October 26

The Secret Behind an Awesome EPK for Musicians and DJs (2020 Ultimate Guide)

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If you want to craft an effective electronic press kit or EPK for musicians and DJs, you need a strategic approach. A poorly designed PDF document isn’t enough anymore these days. If your goal is to get featured on influential blogs and magazines, you need an EPK that stands out and gets your message across. In this blog post, I’m going to share with you the three key ingredients of a highly effective music EPK.

What is an EPK for musicians or DJs and why do you need one?

An electronic press kit (EPK) is something like a 360 degree overview of who you are, what you’re about, and why anyone should care. It only has one purpose: Give journalists and bloggers enough reasons and material to write about you. 

Usually, an EPK for musicians is located somewhere on your artist website, but you can also link to it from your social media profiles. You don’t necessarily need a whole website to host your electronic press kit. Theoretically, you could get cheap cloud space (like Dropbox, Onedrive, Google Drive, etc.) and simply upload a zip folder that contains all materials.

As the name “electronic press kit” implies, it’s much more than an artist-bio. It’s a digital representation of your artist brand and it contains much more than just text and some music.

Essential ingredients of an electronic press kit for artists

So what does this look like in real life? Here’s what you must include in an EPK for musicians and DJs:

  • Music & artwork: An embedded playlist which showcases your most recent or best releases. Of course, you can also include free downloads and high-res images of all single/ EP/ album artworks.
  • Videos: Links to recent video footage, if you have any.
  • Photos: Professional-looking artist-shots that reflect your brand and are in line with the style you play and the genre you’re a part of.
  • Bio: A short as well as a long version of your artist-bio. Make sure it reflects the “why” as well as the “what” (more on that below).
  • Articles/ reviews: Journalists and bloggers love to read what others wrote about you. Make it easy for them and include some nice quotes. Make sure to link to the full articles.
  • Facts & figures: If you have any milestones or achievements under your belt which can be measured in numbers, you can include them. Do it in a humble way though and think twice if your 1000 Instagram followersare really worth mentioning…
  • Insightful bonus content: Add other engaging content if you have any. At the end of this blog post, I’m going to give you a few ideas on how you can add extra value.
  • Contact info & links to your social media channels: I’m sure you would have thought of that anyway, but this completes the list of must-haves for a music-epk.

The best way to “host” an EPK for musicians and DJs is to create a dedicated sub-page on your artist-website that features all these things in a well-organized way. This makes it easy to update and immediately accessible for journalists and bloggers. Simply create a page called artistname.com/epk and link to it from your homepage.

Three factors that will help you craft a music EPK that stands out

Now that you have an idea of what the key ingredients of an electronic press kit are, let’s talk about how you can stand out from all the other artists out there. I’ve put together three guidelines that are going to help you get the most out of it.

1. The “why“ is more important than the “what”

Most musicians, producers, DJs, and bands make the same big mistake: They talk about the “what” but they forget about the “why”. Sounds confusing? 

Let me explain.

If you only talk about the style of music you play, the shows you’ve had, and your recent successes, you talk mainly about the “what”. This is important, of course, but it also sounds like something you would find in the press kits of many other upcoming artists. It’s simply not that interesting and distinctive.

Now put yourself in the shoes of a journalist or blogger. Wouldn’t you want to find a hidden gem somewhere? Wouldn’t you like to share a unique story with your readers?

This is where the “why” comes into play. 

An incredibly clever guy called Simon Sinek has found out that many strong brands (like e.g. Apple) start with “why” instead of “what”. And this is what makes them so attractive to us (watch an amazing Ted Talk on this here).

He encourages us to ask ourselves the following question: “Why do you exist and why should anyone care?”

Now this might sound a bit too profound to you but it’s the essence of why any journalist or blogger should give a damn about you. If there is something that moves you, a mission, a cause, a belief, then be brave and talk about it. 

This kind of stuff can elevate your music EPK to a whole new level. If your “why” can be heard in your music, read in your bio, seen in your artwork and photos, it creates a much stronger impact. By the way: I have also done this “why”-work in form of my manifesto which you can read here.

2. Tell a story that’s consistent across music, visuals, and text

If your “why” is clear, you can move on and think about storytelling. As humans, we are constantly looking for stories and if they’re interesting enough, we will most likely share them with others.

Storytelling simply means that you try to connect the interesting aspects of your “why” with happenings and milestones in your “what”. If your style of music is dark and atmospheric and your mission is to bring aspects of contemporary Classical Music into Techno, maybe you can connect this with a certain event in your life that has led to that concept?

Consistency is really important here. Bloggers and journalists need to be able to “get it” no matter if they read your bio or not. The music and the visual content should tell the same story, even if it’s just on a subconscious level. So make sure that the whole look & feel of your press kit is on point.

One more thing: Don’t just make up a story or try to force it in a certain direction. If it’s authentic and feels right, it’s a really powerful lever you can pull. An EPK for musicians and DJs can only work its magic if it’s more than easy-to-dismiss marketing fluff.

3. Make it as convenient as possible for journalists and bloggers

The last trick to level-up your music EPK is an easy one to implement. Journalists and bloggers will love you if you simply prepare your electronic press kit in a way that makes it easy for them to work with it. They have very little time so the more you help them, the more likely you will be featured in a blog or magazine.

Journalists and bloggers don’t want to scroll through your entire website just to find a link to your EPK at the very bottom. They don’t want to write you an email just to get a high-resolution version of your press photo.

If you put together an EPK for musicians and DJs, make sure to put yourself into the recipient’s shoes. What would you expect as a journalist or blogger?

Bonus: Creative ideas for a highly effective electronic press kit

If you want your music EPK to stand out, here are some extras you can include if you have the time and resources/ abilities to do this. These ideas are there to inspire you to come up with your own extras. 

Self-interview

If you don’t have any press articles or interviews yet, you can record a short podcast or video with a self-interview. I don’t mean you should ask yourself a question and then answer it, of course. But you could bring in some questions by your fans and followers or you simply let another artist or producer-buddy in your genre interview you.

It’s staged, of course, but in the end it’s just about asking questions that evoke interesting answers. There’s nothing wrong with that since you don’t pretend that this interview was done with a blog or magazine. It’s simply a playful and clever way to add more depth to your EPK.

Behind the scenes studio video

This one requires a bit more work. You could give a sneak-peak into your creative workflow by doing a little behind-the-scenes studio video. It doesn’t have to be perfect, sometimes a phone video (Instagram-story-style) is enough. 

You could even do this for your fans, spead it on social media and simply re-use this content in your EPK. 

FAQ on creating an electronic press kit for musicians and DJs

Do I need an EPK even if I’m just starting out?

Not really, I think you need it as soon as you put your first release out (even if it’s not on a label).

Do I need to include video content?

It’s definitely helpful, but if you don’t have any (yet), it’s still worth publishing your EPK.

How often should I update my electronic press kit?

I recommend updating your EPK every six months. If you can do it every quarter, it’s even better. 

What file format(s) should I use?

It really doesn’t matter, just make sure the text is easy to copy & paste. Music should be hosted via a streamable playlist (Spotify, SoundCloud, or similar are fine).

How “professional” do my photos have to be?

First and foremost, your photos should reflect your artist brand in the truest sense. Quality matters, of course, but a very talented friend of yours with a decent camera and some editing skills can do it.

Should I invest money into creating an awesome EPK?

If you really struggle with certain aspects (like e.g. your artist bio), consider hiring a professional. I still believe that you can do this DIY-style in most cases. You can also hit me up for 1-on-1 coaching if you need help with your artist-brand overall.

Putting it into action: How to create an awesome EPK for musicians and DJs

Enough of the theory, let’s put this into practice. I’m giving you three action steps which you can implement right away to get started with your electronic press kit.

1. Schedule time to create or update your EPK

  • Depending on how much of the individual parts you already have in place, I advise you to set aside at least 2-3 days to put this together nicely. Some of the bonus material might take longer but you can start with a first draft and publish it sooner.
  • For updating your EPK, set aside 2-3 hours.

2. Start with a “minimum viable product”

  • Remember: Done is better than perfect. You shouldn’t aim for a flawless EPK. Create a first version, publish it, and update it in a couple of months.
  • Make sure to nail the “why” in your storyline. This is the one thing that truly makes a difference and helps you stand out.

3. Expand and update every six months

  • If you work hard on building a meaningful music career, you will soon see a lot of progress. That naturally results in an outdated EPK which is the last thing you want. Imagine an influential blogger writing about you with facts & figures from last year. Bummer…
  • Try to take your EPK to the next level by including creative bonus content which can’t be found anywhere else. This way, you give journalists and bloggers an opportunity to impress with details.

Alright, that’s it for this episode. Now I’d love to hear from you: What creative ideas do you have to make your EPK stand out?

Let me know in the comments, I read everything.


Tags

Podcast, Promo & PR


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