To print or not to print… that is the question.
The gist: Online, print, and digital all offer some very cool, effective media kit options. It all depends on your brand, your budget, your strategy and how your client will respond best.
For years, maybe even eons – Media kits have long been a valuable tool for most businesses. They are THE opportunity to present your product lines or service listings to your current audience, or more important – your future clients. While the essential setup (structure and contents) for media kits is about the same, the format or “medium” has varied quite a bit. Particularly today with such a strong digital presence. Media kits today are as much digital as they are printed.
The traditional media kit is – and has been, the printed media kit. Commonly a 9×12 folder with pockets inside that contain your company brochure (2-4 plus pages about your company’s services or products), a business card, and any other important sell sheets. Of course on all pieces of your media kit you will also have your contact information, making it easy to get more information.
Your typical printed media kit will have your mission statement in there somewhere (in some capacity) so folks know who you are and what you are about. Then, a listing of your services or products with general information about each of them. The key in any media kit is to provide the information with as few paragraphs as you can. Short, simple text that people can get the general sense from but most important to have it be really compelling. In other words, “why you absolutely NEED this product or service…” Because of today’s online presence (web sites!) we are able to create a tie in from print to web. All the more reason to keep your printed media kit simpler because you can easily direct people from your printed media kit to your web site where you can tell the rest of the story.
The range of printed media kits will vary quite a bit. The basic kit as mentioned above will be in a standard 9×12 folder with pockets. I say standard because many printing companies provide this type of folder readily. They have a lot of in-stock material, die cuts (a process that stamps out the size, shapes, pockets, business card holding slits), and set up for easy production – thus, a practical and economical solution. On a basic media kit you will often have basic options such as what side the pockets will be on, whether to print on glossy or matt finished stock, 4 colors or single spot colors, and quantity (how many you want), and occasionally the type of paper to print on. A good designer can then create a professional look and feel for you media kit, and provide all the necessary files to get this printed. While most economical, this basic kit can actually be quite attractive.
Beyond the standard folder/media kit, you could then step up to a “customized” folder/media kit. The difference here is that you can custom-create almost any type of media kit. Fancy papers, almost any shape or size, unique-curved type pockets, special effects; such as spot glossing on the covers, metallic inks, embossing, as well as anything else the imagination can do… For example, if you are an animal rescue company you can potentially create a folder die cut into a shape of an animal, with inserted pieces all shaped like different animals…
Or, you may be a large company that requires a more upscale look so you can print on heavier special grade paper (thousands of options available) and perhaps use a simple embossing (raised, pressed slightly, bumped out of the paper) or metallic coating on your logo. The options are literally endless. The only challenge here is cost. These custom media kits will definitely cost more than a “standard” media kit, but the range will vary depending on what design, type, and options you use. An experienced designer and/or print company can consult with you to provide your options and create the best solution for you. Both in how it looks and what it will cost.
1. Basic folders and/or media kits can be cost effective and if designed well – a good solution.
2. Customized folders/media kits can add some real flare to your company presentation, but comes with a larger price tag. But don’t be afraid of this option, a good cosultant/designer can create some reasonable options here as well…
On the other end of the spectrum are the online or digital media kits.
These too will vary depending on your budget, and your style. These media kits follow the same criteria as the printed media kit (above) but will be presented 100% online. Meaning, you can see it only on a computer. There are occasions where you will merge the two, having a printed media kit along with a digital version so you are appealing to both the face-to-face meeting having it on paper – as well as making it available online to that audience.
You can look at it three ways:
1. Printed media kit
2. Online media kit
3. Printed and online media kit
These options can be combined or arranged to fit your goals. You may opt to save costs by not printing a media kit and making it available only online. You then will not have that option of presenting a nice, professional printed piece to someone face-to-face but may have instead a nice business card that promotes the online address for your “online media kit.”
There are times where both are really important though. Remember, there are people (clients) that respond well to printed things, and there are those that respond well to online things… You really have to determine what your audience will demand, how you want to portray your business, and what you can afford.
When it comes to online media kits there are still a variety of options. I like to break it into a 4 possibilities:
1. Web Site Media Kit
Basically acting as a simple web site. Navigation buttons, pages to view just like a website, with all the information that a printed media kit will have. You can also create downloadable pdf files that can be printed as required. This style of media kit is becoming very popular in today’s web-centric universe. Your options are limited to what can be done on any website.
- can be read on any web browser, particularly mobile devices (ipads, mobile phones, etc…)
- can have downloadable print material (pdfs, etc…)
- can cross reference your main website and other useful hyperlinks
- eliminates the cost for printed material
- you do have the limitations of what can be done on web sites – BUT, a good designer can perform quite a bit of magic…
- making edits to these (most web sites) can be a bit more costly to make edits to
2. PDF Media Kit
This type of media kit can be set up much like a printed media kit. Designed with colorful, fancy covers and inside graphics. This option makes it nice to be able to render a more stylish print-like media kit that can be printed out locally or viewed online. It can have some cool special effects added such as special page turning effects, useful website hyper-links, table of contents pages that can be linked directly to certain pages, and more… There is actually a lot you can do with pdfs that make it a hugely useful and attractive online deliverable.
- pdfs are readable on most all web browsers, internationally
- pdfs have several cool special affect options available making a really cool online experience
- pdfs can easily be printed, emailed, and downloaded
- pdfs are more easily edited. Meaning making changes to the original files are rather easy…
- pdfs are a great combo to printed media kits. They are efficient and easily work well together
3. Custom Online Media
This option I leave toward the bottom because while it is still used and effective – costs the most and is riddled with more limitations. A customized online media kit will be something along the lines of a Flash-based deliverable. That is, fancy animations, audio (voice), and sometimes video… For example, you may be a manufacturing company that requires having an animated representation of what your facility does – this would be a custom-created Flash-like component. You may want to pursue having page peeling (literally peeling/turning pages online) which is primarily a Flash-based product.
There are other variables with modern online special effects. With HTML5, Java, CSS, and many other languages you can create some real cool online content. However, there is always an experimental aspect to these (will they work well, and will they work on all web browsers) which can be a very costly risk. Not only by creating these (which can be very costly) but if a potential customer cannot even see your material because their computer web browser (Internet Explorer, etc…) cannot read these file types. VERY common, especially with Flash – which is as most analysts are predicting – a dying breed… May be true, maybe not – but definitely worth considering.
- Flash can be a really cool and useful tool – rendering some awesome animations and online presentations
- can be veer expensive and time consuming
- is NOT viewable on all web browsers, especially ipads, iphones, etc…
4. Powerpoint Media Kit
Yes, Powerpoint. Still a very popular and very useful tool. Many companies still use this software to present all of their material. Microsoft® continues to develop and improve this software for Mac and PC users worldwide. Still the leading presentation software and used by almost every major company worldwide…
In addition to a companies’ typical business presentation you can create a Powerpoint version of your media kit. If done well and with the right consultant/designer you can actually make use of Powerpoints’ special effects and tools combined with some really cool custom-built graphics to develop a rather cool version of a media kit. Certainly not top-notch, nor as compelling as a nicely printed media kit or online experience… but can be really useful.
- Powerpoint is rather easy to use
- still used globally – and no signs of that changing any time soon…
- easy to make edits to
- easily shared or distributed
- inexpensive to create and/or maintain
- not as impressive or “upscale” as the printed or online versions of media kits
- makes a nice companion piece to other media kit options above
Since it’s easy to open and use – it can also be easily “messed up.” In the wrong hands it can be altered easily and then distributed that way… As opposed to the online or printed pieces that are rather “set in stone.”
The options are rather expansive. Both printed and online… Your media kit should sizzle. It is your best foot forward and THE one piece that says who you are, what you do and what you are about – your true brand. So it’s critical to create the perfectly crafted solution best geared to you.
Drop me an email or call us if you’d like to see samples of the above or to consult with us to determine the best solution for you…