Press Kit Tips
By: Jerry A. Greene
Question: I am putting together a press kit for my band. Do you have any suggestions for what to include?
Answer: Keeping your press kit looking professional is very important when it comes to marketing yourself as an artist, or band.
A Professionally Printed Cover
You'll want to make sure that your promo/press kit has a cover that makes you stand out, in a professional way. You don't want something that is too flash (unless that is your style). it is usually better to look professional with a clean, sleak cover and matching materials. Getting the cover printed professionally means it will be done in nice ink like Brother toner or other, and nice high quality paper.
Personalize Each Press Kit
It may take a little extra effort, but you'll want to make sure to enclose a personalized letter. It should be typed and signed. You want to be sure that it is written in such a way that shows gratitude for the person using their personal time to review it. Be short and to the point in your letter. Certain aspects of the cover letter will, of course, either be left-out, or included, depending upon the music business professional, or entertainment writer that you will be sending it to.
The next thing that you'll want to include in your press packet is your bio. Don't make it any longer than one page and use short paragraphs. Also make absolutely sure that everything you include in your bio is a worthwhile read, meaning don't include information like "When I was two, I used to jump from couch to couch playing air-guitar". Be professional!
You'll want to be sure to include a professionally taken, black and white headshot. You may include other pictures, but this is the one that must show you at your best.
You'll want to include some short testimonials from fans, but more importantly from music business professionals like the ones you'll be sending your promo pack to. Again, include ones that match the person you are mailing the package to.
Your Tour Schedule
You'll want to make sure that you include a tour schedule if you have any future gigs coming up. make sure that you highlight any gigs that are within a 30 minute driving distance radius for the person you are mailing the press kit to. Again, personalization is greatly appreciated, especially when you are going through the trouble of showing them shows that they can personally come see.
Past Performance History
If you have a strong performance history, then you'll want to include a sheet with these listed as well. Make sure that the bigger-name events are empasized. Remember you want to impress them! The better job you do of proving that you, or your band is "out there" all of the time, the better. This may be a good sheet to include pictures of live concerts (with cheering fans). Make sure you put a caption underneath each one with the location/event and date of the performance.
Great Sounding Demo CD
Make sure that you include a great sounding CD (or even a DVD if you have one). If you are planning on marketing yourself, for the purpose of getting gigs, then make sure you include a live CD as well. Make sure you include your contact information on the CD. More on this below...
You want to make sure that you label every single piece of marketing material that you have. Pieces of your press kit may get separated from one another (especially a CD) and you'll want to make absolutely sure that you include, at the very least, your name, phone number and web address. On all of your paper materials, make sure that you have a footer, or header with your band's name, (or just you if you are a solo artist), your mailing address, phone number and web address. It should be uniform with each page looking the same (like a piece of stationary).
Mailing Your Press Pack
Make sure that you contact the person you are mailing your press kit to, in advance, to first see if they are interested in hearing from you before wasting your money on postage. You may want to ask them if they have a special code for you to write on the outside of the envelope so that they separate your package during the screening process (a lot of these guys get tons of press kits and demo CD's every single day). Send it out promptly (same day, if you can) and follow up.
You may want to ask the addressee when a good time to follow up would be, and by what means (phone, or email?) Then make sure you do exactly what you are instructed to do. You may even want to remind them (when you contact them) that "just as you had advised me to do, I am contacting you today". This shows that you care about their time and will communicate with them in a very respectable way. Make sure you ask them if they need anything else from you (during your follow up), and if something is required, send it immediately and continue following up.