Good question. Your promo is what’s going to sell you to a club. It is the first impression you will give. And you will only have about a minute to make your point. Club owners and managers are very busy people. They won’t or can’t spend a long time looking at your band’s promo. So, how do you make that lasting impression, hmm?
The first thing they will see is the packaging you sent your promo in. If it has coffee stains or bacon grease on it, you might as well go back to bed. It will end up in the garbage can. What happens after you mail it is no reflection on you, but if it’s nasty when you send it, you have made a fatal error. I buy large padded mailing envelopes at Office Depot. You can purchase a dozen for about $10.00. These have sufficient size and padding to prevent damage to your CD or band photo. I have often thought it would be a good idea to use more colorful envelopes, which are available. But these don’t offer as much padding and are more costly. The choice is yours.
I use report covers to hold Payday Daddy’s promo info. These look clean, neat and professional. The first page is a cover page. It has our band logo, and also shows we were voted the #1 Band in West Puget Sound for 5 years. This is the first thing the owner will see – this is our first impression.
The second page is a letter of introduction combined with a band bio. We combined the two because, as I said earlier, you don’t have time to mess around. You may only get a minute, so pack all you can into the smallest space possible.
Most word processors have a letterhead you can use, or you may want to create your own. Payday Daddy’s letterhead has the name of the group and contact information: the manager’s name (me), address, phone numbers, email, fax, website, and mp3 site.
If you know the name of the contact, start your letter with the name and address:
Picks or Fingers Club
100 Fender Way
(Fill in the following blanks with your band’s info.)
Dear Mr. Smith:
This letter is to introduce you to our band, Payday Daddy. We are a 4 piece group that plays Rock and Roll covers and originals. We pride ourselves on putting on a great show, and we always make sure the audience has a memorable time whenever they see us. We have a mailing list with over 500 people, and we do whatever we can to promote ourselves at any club we play.
(Hopefully, you have a mailing list. This is good information that the club needs to see. If you don’t, please see my article “Getting the gig and keeping the job” and “How to advertise yourselfand your band.” These go into more detail.)
The next section should be about the members of the group. For example, “Lesa McCabe on bass and lead vocals; Kent McCabe on rhythm guitar, harmonica and vocals; Richard Arriola on lead guitar, guitar synth and vocals; and Mike Craig on drums and vocals.”
Be sure to add your business card to this page. Use a paper clip. Do NOT staple it on! No, no, no. Tacky.
If you have any kudos you can brag about, this is the place for them. Here are some of ours: we opened 2 shows for Paul Revere and the Raiders in 1999. We won the “Best Band in West Sound Award” for 5 years. We have 3 CDs, and 2 are getting radio airplay. Facts like these look wonderful. This gets the club thinking, “Hey, these guys MUST be good. Look at all this STUFF!”
Next in your promo should be newspaper stories and other Articles about your band. (If you don’t have any, see my other Articles for help.) Follow this with a band photo. Black and white is standard, but I like to add a color one also. And last but not least, include your band’s promo CD. This should be a 4 to 6 song CD, as the club will not listen to more than a few seconds of each song. Throwing in a 38 song collection would be a waste of your time and money. Instead, pick 5 of your best tunes, and get a good recording for each. This is where a trip to a studio will pay off. If everyone shares in the price, it won’t be so bad. Go in prepared, so you won’t be spending hours going over that one drum part at a cost of $40 an hour.
After you send your promo to the club you really want to play at, give it a few days and call your contact. Good luck!