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Record companies and promoters receive tons of Press Kits weekly. How do you ensure yours 'stands out' and doesn't end up getting trashed? Here are a few tips to improve your chances:

press packKnow Your Audience

Too many bands develop PKs aimed at fans. Don’t. Use press kits for business purposes. Essentially you should have different Press Kit specifically aimed at different audiences. First, a press kit that is relevant to booking agents. Enclosed information should focus upon past, present, and future gigs because you want to communicate to the reader that the band is actively performing.  Secondly, have a press kit geared towards managers that focuses upon income stream topics. Managers care about marketability, creative income and upcoming gigs. Lastly, you should have a press kit geared towards record labels which might include lyrics and set lists.

Your Band Bio

A band bio should be quick and to the point. If your bio tells us about  “John, who at age four knew he had a gift" or “the band was formed in John's mothers garage one fateful summer” or anything about winning battle of the bands in school - think again! Keep everything one page in length (max) and lose all the descriptive adjectives about “melodic guitar riffs, driving sounds or thrashing vocals.” Let the reader form their own opinions as opposed to cramming your Bio down their throat. Lastly, it’s understandable that band member’s wear many hats these days. It’s fairly common to see songwriter/producer/lead vocals when describing individual members. Avoid. The perceived triple threat only screams you’re doing too much or there isn’t enough to write about concerning the band as a whole.

About The Gigs

Press kits are traditionally laced with dates/touring/gig information tabs. These sections can indirectly cut a band’s throat. Seeing just three listed performances looks like the band can't get gigs, while too many gigs in the same bar just reveals that you are local with no outside demand. If your gig list isn't impressive and varied, you shouldn’t include it. Keep in mind however, that you do need to inform fans to any upcoming shows. This information should be provided on your website or Facebook Fan Page and not in the Press Kit.

Contact Information

Contact information and e-mail addresses speak volumes. For instance, if I review a press kit and the band lists their relevant PR contacts, manager and agents etc. I  immediately form a positive impression, it proves the group (a) works well within a team, and (b) is serious about progressing in the industry. It also provides further insight as to the bands success. If the Management is a reputable company or the Agent works with a successful agency it shows the band has a legitimate business foundation already established.

Secondly, know that an e-mail address tells a detailed story. Should I receive e-mail from a person directly (e.g. [email protected]) there is something genuine in the delivery. To the contrary, should I receive e-mail from an alleged legit business who uses a service ‘type’ address (e.g. – [email protected]) they’ve just told me the sender hasn’t even invested money in a promotional website. Why would anyone receiving the e-mail make the time, never mind an investment, if the sender’s not willing to make a financial investment in themselves? 

Shopping List

  • Cover Letter - why are you sending the PK
  • Band Bio - overview with future plans
  • Photos - use a professional
  • Equipment - what gear do you have
  • Demo CD - 3 or 4 ‘good quality’ tracks
  • Media - newspaper clippings and reviews
  • Contact - for further info or bookings
  • Presentation - everything into a promotional A4 folder

And remember always carry business cards in your gig kit ready to hand out to anyone who speaks to you!

by Liam Carey @Bandpages