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Press kits are like business cards. If you don't have one, you have no way to make an introduction and no way to provide valuable information to people with whom you want to do business

A "press kit" is a collection of a few vital pieces of information that makes it easier for the media to tell your story accurately and with full details. By putting the power of your press kit to work, your company can enjoy more accurate media coverage, more exposure for story ideas, and more complete information through press coverage.

Reporters often want press kits to fact check the spelling of names and products, release dates, company history, and other important details. Press kits can also be tailored to specific events, product rollouts, and grand openings with audio, video, maps, photos and commemorative giveaways.

For years, press kits were expensive, custom-printed packets. While those types of press kits still have some limited uses, today's press kits are most likely to be found online, where they can be accessed around the clock.

While the media are one key target audience, prospective customers, partners, investors, and vendors are also likely to be looking for accurate, detailed information about your company. Press kits provide that information in an organized, easy-to-read format.

Many companies put off creating press kits. If business is good, staff may be too busy to think about a kit, especially if there is no pressing deadline. Some companies are unaware of a press kit's value, or unsure of what goes in a good kit. Still others are reluctant to make a press kit available online because they want to control access to information.

That last reason is the most dangerous. If you don't have a press kit, your company has already lost control of its information because it has waived its ability to make it easy for reporters to have accurate, updated data and to shape the story.

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Gail Z. Martin owns DreamSpinner Communications (www.DreamSpinnerCommunications.com) and has over 20 years of corporate and nonprofit experience at senior-exec levels. Reach her via "gail at dreamspinnercommunications dot com."

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