You want publicity for your project? It starts by thinking about your band, not as just a group of amazing musicians, but as a “brand.” And it means pulling together one of the most important publicity tools for any artist. Your own press kit.
I’ve heard from friends in various groups, as well as some of the students I work with through an area music and media program, press kits can be the hardest step in the promotional pitch process. It involves some bragging, along with factual information, photos, and CD’s or links to some of your songs. The idea of cold calling on bar owners or booking agents, even local media contacts– can seem easier than putting in the effort needed for a good band bio or short release about you as an artist.
But it’s important– and I was recently reminded of it once again, while trying to connect one friend’s band to a large concert promoter. His first question– can you send me their press kit? In this particular case he wanted it immediately, and in an electronic version, or an EPK.
So armed with this information, here’s what any artist-band-group should include in a hard-copy or electronic version of a press kit:
A bio is your story, and you can get creative with it to make it stand out. Weird way you met your band-mates? Doing something different than other groups? Make yourself marketable via your bio, but keep it short and sweet at the same time.
NOTE: I’ve often seen only the first paragraph of a band bio used by a venue or media to promote an upcoming show. Very few have time to rewrite from the information provided in your full bio, so think about the way your initial sentences may read if it is the only thing shared with potential show-attendees.
CD Demo / Music Clips
Here’s your chance to share some recent music, or some fan-fave songs. And be sure it is high quality. Could the recording be played on-air if you are invited for an interview? Also, the standard now for someone listening to a song is about 30-45 seconds before it may be ejected or stopped (resume tapes for television news jobs typically get 15-30 seconds), so share your very best stuff as a link or actual CD. And if it’s a CD, take off the shrink-wrap. It really does make a difference for the person receiving your press kit.
Photo / Logo
Every press kit should include a high resolution picture. Your image may be reproduced in newspapers, magazines, blogs, websites, social media, etc. so it’s important to make it a high quality one. The photo is also a statement for the look and feel of your band and music. If you have a logo or there are other brands you partner with as a band, include these as high resolution images or via a link as part of an EPK.
Shows / Tour Dates
The more dates you can include, the better, especially if someone– whether an artist rep, media, or fan– wants to see and hear you in action. It also shows others you are marketable and already being booked by other venues. It (unfortunately) can be about their bottom line, too.
Press Reviews / Interviews / Quotes
Share any higher-profile reviews of your music or a show, interviews you’ve done, and/or quotes you’ve received from another professional in the industry, whether on a local, regional, or national level. Consider it important proof your band (brand!) is already getting attention, and deserves it. This information should also be easily available on your website.
Past Shows / Shared Bills
This is not a must-have, but if you can provide it, do. Highlight any previous shows of importance or bill line-up you were part of in the recent past. Did you open for a well-known band? Play a large capacity or sold out venue? Unfortunately, your friend’s backyard picnic doesn’t count.
Be sure to provide multiple ways for someone to get in touch with you. Give whatever information works best in your particular situation, but make sure there’s a phone number, email address, and even a facebook or google+ page for messages. Also, include your band’s website, and mailing address.
NOTE: Put your contact information on everything! Every page, every CD. You don’t want any piece of your press kit getting lost in the shuffle.
Your press kit presentation should be professional– think of it as a job application. If it’s a hard copy, place everything– including a cover letter or letter of introduction, inside a folder or large envelope. Double-check to make sure nothing will fall out to ensure all of your material remains together. And label the outside of the kit so the people you are connecting with will know the name of the great musician or group they’re about to hear and/or see for the first time! If being an artist is your life, than this is an important step in how you present yourself to make a lasting impression.