Stop The Press – Your Press Pack – part 2

Last time we started on how to write a press/media pack. Today we’ll carry on to complete the list below.

  • A Jacket
  • A bio (biography)
  • A fact sheet
  • Press clippings
  • Photograph(s)
  • A press release
  • A promotional letter
  • A CD?
  • Something special

Press Clippings

Of course you won’t have any of these to start with. Use press releases to help you to get them. Any time you have a gig, release a track, get a new member or do anything which could be made interesting to a local paper, submit a press release. If the story gets printed, make copies (you can usually get them electronically from the newspapers’ websites) to use here.

Once you have your press clippings arrange them artfully using software such as Photoshop or similar. If you have lots, make sure the most impressive ones are visible, while letting others get covered, so that readers can see they exist even if they can’t read them. If you only have a few don’t worry; however many you have you really only want the 3 or 4 best to be readable. People are not really that interested.

If possible, get the name of the publication visible. If not, add a credit yourself to each clip. Especially if it’s an impressive publication (music press or national press will impress more than local papers, but it’s all good. For gigs, the promoter/venue owner may be looking for a local following so you may want to adapt each one before you send it out to show local paper coverage.

If you have a full article, rather than just clippings, you may want to put it on a separate sheet of paper with the newspaper front page headline mast. If you’re lucky enough to have many (well done you), again limit yourself to 3 pages. Don’t overload people.

Photos

Don’t skimp. This matters. A picture paints a thousand words. Make them good ones. Find a photographer who specialises in the music business. Word of mouth is a good start, but if not try Google. Check out a few people’s portfolios before choosing. Speak to them. Can they explain things in a way you can understand?

Discuss ideas with them. Send them some links/a CD so they can get a feel for you. Arrange a time when everyone is available and a suitable location(s). Arrive early as you may be paying by the hour so lateness costs money.

Make your publicity shots striking. They need to stand out from the rest. Dress appropriately and look your best (or your worst if you’re going for scruffy 😉 ).

If you are doing outdoor shots beware of passers-by. Apart from ruining your shots, they may not take kindly to appearing in your photographs. You could even get sued after the event if you don’t get written clearance (Google “Model Release Forms” – you can get free example ones to edit). And be careful of any product labels which are visible. Alcohol and tobacco can especially be the kiss of death as many publications will refuse to use them.

Don’t make prints too dark or newspapers may not be able to reproduce them correctly.

Legally, the photographer owns the copyright in all photographs taken. Make sure that you have the right to use them before you book (get it in writing). Check what you can use them for as “publicity photos” can’t be used in adverts, CD covers, etc. They are licensed only for the stated use so make sure any uses you need are written in.

Alternatively, you could ask about buying the copyright but check that it’s worth the cost. A year from now you may want new photographs to display your new image and you’ve wasted money on photographs you may never use again.

It may also be useful to have live shots (especially for getting gigs) and individual member shots.

Press Release

See here 

Promotional Letters

This is a covering letter, in the format of a standard business letter (check Google). Keep it brief, friendly and to the point. If you are pitching something (and why would you be writing if you’re not?) tell them why this is of interest to them (it is of interest to them isn’t it?). They don’t care about what you want and need. They are there to entertain and/or inform readers/viewers/listeners. How will what you’re pitching interest or inform them?

A CD

For the electronic version of your press pack, include links to Sound Cloud/YouTube. Have separate MP3 files available for download if preferred.

If sending by post, check first. Many will be happy to use links as above so make sure they’re in the pack. Some however, will still want CDs (trust me, they’re out there). Have some available. Make them look as professional as possible and make sure they have contact details on disk, case and inlay; use padding to post them as cracked CDs impress no one.

Envelopes

On the subject of envelopes, avoid generic brown or white; make them stand out. Get some colourful ones with your details printed on or use a logo sticker.

Something Special

Oooh er missus. No, not like that. Here is your chance to make it memorable (stop it now). Send them a novelty item with your logo/band name, website and phone number on it.  A coaster, a bumper sticker a highlighter pen. Use your imagination and Google novelty items.

Ok. That’s it. Good luck in getting those news stories.

 

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