What is a Press Kit?
A press kit is a set of documents that is targeted directly at the media.
If you want journalists, editors and broadcasters to take an interest in you,
they will want some newsworthy nuggets of information backed up with clear and
simple facts about yourself.
Yes they might find some information if they take the trouble to trawl through
your website or locate your leaflets. But journalists work to tight deadlines
and most of them haven't got time to search for a story in the blizzard of
publicity material that lands on their desks and desktops.
The press kit makes life easy for them. It gives them a story and it gives them
Give a journalist a decent press kit and s/he will love you forever!
Why do I need one?
Because you need the media on your side.
Nothing hacks off a journalist more than websites and leaflets full of prosaic
description of the essence of your musical inspiration when all they really want
to know is who you are and why your next CD release is worth writing about.
Your website and promotional material may appeal to your existing fan base -
people who already know you and love you.
But fans are fickle. All it takes is
for them to get married, have kids or die, and they'll stop coming to your
concerts. You always need new fans and people won't dig your music unless they
hear it or read about it.
A decent press kit makes that much more likely to happen. It will not only
encourage journalists to write about you, but also broadcasters and DJs to play
your music, tour organisers to take you on and venues to book you. Press the
right buttons for these people and the fans will surely follow!
What do journalists look for in information about you and your band?
Basically two things - a good story and clear background information. The press
kit should provide both.
'We have released a new album' is usually a pretty boring news story - unless
'We have released the greatest album since the invention of music' might
strike you as a good story but a journalist will see it for what it is -
hype - and will probably put it in the hype file, otherwise known as the shredder.
'We have released a new album, in which we play a fusion of Celtic, country
and calypso, backed by a male voice choir from Bulgaria' might be of more
interest to a news editor. The music may be awful of course, but there is a
potential here for a good newsy story.
As for the background information, journalists need facts, plain and simple.
A rundown of the band's line-up, an easy-to-read biography and discography
(with highlights of your career clearly indicated), a sentence or two summing
up your music and style, information on where and when you're appearing - these
are all grist to the mill. Journalists also love interesting 'factoids', e.g.
your record got to number 1 in Nepal, your drummer played triangle in the same
school orchestra as Noel Gallagher, etc.
What will I get from a PCWillow Online Press Kit?
Our online press kit (OPK) provides a good story and great background. The story
is presented as a media-friendly press release, offering a strong news angle with
clear explanation and including a quote or two from you. If you sign up for
'maintenance', we will produce a new press release every four to six weeks.
The background is more detailed information about you and usually includes:
an 'elevator pitch'; i.e. a short, engaging description that 'sells' you to
the reader in the time it takes to ride an elevator
(that's American for using the lift!)
basic details of your band's line-up
a potted biography
tour information (regularly updated)
a discography (also updated)
quotes from reviews (if you have any good ones!)
The kit also includes high-resolution photographs suitable for the press and,
if you pay a little extra, some MP3 clips to give the media an indication of
what you actually sound like.
What are the benefits of a press kit that's online?
Apart from the obvious advantages of distribution and saving rain-forests, your
OPK is downloadable and updatable! At the click of a
mouse button, media people can access, copy and paste information,
download high-resolution photos and even listen to your music.
And if the kit is well-maintained, they can be assured that your information
is up-to-date, that your gig list is accurate and that there haven't been any
line-up changes since this information was published.
What's the difference between an OPK and a web site?
Websites are essentially promotional devices. Glossy websites often try to
reproduce an experience that encapsulates the style and essence of your band's
music and approach to life. They may contain clever flash effects and
interactive devices. The more self-indulgent ones may include lengthy tour
diaries, which will interest die-hard fans but will bore the pants off most
Websites often try to do several jobs in one go, giving you lots of links to
archives, past tours, album reviews, galleries of photographs (mostly of little
use to magazines and newspapers) and links to MySpace pages, blogs, favourite
websites and pages of trivia, outlining band members' star signs and favourite
fast food chains. There's a simple rule of websites - the more complicated they
are, the more journalists hate them.
But include one prominent link - 'Click here for our Press Kit' - and
journalists will breathe a sigh of relief.
What is 'maintenance' and why is it worth paying for?
Maintenance means updating. This is something that we'll do with your press kit
every four to six weeks to ensure that the information is always topical and
relevant to the media. We'll regularly check your website and/or MySpace page
for updated tour information but we'll also call you or email you to check that
everything on the OPK is accurate and up-to-date.
One item included in the press kit is at least one downloadable press release,
offering a story about you with a strong news angle. Even if there's little
change to your information after six weeks, we'll discuss story ideas with you
and come up with a news item that will help to keep your media profile high.
Can I maintain my own OPK?
No - leave it to the professionals!
When you sign up for a PCWillow press kit, you are not only paying for
web space and a neat layout, you are also benefiting from our skills and media
The OPK is designed by Chele Willow, who has built up a strong reputation as a
web designer, photographer and all-round 'visualiser' since she moved to the UK.
The copy is written by Pete Willow, a very experienced music columnist and
features writer with expertise as a lecturer and practitioner in music PR.
We believe that it's in our interest - and yours - that the media associate
PCWillow press kits with 'newsworthiness', topicality, accuracy in writing
style and professionalism. Producing images and writing copy that appeals to
journalists is what we do and what you pay for. We will consult with you
regularly and respond to your own ideas and suggestions on what goes into the
kit. Then we will present that information in a style and format that increases
your chances of media coverage.
And if you don't like what we produce, tell us and we'll change it.
Why is the OPK designed the way it is?
A PCWillow press kit is based on a simple and accessible design. All the
information that a journalist needs is easily accessible from a bar of links at
the top of the page. The text is presented in a font style and size that can be
read and understood quickly. The font is always black against a light background
to make it easier for journalists to copy and paste extracts into their own
publishing programmes. We don't produce pdf press releases because you can't
copy and paste text from pdf files.
Click onto 'photos' and you'll find a small selection of thumbnails, usually two
colour and two black and white. Click onto each of these and you'll download a
high-resolution version that will meet the quality standards for any newspaper
Why doesn't the press kits include lots of photos?
Editors look for quality rather than quantity. They don't have time to wade
through a big gallery of thumbnail images wondering which will look best when
downloaded. They can go to your website for that. A PCWillow press kit offers a
basic choice of two or three images that will always look good on the printed
page - your 'official' media images if you like. Of course, these can always be
changed and updated as part of the regular maintenance of the kit.
Can I use my own photos?
Of course, although we will advise on their quality and composition and whether
the media are likely to use them. Remember, if you sign up for a portfolio of
Chele Willow photographs and use some of these in your press kit, you will get
a substantial discount.
Should I include mp3s?
This is an optional extra. It's always useful for media people to get an
indication of what you sound like and we can certainly provide a package of
30-second audio clips if you want them. Longer clips are not normally necessary
to give a good impression of your sound. Of course, if you want journalists to
review your latest CD, we will arrange to post them a copy of the CD itself.
If I sign up for a basic package, can I upgrade later?
Of course you can! You can add MP3s and a regular maintenance service at any
time and we will also offer you a great discount if you later decide to go for
a Chele Willow photo portfolio or a MySpace page designed and maintained by us.
Can I link the OPK to my own website and MySpace page?
Certainly. We will include links to any other websites in the "contact
information" section of the press kit.
Can I add video clips?
Not yet but we may introduce this option soon. Watch this space!
I've noticed other online or electronic press kits on the market.
Why should I go for PCWillow?
Most electronic press kits provide web space and a format but you are expected
to write your own copy and do your own maintenance. Sign up with PCWillow and
you will get regular consultation on your media profile and we will write and
update the copy according to what you tell us.
Don't forget that if you also sign up for the photograph portfolio and/or the
MySpace page service, you can earn a significant discount.
A PCWillow online press kit is much more than a set of electronic documents. It
is a complete support package for your media relations, based on service that
is both professional and personalised.