Dos and Don'ts for Your Sales Kits

Do your media kit and rate card contain the information national media buyers really want? To help you answer this question, CVC's Board of Advisors, many of whom represent national advertisers, reviewed media kits from CVC-audited publications. Here's what they had to say:

The Dos:
1. Include your CVC audit report in your sales kit.
2. Make sure your rate information is prominent and easy to read.
3. Use a chart to graphically organize rate information.
4. Rate sheets should include retail, classified and insert rates.
5. Rates should be labeled "gross" or "net."
6. Include effective dates on all rate sheets.
7. Place your ad sizes and rate sheet together in your media kit. It's ideal if this comprehensive rate sheet is printed on standard 8.5" x 11" paper. Buyers said they sometimes file the rate and size information and toss the rest of the kit.
8. Include insertion deadlines.
9. Include all specifications. Note any differences between actual specifications and billed specifications.
10. Provide submission directions that include contact information and an after-hours contact who is available in case problems arise close to deadline.
11. Include a picture of your publication in your sales kit. For newspapers, show a picture of all your sections and inserts. A picture of them fanned out is a good presentation. For a magazine, show a high-quality color image of your cover.
12. Clearly identify your market. Many publications have names without a geographic reference. Make it obvious to a buyer where your market is located.
13. Create a header or footer for each page – especially your rate sheet – that includes your contact information. Remember, buyers rarely keep your entire kit.
14. Make sure your media kit is well-organized, free of errors and professional-looking.
15. Have a Web presence. Post your rate card data on your Web site. The actual Web page containing this data should include your publication’s name and city. This is helpful for buyers who "bookmark" the page directly.

The Don'ts:
16. Don’t include a sample of your publication in your media kit. If the buyer wants one, they will request it. A picture should suffice.
17. Avoid big folders or binding. An 8.5" x 11" sales kit slips easily in and out of buyers' files. Anything larger than that risks a one-way trip to the trash can.
18. Avoid cute die cuts, fluorescent colors and clip art.
19. Edit out the fluff. Our reviewers said your sales kit should not read like a Chamber of Commerce brochure.
20. Don't risk insulting national buyers by including a credit application in your sales kit.

Our advisors also mentioned that maps, zip-code breakouts, media comparisons and editorial calendars are helpful and wanted by many media buyers.

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