How to make a Successful Press Kit (EPK)?
The press kit (also called press book, press kit or EPK) is an essential communication tool for musicians and music groups.
It gathers all the necessary elements when contacting a media or music professional, in order to make the process credible and facilitate the process.
This allows everyone to get to know your musical project, your career and your universe better and to decide whether to accept your request, especially for the promotion of your albums or tours.
Obviously, just like writing the biography, creating the press kit is a job not to be missed, if you want to expand your network and seize more opportunities.
In this article, we will look at how to successfully create your EPK if you are a musician and what are the essential elements to include.
1. What’s the use of a press kit for a musical project?
In normal times, to put all the chances on your side, you want to give all the most relevant information to the decision-makers you contact.
Whatever your objective (dates, press, etc.), you should always try to make life easier for music professionals by filtering and grouping what they need, their time and patience being relatively limited.
This is the purpose of an effective, clear and refined press kit.
In addition to being able to help you approach the media and influencers, thanks to your press kit you will have a professional document to propose whenever someone in the industry wants to know more about you (booking, labels, publishing, collaborations, etc.).
It is therefore a must in your communication arsenal.
2. The essential elements of any EPK
What do you need for your press kit?
Both CV and portfolio, your press kit must go to the heart of the matter, while answering any questions your interlocutors may have.
1. Short biography
As we have seen previously, we will try to briefly describe the musical project as well as the current events, juggling at the same time the informative, the artistic and the intriguing.
If you find it difficult to step back and tell your story, ask someone else for help, because your bio says a lot about your project.
Don’t forget to clearly mention your music style and some musical project names that sound significantly like yours.
As for length, each professional has different needs, make sure to propose several formats according to the target of the file: a few lines, a paragraph, 3 paragraphs and 5 paragraphs.
To know more about it:
Then, we will add the visual of what you want to promote on the first page of the press kit (cover of your last album or live poster for example).
For the rest of the folder, you should have official (and downloadable) high quality photos, taken by a professional photographer, with horizontal and vertical options, or even black and white versions.
We will favour professional photos (at least 3) that are not from concerts, in order to highlight the aesthetics, the composition and therefore your universe.
If necessary, instead of making the document heavier, add links to upload your larger photos (high resolution) instead of including them directly.
Indeed, we will avoid that the document is more than 4/5 MB, but it will still interest journalists of the print media to have high resolution visuals (300 dpi rather than 72 dpi).
Your music is the most important element of your file and that’s why you should add it just below your bio.
Naturally, the professional will try to listen to at least one track you have selected.
Therefore, choose (only) your top three stocks.
If you have trouble identifying them, ask your fanbase for feedback or observe the statistics of your titles (sales, streaming, YouTube, etc.).
Be careful, don’t make the mistake of sharing all your discography and especially your oldest titles.
You should mainly share your latest music, the one that best represents where you stand today.
This will make your press kit much more relevant. Those who want to know more will have no trouble finding the rest of your catalogue.
Add links to your music, whether they are on Youtube, Soundcloud, downloadable or on streaming sites (for example with Linkfire or ToneDen Fanlinks)
If you want to share a track that has not yet been officially released, you can give a link to a track privately on Soundcloud.
Some media are much more likely to share your content if you have quality promotional content in video format to accompany your news.
Similarly, you will have a much better chance of getting concert or festival dates if you have a video that perfectly transcribes one of your lives.
Include some of your best videos in your press kit to better present your project.
If possible, vary the types of videos (interview, clip and live) so that there is something for everyone!
5. Recent press articles
As this is a press kit, you need to show that you are generating interest in the… press.
If possible, try to include articles or excerpts from publications related to your musical project that are related to the entity you are working with (musical style, demographics, region).
List the media that have mentioned you in the last 365 days (or more if necessary), the best quotes and add links to the full articles.
This is a very good way to show that your music project is already validated by other professionals, even if you start small and locally.
6. Notable facts
If you are on tour, nominated for an award, played at a renowned or open festival for an important musical project, you should mention it.
Anything that can earn points for your file is good to take and should be included.
7. Contact and links
Finally, add the contact information to join your music project (phone AND email).
Similarly, we will include links to your social networks and official website, so that the interested party can easily contact you or learn more about you.
Once you have all this, you are ready to gather this information in a dedicated document and formatted correctly.
In the digital age, to develop your press kit, you will need software that makes it easy to edit and organize content, such as Word, OpenOffice, Pages, PowerPoint or InDesign (for ambitious people).
The layout must be as careful as possible, but you are not obliged to use a graphic designer if your budget does not allow it.
Make sure that your visual identity is found and that the document is not too long (less than 8/10 pages).
Your EPK must save the journalist or pro time and must therefore be concise.
By the way, it should be noted that press kits are much more effective if they are targeted and up-to-date.
My recommendation is to use a basic template (updated regularly) and then different variants depending on the objectives you want to achieve.
If there is no specific objective, simply indicate at the top of your press kit the name of your music project and the period of distribution of the file.
In other cases, you can include your news to be promoted in the title of the file: tour, launch, etc.
But then, how do we disseminate this dossier?
Solution n°1: In PDF format
The most common and simple option, especially when you start, is to create a PDF document from the software you saw above.
Create a document with Word, for example, that is as neat as possible and in your image with all the information you want to share.
Once you have the PDF file, all you have to do is send it as an attachment, along with a brief introductory paragraph outlining the nature of your request.
However, it should be kept in mind that nowadays, a large number of music professionals HATES to receive unsolicited attachments and that emailing services are more likely to add a message with attachments in spam. So, use the PDF format carefully.
Solution n°2: On your official website
In addition to the PDF, by dedicating a page of your official website to your electronic press kit, you allow all professionals to access your promotion kit in a few clicks.
In addition to allowing them to access your photos, videos, titles, media passages, social networks at any time, you can easily keep it up to date, create variants, optimize your communication and analyze the results.
However, if you choose this option, then make sure that your website is optimized, so that it does not harm your image.
If you choose this solution, keep in mind that you should integrate as many elements as possible into the page (music, videos, concert dates, etc.) instead of adding links and therefore additional steps in the pro’s decision-making.
Solution n°3: Via dedicated platforms
Some services such as SonicBids or ReverbNation allow you to create and distribute your press kit online in a few clicks.
This is an interesting alternative to the second solution, especially if you don’t know where to start, even if it remains much less optimized (little customization, advertising, standard format, etc.)
Did you know that most press kits end up in the trash a few moments after they are discovered?
The reason is often that the press kit lacks information or is full of unnecessary details.
So the challenge for your communication will be to create a clear document that goes straight to the point, but that best represents the reality of your project.
By following these tips, you will have enough to make a good first impression on the readers of your press kit and set yourself apart from the competition
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