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How to Make an Artist Press Kit

This is an archived post from April 2011... 

In April of this year, Todd Sanders of Roadhouse Relics came on as a client. For those familiar, his cool factor is well beyond anything I could do for him, but I was able to help get some major pieces of his brand organized so that he would be better primed for exposure.

Contrary to the headline, it’s not an A-Z guide of how to make a press kit, but it is a great overview of what we did for Todd. Every artist is different, but hopefully this will inspire you:

Prep Work:

Step 1: Photography. We not only got great product photography, I also did a major scrub of any and every photo of Todd’s works and gallery online and in his own collection. Cataloging and organizing a twenty year career was a major effort, but gave us a wealth of material for online, printed works and other marketing material.

Step 2: Story Telling. There are Todd’s personal stories, the stories behind the pieces and owners, and the Roadhouse Relics Gallery. His old website had a sales driven message. But with his new site and marketing materials, our goal was to instead tell those stories, show his experience and network of collectors, and the value behind owning an original Todd Sanders’ work. Check out the press kit page to see how we organized his biography, artist statement and story of his gallery, Roadhouse Relics. You can also see a guide for an about page here.

Step 3: Design. We threw out the old site, creating a new, user-friendly site using WordPress. We also partnered with a graphic designer on key areas of the brand to make sure the look and feel reflected the new vision. This allows bloggers and writers to view the site easily, and is full of portfolios, process pictures and information.

These steps make getting ready sound easy – but this effort took hard work from both Todd and me because it was writing (and rewriting), editing, filing, organizing, and scanning. It also took me steering the ship, a designer creating graphics, a host of photographers, and web development. In other words: if you’re an artist, get ready to work! And know you don't have to do it alone. Find a team (or intern) to help where you can’t (or don’t want to!).

Making an Online Press Kit:

Once we laid our foundation, here is how we organized the page. And while I am not claiming it's perfect, I did learn a few things from research and experience that I think helped make it great.

Step 1: A Clear Contact Email. Have a clear link to an email address in case additional information is needed. As Todd’s publicist, my name and email is front and center (and clickable). For writers, it's like I'm the world's most awesome waitress, "Don't see what you want on the menu? I'll let the cook know and we'll head to the grocery!"

Step 2: Written Information (Galore). Rather than a downloadable Word doc, I created links to each important section about Todd. (Bio, Artist Statement, etc.). This way, there is new, fresh content on the website which contributes to search engine optimization. This also allows us to make changes, add new content or pull something down. With a downloadable file, there could be old versions floating around online. Some reporters may not love all the links, but we thought the slight annoyance was worth it. (Expert Top-Secret Tip: We have both a long-form and short-form bio.)

Step 3: Photography. (Again.) We have links to high-resolution photography, with a thumbnail preview. We credited the photographers and asked for bloggers to do the same. We also noted, “We ask that bloggers link to the source URL when possible.” In other words – don’t “save as” on the image and repost to your site. Use our image link and share the (search engine) love.

Step 4: Cover Your @$$. Last, we added the proverbial CYA: “The images on RoadhouseRelics.com and in the press kit are not available for commercial use without the written consent of Todd Sanders. For commercial inquiries, please email info@roadhouserelics.com.” And I know, for artists this one is tough. Post your work online for exposure, but risk people taking it for free. My strategy is to clearly ask for and make it easy to give credit. If people don’t – may karma send a big hurtin’ their way.

Thanks for reading. I hope you find it helpful. I encourage you to head over to RoadhouseRelics.com to learn more about the world-class talent that I am lucky enough to also call a client and friend, Todd Sanders.

If I missed anything, please leave a comment below.