How to Write a Media Advisory
Two effective ways to get the word out to the masses are press releases and media advisories. Despite how similar they sound, there are significant differences between the two.
What’s a Press Release? — A press release is usually a long document and offers a specific news angle about an event or news item.
It provides narrative-style content blended with quotes from any key or important person involved in the event. It is designed to convey a message to the reader that may be understood even if the reader isn’t present at the media event.
Think of it like this: a press release is like the Sparks Notes version of a book. It goes over the beginning, middle, and the end, with a few key plot points. Press releases offer a specific angle about a news item or event.
What’s a Media Advisory? — A media advisory is a notice provided to media outlets that announces an event or news item, and provides information to solicit possible coverage. The advisory functions as an enticing and compelling invitation to your event.
In comparison to a press release being the Sparks Notes version of a book, a media advisory is like an interesting and eye-catching excerpt from a groundbreaking novel. Picture the back cover of a best-selling book. A media advisory might offer additional detail to journalists regarding logistics, photo opportunities, etc.
How to Write a Media Advisory:
Step One — Print the informative document on your company or organization’s letterhead. This identifies your company as the host of the event, and shows professionalism.
Step Two — At the top left corner of the page, type Media Advisory in all capital letters, and beneath it, type the date. Following that text, insert the contact information of whoever is hosting the event, or the person who was authorized to give out more information about the event (preferably two that are easily reachable). The contact information should include the name of the company, the names of each contact, their titles (e.g. PR Coordinator, HR Director), phone numbers, and email addresses.
Step Three — Write an eye-catching headline that will not only grab a reader’s attention, but hold it as well. Thousands of news advisories and press releases are distributed every day. Your headline counts, so make it stand out with words that create a strong visual image, or use numbers. The headline can be up to four lines long, including a sub-head (not a requirement). Keep it short, concise, and use a large font.
Step Four — Cover all of the vital information about your event’s details in a short description. Following advice given about creating a headline, also use words to make it visual. List any speakers that will be at your event, and insert a quote from someone in your company that works on the event that is the main message you are trying to convey to the media and the public. If there are photo opportunities, be sure to mention them in the advisory. Photo editors of nearby news outlets and reporters will be drawn in by this information. In the last paragraph, provide a brief summary of your company/organization.
Step Five — If your advisory is longer than one page, type “MORE” at the end of the 1st page, and include both a contact phone number and short headline in the upper-right hand corner of the following pages. At the end of your advisory, type “###” which is how journalists and reporters mark the end of your copy.
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