View Full Version : Press Kits: what should go in them?

Damien Warwick
11-01-2008, 10:11 AM
Greetings all...I know I don't officially run a haunted attraction, but I am hoping to start helping out in the marketing and PR department and figured I'd go to the source to ask this question...I've been doing some research into making press kits and I was just wondering...what do all of you put into yours? Any examples would be appreciated. Thanks guys!

Jim Warfield
11-07-2008, 07:22 PM
I have never made a press kit but knowing that the members of the press are very literate people I would sure think a very enthralling haunted history , even if totally fictious, would gain one's haunted enterprise "points" with them.
Of course to write something excellant enough to be judged this way and recieved with enthusiasm is the trick and would require time and skills.
I also would not write such a piece to appeal to the 14 yr. old first time visitor and think that it would have the needed appeal to positively gain influence with the reporter.

11-08-2008, 03:03 PM
Great photos. They may not have a photographer (or even reporter) available and will sometimes use what you send them, expecially if they think it is at least equal to what their staff could do.

11-11-2008, 01:02 PM
Well I don't really have any experience doing haunt press kits, but I'm familiar with press kits for bands...I imagine there wouldn't be much different.

Big things are pictures, press clippings, and any information they'd need to write an article. So I'd think information like hours, costs, maybe a bit of a backstory, as well as all the necessary contact information. Maybe even some fun facts they can stick into their news like the number of actors you employ, the number of gallons of fake blood you go through each season, etc.

Another idea might be to include a DVD of promotional footage. It might not get on the news, but it certainly helps compel someone to actually watch the DVD.

As is the case with band press kits, the hard part is getting their attention. Just sending a bunch of stuff in a plain old envelope isn't going to work. Present your information in a creative way that's going to get their attention. And then after sending out your press kits, wait a week, and do a follow up call.

If you're trying to get someone to review your haunt, free tickets should also be included, or some sort of offer to get them in for free.

(Edit: Shawnc's comment about pictures got me thinking....make sure to include at least 1 print quality black and white, and 1 full color picture. But I would think the more pictures the better)

Jim Warfield
11-11-2008, 11:06 PM
A man who had a very successful antique hot rod restoration business in California was showing me the copies and the covers of Car & Driver, Road & Track,Motor Trend, that had very nice articles about his business!
How did he get such press coverage?
He took the magazine writer to lunch, slid them a fat envelope full of pictures and an article all ready written, ready to publish, and appealing to basic inherent human laziness, the "writer" put their name on it and handed it in and it got published, the guy with the car business wrote the article himself, but then he had been making a living for many years writing television comedy before they decided all their writers were too old and out of "the loop".
I have noticed sentences lifted from previous articles about my house and repeated over and over again.....but then we don't all have the same "teacher" reading that "report" now do we? So how new or original does it have to be to get the point across to a new public and varied audience?

11-12-2008, 03:17 AM
Jim is absolutely correct. I am a former newspaper editor and saw that many times.

I am sure everyone has seen the same thing printed over and over, and that is even more prevelant now with the internet. How many times have you done a google search for something or tried to buy something and keep coming upon the same description or review again and again?

The trick is that it has to be good if you want it published. Use some common sense when writing. The thing that always used to drive me up the wall was when someone would send us a release about an upcoming event with a date of "Saturday, November 15, 2008." No, reporters and editors aren't really any smarter than anyone else. But I found it insulting to myself and our readers that we might not know what year it is.

Jim Warfield
11-12-2008, 06:24 AM
Mewspaper people would definately know what year it is!
(I don't always know what year it is!)
People have sent us checks for reservations and write something like "Tickets for Friday, the 18th" when the 18th is actually a Saturday!??
Well at least we know they will be here on one of those days!

If we were having the re-enactment of a historical event then the invitations might seem wrong to "Come and be a part of the May 18th Tornado of 1898 when the wine cellar here was a very popular place for that day."
I tell about the whole room (31 by 16ft. being "Crammed full of people", was it the town's first orgy? No, the tornado was coming , destroying everything in it's path!
"Hurry! Get in the wine cellar! The Tornado's coming! We all will be killed! We are all going to die!.."Let's have an orgy!"
So here I sit, waiting for the next tornado, er orgy?
Now there's an interesting angle for a story.

11-12-2008, 07:59 PM
I have found that Jim and Shawnc are both on target regarding pre-written articles. I figure if they don't use the article word for word, they can still use it for inspiration. I tell the paper up front that it was written exclusively for them, so they know it won't appear elsewhere. And I supply good photos as well, all cleared for publishing. More often than not, they DO use it word for word, although they often edit it down to fit the space they have. And it helps if it is written in an objective style, so it doesn't sound like an ad. And also include quotes from people who work there, with some description about who they are. Not just Terry Sellers says "It's scary", but something more like, "We try to get them to pee in their pants," says Terry Sellers, a volunteer zombie and senior English student from FSU, "So far, we've had to lead over a dozen out because they couldn't handle it!"

Remember also to proof read it: Get someone else to check it and catch all the errors.

The trick is empathy. Put yourselves in their shoes and figure out what it is that THEY want. They are swamped with work, so if you give them an exclusive article that is well written and has some great photos and it won't appear anywhere else, only a fool would reject it when they need good halloween filler. But you have to do the work up front for them and write multiple good articles for the different outlets. Is it worth all that work for you? It is for us, coz an article is worth MORE than an ad (people trust them more) and even a rather medium/small ad costs around $350.

11-12-2008, 08:03 PM
PS. This may seem like an obvious detail, but it's important: I always submit the article ELECTRONICALLLY so they don't have to sit there and retype it. And the photos are color JPGs with 300 dpi resolution. They can reduce the dpi to newspaper quality, or convert it to Black and white if they want to, but 300 is the best they could want and it also allows them to increase the size if they want to.