FAQ: Press Kits 101, Part I

I was working on my Peggy Li Creations 2007 Press Kit and thought I'd go into more depth here about what goes into a press kit.

Q. What is a Press Kit, anyway?
A. A Press Kit is a compilation of information that can be hardcopy or digital (on CD-rom) about your company that you can send to magazines and anyone who wants information about your products and company.

Q. What should I include in a Press Kit?
A. There are a few schools of thought on this one. Here is a list of what I always include:
1. Cover letter: introduce yourself and your company. Write the letter to the specific person/organization you are targeting. Give a few examples of why they should review your product line. For example, if I were pitching to San Francisco Magazine, I'd be sure to emphasize how I am a local San Francisco designer!

QUICK TIP #1: Be sure to include all your contact information in your cover letter, and put your ID on every page (just in case your pages get mixed up or misplaced).

2. Bio: A brief and friendly description of yourself and your company. This is the place you can include more of a story about yourself and your business that didn't go into the cover letter. Here is a great place to play up the mythology of your business and what makes you unique, for example, if your work was inspired by your grandmother, or how you left a big corporate job to follow your dream, etc.

QUICK TIP #2: Consider including a photo of yourself in your bio. Think of how many magazines do designer profiles with photos -- they are interested in what you look like! This can also make sense if it goes with your story; if I'm pitching to an Asian American magazine, they can see I'm really Asian!

3. Line sheet: These are 1-2 pages (maybe more, but I wouldn't go over 3) showing images of your collection. They should be clean, clear and usually have a small description for each item, which includes the name, item number, and sometimes the retail price. Be sure to give a key for any terms you use. This is what the reader can use to ask for samples, so the easier to see and select items, the better! If you can visually group the items on the page (all the reds together, all the tops together, etc) I think that helps the reader scan the page for what they want.

3. Press sheet: Give a few clips of your most recent press. Reviews from friends and family unfortunately don't count.

QUICK TIP #3: Print out your pages on nice quality paper. Your pictures will come out better and it will feel more professional!

Stay tuned for Part II, which covers mailing and timing! And be sure to visit my website, Handmade Jewelry by Peggy Li.