The Promo Pack. What should it contain and why?
Or, also commonly referred to as the ‘press pack’ or ‘press kit’.
So, what’s the difference between the band biog and a promo kit?
Well… sometimes you need to convey a little more than you can fit on one page. It depends on who you’re sending the info to, and why.
The standard ‘one sheet’ is great as an introduction to your band, but in some cases you just need to send more than that.
So… what goes in a promo pack?
A promo pack isn’t an excuse to send a package that has the weight of a short novel. If you want them to read it all… you’ve still got to be as brief as possible. In fact… if you want them to get past the first page, it’s important you grab their attention right from the start.
Page 1 – Impact Sheet
I personally refer to the first page as the ‘Impact Sheet’. This is where you can throw in a liberal sprinkling of truthful hype. I emphasize truthful because, a promoter, journalist, A&R guy, etc… will have come across hype in all it’s forms and be very adept at spotting the utter rubbish from the legitimate claims to fame.
This is the first thing they look at when they open your pack. It needs to be big, bold and brief… able to read and digest it within 30 seconds.
Try making the impact sheet consist of large bold type, and hit them with no more than 5 or 6 impressive statements.
These could be notable achievements like:
Selling out a large well known venue (especially if you manage to do so with some regularity, or if you’re doing so regularly at venues outside of your local area).
Any radio airplay. Detail how many stations have played your music, especially if you’ve had airplay on any well known or national stations.
Selling a reasonably large volume number of downloads or CD’s. (By large, I mean 2,000+, not a couple of hundred, AND… within a reasonably short time frame… not over the course of 5 years or so. If you’ve shifted 5,000+, even better. The higher the sales numbers and shorter the time frame, all the better.
Support slots with ‘name’ acts. Especially if you’ve managed to bag a tour support with an established artist.
Quotes. Pick one or two of the best quotes you’ve had, whether from a review of your recorded music or a live review. Note: The more well known contributor of the quote, the more impressive it is. Having Fred who does the sound at your local live music hotspot saying “They’re brilliant!” isn’t as impressive as having the regional reviewer for the NME or The Fly saying the same thing.
Page 2 – The Band Photo(s).
Another page that should be very quick to take in by the reader. You can use more than one image on the page, including the band logo should you happen to have a very cool bit of artwork for that. But, don’t overdo it and make the page too busy. If you’re going to use multiple images, try and limit it to 4. Perhaps 1 or 2 of the classic posed band pictures, 1 or 2 ‘live’ shots, that great logo if you have one and if you’ve only used 3 images so far, maybe a candid shot from backstage, rehearsals or on the road, etc.
Final tip… stagger the images down the page, starting top left, next one slightly overlapping the bottom right corner of the first, next overlapping bottom left corner of the second, etc. Apparently, we’re all more receptive to following curving path with our eyes, rather than a uniform stack of pictures.
Page 3 – The Band Biog
We’ve already given you the outline on creating a great biog. This is where to put it.
As you’ve (hopefully) go them from the first page to this point in less than a minute… they’ll be quite happy to read the page of text you’ve now put in front of them. After all… they’ve seen you’re ‘doing it’ from your impact sheet, and they now know that you look the part from your photos. If they’re reading the biog, it’s because you’ve got their attention, and they want to know more.
Page 4 – Press Clippings
If you’ve had any written reviews, online or in print… put the best bits here. (Don’t put the entire review… at the end of each quoted text, put a link to the full review if it was online, or quote the magazine/newspaper title, date and name of the reviewer.)
This last page is a take it or leave it deal. It’s not essential, so don’t worry if you don’t have anything to fill a 4th page. You might have worn the reader out by now, anyway. But… if not… it will give them something to read while they listen to your music.
If you are sending this promo pack to someone via email… DO NOT attach mp3?s to the email!
Even though it seems like we all have broadband now, and a track can be downloaded in seconds… it’s just bad form to attach large files to an email unless the recipient has specifically asked you to do so.
Instead, include links to sources online where they can listen to and/or download your music.
If you have video, whether of a live performance or a purpose made video for a specific track, you’d do well to include links to that, too.
If you’re sending a physical package, still include links for mp3?s and any video, but obviously include a CD with your package. If you do have video… put it on a separate DVD. Don’t try and be clever by creating a multi format disc unless you’re an expert at this and can be 99% sure it will work across just about any system they try and play it on.
When sending a CD and/or DVD… put as much thought into how they’re packaged as you have with the rest of this promo pack. So, spend some time on some cool cover artwork and the label on the disc.
Don’t put your disc in a ‘slimline’ case, either. Use a regular ‘maxi’ CD case. Firstly, because most CD racks in radio stations etc, are designed for those cases and not the slimline cases. Secondly, the spine of the slimline cases can obviously be harder to read than the spine of a maxi case.
Every chance you get, you want to make it ‘easy’ for your recipient to store and find your CD/DVD whenever they want to.
Oh and… Invest in some nice paper to print your promo pack on. Don’t go for the cheapest copy paper you can find, which is usually almost see-through. Try and find some paper that is 90 to 95 gsm.
One last word on what goes into your promo pack…
Put your contact info and any website addresses, on EVERYTHING.
Make it a footnote on EVERY page. Put it on your CD cover, AND on the CD, too.
Last but not least… all of this stuff has to go into something for sending to your intended target…
Depending on whom you’re sending it to, you have to remember they probably receive dozens of promo packs every day. If you’re sending it to a record label or a big radio station… you package could be competing with hundreds.
I’ve seen promo packs delivered in everything from a pizza box… with hot pizza included… to being wrapped in newspaper, cleverly being pages that had printed reviews of the artist in question.
I even know of at least one band, determined to make sure the A&R guy would be the one to open their package… they marked it Private & Confidential, along with the return address on the back, of… a private medical centre.
I’m not sure I would recommend going as far as that last example, but… almost anything you can do to make your package stand out from the crowd, is a good thing.
Ultimately, you will end up using this promo pack for all sorts of things… sending your music to a radio station, a label, a gig promoter, etc, etc.
Including the CD/DVD, paper, printing, packaging and postage, sending a few hundred of these… the costs will add up, but in many cases, the promo pack will be your first impression, and they play a vital role, especially in the earlier stages of a band’s career.
So… spend some time on it, and make it count.