Getting the word out about your company increases your visibility. As part of your publicity program, you will develop a media kit and distribution schedule of media advisories and press releases, sometimes called media releases. A well-thought out publicity campaign includes both media advisories and press releases.
A media advisory, or media alert, invites the media to a company event, such as a news conference, grand opening or presentation. It's an invitation to attend an event that may or may not be open to the public. A press release to the media details news about the business, such as a new product or sponsorship of a charitable event. Both press releases and media advisories can be used for company events.
A press release may be up to two pages long, although short one-page releases seem to be the preference. The format starts with "Press Release" at the top, and continues with contact info for the appropriate person and date of the release or a reference to "For Immediate Release." A catchy headline and a dateline precede the first paragraph.
A media advisory is much shorter. It is titled "Media Advisory" at the top with the contact information. The headline is the event. The first paragraph is very short and covers details of the event — location, time, etc.. It might also include information on where to enter the building, where to park and whether refreshments or a meal will be served.
Since the media advisory is an invitation, it's sent to those members of the press likely to attend. A press release is sent to a wider distribution. For example, the advisory could be sent to all the television stations in the area while the press release would go to those organizations, as well as newspapers, magazines and radio stations. A media advisory might be distributed to the local media while the press release is sent to both local and national media.
Media advisories are typically sent twice, once a few weeks before the event and then a day or so before the event as a reminder. Press releases that aren't tied to an event are sent out when relevant; the timing isn't as important as with media advisories.
A media kit introduces your business to the media. It contains a description of the company, bios of senior staff, photographs of the products, brief descriptions of the products, recent press releases and clips of media coverage. It usually does not include media advisories.