This is a guest post by Ashley Wirthlin. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
Public Relations Writing Tips
PR success depends largely on the coverage media can provide you and your company. One aspect of being successful in your efforts to get that coverage depends upon your ability to ask for it. While the media, journalists, and reporters all need your stories to keep their news alive, they also get a lot of pitches from PR professionals daily. So, how do you stand out amongst the sea of press releases? Try a media alert.
What is a media alert?
A media alert is similar to a press release; instead of telling the entire story, a media alert does what its name implies: it alerts the media, but in a more factual manner. A media alert is also referred to as an Invitation to Cover. Also similar to what its name entails, an Invitation to Cover is an invitation to a media vehicle or company to come to an event to cover it. For a larger scale company, such as Starbucks and Apple, a media alert can be posted on the company’s website with enough interest generated that way. For smaller scale companies, these media alerts can be sent to a specific media contact to invite them to your event as well as being posted to a website. When writing a media alert, remember to include the following:
Key components of a media alert:
- What: This portion of the media alert release is meant to describe the event. This section can also include the “who”: who is the event being put on by, sponsored by, and for?
- When: Include here the date and time.
- Where: Be sure to use an address as well as a description of the location.
- Conclude with a single sentence to describe why the event is being held; is this an annual fundraiser? If so, indicate that here. (You can also include this information in the “What” section to keep your media release clean and clear.)
- Additionally, be sure to include a header, the words “Media Alert”, a title, and your contact information. At the end of the media alert, be sure to indicate it is the end with three hashtags: “###”. This way media, reporters, journalists, and bloggers can know there is no further information.
Some things to remember:
- Try to limit your media alerts to one page. Getting an entire page read by a busy media contact can be a feat, so know that 2 pages may deter it from being read at all.
- Be succinct. This means that you quickly convey the important information so that the vital facts are known and easily referenced.
- With limited space and information included, you must convey the importance of the event to the media contact. Though this is not a press release where you can really write a story, know that you can accompany this media alert with a press release about the event. Be sure to include important information in the press release as you would normally.
- Follow up with media if you do not hear from them. This is for your benefit and their own. You must know who is attending in order to plan for the event.
Overall, remember that you may not get a reply. With that in mind, send your media alerts to as many news and media sources as is relevant to your event. (For example, consider not sending a media alert to a media contact on the other side of the country.) Also be sure to do your homework to ensure that you contact media who will be interested in your event. There are some news companies who only cover events in a specific cultural community, and your event may not be relevant. Do not waste your time or theirs by sending them an irrelevant pitch. Be persistent, considerate of their already full plates, and stay positive. Getting media to your event may be difficult, but know that your efforts will eventually pay off.
Ashley Wirthlin is a marketing associate of the H Media Group who run and operate BusinessTraining.com. She is the author and manager of PublicRelationsBlogger.com and is currently getting ready to launch the Public Relations Specialist, a Public Relations Certification Program. She has a free 80+ page eBook available for download, as well as nearly 3,000 free articles on the blog. To reach Ashley, please feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org