Making an EPK: Class 101

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What is an Electronic Press Kit (EPK) and how do I make one?”. I get asked this a lot, and actually, one of our members asked us to specifically whip up a basic how-to for technophobes. So here we are.

An EPK is your online media/marketing portfolio, designed to provide simple access to all your essential information.

Most booking agents, venues, labels, media outlets, etc are crazy busy and get 500+ emails a day. The notion of “attaching” files, especially large size image or sound files has become redundant – now the preferences are for embedded links to an online collection of “assets”. This one link should include access to everything that anyone might need when examining your work: music & web/social media links, bio and/or media release (presser), a range of photos, reviews, any online retail and show information.

This guide will show you how to draft and implement an EPK into an easy-to-access one-link online location.

Lets get started.

Music Industry Inside Out members can access a course from Stephen Green outlining what is needed in a press kit.

First up, you’ll need to gather the following bits and pieces:

• Contact information including names & roles, emails, postal address
• A press release to promote your show/release/tour
• Multiple biographies at different word counts
• Professional photos
• Reviews of live shows or releases
• Touring/Show info
• Links to all of your online locations for music, retail and social media.

Let’s break that down into bite-sized chunks.

Contact Information:

It is hilarious how often bands leave their contact info off their documents/web listings. You’d think it would be obvious but I think they get so excited in getting all the media elements together that they forget the most important fine print stuff.

It is essential to include all relevant names and roles, emails, phone numbers, addresses (if applicable), and your website address across all media releases and any professional listing of your band anywhere.

Make this very easy to read, succinct and note who and where that email is going to:

yourbandsmanager@yourband.com – Savvy Sally, Band Manager,
yourbandsbookingagent@yourband.com – Jill Superstar, Booking Agent

Press Release:

The press release needs to include

• The name of the event/tour/release
• All relevant dates and times
• All relevant venues/addresses
• Well-written copy describing the event/tour/release/bands, including a brief bio of the bands playing.
• Contact info
• Embedded links to your various web locations, including your EPK offerings (more on that later).

Multiple word count bio’s:

You can be sure that different media outlets/venues/events will ask for different length bio’s for their articles/listings!

Set yourself up with a master folder called, for example “Your Band Bio’s – National Tour 2015” then add folders or rename word files to describe the length of each bio. Ie:

>Yourband-nationaltour-2015-30words.doc
>Yourband-nationaltour-2015-100words.doc
> Yourband-nationaltour-2015-350words.doc
> Yourband-nationaltour-2015-500words.doc

Your biography/s will probably (and should) change frequently. Keeping them up to date and well-written is a priority as some media outlets may just copy this directly for their promo. Probably a good idea to get a professional writer to put something together for you, or track down the bio’s of your fave artists to see what they’ve done without blatantly plagiarising. Try to be original and entertaining – do not use any clichéd statements or anything along the lines of ‘you’ve never heard this before – it defies genre’ etc. (*yawn)

Do not use lots of formatting (ie different sized fonts, bold, indents, etc), most outlets will have to fit your bio’s into their own formatting style so it’s generally a pointless exercise.

One-liner Bio: Describe yourself confidently in one sentence. Ie: bright, furious, explosive garage rock.

Short Bio: Build on the one-liner, pretend you’re trying to pitch your band to someone in an elevator (a 30-second what-is-it) and write that as a draft. A list of band members and their instruments is often a handy thing to include.

Long Bio: Imagine you are reading a one page article in your favourite music mag. Your long bio should be entertaining, interesting and informative. Include all the short bio info but elaborate on your history, achievements and activities. There is a good chance that if it’s well written, the media outlet will just run with what you submit.

Word docs VS PDF? Generally most media prefer Word docs as they are easier to copy and paste into an unformatted document. It is easy enough to provide both options, just by using the “save as” menu option in Word to convert your file into PDF format.

Ensure that every single bio includes a footer that includes your contact info and links to your website/social media.

Photos:

You’ll only need 2 or 3 photos for the EPK but these need to be professional. It’s worth spending a little bit of money for promotional shots as these are the first visual people will have when looking at your band. Think about the style you want to convey and consider your style/fashion and location choices carefully.

Members can have a quick look at Stephen Green’s suggestions for EPK Photos. 

Ask your photographer* to provide the following:

• Every image to have comprehensive meta-data including a photo title that includes band name and year of photo release, metadata for town and country, musical keywords, contact info, band members names and anything else that may be relevant.
• High-res versions of each image (for print: 300DPI and around 3200 pixels across longest edge)
• Low Res versions of each image (for web: 72DPI and around 800 pixels across the longest edge)
• Vertical and horizontal images (Print magazines can only use vertical images with lots of space around the edges for their covers, while horizontal images work better for their half-page image headers)
• Colour and B&W versions of each image

*Special note: All photographers benefit from having their work publically credited across web and print media, it is very important that you try to achieve that for them by acknowledging their work wherever you send your photos.

It is very important to supply images in exactly the format that has been requested by the media org/event/venue. All savvy band managers keep a photo folder that is broken down into sizes to make for easy access. If you can provide easy access to these different folders within the EPK structure that’ll make you very popular with editors across the globe.

Small images cannot be made large, and results in horribly pixilated/grainy photos in print and web formats. If the magazine asks you for a high res, 300DPI image at 2000 pixels wide and you send them a 72DPI image at 300 pixels wide the editor may well scrap the opportunity as it’s unusable for print. The same applies vice-versa for websites – trying to upload a 5GB file will just drain data and load ridiculously slowly. People in media and marketing are crazy busy, they don’t have the time to keep resizing images for lazy bands.

Resizing Image files: Hopefully you will already have versions of images in a wide variety of options as supplied by your photographer, but if you still need to resize an image, here are some tips:

Photoshop – Click on Image > Image size (in the main menu). This will bring up a window where you can select exactly how big you’d like the image, it even lets you change the DPI – although you can only reduce the DPI, not make it bigger. There is a limit to digital magic.

Mac Photo Preview – This is very similar to Photoshop. Go to tools > adjust size and you can change it to your specifications.
Alternatively, you can google ‘resize photos’ and there’s a tonne of online websites that can change the image size for you, including this one: http://www.wikihow.com/Resize-Digital-Photos

Reviews:

This isn’t a time to use that Facebook comment your mum put on your last photo. Only include professional/reputable quotes that have something positive to say about your band. Make sure you include where the quote originated. No more than 2 or 3 quotes/reviews should be needed.

Gig or Show Information:

YOU NEED TO KEEP THIS UP TO DATE ACROSS ALL YOUR SITES. Always be checking and updating this section with your latest appearances/where people can see you play. People want to see your gig/show information easily. While you’re managing this, make sure that your various web locations are maintained with fresh pics, news, etc.

Links to Professional Audio/Videos of Your Music:

It should come as no surprise that these need to sound professional. If your whole shtick is that you’re a lo-fi/noise/wave garage band whose recordings sound more crunchy than a packet of crisps in a steel factory that’s fine, but they need to sound exactly how it should. If someone from the media is interested enough to click on the link to your music/videos, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you have badly recorded/half-assed recordings or videos.

Options include

• Your own website
Soundcloud
Bandcamp
Itunes
YouTube
Unearthed
• Featured streaming on a media website

So, what to do now you’ve gathered all your bits and pieces?

You’ll need to do some investigating. There is a wide range of EPK/file sharing options these days. Some of the best include:

Your own website
You could create your own EPK pages on your own website, where you could also potentially store your stage plot and tech specs as well as stream your latest recordings or sell your albums. If you’re not very tech savvy then you will need to get someone to help you do that. (hint, Musiciio also builds websites!) Some examples: http://www.beatscartel.com/the-royal-artillery-epk.html)

DROPBOX
Create a master EPK folder and keep all your assets there. You can share files with anyone, even non-Dropbox users, by getting a link to any file or folder. Once you get the link, you can send it by email, Facebook, Twitter, instant message, social networks, wherever you want. You can share these links with anyone, even if they don’t have a Dropbox account. Many artists use DROPBOX to fileshare their MP3’s or WAV files.

GOOGLE DRIVE
Google Drive works in the same way as Dropbox, you just need to ensure you have that folder set as a public folder.

ONE SHEET 
You can read a good overview here, or watch this video explainer – the site includes a press kit widget and a range of other options and is a fantastic aggregate of everything you are working with channeled into one location.

REVERB NATION
ReverbNation EPK’s are highly customizable, giving you the ability to target venues, promoters and press. Setup your music, photos, videos, stats, press, shows, and bio with just a few clicks. It takes less than two minutes to configure and send. And they look great.

Some other basic 101 tips:

Embedding Links:

This will change drastically depending on where and how you’re creating your EPK. A lot of online creation sites have an inbuilt Link manager. For those, just highlight the words you want linked then click on the Link Icon (looks like 2 chains connecting), and then just input the web address you’d like.

If you’re on a website without those tools, you can input some easy HTML. Make sure you’re in HTML mode (sometimes a tab above the text area), and insert this html code obviously instating the desired web address in the URL section and whatever text you’d like to be hyperlinked in the ‘link text’ area.

File Sharing:
You’ve got heaps of different options here. As already mentioned, there’s Google Drive and Dropbox just to give two. They’re all very similar however and easy to use. Simply sign up and select ‘create shared folder’. Then it will give you an option to share it with certain emails or share it as a public link. Follow the prompts or look at the help section on your choice of file sharing site.

Do you have any questions or still not sure about making your EPK? Feel free to drop a comment in one of our many contact forms or email us at info@musicindustryinsideout.com.au. Or you can check out our premium content on Press Kits and Marketing and PR.

 

 

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