So I've spent the last few days on the phone with lots of local media outlets trying to get them to take a look at our press kit and possibly cover the conference (don't worry, I warmed 'em up with a flyer mailing a while back). The best thing I could come up with to get people to take a look, or take a listen to my pitch was: "This is not your father's scientific conference." We'll see how it flies. I've sent out about half of our first run, and more responses and requests may trickle in.
So much of getting your kit looked at seems to have to do with who you get on the phone. I got a nice lady at a Boulder radio station who's going to hand-carry our kit to the news director. Most of the TV stations didn't even give me a name--they just wanted me to send the kit to the assignment desk. One friendly guy at an assignment desk said I could send it to him. That was nice. I have no sense, though, of what percentage of these are going to get looked at, or loved, or anything.
When I was a newspaper editor, I used to get press kits all the time, mostly for movies, because I was the A & E section editor. They usually sent good glossy pictures (some of which we used in reviews), free tickets, and occasionally schwag, which was cool. I still have some of that schwag. If I had review space, I got a stringer, put the tickets in her hot little hand, gave her a deadline and sent her to the movies. If I didn't, I didn't. I know what I liked: the basic information somewhere obvious, contact information in case I needed to get a hold of them (our kit has contact information on EVERY DAMN PAGE), graphics I could use, and maybe some tidbit of interesting information. A good press release is one you can pretty much lift out of the kit and print as is. I tried to write one like that.
This is a different ball of wax, though. A press kit for a movie is not a whole lot like a press kit for an academic conference and organization. It's still slim enough to go under a door, and I've got things in there like "fun facts" and pictures of Denver from space. Keep your fingers crossed--I've done what I can!