I’ve received hundreds upon hundreds of items in media kits over the years. Everything from food to baseball caps. And pants. Yup. Pants.

Pants in a media kitNow, don’t ask me to recall what ’cause’ or organization the pants were all about. I can’t remember. All I remember is the khaki wrinkle-free pants. It certainly wasn’t a memorable media kit, unless you needed a pair of pants. I didn’t (wrong waist size and leg length). So I gave them to a co-worker. I gave away dozens of T-shirts over the years too. Today, I use some as dust cloths.

There is a lot of junk in media kits. Organizations would be wise to think about what they’re including inside a package.  Most reporters can do without more pens, magnets, snow and ice scrapers, and mini flashlights. Reporters won’t argue about receiving free food in food company media kits. I’ve had my fill of pasta samples, nuts and soup mixes.

I never bothered to use the allergy medicine samples I received. Eventually I had no more room for the many coffee mugs either. But the spongy stress reliever balls shaped like Earth, pumpkins and green apples were kinda useful. After all, it was the media business.

Most media kit junk ends up stuffed in the back of desk drawers, or in the garbage. That’s a wasteful, dark place for organizations which hoped the items would create ‘awareness’.

The best, ridiculous things I ever received in media kits were 1) an Oscar Mayer miniature wienermobile; 2) A Woodbine Raceway tin can that played a pre-race jingle every time the top was removed (hey, it was great motivator when deadline was fast approaching!); and 3) a phone campany’s limited edition calling card featuring the image of legendary Montreal Canadiens star Jean Beliveau.

In all seriousness, really think about what you’re including in your media kits.

You can really help journalists by including:

  • Your logo (good resolution image)
  • Photos (high resolution, and don’t forget photos of key personnel in story)
  • Video clip or podcast
  • Recent media clippings (they can provide a little persuasion and background!)
  • Products samples that are directly related to what your organization or business is doing that’s newsworthy. (Pens or T-shirts are usually gimmicky)