You may have heard the expression, “the right tool for the job.” It works for home repair, car maintenance and promoting your act. One of the greatest expenditures you may make to market your act is creating an effective promotional package—including your CD or video. This is your marketing tool. It needs to be appropriate to the audience you are attempting to reach. It needs to be right for the job at hand. If you are booking club dates, you must be mindful of who is on the receiving end, opening it, reading it and making the booking decisions. Perhaps you are doing a radio promotion campaign. Again, be aware of the recipient and their needs. It is a waste of your financial resources to send more than what is necessary, and you do yourself a disservice to send a packet that doesn’t represent your act effectively.
So, who needs what? There are a number of situations to which you will regularly be sending your material. Let’s examine each one and either reduce or expand the materials you are currently sending to help make a greater impact on the receiver.
Most of the booking personnel I’ve known over the years are busy people working in cramped offices with numerous other staff crowded behind desks stuffed into the room. There is barely enough room for the file cabinets, let alone the hundreds of promotional packets that arrive each week. This reality demands that you make your statement quickly and succinctly. These people don’t have time to read through a lot of paper or an unorganized electronic press kit (EPK). If you can’t make your case on the first page or your opening email, it is likely that they won’t make it to the second, third or fourth pages where you’ve hidden all the “good stuff.” The music has got to work double time and the first cut they play or first mp3 sample, must drive them to listen further. If you primarily play clubs, your marketing begins before you even record your CD and create your promotional materials. Armed with the knowledge that you are soliciting the attention of people with very little time and short attention spans by necessity, your materials must hit their mark in an instant. Now you can plan the promotional pieces accordingly.The One-Sheet
This is a great tool for this audience. Club bookers don’t need a pocket folder full of paper that they will probably toss since the pocket folder doesn’t fit in a regular sized file cabinet. A well-designed 8 1/2 x 11 page one-sheet is the most effective method of getting your point across to the club booker. On the front, include a short bio, a photo or the CD cover, a quote from a great review and the act’s contact or booking information. The back of the one-sheet might have some additional quotes from reviews or even other club bookers; a discography, (list of your other recordings) if any; a list of some of your recent choice gigs; a list of radio stations that are currently playing the CD. If you add some information about the current CD such as song titles and times, recording information and backup musicians, the same one-sheet can be used to pitch the CD to radio as well. When doing a radio promotions campaign, you only need to send a cover letter, the CD, the One-Sheet.
Once you get the gig, the club will need photos and if you have them, some pre-written press releases. The One-Sheet is also great because it provides a concise biographical paragraph or two for the club’s publicist to readily use without searching for the information or spending the time writing something new. The photos and press release can be sent along with your contract. If you have ready-made flyers or posters in printed form you can send those at the same time or send a PDF for the club to download and print what they need. Many clubs will prefer the EPK version of your promotional materials so they can easily access all they need quickly. Sonicbids.com can work with you to create your electronic press kit.
Theaters and Performing Arts Centers
Although the booking personnel at these venues are no less busy, the stakes are a bit higher and the requirements a bit more demanding. These folks often need to fit their bookings into a programming season and are looking for a slightly classier package incorporating more information. Although many of these bookers are getting more accustomed to electronic press kits, using artist’s websites for research and viewing DVDs, they are still using printing press packages to make booking decisions. Slick or coated stock paper raises the bar and offers an attractive first impression. Pocket folders are acceptable here but don’t overstuff them with frivolous paper. It costs you more to create and send and again, they won’t have the time to sift through extraneous matter to find the important and persuasive information. Your bio should be concise and no longer than one page. Keep your type point size 10, 11 or 12 points. Edit if you think that a reduced point size will allow you fit more on the page. Additional information such as lists of previous gigs, discography, awards, radio and television interviews, and shows can be incorporated into one general information sheet. Include a condensed quote sheet that takes the best comments from reviews you’ve received and put them on one page. This allows the publicist quick access to information they can use for their season brochure, flyers and other publicity tools they will create using your material. All individual sheets should have your contact or booking information. Your photo should also have contact information. Promoters often only need a few posters; it doesn’t make sense to send more than they’ll actually use so ask before sending. Here again, you can send a PDF, and they can print what they need.
Theaters usually have a publicist on staff or working for the venue. They may request multiple copies of your CD, your photo, and your pre-written press release. If you are on a label, work out a deal with the label for a below wholesale price for promotional copies to promote gigs. You can often work with the label’s publicist to have promotional copies sent directly to local radio and print media when promoting tour dates. Either have the venue publicist contact the label or supply the label with upcoming tour date information, yourself.
Newspapers, magazines, newsletters are all trying to cram lot’s of information into finite amounts of space. Here again, you want to get the biggest bang for your buck. If you are going for a listing, simply send a short press release and your photo. When you send a great photo, you may be lucky enough to get a caption beneath the picture giving the details of the gig. You may be attempting to entice an editor to do a feature. That takes phone call finessing and a fuller press packet. Mostly you need to have a good story that the papers’ target audience will find interesting. If it is a daily paper, the audience is a very diverse general population. Your cover letter and press release need to extol the uniqueness of your act, your upcoming event or the release of the new CD. Include your CD when looking for a review or if the CD will enhance your chance of landing the feature or the interview. If you are simply promoting the gig, the press release, and photo are probably enough.
Each media outlet has requirements for submission of materials and often there are multiple editors who are responsible for various sections of the paper, magazine or newsletter. Call first to get an understanding of the hierarchy or get a copy of the magazine or paper before submitting your material. It is always better to send material directly to the appropriate editor.
As I mentioned earlier, the CD and a one-sheet are the perfect promotional tools for radio. If you are creating a one-sheet specifically for radio, you might consider getting quotes from other radio music directors or DJ’s who have positive comments about your CD that might entice other music directors to add the CD to their playlist. It is also very important that song titles and exact times are clearly printed both on the one-sheet and most importantly on the back of the CD cover. The one-sheet for radio should be more focused on the CD with recording information, backup players, perhaps ordering and distribution information, the CD cover rather than or in addition to the act’s photo and a short bio of the act. When promoting a new CD, coordinating all of the graphics for both the CD and the one-sheet add a distinct organized look and allude to your professionalism. Radio personnel need just enough information to share something about the act and the recording with the listening audience. If your graphic artist is particularly clever, they might design the one-sheet to fold neatly into the CD case so it will always remain with the CD.
Keep your information concise. Provide user-friendly materials to spoon-feed your targeted recipient your most influential information. Tell your story quickly so the receiver gets an at-a-glance overview of who you are without having to work at it. These are key factors when attempting to win the attention of bookers and media personnel. There’s a lot of competition out there. Make an impact with your materials that gets you the gig or the interview or the airplay. Good luck!
And, I invite you to learn more about this and other topics important to your career development and to sign up for free weekly audio Biz Booster Hot Tip! Every Monday you’ll get another valuable strategy and technique that you can put to use immediately. You’ll find helpful books, career development seminars, Booking & Touring Success Strategies & Secrets online course and information on booking tours, the music business and performing arts. It’s all waiting for you at http://www.performingbiz.com. Jeri Goldstein is the author of, How To Be Your Own Booking Agent The Musician’s & Performing Artist’s Guide To Successful Touring, 3rd Edition.
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