What is a Press Kit?

Today we’re just talking about Christian band press kits and we’re answering two questions, “What is a press kit?” and “Why does a Christian band actually need one?” They’re pretty easy to answer and the real basic answer is that a press kit is like a résumé.

So you know that if you are looking for a job and you don’t have a résumé, most likely you are going to be applying at fast food places. You’re going to walk in, you’re going to fill out an application, and most likely you’re going to end up with a low paying job that you probably can’t really support yourself with.

If you take the time to put together just a super basic résumé, maybe you just graduated from high school, did a little volunteer work, and you know you type it up and you print it on a photocopier using just cheap photocopy paper. You can probably then go apply for a little bit better job. You might end up being an assistant manager of a retail store for example. You’d have a little bit better chance of being able to support yourself.

But if you really want to get a job that you’re going to you know do pretty well on, you’re going to have to have some better content on your résumé. Most likely you’re going to have to have some job experience and you’re probably going to have to have maybe a college education. Then you’re going to put together a résumé and it’s not going to have any spelling errors, it’s going to be put in a pretty good format, and you might mail them out you know to a whole bunch of different places. You’ll probably end up with a reasonable job and be able to make a pretty good living.

However, if you really want an amazing job, say you wanted to be the lead brain surgeon at a hospital, your résumé has to be excellent. You have to have all kinds of degrees and all kinds of job experience. Then when you go to put that résumé together, the way that it’s put together has to be done extremely well. Don’t print it on cheap photocopy paper, don’t have any spelling mistakes. The writing is very high quality. And if all those things come together, you have a pretty good chance of getting the job that you really wanted.

Band press kits are pretty similar to that.

When you first start out you don’t have a lot of experience, and your press kit you know is going to be like just a beginning type résumé. You’re going to get beginning type jobs from that press kit. But as your ministry grows, as you do more stuff, as you get more experience you have a lot more content to put in your résumé and you can upgrade the quality of the résumé to go with it.

So the primary function of your press kit is to:
● inform people about your band
it also should
● build your credibility and your reputation
and it should
● give bookers and promoters tools that they need to both book your band and then to promote the concert that you hopefully will be doing with them

Generally press kits are used for booking and marketing.
Often we only focus on the booking aspect of the press kit, on getting better shows because we have a better press kit. But we also have to remember that part of our job as musicians is to get the word out about our music. And so the marketing part of our press kit would be used to help us get things like radio interviews or maybe a write-up in some new e-zine that’s out that is really cool for you. So, it’s important that your press kit doesn’t only focus on booking.

Pretty much secular press kits and Christian press kits are used in the same way for those particular things. And the contents and the presentation is somewhat similar. But there are some key differences between a Christian press kit and a secular press kit, which we are going to discuss even more as we go along further.

But right now I want to talk about the content and the presentation. In a secular press kit you are definitely going to be focusing more on the music and on your achievements, especially status type things: contests that you’ve won, battle of the bands, or more famous bands that you have played with, as well as your education—what degrees you have from what colleges in music—those kinds of things. Those are really all good things, you can still mention them in a Christian press kit. But your Christian press kit really needs to highlight your ministry. You need to answer the question, “What is God doing through your ministry?”If you are marketing to churches, to youth groups, to special events at churches, or if you are marketing specifically to Christian venues—which are venues that are primarily there for Christians, run by Christians—you need to answer that question, “What is God doing through your ministry?”

Your press kit is always going to be growing. It’s always going to be changing. I recommend that you update it every year. Do a complete overhaul, whatever you need to do. Basically start over if you need to. And then throughout the year you need to continue to add any significant events, say a radio station interview at a station you have never done an interview with before, or if you warm up for a band who’s like a national act, those kinds of things—like a new release—anything like that should be updated throughout the year in your press kit, with a major overhaul being done probably about once a year.

There really are two different formats that you use for press kits. One of them is a physical press kit and the other one is an electronic press kit, which is also called and EPK. Physical press kits used to be the standard and now EPKs are pretty much the standard. However, especially in the Christian market, you still need a physical press kit. There’s a couple reasons why—first of all if you are at any kind of a festival where there may not be easy internet access all the time, it’s much easier just to pull out a physical press kit and hand it to the person rather than to hope that they’ll remember to go check out your website later. The print industry, especially magazines and newspapers, often still prefer a physical press kit. But the big people who mostly use physical press kits are state and county fairs. The reason for this is that the people who book the state and county fairs, it is usually a committee and often several member of that committee will be older and not as comfortable with technology. So I still recommend that every Christian band keeps both a physical press kit and an EPK. You’re not going to use physical press kits to the extent that you used to use them but they will still come in handy. Occasionally I still get asked by a church who maybe booked a band for their youth group and started with an EPK, then they’ll come back and say, “You know our pastor, or some of the people who are on our board, just really aren’t comfortable with technology. They don’t want to go to your website. Could you please just send us a physical press kit?”And you know, it works. If that’s what it takes for them to feel comfortable with your ministry, that’s what you then need to do.

So typically I always keep a couple , usually 2-3, physical press kits just in the bottom of my merchandise crate so that when the band is out and about you’ve got a couple ready that you can pass out or you can pull out different portions of it so you can give to different people.

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