One of the biggest mistakes I've seen made by bands and artists today is to under-estimate the importance of a professional promotional kit. Your promo kit, also known as a press kit or media kit is probably one of the single most important elements in an artist's initial presentation to venues, promoters and most importantly record companies. First-impression is so important in the music business. Some artists just don't get it! With the major influx of CDs and packages that record companies receive on a daily basis... with most realizing the inside of the trash can at the receptionist's desk, its vital that your package stands out from the crowd and distinguishes you from the rest as a true professional who's package is worth reviewing and CD worth listening too.
In preparing your press kit you need to find every element possible that will distinguish you from the masses. Throwing together a bunch of poor quality copies, unprofessional photos and poorly written copy and bio all stuffed in a flimsy folder just isn't going to cut it. The press kit is a representation and extension of you. If it's a sloppy heap of papers, that's exactly how you come off. On the other hand, if it's a well-organized presentation, you come off as a pro.
Some of the elements that need to be taken into consideration when putting your kit together are things such as theme, concept, and layout. You should come up with a concept and theme for the kit, one that is memorable and basically ties every page together in some form of continuity. A theme could be based on the artists or bands name. For example, if the band's name is "Orange Freedom" The color scheme could have orange in it, either the paper or text or icons could be oranges. I'm aware this particular example may seem a bit infantile but I think you get the basic idea. Remember you want the band name to be memorable. Just to give you another example, recently we were showcasing one of our acts named "Uncle Plum" in New York City in front of 4 major record labels. The day of the showcase, we had one of our interns travel via cab around the city and deliver a reminder to each A&R and record executive invited to the showcase. Along with the cleverly written reminder invitation to the showcase, she promptly dropped off a basket of plums to each record executive. May sound silly... but it works.
Part of your concept should also be a professionally designed logo. A logo is very important and must be something easily remembered and contain the elements of your overall concept.
Utilization of professional packaging for your media kit is also vitally important. The binder must be strong, and not easily damageable. It wouldn't hurt to use a binder the same color as the band's logo once again for continuity. Although these types of portfolios can be expensive... sometimes a few bucks each, it's definitely money well spent.
A professional photo is definitely a necessity in your kit, maybe even a few photos. If you're a band, you will need the 8* x 10* B&W glossy of the band and also individual photos of each band member included in the bio section which we'll discuss later. A high-quality professional photo is a must. Having friends or relatives take a snap -hot won't cut it either. The photo is an area where you can't afford to try a save a few bucks. You need to shop around for a professional photographer to do this. I can't emphasize the importance of this enough. If you have the budget, hiring a professional music industry stylish to touch up your image may not be a bad idea either. Although I realize for most bands this may be cost-prohibitive.
The write-up section should contain two elements; your bio or the band member's bio; these should be short and to the point. Don't go nuts with a long detailed biography. Labels and others just don't have time to read it so they'll just skip it. There you will possibly lose out on providing information to the kit recipient which may be advantageous to you. Include things like your influences and other experience in the industry. They really don't care much about your baby picture or what you did when you were six years old unless, of course, you were a child sensation at the time. Your fact sheet; This should contain any favorable press or write-ups you've received such as tours, radio airplay, reviews, good sales figures on an independent release, etc. You can also include GOOD COPIES of any articles, interviews or reviews from newspapers or trade magazines. Every page of your press kit should include you or your manager's contact information and your website URL. Be truthful and keep it all as short and sweet as possible.
Now for the most important element of your kit... Your Music. Include a professionally recorded demo of your absolute best 3 songs. No more than three. The format should be on CD only. Encase your disk in a professionally labeled jewel case which includes your theme, contact information, and logo. It's important for your CD presentation to be as professional as possible. It's nice to have a separate pocket in your portfolio to house the CD so there is no chance for it to fall out or get lost. It's better contained that way. Or as we've done on occasion with some of our kits, use Velcro to hold the jewel case on the rear inside portion of the portfolio.
Now in summary, here are the elements to include:
* Create a theme and concept
* Design a professional logo
* Use professional packaging
* 8" x 10" Black & White glossy promo photo
* Individual band member photos if applicable
* Artist or band bio
* Fact Sheet... favorable write-ups and quotes
* Additional press... reviews, interviews, articles
* 3 Song CD Demo
Your press kit is your representation of you when you are not there. Don't take it lightly. Check it thoroughly for errors and content and be diligent. If your kit is special it will stand out and labels, venues, and the music media will take notice. GOOG LUCK!