One of the biggest mistakes I have seen in today’s groups and artists is the underestimation of the importance of a professional advertising kit. Your promotional kit, also known as a press kit or media kit, is probably one of the most important elements in an artist’s initial presentation at venues, promoters and, most importantly, recording companies.

The first impression is so important in the music business. Some artists just don’t understand it! With the large influx of CDs and packages that record companies receive every day … with the best understanding of the inside of the trash can at the reception desk.

It is vital that your package stands out from the crowd and distinguishes you from the rest as a true professional whose package is worth reviewing and whose CD is also worth listening to.

When preparing your press-kit you need to find all possible elements that will distinguish you from the mass. There’s no way you’re going to discard a bunch of poor-quality copies, unprofessional photos and poorly written copies and biographies, or anything in a fragile folder.

The press-kit represents representation and continuation of you. If it’s a sloppy pile of papers, it’s exactly how you have fun. On the other hand, if it is a well-organized presentation, you act as a professional.

Some of the elements that need to be taken into account when compiling a set include things like theme, concept and layout. You should come up with a concept and theme for a set that is memorable and basically links each page in some form of continuity. The theme may be based on the artist or group name.

For example, if the name of the group is “Orange Freedom”, the color scheme may be orange, or paper, or text, or icons may be oranges. I know that this particular example may seem a little infantile, but I think you understand the main idea. Remember that you want the name of the group to be memorable.

Just to give you another example, we recently performed one of our shows called “Uncle Plum” in New York in front of 4 major record companies. On the day of the demonstration, one of our trainees travelled around the city in a taxi and delivered reminders to every A&R and recording manager invited to the demonstration.

Along with a well-written reminder invitation to the showcase, it quickly brought plums to each manager. It may sound silly … but it works.

Part of your concept should also be a professionally designed logo. The logo is very important and should be easy to remember and contain elements of your overall concept.

Using professional packaging for your media kit is also vital. The binder should be strong and undamaged. For continuity, it wouldn’t hurt to use a binding of the same colour as the group logo. Although these types of briefcases can be expensive … sometimes a few dollars each, it is definitely a well spent money.

A professional photo is definitely needed in your set, maybe even a few photos. If you are a group, you will need an 8 * x 10 * black and white glossy photo of the group, as well as individual photos of each member of the group included in the biography section, which we will discuss later. High quality professional photography is a must. If you have friends or relatives, the picture will not change either.

A photo is an area where you cannot afford to save a few dollars. You should take a closer look at a professional photographer to do this. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. If you have a budget, hiring a professional music industry that can fix your image is not a bad idea either. Although I understand that for most bands it can be too expensive.

The recording section should contain two elements; your or a group member’s biography; they should be short and accurate. Don’t go crazy with a long, detailed biography. Labels and others just don’t have time to read, so they’ll just miss it. There you may lose by giving the recipient information that may be of benefit to you.

Include things like your influence and other industry experience. They really don’t care much about your children’s photography or what you did when you were six years old, unless, of course, you were a sensation at the time. Your fact sheet; it should contain any favorable press or reviews that you have received, such as tours, radio shows, reviews, good sales figures in independent issues, etc.

Now about the most important element of your kit… your music. Include a professionally recorded demo of your best 3 songs. No more than three formats should be on CD only. Design the disc in a professional jewelry case that includes your theme, contact information and logo. It is important that your CD presentation is as professional as possible.

It’s nice to have a separate CD pocket in your pocket so that it doesn’t stand a chance of falling out or getting lost. This is the best way to do it. Or, as we have sometimes done with some of our kits, use Velcro to keep a jewelry case in the back of your briefcase.