Every week or so, there is a fresh EP waiting for me to review from The Punk Archive.
The contents of each one triggered this article as to why it is essential to prepare a proper Press/Media Kit that showcases the details of your 5 W’s (Who, What, Where, Why & When) to radio/television stations, music magazines (print or virtual), prospective managers, labels and a plethora of other industry professionals.
What do I include: A Press/Media Kit Checklist
As with all things in life, there are some essentials that you require to bind a successful Press/Media Kit.
Letter of introduction: This section should be brief, I would say no longer than 600/800 words or so. You want to be able to properly convey the tone for the rest of the Press/Media Kit as these are essentially the first words that an industry professional is going to read when your Press/Media Kit is first opened.
In life, we can very easily allow our excitement to get the better of us; rendering thoughts to transfer to the page in a babbling manner, which is not something that you want to do with a letter of introduction. It must strategically be written to quickly give an idea as to who you are and your current endeavours.
Bio: I know from experience that it can be quite difficult to scribe a bio, one never knows what to include and what not to include. There are however key points that should definitely be touched upon: when did you first started performing?
Are you classically trained?
What instruments do you play?
Where have you played?
You should also include something that others can relate to: such as a quirky story from your life relating to how you found your path to the Music Industry in the first place. The reason I say to include a personal anecdote is that this will allow you to be more animated via a 1-dimensional vessel: paper, monitor or tablet.
Nevertheless, I would say that there is more room for expression when scribing a bio. 1500 words should do for this section of your kit.
Current press publications/articles: If your music was reviewed or you gave an interview then this is the place to keep all of those old-fashioned newspaper clippings.
You do not want to inundate your reader so I would say a selection of no more than 3 of your strongest reviews/interviews. This will give the person inspecting these articles a snapshot of who you are and what you do from the perspective of others.
Press Release: This is where you have to be brief and right to the point, ALWAYS make sure to include: Who, What, Where, Why & When.
I realise this section may make you feel as though you are back in grammar school however; there is an art to packing in as much content as possible in no more than 1500 words.
A Press Release should be used when: you are going on tour, have a new EP or are under new management.
Audio/Video Files: Customers want to be able to hear what you sound like before making a decision as to whether or not they are going to purchase your music. If you have a full EP I would say to include all of the content to that specific body of work – if not, only include recent pieces.
That way, whoever is listening to the music, is able to see that you are still working on your craft, this establishes a president that you are here to stay and constantly working on new material.
Cover Art/Photographs: If you are a Singer/Songwriter without a band I would say that 3 pictures of you in different poses including one headshot is a good start.
However, if you are a member of a band; I would say to include one photograph of each of the band members with bios printed on the back. Also, including cover art allows the person looking over the press release a bird’s eye view into your personality and work.
Upcoming promotional events: I would not include the event to the kit but perhaps a poster, especially after they have been reading all of the content from the sections above. Once again make sure you are including current events to ensure that you are still marketable.
Perspectives of a Press Release
I reached out to The Punk Archive Founder and Editor Dan Stoten for a quote on his perspective of Press/Media kits and this is what he had to say:
“For me, the most important thing a press release needs to do is catch my attention. It needs to have the key words jumping out at the reader from a quick scan.
We get so many come through that we often choose whether to cover the bands based purely on the wording in the documentation that comes with it…”
Make your First Impression Count
The first thing that you should remember when scribing or hiring someone to write your Press/Media Kit is that you literally have 30 seconds to make an impression on someone.
I know that this seems cruel, you work so hard on your craft and that body of work can be dismissed so easily. It comes down to this, in life you need to be able to MAKE A STATEMENT through your work, to show the public that you are not only worthy to be on the stage but that you demand it – a Press/Media Kit is a great tool to convey all of that information.
The world can be a large place nevertheless; Music Gateway is there to help you guide you through whatever services you may require – such as a writer to prepare the ingredients for a comprehensive Press/Media Kit.