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Publicists: It's Time to Embrace the Technology of Online Press Kits

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by LovableStorm
So you have a cell phone, a Palm Pilot, an automated office complete with teleconferencing, remote-access, Web site and e-mail addresses. So what? Just because you’re always available to the media doesn’t mean the media has easy access to your clients. What will your high-tech office be able to do when a reporter wants a press kit at 7 p.m. on a Friday evening? Nothing – except hastily prepare the hard copy kit for a costly overnight shipment.

There is a simple way to eliminate the need for keeping a large inventory of hard copy press kits and reduce your dependency on the shipping company guy: publish your clients’ press kits online.

Making the move from hard copies to press kits published online that are always-accessible is essential in today’s age of e-mail. The corporate world lives by e-mail; reporters and other media professionals are no different. These people are busy and time is always of the essence when they’ve got deadlines breathing down their necks. The decision to use your client in a story instead of someone else is contingent on whose information is easiest to get. If it takes all night for your client’s press kit to reach their desk, you might get bumped.

I know what you’re saying right now. “But, Drew, I e-mail my clients’ press materials to the media.” Well, that’s great, but just because reporters use e-mail doesn’t mean they open every stranger’s message that arrives in their inbox and it especially doesn’t mean that they even bother opening your attachments. Why? Because it’s too risky.

First of all, everyone knows not to open an e-mail from someone you don’t know; especially if there’s an attachment. This is e-mail safety 101. Strange e-mails with attachments usually mean one thing: virus. At least, that’s the take of most business’s firewalls and anti-virus protection systems. You may think you’re making waves by mass e-mailing your media lists with attached press releases, but how many calls are you getting back? Not many, since your important e-mail has been tossed out with the “wasser” worm and those annoying “enlargement” e-mails.

So what’s the solution? Reject technology and start snail-mailing and faxing again? No. Embrace technology and publish your press kits online.

Now, an online press kit is not a Web site. Don’t be confused by the term “online.” Though an online press kit can be displayed online and present information like a Web site, it is really a virtual folder or briefcase that allows you to upload and store your press materials on the Internet. Once in your online press kit folder, these documents and images can be distributed as links – not attachments.

When you prepare your sharp, concise e-mail pitch to the media, you simply insert links to your clients’ press kits. When the reporter clicks the link, the document can be opened and saved on their computer. It opens like an attachment, but the documents themselves live online. Instead of piling them onto your e-mail, you’re simply providing directions (a link) to get to them. They become part of the e-mail message, so a media outlet’s virus protection system won’t automatically kick it out of the system.

Virtually anything can be uploaded to an online press kit: press releases, high-resolution images, video and audio clips, graphics and more. Plus, since you have control over your online press kits, you can always be sure they’re up to date.

Now you’re thinking “Wow, these things sound great, but I bet they are expensive.” Not necessarily. Though there are online press kit programs available that cost into the thousands, they usually include extra features you don’t really need and will probably never use. Think of the online press kit market as the binder or folder aisle at your favorite office supply store. Sure there are binders with all kinds of extras, but you pass those by for what you need and the price you can live with.

Face it – technology is only going to get better and faster. Don’t be left in its dust trying to wave down that brown truck with your emergency overnight press kit. By going online with your clients’ press kits, you’re not only making them easy to access, but easy to cover by the media. The media loves that – and so will your clients.

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