You may have heard the term ‘press pack’ or ‘press kit’ but what exactly do you need to include?
When you've got something that you want to get out there then you'll often be advised to send out a 'press pack'. Also known as a Press Kit, Media Kit or Electronic Press Kit (EPK) This is a selection of stuff that gives a writer a good idea of what you are about.
A press pack is simply a way of delivering the information a Journo needs to fill out a story about you. So imagine you have a press release going out or an EP launch or summat - the story may be the EP launch but the writer needs some info to provide background and depth.
There are a number of things you can include, some are absolute must haves and there are a few golden rules to think about.
First rule - who, what,why,where and how. The golden rule of journalism is to include these in a story so your first paragraph needs to have these facts front and centre. So things like where you are from may give the headline writer a hook if it's a local mag or if you are a particularly young (or old) band that can help.
Second - One or two images of the band (that you hold the rights to) that editors can use. Some publications have a rule that they don't include a story without an image. A word of warning. I once had a press kit sent to me with an image of a set of out of focus, underexposed drums with the back of someone's head at the bottom. There's no way that would have gone on the site in case someone thought I took the shot. Pictures are key to our online world so get a good one.
Third up - Linky link link. Include as many links to your online body of work as you can. Soundcloud, Facebook, youtube all that stuff. A word to the wise though, make sure it's free for the listener/viewer and that they don't have to sign up otherwise they won't. Oh and make sure it's good. Don't put up a link to that fuck up performance you did just because it's the only think you've got on youtube.
Tip number four - Get some press quotes in there. If the editor of a local blog finds a positive quote from the NME in your kit then she's much more likely to take notice. We love to be part of a crowd us writers.
Hawaii Five oh - Contact information. Yup you guessed it. This is a result of at least three bands sending me a press release through the post with no contact information. Furrowed brows featured before an impromptu game of waste bin basketball. Put your contact info in there, include a mobile number if you feel comfortable doing that but whatever happens the reviewer may need to get hold of you to check facts or arrange guest list for a show.
Sextus - A bit of bio. Not the liquid plant food but a little bit of background information about the members of the band and how you got together and stuff. Don't go over the top though, keep it short and relevant.
So when should you give these out?
Probably not randomly, but include a press kit of you are contacting a new person you've never interacted with before, if you have a competition coming up, if you have a single, EP or album release, if you have a special gig on the horizon, a festival appearance or if you have a press release going out. In general terms I wouldn't spam people with them though just because an EPK is cheap it doesn't mean you should send them to everyone including Good Housekeeping. It'll just fuck people off a bit.
Should it be hard copy or Electronic?
Well there's a question. Personally I like it hard. There's nothing quite like a cheeky little CD but of course if I'm writing up I'll need to have links and electronic versions of the photos anyway. Some places will only take submissions on E-form though.
Remember also that PKs can prove useful for other situations. Sending through your press kit to a bar owner who asks for proof that you are any good shows that you've got yourself organised and can't hurt. A festival booker might appreciate a bit of background so they can work out what tent you're going in.
There's nothing free in this life right?
If you have designed a press kit and want someone to look at it then send it to me and I'll give you some free constructive feedback. Promise.