Press Kit Essentials – what are they, and what can they do for you?
Your biography is the most important document in your Press Kit; it introduces you to the world – who you are, what you do, and what your work is about.
A great biography strikes a balance between colourful language to convey the vibe of your creative brand, and substantial factual information – it must be easily understood by your audience, as well as convey useful information to other creative industry professionals.
A well-crafted biography packs a great deal of information into a concise amount of words, and makes your story immediately accessible to media professionals and outlets. This versatile document is a PR must have item; it has longevity, it can be distributed widely, and published in myriad ways on websites and social media platforms.
Other industry professionals will be able to get a clear picture of who you are and how you fit into the industry and scene, even if they have yet to meet you. You save them time, they don’t have to do any homework to learn about you, and this puts you high on the list of people they will want to work with.
Publish your Bio directly online at: your website, your blog, your Facebook “About” section, your Myspace, your Amazon store profile, your iTunes artist page, Bandcamp, Reverbnation, CD Baby, BigCartel, Encyclopaedia Metallum, Discogs, the All Music Guide, your band profile on various forums – the list goes on and on…
Send your Bio to: record labels, music distributors, independent music retailers, venue bookers, tour promoters, music festival promoters, other bands you would like to book gigs with, music encyclopedias, music magazines, music webzines, and style appropriate radio stations and radio producers.
A Media Release (also known as a Press Release) is the most effective way to get important news out to the world, quickly and professionally.
Examples of news suitable for announcing via a Media Release include the release and launch of a new album, a tour or significant performance, signing to a record label, going into the studio to record, a significant line-up change, receiving a grant, filming a live DVD or clip – basically any major milestone in the journey of your band can be boosted into a more powerful and interesting story by a strong Media Release.
Your Media Release can be published online in its own right, and many styles of music have key “feed” news sources to help spread the word (for example, for metal bands the Blabbermouth news page founded by Borivoj Krgin [former Metal Maniacs journalist, and ex-manager of the band Atheist] is your first port of call for distributing your Media Release). You will find journalists can use your Media Release as the basis for their own original pieces, and news columnists will take note and make use of information provided because it is already of publication standard. People in the media are often rushed for time and managing many projects – by providing a professional and publication quality Media Release, you are making the job of media professionals easier, so you increase your chances of receiving coverage.
A feature article is just that – a full authored feature story about you/your band/your business, created to the same publication standards as seen in any professional magazine. It is a significantly longer document than either a Biography or a Media Release, it will involve intensive research and interview to get the personality and uniqueness of your band onto the page, and it can delve in depth into the various points of interest and difference about your band. You know you have many facets to your work – this is how you communicate that to the media.
Supplying a feature article with your Press Kit really pushes your band’s presentation over the top, and sets you apart from other bands. You are handing the media – other storytellers – a finished and detailed story, complete with quotable quotes, and many ideas to kickstart more articles. Professional editors and journalists will take notice of this content, because all the background work has been done for them. They get bombarded with generic band promo day in, day out. Hand them a real story about real people, and they can recognise the value in it.
Feature articles will often be heavily referenced or re-published in fanzine and community media. Webzines love it – you are handing them free content to impress their advertisers, and making them look good. If you are sick of being asked the same boring stock questions by fanzine journalists and volunteer radio presenters, this solves that problem – because you are handing them a kit of killer questions and answers, and setting the agenda of cool things you want them to talk about.
It isn’t rocket science – if you want people to take an interest in your music, you need to BE INTERESTING. A feature article puts your presentation on the highest level, and makes you into a real story.