As a musician, actor, or any other artist looking to book yourself for gigs, interviews, or appearances, you need to have an Electronic Press Kit (EPK). You have information about your art all over the web …videos on YouTube, photos on Facebook, quotes and reviews on your personal website… but a booking agent or reporter will not take the time to visit all of your various points of interest in order to get the full picture of who you are. So it’s up to you to present it to them in a simple, made-with-love package.
An Intro to EPKs
You want your EPK to be an immediate attention-grabber. This is your virtual handshake; this is your opportunity to put yourself in the best light and be as charming as you would be if you were in person, making eye contact. You may only get 1 shot to email your EPK to someone so make it count. Here are some things to consider adding to your EPK:
- BIO – A must for any Electronic Press Kit. The trick is to have it brag-worthy, but humble. Long enough to tell the full story, but short enough to keep your reader’s attention. Honest and straight from your mouth, but grammatically correct and intelligent in design. This should be your main focus, as it is your opportunity to paint a picture for the reader and really get your personality across.
- CONTACT INFORMATION – Make it as easy as possible for your reader to contact you after. If they have to go looking for an email address or a phone number, you may have already lost them. No need to play coy here; you contacted them because you want them to respond. Phone number(s), your email address, and your agent’s email address should all be included (as well as anything else you feel relevant).
- EXAMPLES OF YOUR WORK – If you’re a musician or band, have links to your songs on SoundCloud or ReverbNation for your reader to click on. Don’t send them to a full album, pick 2 or 3 specific songs that show your talent, diversity, and marketability. If you have professional music videos or other content, have a link to your favorites. Side note: If you’re building your Electronic Press Kit on your website, you should embed your files directly into your page so that your reader doesn’t have to navigate away. Read more below for this.
- PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS – In your EPK, we don’t want to see the photo Sally took on her iPhone at last week’s gig. We want to see high-quality shots from a professional photographer. If you don’t want to drop a couple of bills to hire someone to come out, find a friend with a nice camera who’d be willing to do it for a couple of drinks. Dress the part, put on a hell of a show, and let the camera do the work.
- REVIEWS – Include quick snippets of reviews, interviews, or quotes you’ve received. Be sure to provide sources so that they can be credible and continue to be quoted in print, if necessary. Not everyone has been reviewed by a critic but I bet you have some friends and fellow artists who’ve seen you perform. Ask them for 1-2 lines of what makes your act special, then write it down in your EPK with the appropriate sourcing.
- LINKS TO ONLINE SITES – Let your reader follow up on you, if they’re intrigued. Give them links for your profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, SoundCloud, and your personal website so they can double-check the facts before they commit. Side note: If you talk a big game in your Electronic Press Kit but then can’t back it up on your social media, then you better hope they don’t come checking.
- OTHER PERTINENT INFO – You are an interesting person. You’re not just made up of your music and some photos. So give more information that sells you. Do you volunteer for charities? Have you been the recipient of artist grants? Do you serve as faculty at any high-brow schools? Have an interesting background? Some of this material may be included in your bio but you’re also allowed to mention it later in your Electronic Press Kit. (As long as it still keeps your reader’s attention, of course)
Ways of Building your EPK
When you’re building your Electronic Press Kit, consider these 4 options:
- DIY (On Website) – Dedicating a page of your website (or your whole website) to being a one-stop-shop for your EPK is a very strong choice and a quick way to point anyone to your content at any time. Check out my friend Andy Wood’s EPK for a great reference of how his main website immediately gives you great photos, videos, song samples, merchandise, quotes, and links to his social media, all while oozing personality. If you’re going with this option make sure you pick the right domain name for your site or else no one will remember it. Recommendation: Build your site through WordPress. It’s super powerful, totally customizable, and you can access the controls from any device that can go on the internet.
- DIY (As PDF) – A simpler option, but one that involves sending a digital file to your reader either by email or a download on your site, this allows you to create a simple Word document that has all of the info you want and need to share. Once you have it built, you can send an email to anyone, attach this file, and include a quick paragraph as a cover letter. Recommendation: Make sure to save the file as a PDF (rather than a Word doc) because no one other than you can edit (and mess up) a PDF.
- USE AN ONLINE TEMPLATE – Certain sites like ReverbNation offer paid services to create your EPK with them. I have never used any of these services so I can neither recommend nor discourage your use but, I would imagine that, your options would be limited if you want to fully customize your product. Only pay for this if you’re truly too stretched for time or have no tech awareness.
- HIRE A PRO – Granted, you will (probably) get a superior product but professionals aren’t cheap, plus you still need to provide all the content to them, then they piece it all together. I’d turn to a tech-savvy friend to help you set up your website before I turn to a pro to write a custom EPK for you.
Ways of sharing your EPK
This is your calling card, your interactive resume, your digital version of yourself at your best. It will land you gigs, get you interviews, introduce you to new agents, and make good impressions on new fans. Make it sacred enough that you accompany it with thoughtful emails and good follow-up routines, but don’t hold it so close to you that you never show it anyone.
Updating your EPK
Update your Electronic Press Kit as though you would your resume or your website. It doesn’t have to be as common as your Facebook page (we’ll get to that in a minute) but, when you have new information, put it in there! This makes it even more practical to do this yourself, that way you don’t have to pay a 3rd party pro to make updates for you. You want control over this and, the best way to have that, is to build it from scratch so that you know it inside and out and can maintain it efficiently.
Integrating your EPK into your social media
Possibly the most important step with this is to not stop at your EPK. You wouldn’t write an autobiography then completely change your lifestyle. Likewise, your Electronic Press Kit needs to extend to your public profiles… post photos, reviews, videos, songs, and life updates regularly so that your professional life continues to permeate your online presence. Don’t wait for people to come see your EPK… bring it to them on a daily basis, on the social platforms that they love to be a part of.
Following these guidelines, you’re going to create an Electronic Press Kit that will make a lasting impression on your readers, set you above your competition, and ensure works for years to come.