Guest blogger, Derick Mackinnon (co-writer of Scotland On Sunday’s ‘Artist of the Week’ feature), has written this guide on How To Create an Electronic Press Kit [EPK], and gives advice on how to gain press coverage.
Once a week, Derick receives an updated upcoming release schedule from EmuBands; if you distribute via EmuBands, he will be made aware of your release.
Before you start courting media attention, you need to have certain things in place that journalists will require if they are to feature you.
In very basic terms, these are the things you must have within an Electronic Press Kit [EPK]:
If you have them, links to Music Videos are also very useful. You should also include details of future gigs, and recordings you are going to release – but more on that a little later.
Your chances of gaining press coverage are improved significantly by being organised. If you can create a downloadable Electronic Press Kit [EPK], enabling you to send a single link to a journalist/radio producer/etc, giving them all the relevant information they need, then you are immediately ahead of other acts. By making it easier and more convenient for a journalist to feature you, naturally your chances of coverage increase considerably.
I currently co-write an Artist of the Week feature for a national newspaper, Scotland On Sunday. The article is published in the printed newspaper, and online at http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music.
Something that artists, record labels, experienced managers and PR companies seem to struggle with every week is a high resolution press photograph for us to use to accompany the article.
We often receive images taken from social networks, like Twitter and Facebook, that, if printed in a broadsheet A3-sized newspaper like Scotland On Sunday, would look blurred and pixelated. We need a high-resolution colour photograph that is 300dpi [dots per inch], and that is not a live shot.
Before contacting any media, make sure your EPK / one-sheet includes the contact details of someone in your band, your manager, or a friend who is helping you out, who will be quick to reply to interested media.
Here’s some more information on what you need to include within your EPK when contacting media:
BIOGRAPHY: A bio is simply a short story giving some background information on your band – it’s important to include information like where you’re from, your touring schedule/upcoming shows, and things which set you apart from the crowd; Have you supported famous bands? Do any prominent or established TV / radio / media outlets rate you already? Have you played any festivals? This is all important.
I’d keep it short and simple when you’re starting out. Here is a useful, and quite funny, link courtesy of BBC 6 Music’s Tom Robinson with tips on how to write a biography: http://freshonthenet.co.uk/biogs/
MUSIC: Generally, media personnel DO NOT want to download massive files from you on first contact (I certainly don’t), so I’d recommend you simply email a link to your music so they can stream your songs.
If/when they reply to you, that’s when you would send your EPK with a downloadable link to access your MP3s [do not attach music files, even MP3s, to emails]. It’s worth noting that through services like SoundCloud and BandCamp you can allow people to download your music too.
PHOTOS: See above! It’s important to understand that print media will not feature an artist or band without a high-resolution (300dpi) press photograph.
Online media outlets are more abundant and arguably as important as printed media when it comes to promoting your band, however, in a bid to save storage space and allow websites to load quicker, online outlets require smaller, lower resolution images than their printed counterparts.
Some online platforms I’d recommend researching for hosting images include my favourite, Flickr. You get a free account with an enormous amount of storage space, so you can create slide shows with all your high-res photos, and you can then email a link to the slide show. Of course there is also the social media site Instagram – both Flickr and Instagram and worth signing up for.
Here are some more tips on getting press coverage:
- Be personal. Contact journalists / radio presenters individually and use their name. Just about every blog, radio show, TV show and newspaper lists the name (and often email address / Twitter account) of their writers, so use it and I guarantee it’ll immediately get you off to a good start.
- Start a mailing list. I’d recommend either MailChimp or YourMailingListProvider. This is not only a very useful tool for getting press but I would say it’ll also help you build a fan-base, earn money and in many instances get more gigs. A good mailing list provider will allow you to see who opens your emails, as well as when they opened it, if they clicked on any links within the email, etc. This is useful, for example – if someone at a radio station or newspaper clicks on the download link for your EPK, it’s likely they’re interested enough to merit a personal / follow up email a few days later.
- Only contact press and media when you have activity worth talking about. A new single, EP, or album being released, or an exotic tour, festival dates etc – basically when you have something interesting the media can talk about, ideally all of the above.
- Plan your release timeline. When releasing music / running a press campaign, set your release date, then work back from that date on a calendar, allowing yourself a minimum of 6 weeks to generate press coverage. For example if your release is coming out in September 2016 then you should begin your press campaign in mid-July, at the latest. This gives you the best chance of maximising your press and radio coverage.
- Never attach large music files to emails. Media are actively looking for new music to write about, so try and do everything to make it as convenient as possible for them to choose you over the hundreds of other bands/artists contacting them.
- Go to gigs and support other bands from your town. The benefits will become obvious very quickly. When I see bands at gigs, not only do I ask about their band and actively look to write about them, but they also tend to get offered opportunities of all sorts, from support slots and tours to press and festivals.
- Similarly, network and attend music events where music industry people are speaking. In Scotland, the likes of Wide Days, Born To Be Wide, and XpoNorth are very helpful for networking. Meeting people in person is one of the most important things you can do, journalists, record labels, managers – everyone remembers meeting artists in person better than an e-mail.
If you’re interested in sending music to me for consideration – here’s a quick checklist for possible inclusion in Scotland On Sunday:
- A high-resolution colour press photograph (300dpi resolution, preferably in JPEG format)
- Details of a forthcoming record release – single, EP or Album.
- Details of future live dates – launch party, tour, festival slots, the more you have the better and the more interesting the better [maybe house gigs or exotic dates abroad]
- A biography with as much background information on your band as possible, e.g. where are you from, what age are the band, have you supported higher profile artists, toured, secured media attention in the past, or radio sessions etc.
- A link to stream the release [via SoundCloud or BandCamp], this should be your scheduled single from your forthcoming release, not a track that has already been out for a year or so.
- If you have it, a link to YouTube of your accompanying music video – this will potentially be embedded on scotsman.com with the online version of the feature.
**Basically, send an EPK / One-Sheet, which should contain all of the above information**
See an example here.
Blog Author: Derick Mackinnon | New Found Sound / Scotland On Sunday
POSTED: Friday 5th February 2016
Microphone And Musical Instruments: nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net