Every working band knows the secret to securing gigs and keeping busy. If you want to work, play more shows, and become a popular band, you have to learn how to promote yourselves.
One of the best promotional tools bands can use is a well-crafted press kit. This isn’t something you should just throw together quickly; it should be well thought out and professional looking.
A biography is an essential part to any successful press kit. You may find this hard to do if you have never done it before, but give a shot anyway. If you are really stumped, hire a writer to put it together for you. Try to keep it short, but informative, and fit it on one typed page if possible.
Your band’s press kit biography should be about your band, and should exclude any personal references. A bar owner will want to see where you have played, what songs you play, when you formed, and what kind of shows you do, but probably doesn’t care that your favorite dish is cashew chicken.
Keep the information in the biography limited to band essentials. You will want to briefly touch on who is in the band, what genre of music you cover, and some of your band’s biggest shows. Put yourself in the shoes of the band owner by asking yourself what you would want to see in a band biography if you were looking through press kits.
A band photo in a press kit is always a great touch. You don’t want to use just any photograph though, you want something that clearly shows the members of your band and looks professional. If you don’t know a professional photographer, ask around and hire one.
Students studying photography often will do this for you for free or low cost if you allow them to use the shots for their portfolio. If there is a college in your area with that offers photography classes, call and ask if any students would be willing to assist you.
When putting together your band’s press kit, don’t forget to include a detailed set list that includes most or all of the songs your band performs. If they are cover songs, include the name of the band that has produced those songs. If you have an alternate set list, include that as well.
A bar owner will want to know exactly what type of songs and what genre of music your band plays. They can then decide if you will be a good fit and will go over well their usual crowd.
Media and Press
If you have any press or media clippings about your band, you’ll want to include these in your band’s press kit. When you receive any clippings, make clear photocopies and include them in your press kit. If you are just starting out and don’t have any of these, don’t worry. Just include them later down the road when they appear.
Music samples are a great addition to any press kit, but aren’t essential. You may find you get more gigs if you have them, however, so look into recording some songs live or booking some studio time.
When you put together a press kit sample, you want to have two or three of your best songs on a CD. Some bands put the entire songs on the CD, while others will simply include thirty-second clips of a few songs. Which one you want to do is up to you. As long as the songs are clear and sound good, it’s really a matter of personal preference.
Your band’s press kit won’t do you any good if the bar owner can’t get a hold of you. It is essential that you include at least two different phone numbers and two email addresses so you can be contacted. List the numbers that are most likely to be answered at any given time, and choose frequently checked email addresses.
To finish up your band’s new press kit, make sure it has a professional and sleek looking package. Make sure everything is typed, contains no errors, and buy binders. Assemble with care. A trip through an office supply store should supply you with everything you need for a professional looking press kit.
Now that you have your press kit constructed and ready to go, don’t forget to get it out there. Hand it out at bars or venues nearby, and if you don’t hear anything, don’t forget to follow up with a phone call.
Many times it takes a bar owner a few days to check out what you have to offer, so don’t be discouraged if they phone doesn’t ring off the hook immediately. If you have a great product and a slick looking press kit, the gigs will come.