Press kits have been an important element of a band’s promotion since the beginning of the modern music industry.
Originally, bands would hire publicists who would spend a lot of time (and a lot of postage) building physical press kits that they’d send to magazines, radio stations, TV networks, promoters, and more to showcase their artists.
These days technology has changed, and press kits have changed too. Instead of big packets getting mailed out with vinyl, tapes, and CDs, publicists and their bands have switched to EPKs—electronic press kits. EPKs are effortless to distribute (all you need is an email list), easier to edit on the fly, and save bands a boatload on postage and related costs.
But how do you create an EPK? With free tools like ConvertKit’s landing page builder, you can create a great EPK in less than an hour. In this article, we’ll show you how to make the best first impression with your EPK using my band Sundae Crush (based out of Seattle) as an example. After all, our EPK and talented publicist landed us some stellar press from impressive music journalists, including a feature on NPR’s All Songs Considered!
What is an EPK?
An EPK (Electronic Press Kit) is a digital collection of materials about your band and album that you send to journalists, radio stations, and more. It’s essentially your professional music resume and marketing portfolio all in one.
Why do I need an EPK?
Your EPK is how journalists get to know you and your music. It’s a consolidated place where they can find your recordings, photos, biography, lyrics, and more. While your music might speak for itself, journalists who write about music want more information that they can use to fill out reviews and other articles about you. It helps them to have everything they could ever need to do your music project justice in one place.
4 EPK examples to inspire your own
EPKs can take a lot of shapes and forms. Here are a few EPKs to get your creative juices flowing.
Indie folk singer Katy Kirby’s label Keeled Scales has a simple EPK for each artist on their roster. Kirby’s EPK features a Spotify playlist of her lovely debut album, links to recent press, a short biography, and contact links for her team. It’s a bare-bones example that provides the most important assets and enables those who want more information to request it.
Denton-based performer Claire Morales treats her website’s biography page as her EPK. It features her full-length biography as well as a link to high-resolution press photos and a fact sheet about herself and her band.
Based out of Japan, punk band Otoboke Beaver’s US publicity is handled by Riot Act Media. A stripped-down version of their EPK is available on the Riot Act Media website, and features a full-length bio, recent press, social and website links for the band, and a contact link for their publicist.
Another example of a stripped-down EPK living on their publicity company’s website is Charly Bliss. Represented by Grandstand Media, Charly Bliss’ public-facing EPK has a full-length bio and a host of high-resolution images—including album artwork—plus contact information for their publicist.
What should I include in my EPK?
Your EPK should include everything you want journalists, bloggers, and radio station managers to know about you and your music. Here are a few things to consider adding to your EPK.
Other than your music, your biography is the shining star of your EPK. This is where you set the tone and tell the world who you are, what drives you, and how your music came to be.
Your bio can include:
- Where you’re originally from
- Where you’re currently based
- What music inspired you
- What inspired you to create
- Previous musical projects
- What it was like creating your album or EP
- What motivates you
- Themes to listen for on the record
You can write your own biography, but some artists feel too close to their own projects to do their bios justice. If you hire a publicist, they’ll likely write a biography for you, but there are writers who can write a band or performer bio for a few hundred dollars.
Your fact sheet is essentially your biography boiled down to its most important points so recipients of your EPK can scan it for the information they need. It should include:
- Band name
- Band members (names and instruments)
- Key points of interest
- Performance style
- Notable facts (e.g., band toured with, impressive existing press)
- Record label
- Contact information
- Booking agent
Journalists don’t want to go digging around for your official links, including your website, band store, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and other online media. Add them to the top of your EPK to make them easy to find and share.
Your EPK should include high-quality publicity band photos, including vertical images. Try to include at least two looks (outfits and locations) as well as images that would work well cropped to square, horizontal, and vertical.
Images should be at least 1200 pixels wide or tall to maximize quality. Even though iPhones take great pictures these days, hiring a photographer with a DSLR camera will be more likely to guarantee quality band images that capture your personality.
To keep press fresh, rotate new photos in and old photos out every few months. Otherwise, your press placements will constantly use the same few photos, which feel stale.
Album streaming and download links
Embedding an unlisted Soundcloud player into your EPK is the easiest way for journalists to hear your music. You should also include a download link for those who’d prefer to drop your music into their own media players, like iTunes.
Include downloadable links for instrumental versions of album tracks and approved clips to use in promotion. Instrumentals are especially helpful if you use your EPK to pitch synchronizations for TV shows, movies, and commercials.
A list of tour dates can help local radio stations and journalists prioritize when and how to cover your music. If you’re touring with another band, make a note of that as well. If you can, add local openers, as that can help the likelihood of you getting coverage for local shows.
A typed lyric sheet in your EPK is helpful for journalists who are trying to glean meaning from your songs and prevents embarrassing misquotes of your lyrics in coverage.
Your liner notes should include songwriting credits, a list of musicians who recorded on your record, information about the recording studio, and the names of the recording engineers, producers, and mastering engineers. It may also include a dedication—Sundae Crush’s A Real Sensation is dedicated to our singer’s therapist.
Include high-resolution images of your album art, including the front and back cover art and any other images from the album design that the recipient of your EPK might want to see. After all, most bands don’t send physical media unless it’s specifically requested.
Existing press coverage
Just like the adage “It’s easier to find a job when you have a job,” existing press coverage can unlock new press coverage. Don’t list all your existing coverage though. Instead, focus on the three to five best pieces of coverage you’ve gathered, including press from the current album. After all, one of the benefits of an EPK is that you can update them as new press comes in.
Links to any press releases
As you create and send new press releases, add them to your EPK. For example, as you release new singles or tour dates, adding them to your EPK is a great way to keep journalists and more up-to-date on what your band is up to, even if they missed the original press release.
As a visual representation of your music, it’s important to showcase your released music videos in your EPK. Also consider adding 1-2 of your strongest live performance videos, especially ones with the best production. These can be especially helpful if you’re sending your EPK to promoters.
How much does an EPK cost?
An EPK can be made for free. Many tools, including landing page builders and music players, are available for musicians for free or affordable rates. However, other elements of an EPK cost money, including hiring someone to write your biography, take photos of your band, and film music videos.
Many bands who have the budget hire a publicist to make an EPK for them. A publicist will handle things like writing your biography and fact sheet, and they’ll promote your EPK to their contacts. However, a publicist won’t handle expenses for photos or videos, and you’ll still have to compile all the assets needed for your EPK on your own.
How can I build an EPK for free?
You can build an EPK for free using a tool like ConvertKit’s landing page builder. Our landing page builder is easy to use and edit on-the-fly. All you have to do is pick a template you like, add your info, and customize it to fit your vibe in less than an hour.
Here’s how I created our EPK for Sundae Crush using ConvertKit:
Gathered our assets
The first thing you want to do is make sure all your assets are handy and ready-to-go. Create a folder in either DropBox or Google Drive that can link out to specific assets including a download link for your music, pictures, liner notes, and lyrics.
Chose our template
Once you’re logged into ConvertKit, click “Landing Page & Forms” in the top navigation. From here, you’ll find a red button that says “Create New,” which you’ll want to click. Select “Landing Page.”
Pro tip: If you’re already logged in, click here to jump straight to the landing page templates.
ConvertKit has over 50 landing pages to choose from and they’re extremely easy to personalize in terms of color and fonts. Some are more focused on highlighting videos (e.g., the Academy template above) and others are more text-heavy.
Take your time choosing a template that you like, one that you think can highlight the most important information you want to convey to EPK recipients. Click “preview” on any template to see how it looks on mobile and web browsers and favorite the ones you like the most. Once you decide on a template, click “Choose” to start editing.
Added our essential elements
For Sundae Crush, I started with the “Canyon” landing page. First and foremost, I clicked the pencil icon in the upper-left corner to rename the landing page “Sundae Crush EPK.” While this isn’t absolutely necessary, it will help with organization as we build more landing pages in the future.
Next, I started editing existing elements by clicking on them and replacing them with Sundae Crush text and assets. I swapped the existing thumbnail for our album artwork, changed the header to highlight the new album, and dropped our short biography into the first paragraph.
One of the reasons it’s so easy to build an EPK with ConvertKit’s landing page builder is that creating a new section is as easy as creating a line break. Next, I added our social media links and a link to stream A Real Sensation in its entirety via ConvertKit’s link widget.
After I added the link, I clicked “Settings” to increase the font size and make a minor adjustment to the way the button looked. However, you can make significant visual adjustments to buttons so they can suit your style.
If you have a paid version of ConvertKit, you can instead drop in an embedded player from Soundcloud. To add special widgets like the link editor or HTML editor, click the plus sign when you create a line break. Other options include a photo gallery, a countdown timer, a video embed, product links, and more.
Other elements I added to the Sundae Crush EPK included a few key points from our fact sheet, a quote from NPR about the record, links to the asset folders in our Dropbox, and our full bio.
Add a request for a physical copy
While most recipients of your EPK will be happy to stream your record, some prefer to listen on a physical medium such as a CD or even vinyl. Some even prefer old-school tapes!
ConvertKit’s landing pages all come with a starter form that asks for an email address. This form is the perfect way to easily field requests for physical copies. Add a row of header text above the form that says “Request a Physical Copy” and click the plus sign below the email address field.
I recommend adding a field for the recipient’s name and physical address. The final field we created for Sundae Crush was a drop-down field to select the preferred format for the EPK recipient.
To create that, we selected Save As > Tag and Field Type > Dropdown. We labeled the field “Select Format” and created tag options for CD, Tape, and Vinyl. Finally, we made all the fields required and renamed the “Subscribe” button “Submit Form.”
Make final template updates
Once you have all the important information inserted, it’s time to let your creativity shine. An all black background simply doesn’t match the Sundae Crush aesthetic. Instead of just picking a single color, I went into Canva to create a long grid of some of my personal favorite Sundae Crush pictures.
I went into the “General Styles” section of our landing page designer and uploaded this grid as our new background image. Then, I went in and edited the form and link button colors to fit our band’s vibe. The result is an EPK that not only has everything a journalist, blogger, station manager, and more would ever need, it expresses our band’s style and personality.
How can I promote my EPK?
Promoting your EPK is as easy as sending it out to members of the media, talent buyers, venues, and other major players in the music business.
Collecting and personalizing those emails is time-consuming work that pays off when done correctly. A targeted approach is likely to get you the most success—find journalists, bloggers, and playlist curators that cover music similar to your band instead of trying to hit up everyone under the sun.
One last thing to remember: Since your EPK contains download links to your songs, you don’t want to share it with your fans or the general public. The hope is that your fans will buy your music, not steal it. If you’re concerned that your EPK will be found and shared, add a password to your Dropbox folder and share it only in the direct email to EPK recipients.
Building an EPK is a small but important part of your album release cycle. For more tips on promoting your music, check out our article “Finding your fans: How to promote your album or single before the release date.”
The post Every musician needs an EPK—here’s how to build one for free appeared first on ConvertKit.