What’s Your Spin? Creating Your Electronic Press Kit or Media Page

Having an electronic press kit (EPK), is essential for crafters wanting to build their business reputation on the internet. With the best information you can provide compiled into one easy to navigate format, people who want to learn more about your business have all the resources they need close-at-hand. An EPK gives customers a chance to learn more about you and your business. That means anyone looking to promote your business, either online or in printed media, have the information they need to write a quality piece with a spin you can be proud of — because you created it!

EPK’s are important because people who write content have deadlines. You want to make it easy for these time-strapped writers to get the information they need to create an interesting and informative article or blog about you for their publication. If their job is simplified they will be more likely to feature you over other craft artisans who have not provided easy information. Once people hear about you and take notice that other people are interested in your work, it can start a snowball effect of free promotion. A little up-front effort on your part creating an EPK can go a long way in building your business.

There is a standard for what should be included in an EPK. Of course you want to provide thorough contact information for yourself and your business. That’s a given! Your press kit should contain biographical information that succinctly describes the path you have taken to your current position in the craft industry. This should include classes and experiences that have helped define you as a craft artisan as well as any interesting stories about important moments that helped propel your career forward. Next, you will need descriptions and, if possible, pictures and links to your professional work. This is a great resource for anyone who wants to promote you through their own site or publication. Images and graphics are a great selling point with online customers.

Another great inclusion that should not be overlooked are any positive quotes you have received about your work. You can find these in your positive feedback, in conversations you’ve had with friends and customers and in any other types of communication you’ve had that compliments any aspect of your work including teachers and other artisans. Other places to look for favorable remarks are in any spotlight segments where you’ve been featured on other people’s blogs, websites or other publications. Remember, you can help foster these quotes through networking with craft sites and people in the industry that are always on the lookout for new content to share with their audiences.

Finally, make sure to add links to your websites and online shops. After all, isn’t promoting your merchandise the goal? It’s important to add links and information to any upcoming venues or events that you will be attending. You should also include links to your social media, often represented by social media icons. If you work to promote through social media, these sites can also be a reservoir of current information for people interested in your work.

Just remember, that when you are creating your electronic press kit, you are in control of the information that is provided. You are your own public relations agent and you can put an impressive and engaging spin on the information you provide. With the kind of promotion having an EPK can provide, free advertising through online media and blogs can be an effective tool to your success. With just a little time to create your electronic press kit, and some occasional updates (because an EPK is always a work in progress), you will have a great resource for promoting yourself and your business to people who could really boost your career.

Branding Your Craft Business

When you start a business it’s important to take the time to consider how you want to represent your business to the world. To do this you will need to ask yourself questions about the theme and direction you have planned for your business. Does your merchandise fall into a specific category? Is it cute? Sophisticated? Fun? Masculine? Feminine? Neutral? There are hundreds of categories and your merchandise may not fall into only one, but it helps if you pick just a few to define it. These categories then help define the colors and images you create for your logo, banners, website, letterhead, business cards and other printed materials.

There are several reasons why branding is so important to your business success. First, in many cases seeing your branding will be a customer’s first contact with your company. What do you want it to say about you and your merchandise? If the colors are bright and cheerful that may speak to a parent or child. If they are earth tones, they may resonate with a more natural type of customer. If you choose feminine colors they may be attractive to women looking for a specific type of product or certain shopping experience.

A good way to come to a decision about what colors to choose is to look at other businesses to determine what you like, what you don’t like and what may work best for your company. Of course, you don’t want to steal another person’s brand design and color choices. That would completely defeat the purpose of having your own unique brand image. However, you can use the experience to help determine the number and intensity of colors and the general color palette associated with different types of merchandise. This is also true about picking the shape and design of your logo.

Once you have the different aspects of your branding materials developed, creating a style guide for your business is a good idea. More than that, it is a way to keep your brand consistent. A style guide is like a design board with images of the patterns and colors, logos, fonts and a template for all your printed materials defining spacing and positioning of your logo, company name, contact information, etc.

At Psyched to Sell Crafts, ours used to be pristine, but is now covered with color Hex codes, notes on improvements and updates. It’s a wonderful dynamic resource for everyone on staff and it keeps us all using the most current version of our brand standard. Branding also includes how you will approach your content. Having a planned commentary of how you describe your business, the tone of your written material and the way you approach customers is also part of your overall brand strategy.
One of the most important aspects to branding your business is so customers can recognize your business on sight. Even in the smallest detail, consistency counts. Therefore, it’s important to keep your style guide updated and to refer to it often. If you are going to promote through social media, making sure you have a clear and distinctive profile picture or icon that fits with your branding is essential. That is how friends, acquaintances and potential customers will be able to pick out your messages from the rest.Now, all of this is not to say that if you already have your brand image in place that you can’t make changes. There are two ways to approach this. Some businesses ease in changes, making them incrementally so as the changes occur, their brand is still recognizable to their customers. Other businesses take a more vigorous approach and make sweeping changes across their brand announcing it to their customers with the launch of their new look. Whichever approach you take, be sure to make the same changes across all of your printed material, websites and any other images that represent your business. A friendly, “Hey, check out the new look I’ve created to go along with the new direction of the products I’ve just released!” can not only let people know you’ve changed your branding, but can also renew interest in your merchandise.

Press Releases

Release the Secret Weapon!

When I began in the public relations industry, I was just starting out in that field. I had this misconception that press releases required a level of training that I had yet to acquire – and then my customers started asking me to write press releases! I approached it skeptically, but to my surprise I enjoyed writing them, I was good at it and the response was phenomenal. Am I special in this regard? Well, my mom would tell you, “Yes,” but between you and me, almost anyone can write a decent press release. That’s the first secret. The second secret is that press releases are a free, or very low cost, way to promote your business. It just takes a little prep work and a little effort.

I’m going to start by getting down to the basics of how a press release works. If you keep these things in mind, you’re well on your way to successfully using this marketing technique. The goal in writing a press release is to get editors to pick upy our article for redistribution in their own publication. It’s a pretty simple concept. You write about your business and then hundreds or thousands of other people read it when it is published as content in other publications. That sounds great, right? Well, that’s because it really is pretty great!

What you need to know is that in order for your article to be chosen to be published is that editors don’t want a self-serving article about you and the fact that you’re hoping to sell things. If they did, their publication would be in short demand and on its way to going out of business. What have we learned about audiences? They want to be educated with a little entertainment on the side. So, that’s exactly what you need to supply, an educational and entertaining article that mentions your business and has contact information about where people can find you and your products.
Often when I write press releases, I take a few minutes of brainstorming to decide how I can make the article connect with the general public. Is there a holiday or season I can reference? Is there an emotion or sentiment the product provokes? Is there something about it that could make people’s lives easier or more pleasant? I look for the “hook,” that will get people to connect with the information I’m providing.
It helps to write in short paragraphs, to add interesting quotes and to add a picture, although that usually comes with a price tag. Some PR sites allow one link, but for some adding a clickable link also is an added expense. It’s up to you to decide if the cost of these “extras” is worth the expense, but if you’re launching a business or product, if you do any of the following then the extra expense to really get your product or event noticed through a press release may be worth it.
• create high-end crafts
• are looking for an upscale clientele
• have an extremely noteworthy experience or event
• are launching a product that you anticipate will be popular with the general public
• have images that really sell your merchandise
I have used PR.com, successfully for many years although clients have also requested I use other submission sites occasionally so I am also familiar with 24-7pressrelease.com, inewswire.com and several others. All of them have the same basic format, with free, one time or multiple press release plans.
Since your article will be available on the internet, your text should be search engine friendly. The first three words of your title should be keywords referencing your article. It’s also important to know the keywords associated with your merchandise and industry and use them throughout your article. Here is google adwords keyword finder to help you get started: GOOGLE ADWORDS KEYWORD PLANNERTIP: It’s a good plan to keep a list of the keywords associated with your product or business to use in all your online content.

Speaking of plans, remember to plan ahead! There is the option to pre-schedule your press release for a specific day and time, but there is a middle step. Your press release will need to be approved for distribution, so don’t wait until the last minute. Approval times vary, and there is the possibility that you will need to make some changes and resubmit your article for another round of approval. Remember to pay attention to the site’s writing guidelines and get your article submitted early if you want it published by a certain deadline date that coincides with your launch, a holiday or a specific event.

The bottom line is that press releases are an easy and inexpensive way to get publicity for your business and merchandise circulated on the internet. It allows your information to be available to craft and trade related magazines as well sd accessible to search engines. It really is a great resource for promoting your business and your success as a craft artisan.