Developing a "media kit" that attracts advertisersDec 13, 2022
After a few years of writing books, recording podcasts, creating blog posts, and sending out a weekly newsletter, I received an email from a company that was familiar with my work. Before I tell you what their email said (and what made it so special), let me give you some additional backstory on how this company became familiar with what I do.
Several months before receiving their email, I spoke for a leadership conference at a local university. It was an annual event that I had spoken at in the past, but I wasn't on the roster to speak this particular year until the very last minute. The university had a last-second cancelation, so they asked me if I would be willing to fill in. Of course, I was willing to do so, and they seemed grateful.
At the end of the conference, I was handed a thank you card that I assumed would also include a check or an honorarium because that was how events like this were typically handled by the university. But there wasn't a check inside the card. Instead, I was given a $5.00 gift card to Dunkin' Donuts. I chuckled about it because that seemed like a very entertaining form of compensation to offer a speaker who just bailed out a major portion of an event, but either way, I was happy to have served them and the leaders who attended.
The event also had a major advertising sponsor. It was a software company that served the kind of leaders who were attending the conference. They happened to like my presentation, and they contacted me afterward to see if I would be interested in working together in the future. They wanted to pay me $500 to lead a monthly leadership webinar, and I was happy to partner with them on this idea.
After several months of working together, they became more familiar with my online platform and they sent me the email that I mentioned earlier. Their email contained a question that, up to that point, I hadn't received before. They wanted to know if I would be willing to allow them to advertise in my weekly newsletter, and if so, what my advertising rates would be. I loved their question, and I was excited to give them a suggested number, but I really hadn't thought about what my advertising rates ought to be. So before I replied, I sat down at my computer and figured it all out.
In the weeks leading up to receiving this email, I had read several articles about the benefits of creating a "media kit," but at this point, I hadn't taken action on making one for my platform. A media kit is essentially a rate sheet that also allows potential advertisers to learn more about you, the content you create, your overall platform, and the size of your audience. The email I received that afternoon was the impetus I needed to finally get my media kit created.
When I put it all together, and decided on my rates for all sorts of things like newsletter ad space, podcast advertising, guest blog posts, and banner ads on my website, I emailed the file as an attachment, then I waited for several weeks before I heard a reply. Just to see what would happen, I included one option that was priced much higher than the rest. I offered a banner ad on my website for $1,200/month. I figured that even though that option wasn't likely to be chosen, it could at least serve to make the other options on my media kit look inexpensive by comparison.
Fast forward a couple weeks and I eventually heard a reply from the company. I was sitting down at my kitchen table, eating lunch with my oldest daughter when my phone notified me that I just received an email. When I opened it, I learned that the company no longer wanted to advertise in my newsletter. Instead, they wanted that expensive banner ad, and they wanted to get it set up as soon as possible.
As you can imagine, I was thrilled. It was a real win/win scenario for us both. They gained more exposure for their company and I started earning consistent advertising revenue from my platform. In fact, they ran that banner ad for 2.5 years and paid me a total of $36,000 to do so. On top of that, they continued to pay me $500/month to lead webinars for much of that time. Not a bad financial return when you consider the fact that our connection took place the same day I received the lowest speaking fee I had ever accepted.
Do you have a media kit prepared for your platform? If a potential advertiser contacted you today and asked you to send them a list of your advertising rates, would you be able to get back to them right away?
Creating a media kit isn't difficult, but it is helpful to know how to set one up. So let me give you a simple outline that I came up with a few years ago after looking at multiple examples and deciding what I thought would be important to include on mine. My media kit has been serving me very well ever since the day I first created it, and it's not hard to set one up.
1. Platform Overview
The platform overview gives potential advertisers a big-picture glimpse of what you're creating. It allows them to understand more about your primary message, typical audience, and the ways in which you're reaching the people you serve.
My recommendation is to share this information with a tone of purpose and enthusiasm. Don't be dry and lifeless when you're trying to paint a picture of the heart behind what you've created. Keep this section, and all the upcoming sections, relatively brief. Three paragraphs is typically sufficient.
2. About Section with Pictures
The about section allows potential advertisers to learn more about you. In some ways, it's like a small resume. If they're going to begin working with you, they're going to want to know more about you. Include your picture. Describe your relevant credentials and achievements. Again, be brief and honest without sounding overly boastful or overly self-deprecating. Put yourself in the advertiser's shoes. Tell them the kind of things you'd like to know about someone you were considering working with.
3. Detailed List of Platform Channels and their Analytics
The next section should list the various ways you share content and the numbers that demonstrate your audience reach. This is where I speak about my podcasts, books, blog, newsletter, YouTube channel, and how many people are regularly utilizing each of them. It's this description that will help an advertiser understand the potential value they'll receive when they gain access to your audience. I also think it's a good idea to include the cover art from your books and podcasts in this section.
4. Advertising Options and Rates
It might be best to list your advertising options and rates on a separate, dedicated page. List every logical option you can think of. How much will you charge for an ad in a newsletter, a podcast outro, a banner ad, a guest blog post, or an entirely different option? Include every idea you can think of that might be of interest or value to a potential advertiser. They might surprise you with what they select.
5. Contact Information
Lastly, let those who are reading your media kit know how to easily contact you. It's entirely possible that your media kit will be shared with people who didn't make the initial contact with you. Including your contact information at the bottom looks professional and will make it much easier for potential advertisers to reach you when they're interested in advertising on your platform.
There's one last thing I'd encourage you to do with your media kit. Periodically revise and update it. Your platform is always in a state of development. Your audience is going to grow. Your analytics are going to improve, and the rates you charge are going to increase right along with the value you provide. I make a point to update my media kit several times each year to reflect the current state of my platform. I'd advise you to do the same.
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