Before we finish up the series this week, Id like to clarify the point of this column. I received an e-mail from a reader last week who wanted to emphasize that all a band really needs is a good recording to get where they want to go. I agree with this statement fully; however, if a band or performer does decide to go the extra mile and make a press kit, then it needs to be done properly.
I would even go so far as to say that in this day and age of emphasis on marketing, branding and image, sometimes a good recording is not all it takes. A CD can sit on a writer/booking agents shelf for months before they remember to listen to it. When they dig it out of their file drawer, they will have no recollection of who dropped it off, what the person was like when he introduced himself, or what kind of crowd the perspective band might pull in. Thats why the press kit can be essential, as it gives the reviewer an idea of what exactly theyre getting into.
That said, moving on. So youve dropped your press kit off to every location that might give you some good public relations or possible gigs. Youve made call backs, and have landed a few shows and maybe a review in the local paper or a mention on the radio. What now? Do it all over again.
After a year, your band has probably added new songs to the repertoire, maybe made a new CD, and probably has changed quite a bit as far as sound and style. Dont let the venues/promoters think that you havent changed when you have.
Make a bigger, glitzier press kit with the money youve gotten from the gigs. Take new photos, write new bios, and for Gods sake make a Web page if you havent already. Include updates for all your upcoming shows, not just the ones in the near future. Set up an e-mailing list for your fans to remind them where and when youre performing, and youll be well on your way to being the next best thing.
Its as simple as that: start small, grow big. It will help people like me out immensely when the band takes time to promote themselves in an organized and careful way. As a band booker for the Irish Rose, and music reviewer for TRRT, I receive press kits for both promotion and gig requests daily, and nothing helps me avoid letting your information slip through the cracks than a decent media package. I hope this was helpful, and remember to send all your press info to me at 128 N. Church St., Rockford, Ill., 61101. Address it to either Caroline Rohner or myself, and remember that if youre going to drop it off, come after lunch time on Thurs. or Fri.