Getting To Know You: Differences Between Your Bio, EPK, & Press Release
Many artists often confuse or incorrectly alternate the following marketing materials: Electronic Press Kits (EPKs), Artist Biographies, and Press Releases. While these documents may overlap in some areas, each serve a specific purpose and can often be directed at different audiences. Although someone else may prepare them, it is important to be familiar with their purposes in order to correctly and effectively utilize them in your marketing plan.
Consider this blog your pocket cheat-sheet to EPKs, Bios, and Press Releases. Using the guidelines below you will be able to determine which materials you need at any given moment!
Electronic Press Kit:
If you’ve been following our blog, you’ll know we’ve already provided you with an excellent breakdown of the components of an EPK. Think of an EPK as a 360° presentation of who you are as an artist. If a complete stranger stumbled upon your EPK they would know what you look like (promo shots), what you sound like (links to your music), what your show looks like (links to videos), what people are saying about you (press page), and who you are as an artist (artist bio).
Purpose: Ideally your press kit would be sent to possible sponsors, booking agents, radio DJs, etc. As “electronic” implies, the ol’ bubble mailer method has gone out the window and been replaced by email delivery and/or online hosting. Unless you are planning on hosting your EPK on a site and directing your contacts to a particular link, you’ll want to make sure to send your EPK in an attractive PDF or Word file (you can avoid zip files by providing links to your media instead of compressing the actual files).
While you don’t want to portray yourself as some alien who simply dropped from the sky playing music with no prior history (unless you’re Lady Gaga), you don’t want to waste a reader’s time with a story about winning your 2nd grade spelling bee (or how you didn’t and have since poured out your feelings in your music). Include personal information, but only as it relates to your career as an artist (where you grew up, how you got started, who inspired you, hurdles you overcame as an artist).
It should be a 1-page document (PDF or Word) with your intro paragraph including the most recent, crucial information – what you are currently promoting – followed by the rest of your story in chronological order thereafter.
Purpose: While it’s a building block of an EPK, your bio also has its own purpose. If you are going to be interviewed by a blogger or reporter, an artist bio is extremely helpful for them to have beforehand. It is also a key way for fans to learn more and connect with you. Your bio should have its own page on your website, with copies on your Facebook Page and other key social media profiles.
Just as the name suggests, a press release is meant to release press. Unlike your bio, this 1-page document should have an eye-catching title, the date in which the news is to be released (if you were sending it to sources prior to it being public knowledge, or simply “for immediate release”), the city in which the project or announcement is taking place, and a brief explanation as to what the announcement is, the details that surround it (who, what, where, when), why it’s important, and what’s on the horizon.
Purpose: While major label artists may have their publicity team release such documents to the newspapers and blogs, independent artists can use press releases to send out announcements directly to their fans via newsletters, or along with their EPKs to venues or DJs to provide additional leverage (i.e. album release in one’s hometown) in an attempt to provide leverage for airplay or to book a show in the same area.