Every band needs good image management, but more to the point, a band needs to have a good relationship with the press! Here are some brief pointers, taken from the latest Unsigned Talent of the Month Column.
1. Is the document in PDF format? PDF is the standard of presentation technique. You can alternatively use a word processor, but nothing beats the authenticity of a PDF file. You can download a free PDF creator. It's basic, but don't underestimate its worth to your band. You wouldn't apply for a job at an important financial institution without a well-presented CV, and the truth is that record companies are owned by important people, with serious media skills.
2. Does your press release include your standard band logo? If not, it's important to feature it prominently, perhaps as a header on the front page. If you're scratching your head, pondering upon why your band doesn't even have a logo, then get designing, or ask your graphic designing friends to help you out. This is every bit as vital as your music.
3. Is the press release written in an accessible, lucid manner? If the grammar is subpar and the tone contrived, you have to consider whether anyone will want to get in touch with your band.
4. Does the basic press release include enough information about your band so as to facilitate an interview? You want to elicit questions from your reviewers and prospective record labels. If a band's biography is uninteresting or lacking in content, the chances are that an interviewer is not going to be too enthusiastic about giving you a second mention in a publication.
5. Are your band's live performances and ambitions well-documented? Has your band got festival experience? Which bands have you opened for? Reviewers and A&R guys want to know where and when they can see your band's next performance, and without the necessary information, you could miss out on opportunities to shine.
6. Do not forget to include details of who is in your band. It's never helpful to receive a press release about an unfamiliar band fronted by a faceless frontman. If your band members aren't listed, the chances are that you won't have contact information either. Do note down which member plays which instrument, and try to write a line or two about each band member; it helps in forging relationships with people you have never met.
7. Do include a career timeline, even if it is rather empty. It will help you to set goals for your band, to ensure the timeline doesn't become a thing of the past a timeline will also help journalists and record company executives (be ambitious!) to judge where your band is in its lifespan.
8. Make sure to note previous press features or interviews. This will help the interviewer to ask questions that aren't quite as mundane as the last interview your band got.
9. It is vital to include your band's webpage, and a place where your music can be heard. That is, after all, the most important aspect of being in a band. On that note, do include a contact number and email address. A skype username is also handy.
10. Finally, include some photos that can be freely used by the publications to which you have sent your photos! Photos remove the bad sense of mystery from your band, and give your names some much needed faces!
Samuel Agini (email@example.com)