Effective media kits don't just happen, and no matter how much you're paying a publicity firm, there's no publicist in the world who can create a media kit you'll love - unless you help. And you can be of great help, even if you've never promoted anything in your life before. Your publicist may take the lead, but you should be a participant in the media kit creation process to ensure that you'll love the results. This is the case even if your publicist doesn't invite your help. Don't wait to be asked. Take the initiative, and bring your expertise and your perspective to your media kit.

A media release isn't an ad, so the focus of your media release shouldn't be your product or service. Instead, you should have a media angle, and only you know for sure what you'd like that hook to be. You want the media to see you, and your product or service in a certain way, and only you know what that way is. Your publicist can guess, but it's your vision that matters here, not your publicist's.

The media kit represents you, not your publicist. It helps to shape your image and build your brand. Your reputation is at stake every time someone reads it, and that ultimately makes it your responsibility. Your publicist may be a great publicist, but he or she still needs your thoughtful input in order to create a media kit that will accomplish your goals. Your participation should begin even before the publicist creates a first draft. Specifically, here are the ways in which you can contribute to the media kit creation effort:

* Media hooks. Although your publicist knows what's going on in the world, you're far more likely to know which current events matter the most to you and are most likely to tie into your product or service. Let your publicist know! He or she can incorporate that event into your media release. Provide direct quotations about the event that your publicist can weave into the release, too.

* Jargon. Okay, media releases should be free of technical phrases that only professionals in your industry would understand. Still, there are certain buzzwords and phrases that will resonate for your target audience. Make your publicist of what those words and phrases are so that he or she can integrate them into your media kit.

* Questions. In an ideal interview, what questions would you be asked? These are the questions that will allow you to disseminate your key messages, not the questions that an uninformed journalist would randomly ask. Jot down the questions you choose, and ask your publicist to include those suggested interview questions in your media kit (assuming he or she includes suggested interview questions as part of your media kit).

* Story ideas. Your publicity campaign presents endless opportunities to talk with the media from different perspectives, perhaps targeting different people with each. You might want to talk with parents about one of your messages, and you might want to talk with educators about another message, and you might want to talk with grandparents with yet another message. Your publicist can only guess which stories, and which audiences, you'd want to pursue. You, however, know for sure which audiences are the most receptive to your productive or service, and you have the best idea of what it is they'd want to hear from you. Offer your suggestions, and let your publicist weave your thoughts into the media kit.

As a book promotion specialist, I often create a first draft of a media kit with no input from my clients. I do the best I can, but I'm not a mind reader, and therefore, I can't know ahead of time what the client (in this case, an author or a publisher) wants. That's an easy problem to solve. Simply offer your publicist enough information about what you're seeking to create a solid foundation for his or her work, and infuse the media kit draft with your ideas before it's finalized. Yes, a publicist potentially could create a decent media kit alone. But that shouldn't be good enough. And that doesn't reflect the way the best publicists prefer to work. Truly competent publicists want their clients to participate in the media kit creation process so that everyone will be thrilled with the results.

So provide your publicist with your ideas before, and during, the book promotion process. You'll love the results, and your promotion campaign's success will reflect your efforts. You know how you'd like the media to see you, and your publicist knows how to make it happen. Your knowledge and your publicist's experience: that's the winning combination.

Author's Bio: 

Stacey J. Miller is the founder of S. J. Miller Communications, a book promotion firm that specializes on online book promotion and, particularly, Web 2.0 book marketing. Visit her online at http://www.bookpr.com/.