Part 4 — Put Together a Basic Press Kit
It has to be easy for me to find your stuff. It’s not that I’m lazy (that’s merely a coincidence). But I can only spend a certain amount of time Googling you before I get bored and give up and move on to the next e-mail from the next band. So make it easy for me to find you!
Here’s what your press kit should have:
- A document that tells me about yourself/your band/your music. There should be an introduction with the basic facts of the band (where you’re from/based, when you formed, names of band members, who plays what, who writes, who sings, who composes, who mixes the drinks, etc.). Tell me about the kind of music you make. Be specific and articulate. Name drop some similar sounding bands (and don’t claim you sound like nobody else. First of all, that’s bullshit. There’s nothing new under the sun. Second of all, sounding like another band isn’t a bad thing. People who like the Magnetic Fields also like the Mountain Goats, because they’re similar. This is how people find new music and there is nothing wrong with that).
- Tell me what you’re doing and what you’ve done recently. I need to know that you’re active. Are you playing gigs? Are you working on an album? Writing songs? Touring? Releasing an album? Tell me! Be specific and brief. We’re looking for facts.
- Links to any write ups you’ve gotten before, but only if it was a good review (or at least an interesting one), and don’t just include the link, tell me what the link is. Quotes about you and their sources are also good. You’re trying to show you’re a band that’s worth being hyped.
- Links to the best songs/album/videos you have posted. Notice I said “best,” not “any and all”. Don’t worry if they’re not professional quality – just pick the ones you think are the best, the most appealing, or represent who you are most accurately. BandCamp, SoundCloud and YouTube are awesome, because they’re easiest to embed on most of the blog platforms (remember, you’re trying to make it easy for me).
- Press photos. They don’t have to be professional, but I need a picture to run with anything I write. Ideally you should give me a few to choose from. You probably know someone who can take some decent photos of you at a recent gig, or hanging out backstage, or practicing, or portraits, or ANYTHING. I need photos. Don’t send me a press kit it if doesn’t have any photos. If you’re currently promoting an album or a show, include a file of the album cover and flyer. And please, include the name of your photographer with the photo.
- Throw in your BEST SONG and a stellar video as a file. Not a link. Something I can open and listen to without being connected to the Internet.
- A link to your own site. You don’t have a web site? You need to get one. A blog is the easiest, cleanest, and fastest way to do this (a Facebook page is the absolute bare minimum). And make sure your site is updated!! Oh man, how many bands forget to do this? They send me a promo about a new album and I go to their site for more info about it and it hasn’t been updated in 6 months. Don’t do this. And shell out the $20 bucks to buy the domain name. It shows you’re serious.
Put all this shit in a folder, LABEL THE FILES CLEARLY, zip it down and attach that to your e-mails. This will improve your response rate from media people one billion percent. Well, one billion may be a slight exaggeration. But a professional, well-put-together press kit will do wonders for your response rate.
Are you to the point where you’re sending out physical press kits to people? Review this link before you do.
SPELL CHECK EVERYTHING! Ooohh, you’re cool rock stars; who cares about spelling? Media people do.