Whether you work in a busy public relations department for a major corporation, or have been assigned to handle the promotion for a small event, the media alert is one of the most important tools of the trade. The media alert is an invitation designed to inform the media about your event, such as a press conference or grand opening, and entice them to attend. A media alert differs from a press release, which is an example of the type of coverage you’d like to see after the event.
Add a headline to the document that reads “Media Alert.” Use a large font – 20 point or higher – all capital letters and bold print to ensure that the alert stands out among all of the other items a newsroom receives each day.
Include the date that you’re sending the alert and your contact information at the top of the page.
Describe the basic information about the event; include the who, what, where, when and why. Break each aspect into a separate paragraph, each with its own header.
Use clear, compelling language to describe the event, but avoid reporting. A media alert is designed to attract media to an event, not explain the event or provide angles on the news.
Print the media alert on company letterhead. Double check the document for typos, spelling and grammatical errors and confirm that the details of the event are correct.
Prepare your media contact list. Each media outlet has its own preference for receiving alerts, but most prefer fax or email. Confirm that the contact information you have for each person is correct to avoid wasting time.
Send the media alert at least 24 hours before the event, if possible. If the media alert is for a last-minute press conference, or an offer for an expert on a news story, send it as soon as possible, preferably with at least an hour or two of notice.
Follow up the media alert with a telephone call if you want to confirm that key media received the alert and plan to attend, or if it is going out on short notice.
Post the media alert to your company website, and add information about the event to your company social media feeds, if applicable. If the media follows you online, they can get information from those sources immediately, which is especially important if they are out in the field and do not receive your printed alert.
Keep the media alert short, no more than one page. Make it clear that there will be opportunities for photos and videos at the media event.
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