23 August, 2016
Blogger Tips for Making a Media KitComments : 11 Posted in : Wine Bloggers Conference 2016, Writing on by : The Gourmez
Why isn’t this a Review, the Gourmez?
The wine blogging world is scrambling madly to assemble media kits after the recent Wine Bloggers Conference, and I wanted to do my part in providing references and helping to demystify the concept a bit. At my panel on the samples relationship between bloggers and wineries, media kits came up as one of the best ways bloggers can project professionalism and attract PR investment in our work, whether that be through companies vetting us as potential reviewers or actual monetary payment.
— Fox Run Vineyards (@foxrunvineyards) August 13, 2016
The topic also came up in Austin Beeman’s presentation on why wineries need the skills bloggers have, which you can view here. It was on the lips of other presenters as well, so no time like the present to learn!
So…What is a Media Kit?
Supplying media kits has long been standard practice for print magazines and newspapers in attracting advertising money. In that format, they’ve given circulation details, the scope of the brand, the types of advertising solicitations accepted, and the hallmarks of what makes their masthead special.
For bloggers, the same general idea is still in play, though media kits can be used for more than seeking sponsorships or advertising. They can also be used to prove your worth to garner samples from or invitations to wineries, restaurants, festivals, visitors and convention bureaus, trade tastings, and media trips–even for soliciting radio or television appearances. The media kit’s purpose is to create more opportunity for you, whether that means generating income, generating more opportunities to write about your passions, or whatever you’re hoping to gain. For traditional print writers and critics, such interactions came through the reputation–and the media kits that boasted of that reputation–of their larger organizations. For blogs, you ARE the organization. And you should put your best foot forward to impress.
The most important question to ask before you start, in my opinion, is what do you want your media kit to do for you? For me, the answer is make my blog more attractive to companies seeking review and promotions of their products, in particular wines, spirits, restaurants, related special events, and visitors’ bureaus. Your answer may be attracting advertising dollars or freelance article opportunities. Whatever the case may be, keep that focus in mind as you write your copy and choose what images and facets of your blog to promote.
So…How do I Make a Media Kit?
Come close, and let me whisper in your ear…I just made my first! Although I have long had a lengthy About Me page and a list of media mentions and accolades on my website, I hadn’t compiled them with my blog stats and my blog’s biography into an attractive format. Leeann Froese of Town Hall Brands recently shared slides from a presentation she gave on the subject, which you can view here:
An important takeway from Leeann’s presentation is that the type of media kit you make depends on YOU and your needs. For example, if you’re a wine blogger who’d like more targeted samples, make sure you include a section on your sample policies that emphasizes the sort of wine you’d most like to review. If you’re primarily looking to sell advertisement space, make sure to include pricing and placement descriptions in your kit. Whatever your goal, including the perspective from which you write is crucial! That perspective involves knowing your audience and knowing your own intentions for hosting a website. Keep those in mind throughout building your kit.
The Blog Maven has a great run-through of all the different elements you might include in your media kit. I think it’s important to stress, though, that you do not need to include them all–use the elements you believe will best help you achieve what you want to accomplish with this kit.
The single best resource I’ve found on understanding media kits and the different types there are is this slide presentation from Deborah Anderson of the Social Web Café.
The One Sheet
The One Sheet media kit is the most common I’ve seen, and there are a number of great articles that provide samples of them. These are meant for handing out in person or for acting as a quick snapshot of your blog’s statistics and collaboration opportunities. Make sure you include your own branding images, your headshot and biography, your social media stats, your blog stats, and your contact information.
To be honest, I find a lot of the one-pagers very loud in design–they want to make my eyes bleed by cramming so much information into so little space. But Jana Seitzer of Merlot Mommy forwarded me a few examples that work great, including her own.
Jana, by the way, also designs media kits of all types through her Geek Girl Digital company. Let her know you attended the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference and she’ll give you 25% off. Her usual rate is $100–that’s a deal already! You can contact Jana at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Full Media Kit
Perhaps because of my dislike of the oft-crowded One Sheet, this is what I focused on making this past week. I’m attracted to this format because I want a media kit that I can easily attach to an email, which is how most of my interactions with PR firms take place. When I’m answering a call for samples or pitching an idea to a company, I want to quickly add that attachment and up my credibility. Plus the longer format gives me more of a chance to highlight my photography, which makes me more attractive for potential collaborations.
Initially, I used Melyssa Griffin’s free template, which you can request along with her very thorough post on media kits here. But I found the template hard to navigate for someone with middling Photoshop skills, so I called in the big guns–the husband, who happens to work at Adobe.
Melyssa’s template was still the basic inspiration for our design, especially the front page, but the following pages represent sections that I most wanted to emphasize to attract potential new samples and event invitations from PR eyeballs. Thus, you’ll find all the basic information presented in the One Sheet with additional sections for Brand Collaborations, Press Clippings, Media Mentions, Testimonials, and Accolades. The all-important contact information appears at the bottom of each page. And yes, my testimonials section does not actually have the testimonials yet–I’m emailing a few of the brands and people I’ve blogged about to get quotes and their permission to use them.
Wine blogger and paella chef Lisa Cascio Mays also recently made a full media kit. I think it turned out quite well, don’t you?
The Online Media Kit
This kit will be hosted on your website as a subsection. It will include all the information in the full media kit, but it should be designed to fit within your website itself. The press clippings and accolades I’ve had listed on my website are the beginnings of an online media kit, but you can be as completist as you want with this one, including as many attractively arrayed page and social statistics, advertising rates and specs, sponsorship potentials, sample policies, media mentions, and more of everything you’d like a PR company to consider before contacting you. Think of it as giving PR the keys to the castle, i.e., all your headshots, your logos, anything their hearts could desire. Each section should have its own page, and a download button for combining all of the pages into a PDF is a must. Rolling Stone has a great media kit online–hit the home page for it here and make sure you browse through all their sections for ideas.
I will eventually make both a one sheet and an online media kit, but for now, I’m glad progress has been made on my full media kit! That deserves a glass of celebration, don’t you think?
— becca gomez farrell (@thegourmez) August 11, 2016
An invite back to the Livermore Valley would certainly do. 😉
If you’d like to share your own media kits or have more questions, feel free to comment below — we’ll find out the answers together!