When it comes to your press package, no one tool is more important than the other. Yet, without just one of those tools — professional promo photos, well-mixed songs, and a strong, clearly written bio — the whole thing falls apart. So, it stands to reason that each and every piece of your press kit should be carefully crafted. As a publicist and a blogger, however, I find myself reading one boring bio after another. It’s the one piece of the EPK where quality doesn’t seem to be a concern.
Your bio is where press and fans get to know you in a matter of minutes. It’s your first impression, your chance to weave a story that is as captivating as it is enthralling. It’s your chance to grab readers and connect with them so that if they’re a fan, they want to find out more, and if they’re press or industry, they want to write about you/work with you.
But, look, I get it — you’re a little bashful, and writing about yourself is unnatural. That’s why we’ve compiled a few tips to get you started and over that hurdle of feeling embarrassed, unclear, or just thinking, “How do I even start this thing?!”
1. Pretend You’re Writing a Story
At its core, that’s what a bio really is. It’s the story of your band — and when you’re reading a really good story, what are a few key traits that all the good ones have?
Show, Don’t Tell
This is one of my favorite takeaways from my college creative writing courses. What it means is that you want to get out your adjectives and your verbs and add some color to your sentences so that the reader can really feel what you’re putting out there.
For instance, saying “Band X is from Arizona, plays rock music, and has played Venue Y” is boring. You know what’s more interesting? Something like, “Using the Arizona desert and famed Red Rock landscape as an inspiration for their eclectic brand of layered rock, jazz, and funk, Band X is breaking into the southwest scene with an urgency that has already taken them through Venues X, Y, and Z.”
See the difference?
Keep It Objective
When you’re reading a good book, there are some characters that are stronger than others, but all of them are crafted and created with the same love. There’s never a moment of weakness where you think, “Wow, the author must have really hated this character.” They’re all written in a way that is completely objective — and your bio should be the same way.
It can be tough to write about yourself in a way that is extremely complimentary without feeling a little weird. That’s natural. By choosing to look at your bio as piece of work separate from yourself, you’ll be able to write your story more freely and write about yourself as you want others to see you.
Side note: Unlike in a book, you don’t want to entertain the idea of writing in the first person. Third person is the way to go for bios. It’s just much cleaner that way.
2. Only Include the Most Relevant Information
One trap that bands tend to fall into in an effort not to leave anything out is to include everything that has ever happened to them. This includes but isn’t limited to mentioning past band members, shows that don’t really have any significance, and how you met. Unless any of those things are going to add value to your bio (i.e., your ex-band member is famous or you met whilst saving a burning bus full of people catapulting through mid-air), just leave them out.
Concise, clear, and to-the-point is the name of the game with any good bio. You only have so long to capture someone, so you don’t want to lose them by itemizing the last 20 bassists you’ve had.
3. Highlight Your Accomplishments, and Mention What’s Next for the Band
If you’ve opened for a band that has a much larger following than you, played a significant festival or venue, held a residency, done an extensive tour — those are all things you want to include in your bio. They are the kind of things that show you have experience, and that’s really important in helping you and your bio stand out.
You also want to mention your past releases, though if you’ve had a lot, consider condensing it down. If you’ve released the latest single/video/album in the last few months, mention it by name and include any notable production credits or press clippings.
If you’re a brand-new band without a long list of accolades, this is where your storytelling skills are going to be even more important. When you don’t have a stack of accomplishments just yet, you have to really bank on your brand and your story to get people interested. In that case, highlight what you can of your accomplishments, and then focus on pulling people in with your unique story.
Look for what’s interesting about the band and highlight that. Dig deep with this one — what fans and press ultimately find interesting about you might not seem so obvious at first.
Lastly, don’t forget to mention what’s next for the band. Upcoming albums, tours, or music videos should all be included. Take your time, follow these tips, and you’ll have yourself a compelling bio in no time!
Now, you’ve got a full-fledged bio on your hands ready for your future press releases. Congrats! Here’s a video detailing some further aspects of drafting and sending a press release from our free course on how to book, manage, and promote your next full tour totally DIY, Touring on a Shoestring.