Press Kits are Like Résumés
The press kit is the main form of advertising used to get work for musicians. Think of the press kit as a résumé. The jobs available without a résumé are typically low paying, such as fast food service, retail sales clerk, or housekeeping. Jobs that require a résumé usually pay much more and are longer term positions like teachers, nurses, and retail or restaurant management. When job experience and education are combined with an amazing résumé, the available jobs and pay increases dramatically to positions like doctors and lawyers. The music industry is the same. Without a press kit, a band can expect to play many free gigs and shows that only pay gas money. An average press kit enables the band to vie for better paying gigs. An amazing press kit gets the highest paying shows.
The primary functions of a press kit are:
● Inform people about your band
● Build the credibility and reputation of the band
● Give promoters the tools needed to book and promote your band
Typically, booking agents or personal managers (if the band does not have an agent) will mail or e-mail press kits to prospective bookers or promoters. Hence the two formats for press kits: the physical press kit (printed on paper) and the EPK or electronic press kit (digital). The contents of a physical press kit are usually enclosed in an inexpensive pocket folder and handed directly to a person or mailed in a padded envelope. EPK’s are available on the band’s website, and links and/or specific pages are e-mailed or messaged to bookers. Every band should have both a physical press kit and an EPK. The contents of both kits are the same.
This post will give you an overview of the contents of your Christian band’s press kit. Click on the link for each item to read specifically about how that piece should be done.
Contents of a Press Kit:
● Cover Letter – This letter should explain the booking process and introduce who the promoter will be talking to (the person handling your booking).
● CD Demo or download (paper cases are fine unless you have a mass produced CD)
● Sample Contracts and Technical Rider
The Physical Press Kit
Physical press kits are not used as much as they were in the past as everyone tries to go paperless. Still, there are many times when the Internet is not available and you need to get a press kit in someone’s hands… festivals, outdoor concerts, etc. Often, these situations are full of distractions. The promoter may truly like your band at the moment and completely forget about you the next day. It is better to be prepared than to lose a potential contact. So, I keep 2 press kits in the band merchandise crate at all times.
Physical press kits are usually presented in a folder that has a pocket on each side and slits cut to hold your business card, like these:
Oxford Twin-Pocket Portfolio, Embossed Leather Grain Paper – 25/box
You can get them from Walmart or most office supply stores. The least expensive way to buy them is during late August and early September at the back to school sales. They will usually be on sale for less than 10¢ each. I usually stock up on them in the colors I know my husbands band will use.
The band photo goes in the left pocket. Two business cards go in the slits jut below the band photo. The right pocket should contain the rest of the pages in this order:
● CD Demo
● Cover Letter (Keep the generic cover letter in your merchandise table press kits, but tailor all other covers letters to the person receiving the press kit.)
● Band History/ Biography
● Contract and Technical Rider (When giving this press kit to a newspaper or other media people I take out the contract and technical rider.)
The front cover of the press kit should have your bands logo on it. The easiest way to do this is to use a band sticker. Keep this application in mind when designing and purchasing stickers. If you do not have band stickers, print the logo on your computer using good quality, heavier paper and neatly glue it to the cover of the folder. I recommend a spray adhesive like Craft Bond or rubber cement. Do not try to use white school glue.
… and you’re done! It’s a big project to create physical press kits – be proud of your accomplishment!
EPK’s (Electronic Press Kit)
The bands EPK is the single most used tool to book shows. It is hard to understate the importance of getting this done correctly. The EPK is PDF files of each page of your bands physical press kit. Some bands load the entire press kit into one file. I recommend using a separate file for each page, putting all the files in a folder. Promoters should have the option to download the entire folder or individual files.
Ways to convert your files to PDF
Converting to PDF is getting easier with each technology upgrade. How you accomplish this task depends on the equipment and programs you have.
● If you have a Mac go to the File>Print. Click on the PDF button and select “Save as PDF”.
● The easiest way to convert to a PDF on a PC is to use Adobe Acrobat Professional. But this is approximately a $300 program that most of us do not have. You may be able to get access to the program by asking a friend to convert it for you or by asking if you can use the computer at work during non work hours (lunchtime).
● Newer versions of Microsoft Word have “Save as PDF” options:
Go to your document, File>Save As and see if there is a “Save as PDF” option.
If that doesn’t work, try File>Print. Check to see if PDF is one of the printers you can choose from or if there is a “Print to PDF” button.
● You can convert your file using free PDF conversion tools. Search online for the latest options. Be careful as a few of these tools leave a watermark on your page, which doesn’t look professional.
● As a last resort you can hire someone from Upwork.com to convert the files for you.
Place the individual page links in the same order as the physical press kit, starting with a page of the band logo. Some bands include a variety of logo sizes and color variations on the first page. The next page is the band photo. Some bands include several band photos but I do not recommend this because you are trying to build band recognition. Using the same photo consistently in all advertising helps the fans identify you easily. If a promoter really feels a need to have multiple photos, they can download from your web site or you can create a separate link of additional photos. The next page is music files, followed by a generic cover letter. Finish up with the rest of the pages: Band History/ Biography, Band Members Biographies, Quotes and Reference Letters, Lyric Sheets, and Contracts and Technical Riders.
So, there you have it! Upload these files as a link on the booking information page on your website and your band’s EPK is done!
Would you like more help with your Christian band’s press kit?
Chapter Ten is called Positively Impressing Press Kits.
to get your copy today!
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