Thursday, April 17, 2008

10 Ways To Blow Your Own Horn - Or How To Build A Better Press Kit - Building Your Business - Part 3

So what do you do to promote your business? Most people use brochures, business cards, newsletters and the like. These are all good ideas, but you know, most everybody and their mother are doing the same thing. My entire business focus has been about differentiating myself from the competition. If 95% of my competition are going to use brochures, I'm going to find an alternative. My alternative for over 20 years has been our Information Packet.

That's the term our clients know it by - internally, it's our press kit. It is our "best foot forward" on every front. It details our philosophy of business, list past successes, list high profile events we have photographed, and includes a few samples of our work. What are the key ingredients in producing a strong press kit for promoting your business - here they are:
  1. A smart looking cover. We purchase ours from NEBS, New England Business Services. They run about $2.75 each including custom imprinting, shipping and handling. We feel these folders give a very professional look to materials included.
  2. A letter of introduction to the potential client. This letter emphasizes our commitment to producing exciting photography for our clients, an archival museum quality finished product, and unbelievable customer service. It is a strong statement about what we stand for professionally in our business. It could be your Mission Statement.
  3. A list of high profile events in which we were involved - For example; Mr. Ziser recently photographed the nuptials of Dr. and Mrs. Colin Hertzberg. Dr. Hertzberg in the president of Cincinnati Medicine, the premiere health facility in the city.

  4. No high profile events yet, then do a little coat-tail riding on the reputation of high profile vendors that were involved. The bride and groom, Mr. and Mrs. Smith may not be high profile clients in the community, but they sure did have a great wedding. Your press kit may read; Mr. Ziser recently was invited to photograph the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. John Smith. The beautiful affair was held at Peter and Chains Cathedral in downtown Cincinnati with the reception taking place at the historic Netherland Hilton hotel. By including these very high profile locations in your press kit, you are showing your potential clients that you hang with the big boys in town.
  5. Include a list of awards and honors. Depending on where you are in your profession, these could include something as simple as; Mr. Ziser's photography was recently recognized and ribboned at the 2008 Cincinnati Art Fare. OK, it might have been a third place finish, but the work was still recognized with distinction. Hey, and third place is at the top of the heap, not the bottom. As you continue growing in your profession, the awards, honors, and recognitions will follow and should aways be included in your press kit.
  6. No fancy locations and no awards and honors yet. Then solicit letters of recommendation from past clients regardless of how small or large the job was. The whole point here is to instill in your potential client a sense of trust, professionalism, and competence. And, if your past clients loved ya' they are happy to help spread the word. You might offer a complimentary 8x10 to them in exchange for their permission to you to use their comments.
  7. Include a few examples of your work. We include approximately 3 or 4 4x6 prints in our press kit. They are laid out to look like mini posters with the studio name, address, web address, and phone number. These are similar to an over sized business card only the emphasis is on the image.
  8. We also include a playable CD of our favorite images.
  9. Include a cover letter to your prospective client thanking them for their inquiry and express how you are looking forward to visiting with them on their upcoming event.
  10. Make it look important when it arrives. I have a friend who sends all his press kits out next day FedEx to the prospective client's place of business. When it arrives, the whole office knows it, and when Mary receives the package she looks important too.

That's about it. Remember, it has to make a great first impression. As you start putting your Information Packet / PR Kit together, always think "first class" presentation all the way. And the most important thing you need to keep in mind about your press kit is to keep it constantly updated with your latest achievements, honors, awards, images, etc. Now you have one of your strongest, most powerful sales pieces in your marketing arsenal and it blows your competition away.

Related Links
15 Ways to Create Vendor Buzz - Part 2 of 4
Building Your Wedding Business Series – Part 1 of 4


  1. Great post! Being a marketing type myself I definitely see the need to differentiate yourself among your competition.

    I've developed more of a pull type philosophy however and rarely send anything out to prospects anymore.

    For people that do, however, these are some excellent tips.

    Thanks for posting!

  2. enjoy the blog...
    P.s. check # 10 Make it look important when it arrives. I have a friend 'whole' sends all his press...