How Do I Create A Press Pack?

SSo your kick-ass single is recorded, artwork is done and photographs are good to go. You’ve thrown them all in a jiffy bag and about to send it out to anyone and everyone… Just hold on a minute!

The press get hundreds of releases on their desk and in their inboxes every day. Many of them will be sent through PR companies or pluggers that are well respected. This can leave your press pack lying at the bottom of a very a large pile. Here’s what you need to make sure your press pack stands out from the rest and makes an impression.

What To Include

There are no hard and fast rules about how you present your press pack. In fact, the more creative you can be, the better!

More than anything, your press pack must represent you as a band. Everything you include in it must be consistent. I.e. everything in it must have a similar style and be relevant to you and your music. Highlight your unique selling point on every part of your press pack.

There are a few basics that you need to include:

Image credit: civico_13 on Flickr

The Music

Take note of the preferred format of music submissions. Most of the press will have a section on their website explaining the best way to send your music to them. Most of the time its best to go with an email. An email can go direct to the right person and has a much greater chance of being listened to.

  • Don’t attach an MP3 to your email

It’s really annoying. Most of the press don’t want an MP3 attached on the email. It clogs up people’s inbox memory. Upload your tunes to a file uploader and send them a link to download. Better yet, get a Soundcloud account, embed your Soundcloud player in the email and enable downloads from it. That way the press can listen to it instantly and, if they like it, get an immediate download to give away on their blog.

  • The CD

If you are going to go stone age and send in a CD, make sure it has a printed label with your band’s name, website address and contact details on the CD (don’t scrawl on it with a pen!) and stick it in a plastic wallet, again with a sticker with your name, website and contact details. There’s no need to go overboard with packaging, just make sure it’s easy to get to and the listener knows who you are.

  • Photo and Artwork

This needs to be consistent with your music. I’ve talked before about making sure your image compliments your music in this DM article. The listener needs to get an idea about who you are and will be flicking through your photos and artwork as they listen to your music. They need to work together to show you off.

Do make sure you send through a high resolution photo. If a website or magazine don’t have a decent quality photo of you, they won’t feature you.

Biography

A brief description of the sound of the band and your background. This doesn’t mean your life story. Unless it’s particularly interesting or relevant, the press don’t care where you were born, where you went to school and who your best mate was. They definitely don’t care about the experimental, prog-metal-fusion band your guitarist was in when he was 14! Keep it short and concise.

Most of the time, the press will copy and paste parts of your biography. You need to help them write the article and make it really easy for them. Just give them all best and juiciest bits that they can paste into their article.

  • Influences

It can be really useful to include one or two of your influences so that whoever is reading the press release can get a contextual idea of where the band has come from and, again, it helps to write the article for them. Slip them into your biography to help describe your sound.

  • Press Quotes

The press hate to get left behind. If you can prove that people are already talking about you, then they’re more likely to jump on the bandwagon. Also, like the ‘influences’ it helps describe you and put your music in context.

Image credit: typicalgenius on Flickr

Novelty Items and Extras

Some little extras can really help your press pack stand out and help define you as a band even further. It will make the reviewer’s day if you’ve included some sort of novelty item in your press pack. If it’s an online press pack you could include a promo video, some live footage or anything fun and creative from the internet (there’s a lot of it about!) If it’s a physical package you can really go crazy. Hardcore band Gay For Johnny Depp sent out a bunch of sex toys and sex paraphernalia with their press releases. Probably not advisable but you get the idea! Be creative!

Contact Deatils

Your name, website, Myspace address, phone number, email, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube channel. Put them everywhere! On the CD, in the email, at the end of your email, on every piece of paper you send out. Don’t get missed out because the person about to give you a 5 star review couldn’t find your contact details. Make it easy for them to find out more about you. Very obvious links and directions is the best way to do this.

Last Couple of Things

  • Get it to the right place!

The first thing you should do is target the right person. It’s easier than ever now to find someone’s email address and send them a personal mail. Take the time to do some research. Sending a blanket mail to A&R at Universal is going to get you nowhere. Make sure that whoever you’re sending your press pack to actually cares about what you’ve got to say!

  • Make it Personal

It’s usually pretty obvious when you’ve sent a stock letter so make sure you give a personal touch. Mention that you read their blog, mention an artist you discovered after reading it and explain why you think your music is a good fit on their site. It pays to take the time to find the right people, the right blogs and target them directly with a personal email.

If you do this right you’ll strike up a relationship with the writer as well which makes promotion in the future even easier.

  • Most importantly…

Please, please, please check your grammar and spelling. Get everyone you can to read through it and check it. Does it read well? Are there obvious errors? Bad grammar and spelling are a sure-fire way of getting your release thrown away.

So that’s about it. If you follow some of the advice here you should be able to put together an effective press pack, start making some important contacts and start getting featured on blogs, music editorials and in printed press. Exciting stuff!

Comments

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  • I love the first suggestion of using soundcloud or providing a link to the mp3 rather than attaching it to the email. Not only is it better for the person you’re sending it to, it’s a whole lot easier on the musician’s end as well. You can also provide them with a higher quality version of the song as opposed to the compressed, lower-quality mp3 you create so that it will fit as an attachment to an email. Great article.

  • Thanks for the feedback Shannon, totally agree on your points.