We’ve all faced the dreaded task of trying to piece together our ensemble’s press kit. Whether it is for your local concert promotions, touring overseas or just to post on your website, it is a large project to tackle. But, it is absolutely essential that every ensemble creates press kit. Here’s why:
Increases Your Audience Numbers
If your concert attendance is low, a press kit can increase your attendance count. How? It allows you to elicit help from the media. With tangible promotional materials in place, you can distribute your materials easily and efficiently to your community. Enlist the media’s help by sending them your press kit and information about your upcoming performances or planned events.
Your local news or radio station is often willing to promote your concerts for free, particularly if there is something interesting enough to be “newsworthy.” Make it easy for them to promote your ensemble by supplying them with interesting photos, videos, facts, and stories in one convenient place for them to use.
Here’s an example: Let’s say your choir just came back from a tour to China where you participated in a joint concert with a local choir. You want to let the media know that your next concert at home is going to feature some of the traditional Chinese songs you learned overseas. Pair this information alongside your professional press kit and send to the various media outlets. By supplying the media with the photos and information about your trip and upcoming performance, they may find this interesting enough to share within your community and at no cost to you!
Of course, the media may not be willing to do this all of the time, but if you do not supply them with any information, they will be unaware of the important things your ensemble is doing!
Once you have a press kit in place, it is easy to regularly maintain the information from year to year and you can share this information with the many media sources in your community. Let them do the work to promote you to the community. Once the community learns about all of the important things your ensemble is doing, they’ll want to come to your concerts to see what all the hype is about!
Builds Your Ensemble’s Reputation & Community Support
We’ve all struggled to find support; support from parents, support from administration and support from the community.
So, how do you build support?
- (For youth ensembles) Parents are more likely to support your cause if they understand how their child will benefit from participating in the ensemble, what the ensembles future plans/goals are and the reputation of the ensemble and director.
- Administration (or board) is more likely to support your cause if they see that the parents support you, if they see improvement in the students’ lives, if they understand how the future goals will affect the school and if the ensemble gains a positive reputation for their school.
- Community is willing to support you based on your reputation and word-of-mouth.
A good press kit meets all of the needs for support:
- For Parents and Administration – It shows what the ensemble has been up to in recent years; how it has grown, succeeded and transformed the lives of the participants involved. It discusses future goals for the ensemble (future travel destinations, upcoming projects) and it provides the credentials for the director.
- For reputation (community, parents and administration) – Not only are you providing the success stories and credentials in your press kit which reassures the community/parents/administration, but as we’ve already discussed, the media plays a big role in bringing in an audience. Once you have an audience in attendance, it is easy to build your reputation through word of mouth. If your performance was good (which we know it will be!) people will spread the word and help build your reputation for you. Plus, with the support of the parents and administration, they will play a significant role in helping you build your reputation in the community as well.
By providing vital information up front to parents and administration about how the ensemble is transforming the students/ensemble members, they will begin to trust you, support you and ultimately help you build the reputation you need to gain the support of the community.
Fundraising and Recruiting
Once you’ve built your reputation from the ground up, fundraising and recruiting are the next logical steps.
Let’s think about fundraising:
What is the first thing you do when you are about to donate money to a cause? You probably look the organization up online!
People want to know about the causes they are giving money to. If you don’t have a press kit (photos, bios) of your group, people won’t know about the organization they are giving money to. By providing them with the information they need to make an informed decision, they are more likely to give you the funds you need to grow your ensemble.
The same goes for recruiting: Personally, I don’t want to join an ensemble unless I know who they are, what they have done, who the director is and how I can benefit from participating. You should provide potential new members with your ensemble’s success stories to entice them to join. Once you gain more members, that is just another success story to add to your press kit’s accomplishments!
Tip: Put your press kit on your website and promote it through any social media channels you may have. Keep letting people know who you are!
Required for Traveling Overseas
If your ensemble is planning to tour overseas, a press kit is not only essential but required in order to book good venues and to get an audience to attend your performances. Do you know how many ensemble requests that the Notre Dame’s administrative staff has to sift through in order to book their annual schedule? A LOT! If you stand out in the crowd, each music director at every venue will want to have you there. If you want to have a shot at getting into the world’s most prestigious venues, your press kit should be in tip-top shape when it reaches the hands of the venue’s music director. Once you are “in”, update your press kit with the venue’s name for that extra reputation boost!
But more importantly, perhaps, is bringing in the audience for your overseas performances. It is impossible to promote your concerts to the local residents that have never heard of your organization or ensemble before, unless you provide them with the vital information that your press kit provides. Once they know more about your group’s success stories, they may be curious to hear what you can do!
So before you think about a performance tour, make sure you have your press kit ready to go. This will optimize your pick of the venues and help bring in awesome audience numbers for you performances.
So what are you waiting for? Download our Guide to Creating the Perfect Press Kit for your Ensemble and get started now!
About the Author
Having grown up in a military family, Tori traveled the world at a young age and has visited over 25 countries to date. She is the former Director of Marketing and Business Development at Encore Tours and her passion for travel is matched only by her love of music. She holds bachelor degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Theory and currently performs with Chorus pro Musica in the Boston area. She also directs the Harborlight Show Chorus, a small barbershop chorus in the North Shore.More Content by Tori Cook