Enhancing Your Music Marketing: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Press Kits for Musicians
A Guest Post by Crowd Audio
As a musician, you wear many hats.
I would argue that one of the most important hats you wear isn’t your musicianship hat. Even though playing live is probably the most fun you will do, that’s not the most important hat you wear.
It’s your marketing hat.
You see, marketing your music has become such an important part of this new music business we’ve found ourselves in that anyone gigging regularly and working as a successful musician must become amazing at promoting themselves.
And at the center of your marketing process is your press kit.
The Musician’s Press Kit
A press kit is the musician’s résumé. It is a quick summary of everything you are about. And just like a résumé, make it simple and to the point. Busy bar owners and bookers aren’t interested in your life story. They’re interested in whether your music fits their atmosphere, if you will draw a crowd and how much beer you can get your fans to buy at their bar.
They might love your music later down the line, but everybody is always thinking:
“What’s In It For Me?”
Your Press Kit needs to answer this question. Let’s break it down into two different press kits: the old physical press kit you hand to someone, and the electronic press kit you can create online.
The Physical Press Kit
The physical press kit is a little trickier than the electronic one. You only have so much room for your information so everything needs to be super concise. You can add more “stuff” to your electronic press kit(EPK), but a physical press kit needs only the most relevant information.
Think of your biography like your elevator pitch. It needs to be short and interesting while still selling the reader on the idea of who you are.
Don’t tell your origin story unless it’s amazingly original. And believe me, it probably isn’t. You guys probably got together and decided to make music. Nothing to see there.
No, what’s interesting to the booker is what’s in it for them. Have you sold records? How long have you played? How big is your following and do you have any press?
If you’ve sold 100 records of your EP that means that the music is probably pretty decent since nobody has 100 friends and family willing to buy your album. To the venue-booker, that means 100 people thought your music was good enough to buy.
How long you’ve played tells the promoters that you probably won’t go up on stage and play like you just bought your guitar. If a band has been together for over 6 months with regular practice it is safe to assume that they play well together. It says nothing of the quality of music, but at least they can get a well rehearsed band onto their stage.
If you have a track record of bringing 80 people on average to your show, TELL THEM THAT. If half of those people come in and buy one beer that’s about $200 in revenue with no extra work on the promoter’s part.
Bars like that.
This article has a pretty good explanation on how to write your bio with the reader in mind. Obviously, as the article states, it’s hard to come up with something juicy if you’re just starting out. But try to put all of your musical qualities into benefits for the venue booker.
Just make sure that whatever you do, keep it short and simple and tailored to what’s in it for the reader.
Your product is your music. And since your press kit is basically the same as a demo of a software, a coffee sample or one of those perfume pages inside a magazine, you need to include a sample of your product.
How much music you include is up to you, but most people don’t have time to listen to a full album or even a 4 song EP. Think of it like a single, with your strongest, catchiest song to capture the listener and a B-side that shows a different side of your music.
Say, if you have a really catchy pop song you can include a ballad. If you’re a metal band that is very aggressive, consider adding one of your more melodic songs to show your different musical identity.
I would even point out the fact that people don’t listen for longer than about 30 seconds if they have a lot of press kits to consider. So if your awesome sounding single with the catchy chorus takes a long time to start, consider creating a radio edit that showcases that catchy chorus immediately.
Your Contact Information
This is the most important part of your whole press kit. Do not screw this up. Even if your bio sucked and the promoter didn’t have time to listen to your music they might still contact you if they have an opening they can’t fill in time.
Email is easiest, but be sure to include your phone number and website address as well. It’s easier for a promoter to send out a bunch of emails to bands instead of doing a bunch of phone calls, but if the venue needs to book somebody right now a phone number can get you on the ticket immediately.
Recent Press & Reviews
If you have space to spare, 3rd party, unbiased press or reviews are always great to include. If you had an awesome show or somebody wrote about you in a magazine, take the most favorable snippet from the article and include it like a testimonial. Nothing sells a product like a favorable review, and your music is no different.
Now, people keep advising that you should use manila folders or some crap like that and I think that’s ridiculous advice.
I think a manila folder looks very unprofessional for a band because it’s simply not cool enough. It looks like something an intern working for a Fortune 500 company needs to bring to his boss, not a package from an awesome sounding band that wants to rock out at the new concert venue.
So what’s my advice?
The typical DVD case. Think about it, it’s large enough so that you can print out and include an insert or a small brochure inside with all the information we’ve talked about above. It also stands out and allows you to create a consistent design throughout your press kit, from the cover to the insert.
And best of all, the convenient CD holder for your music.
As in the example to the right, taken fromAdhesis’s article on creating press kits, you can set up your DVD case with the name of your band on the front, a picture of your members on the back along with any contact info.
On the inside you can include your biography and relevant press(if any) along with your music.
Business cards can also work in a pinch if you don’t have any press kits. They should include your band name, type of music, contact info and website address.
The downside is the lack of music and biography information inherent in the small size of a business card, but if you design your website well enough, both your bio and available music should be easily available on the first page of your website.
And that’s where your EPK comes in.
The Electronic Press Kit
An EPK is simple to think about. It is simply the electronic equivalent of your physical press kit. The advantages of an EPK is that you’re not constrained by space and can include more information and media to showcase your music.
Think of it like a landing page where everything should be readily available.
Just like your DVD case should have the band name, contact and music right there at their fingertips, all the information on your EPK should only be a click away.
Reverbnation can create a great EPK for you after you’ve created an account and filled out a profile.
Click the image to see it enlarged.
It takes all the stats from your Reverbnation profile and creates a handy landing page with all the relevant information on the first page, along with additional media such as videos, photos, extra songs and a longer biography tucked away for those who have more time.
Notice how the contact button is highlighted? It’s designed to call attention to itself because you want people to contact you.
And that’s the great thing about your EPK and/or website. You can modify the landing page towards a specific action.
Some things are more important to you than others so customize your EPK to highlight what’s so special about your band.
- Your music - If you think your music is the most important part of your band, focus on making the music player the most prominent part of your EPK/website.
- Your performance - If your live performance are awesome and you can really get the fans going on the floor then a video should be the first thing the visitor watches.
- Your picture or bio - If you really do have an interesting back story, or you all dress up like Slipknot or Kiss, then a picture of the band in full garb should be up front and center.
All these things are attention grabbers. They’re designed to keep the visitor engaged. Whether the visitor is a potential fan or a booking agent, the most interesting part of your band needs to be the first thing they see.
After you’ve captured their interest, the next thing to do is get them to take action.
For a fan, this could be signing up for an email list to be notified of concerts. For a booking agent or bar owner, this could be a “Book Us” contact form.
Whatever it is, don’t make the visitor leave without making them take action.
Of course, automatic systems and music networks don’t allow you to customize your EPK so extensively, which is why a dedicated band website should always be a big priority.
But that’s a topic for another day.
Think of your band as your brand, and treat your press kits as a crucial part of your marketing efforts. Take the time to create a good press kit and you’ll come off as more professional than a good portion of other bands in your area.
Lastly, if you want to enhance the sound of the music that you put on your EPK, use your recordings and start a competition between our community of engineers. With our competition model you can choose from a variety of mixes of your song from engineers all over the world.
Start your competition right here: http://www.crowdaudio.com/start-a-competition/
Crowd Audio helps you take your music to the next level. They connect independent bands and musicians with excited audio engineers eager to help them with their music.
If you’re a musician, Crowd Audio gives you access to a community of audio engineers eager to mix and master your music, giving it that professional sound.
If you’re an audio engineer, Crowd Audio creates a community of like minded individuals looking to gain experience by doing the audio work they love.
Through community and crowdsourced competition, bands get a professionally produced sound while audio engineers get exposure and experience.