Got a great letter in my email box regarding some suggestions I made about how to get attention for a press kit or music submission you send via mail...
Just about everything you have suggested is totally opposite what they are teaching in songwriting seminars and classes.
In thse seminars they tell you to:
1) Be business professional - you are commincating with a business and therefore should show respect by being business-like.
2) Use typed address labels - not handwritter labels - again for the business appearance.
3) NEVER use regular "live" stamps - as a business your postage should appear as business like as possible.
4) Only use the manila colored envelopes - the days of the purple "Martina McBride" eye catching envelope will just get it thrown in the watse basket.
5) No handwritten notes - a business cover letter is expected.
6) No handwriting on the CD-R label - with CD printers these days a type written label shows respect and professionalism.
Agree that anything you send needs to be professional. Like the Supreme Court feels about pornography though, what is considered professional will differ depending on who is getting your package.
Three things to keep in mind...
1. The worst result of mailing a package isn't being considered unprofessional, but being ignored.
2. Typing something and sending it in a plain envelope doesn't necessarily mean that it's professional.
3. Writing something by hand doesn't necessarily mean a package is unprofessional.
So my advice is to focus on getting your package opened (since none of this matters if that doesn't happen), connecting with the person that opens it through written communication, and backing up your opportunity with quality music that drives the connection home.
How to do it...
If you're trying to cut through the noise and stand out among tons of other packages to get the attention of a creative type, which most people in the music business are, this will probably get you better results than a manila envelope with a typed label and meter postage...
And a cover letter like this will help to drive home the "personality" and develop the connection with the recipient that you're trying to get across better than black text on white paper using a font like Times New Roman...
It's not typed, but it works because it's personal and it shows the guy has done his research on where it will end up and put some effort into sending it.
It also makes the recipient feel like he's getting something unique, which is a quality that will get people to dig deeper into what you're sending. That's much harder when the package is a manila envelope, with a typed label, and meter postage. While a package like that might be a one-of-a-kind, it doesn't appear that way.
When you get a CD case like this, there is no doubt that you're holding something that hasn't been sent everywhere...
Another thing I loved about this package is that he had fun with it. Check out the photos...
He shows his professionalism through researching where the package is going then backed that up by showing he's not stiff and his job is to entertain people. That's the kind of act people are looking for.
To top off the package, he included a cool "gimmick" that I thought was especially brilliant, since putting it together requires people to get their hands dirty and this gets them involved with the package even more.
You see this trick in direct mail pieces all the time, many times with solicitations that try to get you to subscribe to a magazine. The most common form of it is placing a "YES!" sticker on a postcard before you send it back. Even more common is a form where you have to check a "YES!" box.
But this takes it to the next level...
Getting people involved in the process gets results!
For example... This package was sent to me via Music Business Radio. The show prep for the music we play is done by our production coordinator, Karisa. When I got to the studio that day, she had the pieces of the clock on her desk and was trying to put it together!
We get hundreds of packages every year. Which package will Karisa remember? Which package cut through the noise and is getting mentioned here?
You can't do these kinds of things with a plain package.
The artist that sent this package is Andrew Varner from Columbus, OH, by the way.