Press Releases and Advisories

A media advisory is a one-page sheet that alerts reporters to an upcoming news event. It is sent out several days before the event and is followed up with a phone call. A press release announces breaking news and is written like a news story.

Media Advisory Quick Tips

  • Keep it short . List the event, its participants, the date and location. Be sure to include the name and phone number of a contact person for the press. Briefly spell out the purpose of the event. Are you releasing new research findings? Protesting government actions? Let broadcasters know if you’ll have video or a live feed.
  • Offer a compelling preview. Write a strong headline and lead sentence that pique reporters’ interest. Don’t reveal the news you’ll be releasing, but do provide a tantalizing glimpse that gives them reason to attend.
  • Send it to journalists. Fax or e-mail your advisory to reporters who cover your issue, to editors, news directors, bureau chiefs and TV/radio producers. Also send it to the daily calendars (daybooks) of wire services. Use VOCUS to broadcast fax or e-mail your advisory.
  • Follow up with a phone call. Give the essential details of your event – make sure your pitch is tight and persuasive. Leave a message if the journalist isn’t there.

Press Release Quick Tips

  • Put the most important information first. Your headline should grab reporters’ attention, and your lead sentence should summarize what’s most newsworthy. Next come supporting facts and quotes from spokespeople or experts to illustrate and liven your data. At the end of the release include a one-paragraph mission statement from the sponsoring organization. Be sure to put the name and phone number of a contact person at the top of the release.
  • Include all the facts necessary for reporters to file a story. Write in a fluent, newsy style that conveys authority and fully covers the issue, so that reporters will rely on your release as they write their stories.
  • Send it to journalists who got the media advisory. In addition, put together a press kit to hand out at the event. The press kit should contain the press release, along with other relevant materials, such as fact sheets, news clips, statements from supporting groups – whatever helps the press understand your issue and write their story.
  • If reporters need substantial time to prepare a story, send an embargoed release ahead of the release date. Make it clear that the story cannot be published before the date specified on the release. But also be aware of the risk. A reporter might break the embargo and publish the news ahead of schedule, ruining your press conference and media strategy.
  • A few technical tips. Send out the press release on letterhead stationery of the sponsoring group. Keep it to one page or at the most, two pages. State -more- at the bottom of each page, except for the last page where you put a ### sign.