosts
Where to Put Your Press Kit
- On your website’s footer for sure.
- Perhaps in your main nav, perhaps not.
- Add a link in your about page.
What the Press Kit Should Contain
- High-Resolution Images (Logos, Headshots, Book Covers, etc.)
- Can show a bit of your personality here as it’s going to be more than one shot
- Extended Bio (Not your speaking bio)
- Give the details here …
- FAQ/Suggested Interview Questions
- Show Topics
- Press Contact Info & Contact Form
- Your phone number
- Google Voice Number voice.google.com
- Social Media Links
- Twitter is big for journalists
- Recent Press Releases
- Notable Press Mentions
- Notable Speaking Appearances
- Downloads (PDF Press Kit Download)
- Links to recent interviews
- This episode is brought to you by The Novel Marketing Five Year Plan to becoming a bestselling author …
- Jim: We joke that this is the 5 Year Plan to becoming an overnight success.
- Thomas: Most people look at what happens a few days or weeks before the big break out. We take a longer view…
- Go to Novel Marketing dot com and click courses.
- As always, our patrons get 50% off. Speaking of patrons.
7 Deadly Friendships by Mary DeMuth. We got our hands on a pre-release copy and my wife could not put it down. If you are wondering if your friends are crazy, or you keep attracting the wrong kind of people around you, you really should pre-order this book.
Thomas: [00:00:05] Episode 157.
Jim: [00:00:07] I’m James L. Rubart, but call me Jim. And as always, the co-pilot seat is being filled by Thomas Umstattd Jr. … author, speaker, serial entrepreneur, owner of author media and an unofficial historical scholar.
Thomas: [00:00:22] What can I say … I love history although I don’t know if I consider myself to be a scholar.
Jim: [00:00:26] He is a scholar folks I’m serious. He is a scholar … you ask him any question about history … well I guess you can only talk for about two hours on any subject, right?
Thomas: [00:00:35] This is why I don’t have more friends … every topic ends up being, oh well, actually if you understand the historical background of this … 20 hours later everyone’s asleep.
Jim: [00:00:44] They are not asleep.
Thomas: [00:00:46] Some exciting news … Novel Marketing was recently named in the top 30 marketing podcasts on all of podcasting by FeedSpot. So thank you to Feedspot for saying we’re one of the top 30 podcasts and you can check out their list at Feedspot dot com. We’ll have a link to it in the show notes.
Jim: [00:01:07] In this episode guys, we’re going to talk to you about press kits and if some of you right now are saying press kit? Now what is that exactly and why do I need it? Well this is the episode for you. So Thomas what is a press kit? Let’s start with that.
Thomas: [00:01:22] So a press kit is a page on your Web site. At least that’s what it is right now. That is everything a journalist needs to talk about you. Back in the day, Jim you may actually remember these days, they were actual packets that you would put in my email ,,, you to hand them to someone
Jim: [00:01:40] Yes indeed.
Thomas: [00:01:41] An employee who would then deliver them and they would have your photos and they’d be like actual physical photos you could touch and press releases and other information like that. Is this true that these used to exist in the real world?
Jim: [00:01:52] They did. They did .. back when I was working in radio you had … one of the big decisions was, OK we gotta get the right folder and what are the cuts in the folder we’re going to have so we can slip a card in there and we can slip this in here and we can make it stand out. And if you can picture your basic folder that opens up and on one side you have your text and on the other side it has the photos. Yes these things were these things were very real and very prolific.
Thomas: [00:02:18] So then they became something that were faxed and then
Jim: [00:02:21] Right.
Thomas: [00:02:21] … eventually they became PDFs and now they’re ideally a page on your Web site and maybe you’re like, “Well, the press doesn’t interview me. Why do I need a press kit?” The answer is you need a press kit.
Thomas: [00:02:36] … and I will say it’s not just traditional media like newspaper people or TV journalists or radio people. It’s also bloggers looking for press kits … when I’m talking about an author and I want a presentation on him as an example, or want to use their book as an example, I often look for their press kit on their website to get some of the things we’ll talk about later, like a high resolution images. So let’s talk a little bit about why having a press kit is so important because really every author needs to have a press kit. They’re so easy to make. There’s no reason not to have one. And the number one reason to have a press kit is that it makes you easier to interview and makes the interviews go better. So if you don’t want to have an awkward interview one of the ways you can help avoid that is to create a press kit just
Jim: [00:03:25] One of the things that a lot of you have probably done or at least some of you have done, you’ve done radio interviews or you’ve done TV interviews. Well if somebody is a producer at a radio station they’re trying to set up a bunch of different guests. If they go to an author’s website and see all these questions that are already there, all they have to do is copy and paste give it to their host. It makes it a lot easier. Now a lot of times the host will go off script and they won’t end up asking those specific questions but having those as a backup makes it so much easier for the producer so much easier for the host. Another words, if I’m a producer and I’m looking for somebody to bring on to the show and author A, B, and C have no questions, no press kit ahead of time, and author D has all that I’m going to choose author D. It just makes it easier.
Thomas: [00:04:12] Yeah one back when I had my drive time radio talk show I had two hours of radio to fill every single day. And if it was a busy news week … we had a hurricane coming to town, man that episode made itself …. we take calls and we talk about the hurricane but if it is a slow news day I would just be desperate for guests to interview and the easier they made it the more likely it was that I would interview them. So be kind to the journalists in your world and they will in turn be kind to you. So it also helps make your PR outreach more effective. So the students were going through our book launch blueprint, one things we’re talking about is doing PR outreach and how to get on TV how to get on radio and interviewed on podcasts and a good press page will help with that. It helps make you more appealing and it makes the other things you’re doing more effective and it gets you in the media more ultimately. So that’s why to have a press kit … now Jim and I both cited this week that we practice what you preach. So we actually put together press kits for our Web sites. I had a speaker kit on my website but it didn’t specifically have a press kit it was one of those things I kept meaning to do and kept not getting around to it. So I finally was like, Alright I want to bite the bullet and I’m going to actually make a press kit, and it ended up being a really fun process. And I got a little bit lost because I was trying to find what media sites have mentioned me and you know what newspapers and whatnot. And I got lost on the Internet googling my name and it took me back down memory road … it was like, Oh that’s right, The Houston Chronicle had me on because of the political things I was doing and it was an interesting journey. And so anyway we’ll be sharing some of the things we learned building our own press kits and we’ll have links to our press kits in the show if you want to take a look at Jim’s and my press kit.
Jim: [00:06:04] Just a real quick look at who looks for press kits, and Thomas intimated a little bit about this, but let’s just go specifically through the list of people who might be looking for a press kit on your site. Of course journalists, magazine and newspaper and that’s also magazine a newspapers online. It’s TV producers. It’s radio shows, it’s bloggers, it’s podcasters. And then one that you might not necessarily think of but teachers are also looking for press kits. One of the things that I’ve done often throughout my career is I’ve been asked to contribute an article or contribute something online to college courses and universities. And that’s great exposure for me and it’s really easy to do. But if the teacher does not have the information it makes the opportunity a lot less likely.
Thomas: [00:06:57] Now look real quick about where to put your press kit. Obviously it’s a page on your Web site. But that doesn’t mean it has to be in your main navigation. Sometimes you’re putting information in your press kit that’s not found anywhere else. I know authors who will only have their e-mail address or only have their phone number listed on the press page because they don’t want regular people calling them, only journalists calling them. And so you may not want to make a big deal about the press kit and I will say …
Jim: [00:07:20] Right.
Thomas: [00:07:20] … as a journalist where I am looking for the press kit is in the footer, believe it or not … often when I’m wanting to interview somebody or wanting to talk about somebody on my show because a press kit isn’t just used for interviews … so I may be talking about you and I want to go and check out your press kit before I talk about you and I’ll never ask your permission to talk to you. So it’s either going to be me getting information from your Web site or me getting information from other people’s websites talking about you. Which do you prefer? I’m going to that footer specifically to look for the press kit so that’s the most important spot to put a link to it. You may also add a link in your About page and if talking to media the media is a big part of your brand, it’s OK to put it the main navigation but it’s not required.
Jim: [00:08:02] I to go back to something you said a second ago, Thomas, and that’s talking about people going to find your press kit. This makes it really easy for these people to check out all the information they need without having to e-mail you, without having to have any contact with you. They can do their research ahead of time and go, “Yep, Thomas is going to fit or no. Thomas is not going to fit.” So you are making their life much, much easier when you have that press kit.
Thomas: [00:08:29] All right so let’s talk about what to put on this page. We created the page, we’re linking to it in the footer, we understand why it’s important, now what do we put there? The first thing you want to include … the number one thing I’m often looking for is high resolution images. You know an image is high resolution because it has at least four digits worth of pixels. So a thousand or more pixels by a thousand or more pixels … your 200 pixel by 200 pixel thumbnail is not a high resolution image. And if I’m wanting to put you on a presentation side, if I’m wanting to put you on TV, I’m wanting to feature you or my YouTube video, I’ve got to have an image that will look good in HD and an HD video is effectively 2000 pixels wide. So if I’m wanting to show your face in full screen I need a version of your photo that is at least 2000 pixels wide, so we’re talking high resolution big megabytes not the kind of image you any use really anywhere else on your website, because it will make your Web site run slow, but as a journalist I’m wanting it to run slow so I can get that big file. Or another way to do this, you have your cake and eat it too, you have a thumbnail of your headshots or your book cover, and then I click on the thumbnail and it downloads the high resolution version. That’s like the gold standard of how to do it where the page still loads quickly but I still have access to that high res version.
Jim: [00:09:47] Another thing you can do because it’s more than one photo … you have a chance to put a number of photos there because typically if you look at photos on a website, it’s going to be that one headshot, or say you’re at a writing conference, you’re going to be speaking at a writing conference, there’s that one headshot of Thomas, but here we can have two or three maybe even four photos. And that gives you a chance to show a little bit of your personality … for example you’ll see if you choose to go and look at my press kit page. I have a shot of me waterskiing … just this wall of water going up behind me and that’s a chance for a journalist or someone to go, “Oh well that’s interesting. I haven’t seen that shocks Broca. It’s surprising. It’s intriguing. A journalist is going to go, “Oh so Jim’s a pretty active guy.” So it’s a way to show a little bit of your personality as well.
Thomas: [00:10:33] Right. The next thing you want to include in your press kit is an extended bio. Is the one thing I still need to work on in my press kit. I copy pasted my bio from my speaking introduction so your speaking introduction bio is very short. You don’t want the person introducing you droning on and on about where you went to college. A journalist on the other hand, really does care about your longer story because they’re going to pull out pieces and make their own shorter version of the story. So they’re not wanting the list of ingredients for a very specific dish like you give a speaking introduction. They’re wanting access to the whole pantry so to speak. You want to have a longer more detailed bio and you need to make sure and write it in the third person. So don’t say I did this and I did that say, Thomas Umstattd did this and then Thomas did that …. use your actual name, that’s really important in your bio especially on the press page, because I may be, if I’m in a hurry, copying and pasting straight from your press kit page right into my show notes to interview you on my radio show and I want your name to be there in like how your name is pronounced … little things like are good to put your extended bio. Jim?
Jim: [00:11:42] Then the next thing you want to think about is frequently asked questions and suggested interview questions and those could be two separate things. For example somebody might say, “Well Jim where do you get … your books have often been touted as very unique, where do you get your ideas? So I’m going to ask that question … that question tells a little bit about me and it could also be used as an interview question. So you’re going to list frequently asked questions that you get as an author and then you’re going to have a list of questions that you know that hosts have enjoyed asking you either in blog interviews or TV or radio interviews. You’re going to give them kind of a smorgasbord or an a la carte menu of questions that they can draw from.
Thomas: [00:12:25] Another thing you may consider is doing a show topics section. So for me I really enjoy being interviewed on people’s podcasts. In fact I was recently on a great podcast called The Pastor Writer podcast which is specifically for pastors who are writing books. It’s a great podcast and one thing that makes it easier to be interviewed on podcasts is to have some suggested topics ready to go and I will say my suggested questions actually took the questions from the pastor writer conference. I use those as my starting point rom that podcast and I tweaked them because they were such great questions. We should link to it, especially you nonfiction folks … I talked for 40 minutes about how to go viral in your nonfiction book and blogging and all that.
Thomas: [00:13:12] Put you topics there and then another thing, this is maybe the most important part of your press kits so pay attention. We teased this last week, we’re saying it again this week … you need to put your contact information in your press kit. Journalists are some of the only people in the world who have real deadlines. Newspapers get printed and if you don’t have your quote in by the time the newspaper gets printed, you don’t have your quote? The quote is not there. When I would go on radio my show started at 5 o’clock for the afternoon drive and if I didn’t have something by 5:00 o’clock, I didn’t have it. And the show ended by 7:00 o’clock. The show was over and it was a perishable commodity, like the deadlines are real, and so you need to make it very easy for people to get a hold of you. We talked about this last time, Google Voice, I use a paid service called Ring Central, in addition to Google Voice, which is my business line. So it rings to my computer. I could have it ring to my phone and there’s an app where it would ring to my phone. I don’t want that. I don’t want people to call me on my phone. I don’t even want people I know to call me on my phone. I’m a millennial and don’t like talking on the phone but I do want journalists to call me if they have if they need a quote or something. So you put a phone number there, put an email address there, what I did is I created a special email address, it’s press at Thomas Umstattd dot com, and that e-mail just redirects to my real email address so I can always know if somebody is emailing that address and if it gets picked up by spammers or whatever I will know. And that didn’t cost me anything.
Jim: [00:14:53] And you can go you can go old school and do what I do. I just put my phone number up there and so people can call me. I have a policy, if a number comes up and I don’t know the number or the caller ID doesn’t come up, don’t answer the phone. And so they can leave a message or they can text me. But for me I have just decided when I was setting up my page, I don’t care if my number’s out there because most people are not going to go to this page unless they have a real purpose for calling me. So we’ll see how it goes.
Thomas: [00:15:21] Another thing is social media links … journalists particularly like to follow Twitter. Journalists are really big on Twitter and if you are active on Twitter if you have a twitter, link to it. Facebook as well. If you have a professional Facebook presence you can link there and then any other social media. This is another place to list them and then any awards that you have won. Another thing … some authors do this, some authors don’t, but press releases? What I recommend is to create a special if you are like an organization or putting out press releases, is to create a special category called press releases on your blog. Have your press releases be blog posts. Which makes them a news release and then on your press kit page show just the news release blog category posts. If you’re using Divi, which is what we recommend, this is really easy to do and it will automatically update with all of your most recent press releases which is really cool. Another thing that you want to include is press mentions … journalists like to interview people that other journalists have interviewed. Some people are good at the media and some people are not. So if somebody has been interviewed by lots of media sources there’s a good chance they are good with the media which means they’ll be an easy interview which is what we want. We don’t want someone who answers our questions with one word sentences or or on the other hand won’t shut up. This isn’t like how to deal with media
Thomas: [00:16:45] You want to show off, if you’ve been talked to from the New York Times, you want to put them on your website. What I did … I’m not a big graphic designer but I took the logos of all the different newspapers and media outlets that have interviewed me and I put them into keynote which is like PowerPoint and I organized them and then I exported that as an image and uploaded that image to my website. So all the logos are there and they all look fancy and it was a very low tech easy way to do it. Another way to do it is to hire somebody on Fiverr which we like to recommend for five bucks, give them a list of all the logos and say hey put together an as seen in graphic with all these logos. I’ll pay five bucks for it. Of you are happy to do that for you on fire
Jim: [00:17:30] And if some of you are saying, “I write fiction, I haven’t been on a lot of shows, how do I show social authority?” I would suggest if you’ve won awards make those prominent and that’s what I did. I went through this actually gave me a chance … it’s going to sound like I’m bragging and I don’t mean it to come across that way … but I actually had not ever catalogued what awards I had won and so had to go and say, “Did I win that this year and I did win for this book?” Now I have in one place all the awards or the finalists I’ve had from my novels …. and as a journalist if I go, “Oh, I see this guy has had some success”, that gives me the authority where they might perhaps want to interview me. So if you have won awards or you’ve finaled in contests, go ahead and put those up.
Thomas: [00:18:21] And play to your strengths here. So like Jim’s strength is that he wins a lot of awards. And so in his press kit he’s going to feature that very prominently …. for me, my strength is that I get interviewed on lots of podcasts. So I feature, on my press page, a list of all of the podcasts guest interviews I’ve done. In fact I even set it up where anytime I do a guest interview, it gets posted to my Web site and people can subscribe just to hear my guest interviews on various podcasts around the Internet. And so you can subscribe to a podcast that’s the Thomas Umstattd guest interviews podcast, though it’s just a variety of different podcasts talking about a variety of topics. And I’m able to, with Divi, just show those blog posts that have those podcasts interviews. So this requires looking in the mirror and say, “What are my strengths?”
Thomas: [00:19:13] And it’s okay to not have one of these sections … if you don’t have any press mentions, if you haven’t won any awards, if you’re not on any podcasts that’s okay. Just leave those blank … if all your press kit is, is some high res photos of you, a really good bio and some contact information, you know what? That’s the main thing the press is looking for.
Jim: [00:19:30] Yep
Thomas: [00:19:31] These other things are the frosting … you can have a perfectly good cake without frosting. In fact some of the best cakes don’t have frosting. So a couple other things though real quick. Notable speaking appearances can be good. So if you’ve been brought back to give a talk to your alma mater on writing or something, you put the logo of your university or other places you’ve spoken if you’ve done a lot of speaking … any sort of downloads, maybe you have a PDF version of your press kit, you can put that there, you can list any books you’ve written. I think this is a very good idea if you have a dozen books, so you’re like, “I don’t get mentioned by the press but I’ve written these dozen books” … list all dozen books and link to the book pages for each book on your website and if you’re using My Book Table makes that really easy. And of course links to recent interviews that you’ve done. So I know this is a bit of an overwhelming list but we will have them in the show notes and again we’ll have our press kits … examples of Jim and I and on the Facebook group. I know a lot of you are on the Novel Marketing podcast Facebook group. Go ahead and create a press kit and share a link to it in the Facebook group. You might even get some feedback on what you’re doing. We want to make this a practical podcast where we’re putting these things into practice and by looking at each other’s press kits, you’ll get other ideas on how to do it.
Jim: [00:21:04] This episode of the novel Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the Novel Marketing five year plan to becoming an overnight best selling author … and Thomas and I joke about it being overnight … it takes on average 10 years for somebody to hit their stride as a novelist. One of the things that excites us about this plan is we guarantee you will cut that time in half if you follow the plan to becoming a bestselling author.
Thomas: [00:21:32] It’s basically a career plan that takes you through each quarter what you need to be doing in that quarter to be successful. So if you ever feel lost if you ever feel like, “Gosh I don’t know if I’m working on the right things right now to advance my writing career,” This plan really does fix that and we’ve gotten incredible feedback from people going through it. And again we warn you but we’ll warn you again, the most common feedback we get is that they can’t believe how cheap the five year plan is so the price is going to be going up. So you want to get it now before the price goes up. And as always, patrons get 50 percent off if you wanna save some money on the plan first become our patron at Novel Marketing dot com. And speaking of patrons, we have a feature patron this month.
Jim: [00:22:14] We do! Our featured patron this month is Mary DeMuth and she has just launched a book called, Seven Deadly friendships. And Mary is part of our mastermind group, I think you know that, we’ve talked about that before. Mary is part of Thomas’s and my mastermind group. And she also is our partner in the book launch course that we are in the midst of going through right now and Mary … boy she knows how to launch books, yes. But she also knows how to write. She’s incredible writer. She goes to the truth of subjects and this book I think, for anyone who has ever had a difficult relationship, i.e. all of us, I think this book could be really powerful. We did get our hands on a prerelease copy. I haven’t read it but, Thomas, didn’t Margaret pick up a copy?
Thomas: [00:23:02] Yeah, she couldn’t put it down. I handed it to her and I was at a conference all day and I came back and she’d basically finished it.
Jim: [00:23:11] Wow.
Thomas: [00:23:11] She did the whole thing in one sitting more or less. And she’s like, this is a really amazing book, gave me a lot to think about. And if you are wondering why weird people keep being attracted to you, this book may be the book for you. She talks about seven different kinds of predatory people and inappropriate people, and what to look for and how to avoid them. It’s really good practical life skills book. So anyway Mary, thank you for being a patron of the Novel Marketing podcast.
Jim: [00:23:43] Ok Thomas before we sign off real quick, got to give us a baby update. I mean we’re coming down to the very very short strokes here.
Thomas: [00:23:50] Yeah still no baby. So we’re waiting the baby seems to be ready but the baby is also not ready. So my wife and I are both very ready to have the baby, at least we think we are, ask me again in a couple of weeks. I think we are 10 or 11 days away from the due date. So we are approaching the impending day for the baby and if you want to see photos of the baby I’ll post them to the Facebook group first. Well I mean I’ll send them to my family first …
Jim: [00:24:19] Yes.
Thomas: [00:24:19] But before we mention them on the podcast I will share a photo on the Facebook group. Another reason to join the free Novel Marketing Facebook group.
Jim: [00:24:30] You’ve been listening to James L. Rubart and Thomas Umstattd Jr. on the Novel Marketing podcast, giving you novel ideas on how to promote yourself and your writing, off line, online and everywhere in between. Thank you so much for listening.