THOUGHTS ABOUT PRESS KITS
This page considers both what artist and touring groups might consider putting on their pages, and what buyers might want to ask for from their acts.
A GREAT EXAMPLE of an Online Press Kit
We were able to get an unexpected, full-page story in our local newspaper for our event simply because the photos here were so great - great photos and print-quality - and so easily available to the layout staff:
This resources page made promoting this event much easier for all of our media partners than promoting others.
Following is other specific marketing information that I wish touring groups provided easily, so that we could spend less time/money creating materials and more time asking for better press coverage.
A. Press releases for event - easier for everyone if they are there waiting. Two or three. A short one to send well in advance; another to send once tickets are for sale. We send a third one the last week, to make sure that people know that tickets are selling and that they needed to get tickets very soon.
B. News story - something that's about the performer or group more than about the upcoming performance. Likely to include recent release of CD, award, whatever with more background, more detail, more bio. Something that we could also post on our website along with a couple of photos, photos of CD or book covers, link back to performer's website, etc. What I would be looking for in a membership newsletter piece, or to send to a newspaper editor as background.
C. Artists' statements & bios - They are different. Artists' statements tend to talk about how and why they create their work. Bios have events, honors, exhibitions, concerts, collaborations, grants. They both work for different materials. And they are different than the newsy story above.
D. Reviews of CDs, books, plays or performances - quotes from a variety of clients, newspaper stories, reviews of performances or CDs.
E. Email notices to mailing lists - Well-formatted email notice of the upcoming event, with links already in place to sound clips, reviews and performer's website or to our page on the event. Reflect need for brevity and clarity in email.
F. Tech specs - Make sure to let people know what lights and sound will be necessary, and then make it clear that you are flexible if you are flexible. Print-outs of standard stage plots would be great. Even simple ones just eliminate long discussions between booking group, performance group and tech staff.
Check to make sure that color versions of things will print as well in b/w. Sometimes they don't, and you end up with some awful stuff. Better to have two versions, a color version and a simpler version for b/w reproduction. Personally, I think TIFFs and PDFs are best, unless people are very careful to use very high quality JPGs. Don't send anything in a format that requires a particular version of a particular software package. People do not have the same fonts on their systems; lock the fonts in as graphics.
A. Postcards and Handbills - people sometimes either send out or just sit postcards around for people to pick up. Do 2x2 on 8.5x11; design a back just in case people will use it.
B. Posters in 11x17 and flyers in either 8.5x11 or 8.5x14. I prefer 8.5x14, but I think maybe other people prefer 11".
C. Tickets, if you are doing lots of concerts.
D. Newspaper ads in a couple of standard proportions. I don't know if you are rating newspaper ads yet or not - we did one for you - but having them available helps make that decision easier.
There are tons of really cheap ways to promote things - stickers in bar restrooms, business cards laying around on counter tops, whatever. Provide the format and the Avery number for the paper if something really works.
A. Sound clips, like those at CDbaby. If performers provide mp3/ra clips hosted at their site, then I can link to them easily and directly. Gives visitors a direct way to see/listen. It is also fine to link to files at other sites, as long as the site doesn't require elaborate registration prior to listening.
These make email going out easier.
"Have a listen here: http://ArtRUs.com/media/intriguing song title.mp3"
And I mean that "intriguing_song_title.mp3" part. Name your media files something sensible, like "artist name - song title.mp3" rather than something like DFa5_rf2.mp3.
(NOTE to everyone: Never include multimedia files as attachments to email. They are just too huge to move through email easily. Link to them from your email message but post them on a website. Use an FTP program to maintain multimedia libraries.)
B. Photos - suitable for newspaper stories, newsletter stories, etc. Very
sharp and high contrast. Check carefully for distracting backgrounds, the "tiny
face" photo, the "buried in junk" photo, poor composition, Newspaper adds 20% black. Copiers smear on muddy grays.
D. Radio spots - again, radio stations will run spots for nonprofit fundraisers, but won't usually get around to doing the production.
E. Promo copies of your CDs/videos to get to DJs, possible sponsors, whatever.
A. Easy way to link to your website. Most people know how to link to your homepage, but sometimes sites provide little graphics and the text for it. And the suggestion in your promo help to actually do it.
B. Sponsorships - if you have any sponsorships, let people know about them ahead of time.
C. Email list - Don't give the list itself out to anyone, but let people know that you have one and that you use it. Say, "I have 75 people on my Black Hills mailing list, and I'll be mailing them on _____ to let them know I am going to be playing at ______________."
D. List of any additional things you could do to make sponsorships and partnerships easier. Classes, demonstrations, lectures, whatever. If we could bring you in for a week, you might end up with $2500.