How To Create An Effective Artist Marketing Kit
A marketing kit is designed to sell you as an artist.
Marketing kits have traditionally been physical objects handed out to interested parties. However, with the advent of electronic media there has been a gradual shift towards kits being entirely digital.
This both saves you money, as you no longer have to have them professionally printed, and makes it easier for recipients to access or make use of the information provided within it, as this is as simple as copying and pasting the relevant information. The easier it is for journalists, editors, reporters, prominent social media personnel or bloggers to get hold of important information about you, then the easier it is for them to write about you and get you more publicity!
It may seem like making a marketing kit is a difficult task, but most of what is included in it are things that you should already have to hand. Just remember to keep it up to date as your career progresses, and to include it somewhere on your website so that anyone interested in writing about you or learning about your work can easily access this information without having to request it from you. Again, the easier they can get hold of information, the more likely they are to take an interest in you.
If you're new to writing a marketing kit, it might be useful to look at the marketing kits of contemporary artists who inspire you, or create similar work to yours. Here, though, I will take you through the key elements which your marketing kit should contain, and by following these you should easily be able to create a kit which makes you attractive to potential interested parties by showing off what makes you worth talking about.
What Goes In A Artist Marketing Kit
1. Artist Statement
The artist statement is exactly what it sounds like: a place for you to explain what your work is, what you aim to achieve with it, and what makes you unique as an artist. This is the only part of the marketing kit which should be written in the first person, as it is your chance to demonstrate what you as an individual can offer with your artwork, and what makes your work uniquely yours. Go easy on the art talk when writing your statement. This section should focus mostly on your work itself- the next section is where you will include more personal information.
The biography section is where you lay out your career as an artist; but don't make the mistake of simply putting your CV into your press kit. The point of this section is to show how you have achieved all that you set out in your artist statement in a practical way. Try to treat this section the way that you would write an essay- make a point about your artistic career, and then explain how it fits into your career as a whole. Your aim should be to have the whole biography lead towards where your career is now, to show that you are an experienced, developed artist who has something significant to offer. Although this section is in the third person, you should also still include personal information within it. Remember, your marketing kit is designed to sell you as an artist. Relating your personal life and development to your work makes you stand out as an individual, and will hopefully make you stick out in your reader's mind. If your reader is a member of the press, though, then they will likely have many press kits to go through, and thus only have a short amount of time to look over yours- the snappier and more attention grabbing you can make your biography, the better
3. Previous and Upcoming Shows
These should be listed chronologically from most recent backwards. This section is typically formatted the same way that previous employment is on a CV, and has the same purpose as that: showing that you are an experienced artist whose work has already been deemed worthy of exhibition by others. Including upcoming work is especially useful in giving the press reason to write about you, as they will be able to feature it as something current, and it shows that you are active as an artist and moving forward with your career. Be selective though: as with the biography section, your reader will only have a limited amount of time, so you should prioritise your most significant exhibition work and include these here.
4. Press Releases
A press release is an excellent method of promotion for artists who want to share information about their work or upcoming art exhibition they are participating in or have organised. It can also be used to advertise events such as workshops or public artist talks. The press release is written to target journalists, editors, reporters, prominent social media personnel or bloggers who may want to check out, write an article or review whatever is being advertised in the release.
Writing a press release is actually very straightforward even though it may seem difficult. The tone of voice is particularly important. It should read like a mini news story. Take a third person stance and avoid using hyperbole and metaphors; words like 'extremely' and 'fantastic' are unnecessary. It needs to sound professional and should be both factual and informative. Don't worry if you think it reads very plainly. That's how it should be, it will improve your chances of a news editor or journalist writing your press release into a story.
It also has to include all the relevant information, think in terms of who, what, when, where, why and how? The most common structure for writing a press release is the 'triangle' principle. You start with a concise statement including all the important information and then broaden out into more relevant detail. This way the reader will read the most important parts first and are more likely to write about it.
The key thing is to make it accessible to not only members of the media, but also the general public and art industry professionals who may also be interested in your work. Below is a visual example of how a press release should be structured:
Distributing a Press Release
- A well-written press release that is sent to the right people can create a lot of publicity. If your release is about something newsworthy and interesting, then sending it out to local and national newspapers, magazines or websites can mean a lot of exposure.
- It's best to target your press release to particular individuals or organisation that might be interested in your work or the event being advertised, such as certain galleries or art blogs. Blindly sending out copies may be a waste of time and effort on your part so you'll have to carry out some research first. In this technological age, the fastest and easiest way to distribute your press release is via email. The cover email should be formal and polite but with a personal touch to show that you have thought about who you are sending the release to.
- On the other hand, if you're looking to distribute the release to a wider audience, there are a number of useful press release distribution websites such as Press Association, Pressat or Real Wire.
Press releases are the easiest way of letting people know about your news, event, work or exhibition so use them to spread the word and gain some publicity. There's no harm in self-promotion so don't be afraid of writing a press release and sending it out. After all, it could potentially further your career.
[i] Indicating whether the press release is set for immediate release or whether it is embargoed lets media representatives know when they are allowed to release information about your work/ event/ exhibition. An embargo means that the press release will share confidential information but it must remain confidential until the stated publishing date.
5. Previous Press
If you have previously been featured in any newspapers or magazines or on any art websites, then include these pieces within your press kit. They will show that your work has been recognized as being something worth talking about, as well as showing what others think are the defining and interesting aspects of your art.
6. Contact Information
Putting this at the beginning or end of the press kit makes it easier for any interested parties to get hold of you, without having to search through the whole kit. Aim to be comprehensive with this, including your name and the name of your management if you have any, a phone number and email address through which you and your management can be contacted, and your website address. Essentially, this section should include all the information you would put on a business card. Only include things which are professional, though- there's no need to put your twitter or Instagram unless you use them for professional purposes.
Do you have a marketing kit or press page you would like to share as an example for other artists? Please share it below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post it here.