PR: IT’S TIME TO EMBRACE ONLINE PRESS KIT TECHNOLOGY

So you have a cell phone, a Palm Pilot, an automated office complete with teleconferencing, remote access, a Web site, and an email address. Continue? Just because you are always available to the media does not mean the media has easy access to your clients. What can your high-tech office do when a reporter wants press gear at 7 p.m. on a Friday night? Nothing – except rushing to get a hard copy kit ready for expensive overnight shipping.

There is a simple way to eliminate the need to keep a large inventory of hard copy press kits and reduce your dependence on delivery company people: publish your client’s press kits online.

The move from hard copies to press kits published online that are always accessible is essential in today’s e-mail era. The corporate world lives by email; journalists and other media professionals are no different. These people are busy and time is always important when they have a tiring deadline. The decision to use your client in a story over someone else depends on whose information is most readily available. If your client’s press kit takes all night to reach their desks, you might get hit.

I know what you are saying now. “But, Drew, I e-mailed my client’s press materials to the media.” Well, that’s great, but just because reporters use email doesn’t mean they open every stranger’s message that gets into their inbox and it doesn’t mean that they even bother to open your attachment. Why? Because it’s too risky.

First of all, everyone knows not to open emails from someone you don’t know; especially if there are attachments. This is email security 101. Strange emails with attachments usually mean one thing: viruses. At least, that’s what most business firewalls and anti-virus protection systems take. You might think you’re making waves by sending a mass email to your media list with the press release attached, but how many calls do you get back? Not much, because your important emails have been dumped along with those annoying “wasser” worms and “enlargement” emails.

So what’s the solution? Reject technology and start sending letters and faxing again? Not. Embrace technology and publish your press kit online.

Now, an online press kit is not a Web site. Don’t be confused by the term “online”. While online press kits may appear online and present information like a Web site, they are actually virtual folders or briefcases that allow 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’re setting up a snappy and concise email promotion to the media, you can simply include a link to your client’s press kit. When reporters click on the link, the document can be opened and saved on their computer. It opens like an attachment, but the document itself lives online bonus138. Instead of piling it into your email, you just provide directions (links) to get there. They become part of the email message, so the media outlet’s virus protection system will not automatically remove them from the system.

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

Now you’re thinking, “Wow, this sounds great, but I bet it’s expensive.” Not necessarily. While there are online press kit programs available for thousands of dollars, they usually include additional features that you don’t really need and may never use. Think of the online press kit market as a binder or folder aisle at your favorite office supply store. Sure there are binders with all kinds of extras, but you miss them for what you need and the price you can accept.

Let’s face it – technology will only get better and faster. Don’t get left in the dust trying to get that brown truck down with your overnight emergency press kit. By going online with your client’s press kit, you not only make it accessible, but also easy for the media to cover. The media loves it – and so do your clients.

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