Do you need really a press kit?
It was 6pm on a Tuesday night. My phone lit up: “Local artist needed for product demonstration tomorrow, compensation provided”. Luckily for me, I was ready. I responded with my press kit in less than one minute. Boom. Done. 24 hours and 3 songs later at a bougie private event in Hollywood, I was compensated with over 4k worth of custom in ear monitors for myself and my team.
Those were the most lucrative 12 minutes of my career, and it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been prepared. This my friends, is why you need a press kit.
I know what you might be thinking. You’re visualizing a bloated, glossy paper package containing pages of performance reviews, a CD in a jewel case, and a self indulgent bio. Gross. That’s totally not what I’m talking about here! While there are a few exceptions, the modern day press kit or EPK is a concise, focused, and balanced resource that highlights all of your best and most notable achievements in a straightforward, organized, and attractive manner. That being said,
Making a press kit is probably one of the most dreaded and loathsome tasks an artist can have on their to do list.
Seriously though. It’s the worst. I spent years avoiding my press kit because I misunderstood the true purpose of it. If you’ve been thinking of a press kit as merely a tool for cold calls and pitching yourself, then you’ve been missing the point too. A press kit’s main purpose is not to convince random people that you’re awesome, but to provide essential and valuable information about you as an artist to people who are already wanting to know more.
3 great reasons to work on your press kit NOW
1 – You’ll be ready to respond quickly and professionally to any opportunity that presents itself. A press kit is your resume. Would you (in any other kind of profession) be out on the job market without one? No, of course not! If you’ve had a hard time seeing yourself as a “professional”, you’ve probably underestimated the power of being prepared like one. Most musicians/artists struggle with this. That’s why a well put together press kit can instantly set you above a good portion of your competition. Although you might dream of an opportunity like the one I mentioned above, are you ready for it right now? Take charge of those dreams! This business is saturated and fickle. Give yourself every advantage possible for the best chance of success.
Most people will wait until they NEED a press kit to work on one. Then and ONLY then, will they discover that it’s much more time consuming and difficult than they anticipated. And that’s because:
2 – You’ll be forced to define who you are as an artist. Let’s be real. Most artists have no idea what their message is, let alone how to express it with words. It takes a lot of work to boil down who you are into a few sentences, it may even feel impossible at first. You might discover that you don’t even know how to define basic attributes about yourself, like the genre you belong to, or three adjectives that sum up your songwriting style. Knowing these things about yourself will help you in many ways, most notably branding and marketing.
Taking an honest look at what you currently have to offer will motivate you to work on the parts of your career you might be neglecting.
3 – You’ll set more focused goals. When you sit down to compile all of your accomplishments, highlights, reviews, etc., you might notice weaknesses in your career as an artist that you never saw before. You’ll catch yourself saying things like “I wish I had better reviews on iTunes”, “I wish I had more creative portraits,” or “I wish I could say I’ve opened for a higher profile artist,” and you know what? That’s awesome! Because setting tangible goals to strive for as an artist is the first step towards achieving those goals.
I had spent years avoiding my press kit for many reasons, and I regret taking so long to tackle it. Writing autobiographically can feel weird and icky, and most people don’t like to brag about themselves, especially on paper. But, facing your fears is a huge part of reaching success in any area of life. Be bold, be fierce, and take the plunge to grow! Invest in yourself and your career as an artist by taking the time to craft a press kit, and I promise you, it will pay off in more ways than one.
The internet is full of resources and templates to help set you on your way. Check out this great article on bandzoogle.com on how to get started on your EPK.
What has prevented you from making a press kit? What has been the hardest part of defining yourself as an artist? Let me know by leaving a question or comment below.