Creating an Effective Promo Kit
- and what to do with it !! -
copyright 1996 by Monte Nordstrom
from issue # 29 - Cosmic Debris Musicians Magazine - May '96
Once an artist has written & recorded material that they want
to promote to someone in the "Biz", they need to dress it up &
present in an attractive manner. This column will deal with what
your "PR Kit" should include and I'll also provide you with some
addresses that may be helpful depending on what stage you're
Before you send anything, make sure that your prospective
contact will accept your package. Get the appropriate person's
name (& correct spelling thereof) and confirm the address. If you
want your material returned you will need to include a SASE.
That is a self-addressed, stamped envelope (right size, correct postage).
If it's U.S. or overseas, you're out of luck because return Canadian
postage won't work. Consider it a loss leader or investment (keep your receipts).
Don't count on getting anything back and never send original copies,
masters or anything that you ever want to see again!
If your finished CD includes Bio information, it may be sufficient to send
it accompanied by only a cover letter. Sometimes more
information is called for and so a larger package is required. I
prefer to assemble the components of my promo kits in a 3-ring
binder. You can find binders that have a clear pouch on the cover
& they can look hip with a blow-up laser copy of your album's
artwork on the front. Pick up a package of clear plastic insert
pages from a stationary outlet & put it all together. It saves time
& money to do ten or more kits at a time. Collate your material &
packages all at once. You can also get sturdy plastic pouches to
feature your tape or CD upfront in the binder and be sure to
include a brief personal cover letter to your contact. A kit of this
nature is durable, easy to flip through and can be quite attractive.
If you buy your components and get your copies made in bulk,
your assembled kits will cost around $10 each, so you'll want to
be selective of who you send them to.
First of course you must include a well produced recording of
your act. This can be a CD or cassette. Not everyone has access
to DAT, so standard cassettes are best. Include your strongest
material and don't expect that more than 3 songs will be listened
to. If you are sending a CD, make sure that you specify which
songs you want to be heard. Put your name & address
somewhere on every part & page of your kit in case things get
You will also want to include professional quality 8x10 photos.
If you want quantity reproductions of your pix call "Rocket Repro"
@ 682-6000 in Vancouver or contact Galbraith Reproductions Ltd,
201 Dufferin St. Toronto, Ont. M6K 1Y9. If you are in a hurry for
a deadline, Laser copies are good & readily accessable. Another
method is to have a PMT made locally and make photocopies.
This is an acceptable alternative and is much cheaper if you're
doing B&W. Make sure that your pictures suggest what your act
is about. They can portray your style or project your image if done
well. Your name and/or logo should be prominent. Contact info
can be included with stick-on labels. Things do change.
Your "Bio" should be concise, descriptive and must avoid
excessive hyperbole. Your major accomplishments, awards and
distinguished associations can be mentioned here, as well as
your current ambition regarding your project. If you have a new
band include your individual bios as they relate to the project at
hand. Try to be focused and direct. This ain't a history lesson. It's
a business. You can be trippy or cool, but don't come off flaky or
you be a fool. If your recording is representative of your act (and
it should be), there'll be no need to describe your performance or
musicianship. Let it speak for itself.
Your press kit, if you have compiled one, can include pictures,
articles & reviews of your gigs or product. If your act is new or you
haven't gotten any print coverage, contact your local
entertainment reporters and ask them to cover your upcoming
performance. Start building your scrapbook. A helpful book
regarding this endeavor is "The Zen of Hype" by Raleigh Pinskey
from Citadel Press.
You can order this book and many other excellent resource
books from "Music Books Plus" @ 23 Hannover Dr. #7, St.
Catherines, Ont. L2W 1A3. Ask for their new catalogue. Also
recommended is "Music Directory Canada". Call 1-800-265-8481
for price & order. The American version, the "Songwriter's Market"
is available from Writer's Digest Books, 1507 Dana Ave.
Cincinatti, Ohio 45207. Both of these publications feature
up-dated contact info for publishers, record companies, managers
and agents. They offer many more helpful tips regarding universal
proliferation of your incredible talent. Incidentally, the current
Writer's Digest magazine features a special issue, "Writer's
Yearbook '96", that may be of interest to some of you.
A resource book regarding North American radio stations and
their format info is called the "M Street Radio Directory" and may
be obtained by calling 1(703) 684-3622. This can be very useful
if you are doing your own radio mail-outs. A word of caution,
commercial or corporate radio is not generally receptive to
independant product. Some FM stations do have weekly
programmes that feature indie albums but you are more likely to
get play from college or co-op stations. Always contact the
station's programming director before sending your CD. Good
Note: Monte Nordstrom has produced over 75 demos and has recorded 8 albums to
date (Nov '99). He performs regularly at numerous venues on Canada's West Coast.
Email Monte at:
Back To Articles List
Back To Homepage