Media advisories are a great tool to raise more awareness for your event or activity. Media outlets are constantly looking for a juicy story to cover or highlight. A properly written media advisory can earn you the news coverage you need to get the word out for free. Follow the steps below to format an effective advisory that elevated your brand and maximizes your event publicity.
Step 1: Strategize & Plan
A media advisory is a short document that is meant to offer basic event information. When written properly, a media advisory serves as an ‘invitation,’ expressly addressing media outlets. The intent is to generate media interest – leading to coverage, event promotion and a mutually beneficial relationship.
The planning step should not be very time-consuming. The goal is to strategize the intent of your media advisory so it develops quickly and with clarity. When planning, consider the following questions:
- Is your event worthy of media coverage? What’s the significance?
- Is your event interesting enough to be listed in print, radio or on television news? If the event serves little media purpose and isn’t newsworthy, then drafting a media advisory isn’t necessary.
- To whom will you be sending the media advisory to?
- Are you sending the media advisory to individual journalists? Are you sending it the assignment desks?
- What channel will you be sending the media advisory?
- Will it be sent by e-mail or automated e-mail?
- How will you measure the success or failure of the media advisory?
- Do you want print, radio or television to attend your event? Are you content if only one person covers the event? Is your goal to attract multiple outlets for event coverage? Define your goals and key metrics.
When planning a media advisory, it is recommended to have some media relationships in place before sending out the advisory. This will ensure that your media advisory is to be understood as a ‘trusted’ source.
To learn more about building and maintaining meaningful business relationships read one of our other blogs here.
Step 2: Draft & Finalize Message
A media advisory is meant to be a quick read. Journalists follow the idea that ‘a little goes a long way’. It is recommended to deliver the media advisory on a branded template or company letterhead for professionalism and credibility.
It is important to note that a media advisory is not the same as a press-release. To learn how to format a press release, check out this sister blog topic here.
Below is a brief outline of a properly formatted media advisory:
Multi-Media Journalist Requested
(You want to identify specifically what form of coverage you want.)
TITLE: Name of the event
WHAT/WHO: What is the event? Who will be attending the event? Will there be any VIP attendees?
WHEN: When will the event take place?
WHERE: Where will the event take place?
City, State and Zip
Be certain to provide any additional event logistics that the media should know. Do you expect traffic delays or road closures? Will the media be required to enter at a certain door, or need official credentials for the event?
WHY: Why does this event matter? Why should media be inclined to cover the event? What purpose does it serve?
Provide three to five sentences detailing the event’s significance. Again, reinforcing why media should care. Here is where you ‘sell’ the event to the media contacts you are notifying. Communicate the relevance and benefits for attendees of the event.
MEDIA CONTACT(S): Who will serve as the media liaison at the event?
You want to be certain to have at least one and no more than two event contacts for the media. These individuals should only be asked to deal with the media and who are educated on the event – they may serve as a source for the media coverage. Too many media contacts could create a breakdown in communication were important details may be lost or misinterpreted.
In this section, provide a brief summary of the event/business entity. This should be short. Four to six sentences that expand on your What/Who section.
Step 3: Schedule & Send
When sending the media advisory, you want to be certain that you are sending the message at an optimal time. As stated before, it helps to have established media relationships before sending out the advisory.
You want to contact your media relationships two or three days prior to the event, to ensure that when you send the event’s media advisory your contacts are already on alert for your event. This will serve as a reminder and reduce potential schedule conflicts.
If your event is in the morning, send the media advisory the afternoon before the event. If the event is in the evening, send the advisory the day of the event in the early morning.
Sending the advisory to the right media outlets is crucial to gaining coverage. If your event isn’t breaking news or ‘hard’ news; then the likelihood that you’re going to get headline attention isn’t very high. If your event is about a human-interest story (a fair/festival, community event etc.) you will want to target media influencers who cover community events and special reports etc. Sports events may also have different local media stations or groups that you will want to contact. It’s ok to cast a broad net, but be sure the media stations with relevant coverage are contacted above all else.
Step 4: Measure & Evaluate
When sending a media advisory, it is important to measure the success and or failure rate so you can improve your planning and execution next time.
There is now a wide range of automated e-mailing software available for free or at a low cost. It is advised to use an automated email platform to send media advisories. Constant Contact or MailChimp are examples of free and cost-effective email marketing platforms. You can import and build media contact lists, distribute content and track information related to whom the message is to and if/when they open the advisory.
Testing and optimizing your messages will help your events get more coverage. Some optimization tips to consider when sending media advisories may include changing the title to gain more attention or relevance, use personal greetings when possible and use clean formatting so readers can find and understand your advisory as easily as possible.