[ IT’S A LONG WAY TO THE TOP
IF YOU WANNA ROCK N ROLL ]

Your Press Kit is your entire band’s history in a nutshell. All the sweat and blood that went into your shows, your songs and your band promotion is right there in an envelope. Your whole band’s life in a flash. How do you put all of that in a simple little folder? How can you make these few scraps of paper and a CD convince a venue to book your gig? First impressions are very important. You literally have but a few seconds to catch someone’s attention or its all in vain. A sloppy Press Kit may be an express route to the trash bin. Mojo Foxx is devoted to making your band better in every respect. If you are a true rocker, you are serious about your music. Often so much attention is placed on the music that promotion get’s left in the dust. Let’s get professional here. If you are serious about playing your music, you should be serious about playing at the best venues possible in front of the greatest number of people. So, let’s look at some ideas for putting together a kick-ass press kit that demands attention and gets you those great gigs.

SET YOUR BUDGET

Before jumping into kit creation, you must first decide on a budget. If you are going for that professional image to get noticed, you will probably spend $300 upwards depending on photography costs and how much you have to hire out. It is not unusual for bands to spend over $1000 for a quality Press Kit. Some bands will have a photographer, graphic designer or other useful member in the band. Just remember that DIY work still needs to be professional looking. If you do not use a print shop to print your pages, at the very least use heavy copy paper and print them on a high-quality printer. Nice paper stock is available at Office Depot and is not very expensive. Remember, you will make your money back by getting bigger, better-paying gigs…so don’t be a scrooge here!

PARTS OF A BASIC PRESS KIT

Let’s list the major parts of a Press Kit then we will discuss the constituent parts individually.

  1. Cover Page
  2. Bio Page
  3. Band Photos
  4. Contact Page
  5. Song List
  6. Gig List
  7. Equipment List (for some venues)
  8. Demo CD
  9. Clipping & Reviews
  10. Business Card

1. Press Kit Cover
The cover of your press kit should be eye-catching. It is the absolute first impression, so if you are on a tight budget, funnel a big percentage of your money here. A photo on the cover would be awesome but a catchy logo, at the very least (or perhaps both). Add a tagline that reflects your bands image/music. Lastly, place your contact information in a bottom corner. Do not make it too large. You do not want to take away from the eye candy of your awesome graphics & photo!

2. Band Bio
This is your band’s introduction and it should be professionally written. If you do not have a good writer within the band, then get someone else to construct this page — even if you have to hire someone. You do not want to skimp here. Write a brief history of the band including your genre/style of music, number of bands members, geographic areas that you perform in and mention a couple of your best previous venues (you will provide a detailed list on another page). Next, state whether you have a sound man and/or light man available. Be sure to mention if there is something special about your band or act. An example would be the “Molly Ringwalds,” an 80’s tribute band that dresses up the part. Lastly, talk about your fan base. If you are an originals band, you have to convince the owner that you can get customers through the door.

3. Band Photos
It is very important to have a professional publicity photo. A photo printed on your inkjet from an iPhone snapshot will not suffice. If it’s within your budget, you should hire a professional photographer to take your promo shots. Remember that your photo may be used by the venue in promotions online or in a newspaper. At any rate, you will need 8×10 photos. Some bands submit them in both B&W and color. Newspapers prefer glossy B&W, while others may prefer color. If you are submitting music on a flash drive, include digital copies of your photos as well.

4. Contact Page for Booking Information
If you do not have a manager, you will have to appoint a band contact. Make sure your contact is a good communicator and has access to the listed phone number and email. Construct a nice looking contact page with your band logo at the top. List your website, email address and phone number. These also need to be placed in smaller format on all of your other Press Kit content. If you are popular, it will be beneficial to show your top social media sites, but keep it simple. It is overkill to list too many. Lastly, list your band members.

5. Song List
If you are a cover band, some venues will be interested to know the songs on your playlist. Be sure your list is honest and honed. You never know when you might get a request from the venue owner.

6. Gig list
Place your best gigs on a one page fact sheet. List the venue and city. It you have some impressive gigs you may want to include additional info such as festival appearances, openings for name acts, sales figures and more. If you have some notable future events on the books, it doesn’t hurt to list them as well. It’s important to show you are a working band, not just a hobby band.

7. Equipment List
Some venues have their own PA, mics and lighting while others may require you to furnish your own gear. It is a good idea to list the equipment that you have available to bring to a gig. Be sure to include brand names and wattage. For instance, you have two Crown 1000W amps and a pair of JBL JBX125 15″ cabinets with JBX118 subwoofers.

8. Demo CD
It all comes down to the music. A venue will want to give a listen to your music to determine whether or not you will attract (or repel) customers. Make a professionally looking CD with your best three songs on it. Do not merely throw in a CD written on with a sharpie! Be sure to include your contact information on the CD (ask me why I know to do this). Some large venues may prefer your songs in MP3 format on a flash drive. Make sure they are quality rips. You are not conserving space on your iPod, so rip them in full bit rate (320 CBR). Personally, flash drives are so cheap I would go with lossless copies of your tunes,  .wav or .flac.

9. Clippings & Reviews
Back in the day we use to include copies of newspaper clippings. A copy of a great clipping was always impressive. These days a fact sheet comprised of quotes and review snippets will suffice. Be sure to reference your quotes. If you are a new band, you may have to get a statement about your previous gig(s) from a venue owner. Personally, I would still throw in a copy of that great newspaper clipping!

10. Business Card
Yes, these are still important. Business cards are small, easy to file and contain your most important info — your contact. Business cards are cheap, especially online so you are without excuse. Plus, you should always have some on hand wherever you go and wherever you play. Who knows what venue owner or record company exec may be in your crowd. You would not believe how many big name acts were signed this way.

Now place your kick-ass Press Kit in a sturdy envelope. Make sure the envelope is large enough that you can easily slide your Press Kit in and out. Be Sure to put a contact label on it. If possible, choose an envelope that stands out from others that may be on the owners desk. Lastly, be sure to follow-up but give them a few days. You want to appear professional, but never desperate.Kick-Ass Band Press Kit

POSTSCRIPT

A) Logo
Your logo is very important. It is the symbol of your band…a visual representation of everything that is your band. Such a potentially powerful image should never be taken lightly. If you think a quicky font on a cheesy background constitutes a logo, you have much to learn. If you have a graphics savvy member, you are fortunate. Some bands will have to hit up their buddy in the college graphics design program or hire it out to a professional. Sometimes a logo can make or break a deal. A cheesy logo makes you look like posers. A professional logo will get attention. Do not underestimate the power of the logo! See our full article on Choosing A Band Logo.

B) Honesty
The last thing I leave you with is the need to be honest. Dishonesty will always come around and bite you in the ass…hard. Do not tarnish your reputation by being deceitful. Take the high road, from the very beginning, and set your band apart.

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John Cripps
Originally Written 07.12.12