A Press Kit is still one of the most vital tools for musicians and bands. Yet most people don’t know how to make one. This series will show you how step by step but first, a little background. A few years back I ran an internet radio station as a hobby. Consequently, I dealt with bands and musicians trying to get airplay on a regular basis. The thing that struck me most of all was not the variance in the quality of music, but the variance in the quality of the correspondence I received. To be quite blunt, most of it was poor!
Luckily this was my hobby and not my job so I tended to be a bit forgiving and listened to the music anyway. If this had been my full-time job, most of the material I got would have gone straight in the rubbish bin. Again, most of the music was great but it simply wouldn’t get listened to because of the lack of quality in the written materials and the way it was presented. I received everything from hand-written scrawl on a scrap of paper through to very professional printed press kits and everything in between. Most fell down due to the quality of the info presented. It wasn’t just the presentation quality although both are important.
Having a professional quality press kit doesn’t have to cost you the earth. In a lot of cases, a simple tidy up would improve the band or musician’s chances enormously.
Let’s start with a look at what should be in a press kit. A press kit can contain any or all of the following components depending on your audience:
- Covering Letter
- Cover Page
- Band or Artist Bio
- Band photos and videos
- Live Show Equipment Requirements
- Booking and Contact Information
- Demo CD
- Sample Set List
- Newspaper/Press Clippings, Show Reviews etc
As you can see there are quite a few parts that go into making up a successful press kit. That can be daunting if you don’t know where to start. Also, as I’ve already said, your press kit will need to be appropriate for your intended audience. For example, if you are trying to get radio airplay or a record contract you don’t need an equipment list. So taking a minute to think about your intended audience will be time well spent. Don’t be lazy and just send everything to everyone.
It’s beyond the scope of a single article like this to cover every part of a press kit in thorough detail so I’m going to break it up into a few posts. Not every section will apply to you but if you get even a few of these things done properly you will be well on your way to putting the odds in your favour. I’m also not going to try to cover everything it might contain as some of them are quite self-explanatory. We will just look at the most important parts. Along the way, I will provide example documents where I can to show you what they look like when finished.
Printed or Online Press Kits?
There have been various debates as to whether bands and musicians should have printed or online press kits and the answer is clear in my opinion. You need both! Fortunately, even though the delivery methods are different, the content remains the same so I will show you how to do it so it can be easily adapted for use anywhere. No matter how you deliver it, though, the very first thing you need is a Band or Artist bio so we’ll start there in the next post, Building an Effective Press Kit for Musicians and Bands – Part 2 – Bio Basics