With Carol Micallef
Carol Micallef, drummer of Melbourne all-girl garage outfit The Reprobettes, is more than familiar with the tenacious methodology behind effective publicity. She gives us an insight into the cardinal do’s and don’ts of self-promotion.
Physical press kits for print media and radio
Physical Press kits should include: a band bio, a press release, your music and a high quality promo photo. Keep your bio simple; try reading other band briefs to give you an idea of content and style. Get straight to the point in the bio by describing your music style with a brief history outline. Refrain from going into detail on every band member and remember who your audience is; it is most likely they have never heard your music before and your bio is going to tell them right off the bat what they can expect before listening. Referencing other bands here as influencers can be beneficial in warming up your audience to a particular sound.
A press release will explain to your selected audience why they are receiving it – i.e. are you releasing a single, an EP or a debut album? This needs to be clear, so that a music blogger or radio announcer has all the necessary context when announcing or reviewing. Keep the presser simple but provide all of the fundamental facts: Band name, what is being released, title of the release, release date, record label if applicable and again a description of the sound of the release.
Electronic press kits for websites, blogs and other online media
Electronic Press Kits should include the same content as your physical press kit, however it needs to be digitally accessible. Create a folder on your desktop with a title referring to your electronic press kit and inside it, create another folder where you can upload your mp3’s and then zip it. Create another folder within the original and add a PDF version of your bio, press release, band photo/s and album/EP/single artwork. Finally, zip the original folder. This folder can then be uploaded to a site such as Dropbox and a link can be provided to your chosen media contacts who can then access the downloadable file.
Always be polite and professional when contacting online media. The subject line of the email is key; don’t leave it blank. Describe your sound as briefly as you can, addressing who (e.g. name of blog) and why you are writing the email (e.g. your particular release). Avoid using capital letters; people don’t like to be shouted at.
Keep the body of the email brief and to the point. Do some research and find the name of the person you are directing the email to. Introduce yourself and say why it is you are contacting them – are you requesting a review, an interview or both? Be clear about what you are asking for and always thank them for their time. Do not include attachments to your email. This is a big no-no and will most likely get your email sent to the trash pile immediately; nobody likes to have their inbox clogged up. This is what your EPK is for: a link included in the body of email text that directs your contact to a dropbox folder. Send attachments only if they have been requested.
Don’t expect an immediate response to your email; your contacts are swamped with press releases hourly. Following up is essential after a week or two. In the follow up, ask politely if they have received your email and electronic press kit. Have they had time to listen to it? What do they think?