Many musicians would love to get paid to play music. The same goes for many artists with talents they’d like to monetize, such as crafters, dancers, speakers and artists.
The common thread among all of these creative side hustles? They all rely on marketing and sales press kits to land gigs.
But press kits are not all created equal. A Word document with your contact information and images of your recent art show or performance may get the details across to potential clients. However, it won’t establish authority, credibility or professionalism — three traits that command a higher rate.
Ready to put your press kit to work helping you earn more money? Here’s what to do.
What to Include in Your Press Kit
As an artist, your press kit is your leading sales and marketing tool. It’s a simple, visual brochure that lets your target audience know more about your craft, whether it’s your prestigious performances, high sales or exciting features in Oprah’s O magazine.
Here’s what you need to have in your press kit to make sure it meets your customer’s needs:
A biography: Introduce yourself! Craft a welcoming “About” story that will introduce you as an artist or a band and provide important details about your experience, education or inspiration.
High-resolution images: Include at least two photos of you performing your work, whether that’s performing in front of screaming fans or selling wares at a low-key craft fair. You’ll also want to feature any relevant branding materials, such as your logo and tagline.
Contact information: If they don’t know how to get ahold of you, they can’t hire you! On a separate page, include your phone number, website, email address and mailing address.
Booking details: To make things easier on potential clients, include information on how to book your services. Include important payment and scheduling details such as whether or not you require a deposit up front and how far in advance you accept bookings.
With the basic elements of your press kit assembled, it’s time to tweak the presentation. Making every part of your press kit presentation more professional increases your appeal for potential clients and establishes your work as a professional. Both of these factors will allow you to charge more money for your skills and portray a more put-together image to your fans.
Here are three insider tips to help you design a press kit that gets you more business:
1. Use a Free Design Program to Create Your Press Kit
Your press kit is the first thing a potential customer or booking agent will see, and it’s often a crucial element in the decision whether to book your services. But if you design your important marketing assets using simple programs like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint, the results will be far from professional. Often these programs cut off the edges of your documents when printed, or discolor your design choices based on the quality of the printer!
Fortunately, you don’t have to drop $99 per month on a suite of creative products to create something professional. Use one of the many free design programs like PicMonkey, InkScape or Pixlr to edit your photos and design your press kit.
Most submission guidelines allow for electronic press kits, but if you need to print your kit, make sure you work with a professional printer rather than printing from home. State of the art printers will give you more options for printing (glossy or matte, heavier or textured paper, all according to your preference) and better quality control for each kit. Not only will the final product be more appealing, but establishing a relationship with a printer early on will make it easier to negotiate discounts on future creative projects.
2. Apply Simple Design Principles
You’ll always see better results from hiring a professional graphic designer, but sometimes you just need to DIY. To that end, keep in mind these three design principles to help you create the most attractive product possible:
The Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds refers to the visual spacing of an image, video or document. For a basic understanding, divide whatever size surface you’re working on into three evenly spaced vertical sections and three evenly spaced horizontal sections. The best presentation will evenly cover the spots where your lines overlap.
Color is a building block of your brand personality, so unfortunately “your favorite color” is not going to cut it. Use free color sites like ColourLover and ColRD to find or design a palette that suits your industry, genre and target audience. Using professional recommendations will help give potential booking agents and magazine editors confidence in your level of skill and experience.
It’s tempting to sample several of the millions of available fonts, but using more than two will create a confusing design presentation. To present a creative but balanced design, stick with this formula: choose one stylish, script “designer font” for headings and callouts, and pair it with a basic, “simple font” for the rest of your text on your website and print items.
3. Word Your Fee Structure Carefully
Obviously your goal is to make money with your artistic talents. But sometimes when you’re just starting out, you’re open to performing for free or a reduced fee to build your audience base. So how do you let potential customers know your base price, your discount price and your free policy without leaving money on the table?
The magic is all in the wording. Start by including a phrase such as “Contact for product rates,” or “Performance rates start at $50 per hour.” This indicates that you regularly charge for your services and that there is a process in place for booking your band or ordering your products at wholesale.
Then, include a phrase that indicates you take on charity, review and scholarship projects from time to time depending on your availability. A phrase such as, “From time to time, our band takes on special events and fundraising performances at a free or reduced cost. If you have an event coming up that falls into this category, please contact us to see if it’s a good fit,” will convey professionalism while showing that you are interested in projects of all kinds. Tweak the phrase to reflect your creative work, whether you’re open to donating pieces of art or offering free products for review.
If you want to make money from your artistic talents, don’t stop with a website. Use these tips to put your best foot forward with a professional-looking press kit.
Your Turn: Do you use a press kit for your creative work? How have you helped your kit stand out?
Sarah Greesonbach is the magic bean behind Greesonbach Creative, a distinctive copywriting and content studio, and a former budget-hater. Compare mistakes in personal finance and eating Paleo at Life [Comma] Etc.