A few weeks ago, I was having a discussion with a friend about the details of our jobs. I was struck that my friend didn’t know exactly what I was talking about when I mentioned how I often write and send media advisories to journalists to inform them about an upcoming event. That led me to think that many people may not understand what a media advisory is and what purpose it serves.
A media advisory is a brief document that gives members of the media all of the pertinent information they need to decide if they are interested in covering a particular story or event. It is often used to announce an event, conference or press availability. An advisory typically will answer the key questions: Who, what, when and where.
The “Who” of a media advisory gives the press details on who will be available to them or who is making the announcement. Members of the media often will make a decision on covering or not covering an event based on “The Who.” As you might imagine, having people who are considered influential or who have a great story to tell make events more likely to garner press interest.
The “What” should clearly state the details about what is being announced. This is critically important, and it allows you to give enough information to hook a reporter or journalist to come to your event to hear more about your announcement.
The “When and Where” are just that, when and where your announcement will take place. It’s important to be as specific as possible so that members of the media can easily find and cover your announcement. Keep in mind busy times (deadlines and live-broadcasts) and convenient locations when planning your event, and build your announcement around times and places that provide the best opportunities for the media to show up.
It is always important to remember that a media advisory is not the story you want to tell. Rather, it is an invitation for the media to hear you tell your story.
Do you have experience with media advisories? Are there tips that make some more successful than others? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet your responses to us using the hashtag #mcgblog.