As a business owner, a media kit is a hugely valuable asset.
Media kits can help you book out your services months in advance and promote your business when you’re not in the room. If you’re new to the world of media kits, in the most simple of terms, a media kit is a document that covers all the basics of your business. It explains who you are, what you do, what services you offer and how to book you.
Why Invest In A Media Kit?
If you’re a small business like Branch, you have a lot of information to convey about the services you offer but don’t want to clog up your website with tons of heavy copy or proprietary information. This is where your media kit comes in.
I’ve always thought of websites as providing a broad overview of your business and what you have to offer with media kits creating a more personalized connection.
Media kits can be made public on a website for immediate download but I prefer to have potential clients contact us directly so I can learn more about their needs, offer a personalized response with recommendations and build a relationship. Yes, this takes more time upfront but it also allows me to get to know them better and determine if we’re a good fit since our projects often stretch on for months in close collaboration.
When I started Branch in 2013, the first document I invested serious time in was our media kit. I still credit that original version with building the business in the early days since it provided a professional look and a clear understanding of our services broken down into a packages so clients could make a quick yet informed decision.
The thing is, media kits take a ton of work to put together. Media kit design is a service we offer but that didn’t make redoing the studio version any easier. I’d put off properly redoing the Branch media kit for a solid year because the project was so daunting — and between shooting photos, rewriting copy and reworking the packages on top of formatting the layouts, it took more than 20 hours to rebuild from beginning to end.
The 3 Content Buckets
To build your own media kit, you’ll need a few buckets of content to piece it all together. Let’s talk about each one:
Bucket 1 — Imagery
As a business owner, you probably have access to the same tools and programs as everyone else. So, how do you stand out? How do you see the world? What inspires you? Your point of view is everything and much of this can be conveyed through the images you choose to share.
As a personal preference, I tend to veer away from stock images altogether in our media kit design and instead stick with atmospheric / studio shots mixed in with mockups of completed client work.
While having a clearly defined, beautifully executed image is great, your clients will appreciate a sense of transparency and authenticity even more. This is less about perfection and more about providing a legitimate feel for what your world is like, what inspires you and what kind of work you’re seeking more of.
I know what you’re thinking when it comes to photos so there are two points I want to make before we move on:
1. Not everyone has a dedicated workspace and that’s totally okay. Maybe you enjoy working on your laptop from coffee shops or maybe you have the corner of your room set up. Or, maybe you live a more nomadic lifestyle. This is your unique story to share through the photos. You don’t need a desk shot!
If you do need additional atmospheric photos to fill gaps, build out a physical mood board or shoot some flat lays with your favorite coffee mug, tools and images.
2. If you don’t have the budget for a professional photographer, that’s also okay. The cover media kit photo was taken by a pro but all of the rest inside were shot by me on a Samsung NX500 and edited in Photoshop. I didn’t use an external flash, reflectors or any fancy equipment. Keep it simple so your creativity remains high and stress levels stay low.
I’ve aways believed that you should do what you can with what you’ve got, develop your point of view and then call in the pros — the better you understand your brand, the better the images will be.
Bucket 2 — Written Content
What do you do? What do you offer? What makes you unique? What kind of packages do you have? Who do you enjoy working with?
For a lot of creatives who are highly visual, the written half of a media kit is the hardest part by far. I’ve found it much easier to break content creation into bite-sized chunks and build, piece by piece.
Start with the easiest pieces on your list (literally, conquer the contact page first!) and go from there. Hire a copywriter or book a writing course if you need to but always try doing a dry-run first so you have something to build from. The first draft is always terrible but as you go back and begin to make tweaks, it starts to take shape.
Content you may want to include:
• About — who are you, what do you do and what do you stand for? What’s that angle that makes you unique?
• How You Can Help — Focus on your potential clients; what are they struggling with? How can you alleviate those pain points?
• Client List — Who have you worked with? Any particular industries or notable clients that you’re particularly proud of?
• Services List — What kinds of services do you offer? This should be a quick overview in list form.
• Process — What’s the step-by-step process you use to get solid results?
• FAQ — What questions do you constantly get asked? Share them here to cut back on emails while giving potential clients everything they need to make a decision.
• Testimonials — There are only so many great things you can say about your own business. What do your past clients have to share about working with you?
• Packages — Bundle your most popular services in an easy-to-understand format that clearly lists the deliverables a client receives. Including a “starting at” rate is also helpful but we always provide a custom quote based on the specific project brief.
• Contact Information — How do clients get in touch to book in with you or learn more?
Bucket 3 — Flat Plan
Once you’ve figured out your copy and pulled together imagery, the final step is to outline the order you want it to flow in from beginning to end.
To get started, draw out a bunch of squares on a sheet of paper and fill in the “pages” with the content in the order you’d like to share to get an accurate page count. Break up any heavy text pages with images to keep a nice flow — think of this document as less of a written paper and more like a beautiful magazine.
A media kit isn’t just a way to share information — it should translate into an inspiring experience. Remember, it’s doing the job of selling your services so it needs to be packed with personality. Make it unique, make it memorable and make it irresistible. This is your chance to make an amazing first impression. -Shauna
Featured project: Branch 2017 media kit.
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