One blog accessory we’re regularly asked about are media kits. When do you need one? What should go in it? When do you send it? How long should it be? If you’re a new blogger, or your blog has grown and you’re thinking about working with brands, we know determining what information to present can feel overwhelming. So today, we’re breaking down media kits — and the best part is, if you’re already keeping tabs on your site stats, a simple one can be put together very quickly!
What is a media kit?
No big surprise here: media kits have their origins in, well, media. Major magazines have always relied on media kits — sometimes called press kits — to describe who and what their brand is, and what their audience is like. You can do a quick online search for almost any major magazine’s or website’s media kit, and immediately learn more about what happens behind the scenes at that outlet (seriously, try Googling “InStyle media kit” and you’ll see what we mean!). Magazine media kits publish information like their history, target audience, circulation numbers, editorial calendar, and advertising opportunities along with rates. Websites can do the same thing, with media kits describing the brand and the unique ways they partner with others.
The purpose of gathering all this information?
To have it ready to go for potential advertisers.
What does this mean for you?
As a blogger, you can structure your media kit the same way as a major publication does, and use it for the exact same purpose. Describe who you are, share information about your readership (including who they are, why they come to your site, and of course, demographic information), site statistics, and what partnership opportunities are available to brands.
The benefit of the media kit is that it allows you to provide an on-brand, professional document that clearly outlines how you, as a business, work with other businesses. Sure, if a brand contacts you about working together, you could email back with your site statistics and information about your site. However, a media kit gives you an opportunity to truly sell your blog, as you can include plenty of additional information that will convince the partner you’re the perfect fit! Plus, if you have a set brand identity for your blog (think: logo and a dedicated set of fonts and colors you use on your site and all marketing communications), presenting a document with these elements, along with photography from your site, will tell a true visual story about who your brand is and what it has to offer. Way more immersive than a simple email, right?
As you might’ve guessed, kits should have four main components regardless of any other bells and whistles: 1) information about you, 2) information about your readers, 3) your site statistics both on your blog and social media platforms, and 4) how you partner with brands. Let’s take a look at each of these in greater detail:
1) Information about you
Think of this part of your media kit as a simple, paragraph long bio that explains who you are and why you’re running this blog. Who are you? What do you blog about? Why did you start this blog? What’s your background? Why are you blogging about what you’re blogging about? Where do you live? Any short, personal things we should know about you?
2) Information about your readers
Who are they? Do you know the age range of your readers? Their household income? What posts they love best? Why they read your blog? Tell the brand about your community, so they can assess whether it’s the kind of community they should advertise their product with. Here, you can use a short paragraph to describe the readers, if necessary.
Where do you go about getting this information? If you have a Facebook page for your blog, you can glean some of the stats from there. Google Analytics will also offer some data, and if you work with an affiliate network (like rewardStyle), it’s possible they may be able to offer you some insights as well. You can also sign up for a Quantcast account to get detailed demographic information.
Here are two example paragraphs that address the above two sections and would make a nice bit of copy on the first page of a kit:
Since its launch in 2013, BLOG XYZ has been a daily destination for well-heeled, travel obsessed women in their late 20s through their early 40s. Founder Jane Doe began the blog after five years of working as consultant and traveling around the globe for clients. Today, readers visiting the site can expect to see a diverse blend of content focused on accessible women’s workwear, travel tips for both work and leisure, Jane’s take on the best destinations around the world, as well as personal essays about modern womanhood. The BLOG XYZ community is comprised of savvy, career-focused, style-loving women, who live by the mantra of “work hard, play hard.”
Based in Boston, MA, Jane Doe still works full time at a top consulting agency, and travels approximately 200 days out of the year. Along with a small team, she runs BLOG XYZ from the road, publishing 5 posts per week. Originally from Miami, Jane attended Boston University where she majored in economics and English. She’s passionate about photography, travel, food, and culture — which happily, has become the core focus of BLOG XYZ today!
If you have enough data, you can also consider featuring a small table or chart further illustration reader demographics, listing items like age range, geographic location, gender breakdown, and more.
3) Site Statistics
Here, you can pull your monthly pageviews, sessions, and visits from Google Analytics. If you don’t have Google Analytics or can’t set it up on your blog, you can list out statistics from your blog platform’s statistics, but if we’re honest, Google Analytics is the way to go (here’s a post on how to set it up for WordPress.org sites). If you have a Facebook page for your blog, that’s another great place to look for information on your community. Facebook insights offer things like male/female breakdown, country, and city demographics.
Social Media Stats
If you’re using Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram for your blog, be sure to include your follow counts from these social media platforms. These are the four major accounts most brands will be interested in knowing about. Of course, if you’re big on YouTube or have a huge following on Tumblr, include those as well! If your focus is on fashion and a lot of your partnerships will be through Instagram, consider listing your follower count on platforms such as LiketoKnow.it.
Increasingly, we think it’s important to mention how many subscribers are receiving your email newsletter, if you’re sending one. You can also include subscriber counts on platforms like Feedly or Bloglovin’.
The idea with the stats section is: tell us your reach, and how people are seeing you and your content.
4) How you partner with brands
How do brands get featured on your site? Think through all the ways in which you can realistically, comfortably, and professionally offer partnerships. For most bloggers, this includes partnerships like sponsored posts, sponsored Instagrams/Instagram Stories, paid links, travel partnerships, product mentions, and sometimes sidebar ads. Some bloggers will accept free product in exchange for feature on the site, BUT…we personally recommend you don’t offer this as a partnership opportunity. Ideally, any time you’re advertising on behalf of a brand, you’d get paid for it (plus, remember that any items sent to you in-kind that end up being featured on your blog or social are technically considered income by the IRS. If you have to pay tax on a pair of free shoes, wouldn’t you also rather get paid to feature them too?).
Once you’ve narrowed down the ways you partner with brands, you can briefly outline what the rates are and what each partnership entails. For example, a “Sponsored Post” description might read something like this:
Sponsored Posts – Starting at $XXX
Includes a dedicated post about your brand, with customized photography prominently featuring your product. Also includes on social share promoting the post on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram Stories.
You don’t need to outline the full nitty gritty and any legal stuff here. Presumably, when you are negotiating the finalities of the partnership, all that stuff can get hammered out over email and/or via contract (you do have a contract with all your partners, right?).
Some optional but important things to include:
How to get in touch
Be sure to list your email, any relevant social media accounts, and if you want to, your phone number (though that’s not necessary!).
Optional Statistics, such as:
+ Insights from Instagram Stories — engagement levels, impressions, all the stuff you can find in your Insights, if you’re on an Instagram Business profile.
+ Average number of comments you receive per post (great if you have a super engaged community!)
+ Average number of entries you receive per giveaway, especially if you’re offering them (take an average of the last 3-5 giveaways, if those numbers are available)
There are also several services that rate influence and traffic online. These include:
+ Fohr Card
What’s your month over month growth been like over the last quarter? Six months? Year?
Any notable press features
If you were featured on a major website, in a magazine, or a newspaper, be sure to mention it! You can include logos of the brands or outlets to make the kit more visually appealing, or even take screenshots of the features and include those as thumbnails. If you’re designing your kit in an Adobe Creative program, or working with a designer who is doing this for you, consider linking directly to the features if they’re online, or include a link to your press page on your blog.
Any notable brand partnerships you’ve completed
If you’ve worked with any brands previously, you can simply list out past partnerships (and perhaps link to them), or include the brand logos for extra visual effects.
Some bloggers even choose to get testimonials from the brands they’ve worked with, which can briefly describe — from the brand’s point of view — how the collaboration went and what the benefit was for them.
Q: How long should a kit be?
A: If you’re a new blogger and/or don’t have a ton of partnerships to show off, keep it to one page, maybe two max if you’re featuring a lot of photography. Kits that are 3 or 4 pages should be reserved a) for bloggers who have a lot of press and partnerships to show off, or have myriad types of partnership opps, and/or b) bloggers who have enough clout that they can keep the attention of the reader regardless. In other words: the longer the kit, the longer it takes for people to hone in on the info that matters most, the more annoyed they get. We’ve heard from PR professionals that short and sweet is preferred here.
Q: Do I have to include rates?
A: Definitely not! In fact, we’ve worked with many clients who request a version of their kit with rates, and another version without. That’s totally fine. Some bloggers may also even tweak the content of their kit to send to particular brands, based on the vertical. For example, a media kit specifically tailored to travel partnerships might want/need different information than one for fashion features on Instagram.
Q: I have no idea what to write about my audience. What should I do about copy?
A: With a blog media kit, don’t stress. It’s not like you need to write a novel (or even a page!). We think a good rule of thumb is two solid paragraphs: one about the blog/readership, and one that is boilerplate with your bio info. They can even be split up, with the blog-focused paragraph on page 1, and the bio at the bottom of page 2.
Q: How often should I update my kit?
A: This is up to you. If you see a huge spike in traffic or social media growth (and it’s sustainable), by all means, update your kit more frequently. Otherwise, we think quarterly is a reasonable schedule.
Stay tuned! We’re excited to announce that <em>press will release Media Kit templates later this summer, editable in InDesign and Photoshop! To be the first to know when they launch, be sure you’re signed up to receive our newsletter.