Originally posted on PR Newswire’s Beyond PR blog: http://www.prnewswire.com/blog/the-perfect-online-press-kit-checklist-16618.html
From dazzling booth displays to engaging mobile event apps, trade shows have embraced spectacular feats of innovation over the years. However, when it comes to marketing trade show content, are you packaging your cutting-edge news in an antiquated box?
The press kit — an essential part of any exhibitor’s plan — can come in many forms, from hard paper copy and CDs to USB flash drives and online links.
While beautifully designed binders and engraved USB drives might sound like an enticing opportunity to showcase your brand’s aesthetic, an online press kit is the most flexible, efficient, and cost-effective option.
With any type of physical press kit, there are many challenges: the content you include must be created, printed and loaded well in advance of the show; it’s costly and/or time-consuming to update content at the last minute; and there is no way to capture usage analytics.
On the other hand, hosting your press kit online not only bypasses all of these obstacles, it’s also available and shareable 24/7.
Once you’ve decided to create an online press kit, it is important to make sure the platform you use has the functionality you need as a one-stop shop for journalists, influencers and other audiences.
Check these 10 elements off your list when creating your next online press kit.
Having a press kit with responsive design is critical. From attendees walking the show floor to media switching between devices on the go, an online press kit needs to be compatible with smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers alike.
To check if your press kit is mobile-friendly, try a free tool like Google’s responsive design test.
With a quick glance, a reader should be able to tell whose content is in front of them. Customizing the press kit with branding elements like your logo, banner and/or color scheme helps keep your company’s message visually consistent.
Similarly, just as your primary company website should have information for how to connect with your brand on social media, the press kit should also be able to integrate live social media feeds or icon sets.
Since the press kit lives online, it needs to be easily shared and found via search engines. A succinct vanity URL can seamlessly fit onto a business card or be transformed into a QR code as quickly as it can be tweeted or emailed.
Add a toolbar with email and social sharing features; email functionality is also a great way to directly send a journalist your press kit when you’re on the show floor.
Pro Tip: For maximum visibility, include the press kit link in all of your show-related communications, from email invites to press releases.
Because many journalists and attendees will establish their agenda ahead of the show, include your booth number, demo schedules and other event details in your press kit to get your company circled on the map, rather than skipped over.
Don’t be shy! Include the full name, title, email address, and phone number(s) for at least one representative at the show. Be sure to list the mobile number for this contact so they can be reached during the event. Otherwise, a journalist on deadline might not get any further than voicemail.
Keeping in mind that your online press kit will be accessible before, during, and after the show, it’s also smart to include a second or third contact who might not necessarily be at the event, but can answer questions from the office.
Trade shows are hotbeds for startups and companies launching new branding and services. A brief background or overview section will give readers the context they need to delve deeper into your content.
This section is the perfect place to not only give a synopsis of the company’s mission, but also spotlight details about when or why it was founded. For more established brands, use the overview area as an opportunity to highlight recent accolades or reaffirm the company’s core mission.
RECENT PRESS RELEASES
What’s the brand’s story? Shape the tale media and bloggers will tell by providing a few recent press releases that are relevant to the event.
While the company may have hit a major milestone two years ago or announced an important product three seasons ago, these achievements are better suited for the overview section, rather than taking up valuable press release real estate.
Instead, feature fresh news pertinent to the show, such as a new product unveiling or award received.
Stories with multimedia elements yield higher views and engagement numbers than their plain text counterparts, which is why many media outlets require some sort of visual asset for any original content they publish.
Make the hunt for videos and high resolution images simple by placing B-roll footage, YouTube demos, infographics, product shots, headshots, etc. at a journalist’s fingertips—all in one place, right on the press kit.
If news releases and visual elements are the stars of your kit, then pieces like white papers, case studies, FAQs, spec sheets, and speaker or executive bios fill the supporting roles.
These details inform the brand’s larger story and can be a huge time saver for a reporter—as long as the information they need is available.
When selecting supplemental materials, you don’t want to overwhelm the press kit with superfluous information; but you also don’t want to leave it nearly bare.
Hit the Goldilocks zone by only choosing relevant pieces that support your trade show message.
One of the fundamental benefits of using an online press kit over hard copy is the ability to gather usage metrics. However, not all reporting platforms are created equal.
Determine what analytics you’re interested in ahead of time so that you can choose a system that offers the data you need to prove ROI. Visitors, views, downloads, and clicks are essential numbers that your site analytics should offer.
Every press kit and news release you issue is a digital ambassador for your brand; it’s important to get them right the first time. Download PR & SEO: Still Driving Discovery for more tips on developing and distributing content that drives engagement.
Erienne Muldoon is a senior customer content specialist for Virtual Press Office, PR Newswire’s trade show marketing solutions division. VPO helps global event professionals, exhibitors and trade show marketing managers reach their event goals through news distribution and online press kit creation.