On-Line Presskits: A Primer for Artists
If you're an artist, having an on-line presskit as part of your website can be a great thing. In a growing number of cases these days, instead of sending a bulky and expensive packet with pages of text, a copy of your latest CD and a couple of 8 x 10s, you can send club owners to your website. There they can browse your press notices, listen to some songs and see your mug - all without cluttering their desks (or their wastebaskets).
But club owners tend to be a hands-on kind of people who like cluttered desks and dumpsters. I've found that the online presskit is most useful after you've gotten the booking, when you're working with the club's publicist (or the owner wearing his publicist hat - funny how the personality shifts...). In this case, having a sample press release can help the venue to promote the gig. You can also upload a high resolution photo for use by newspapers and magazines - or by a poster designer. Here's a list of things your press page should have:
1. a short bio - stick to the facts, avoid hype unless it's a nice phrase, it's in quotation marks and the source makes the reader lift their eyebrow in admiring surprise. If the Coltsville Examiner says you're the next Joni Mitchell, think about skipping it.
2. Press Quotes. This is a better place for hype. It's a delicate balance between how good the quote is and how important the source is. If the New York Times says you're "pretty good" and the Coltsville Examiner says you're the next Joni Mitchell, which should you put first? When weighing, go for credibility and an accurate description of what you do before hyperbole. It's also a good idea to include at least one full review. Watch out for dates - make sure your main quotes aren't 10 years old.
3. Performance History: where you've played and with whom. Keep it to the important clubs and artists.
4. Discography: a list of CDs with release dates can be helpful, especially if you have a recent album. List any compilation CDs or covers by other artists if they'll be recognized.
5. Press Release:A good release for a concert is 1 - 1.5 pages. It starts with the phrase "For Immediate Release" and ends with ###. Use 1.5 or double spacing if you can. The first paragraph is short: who what when where and sometimes why (a notable detail about the event). The second paragraph can describe your music. A third can give a brief bio. If you don't know what a press release is or what one looks like, go to your local paper and ask to see some.
> cont'd: Sounds and Photos - page 2