With all that is written about PR and the media these days, one surprisingly effective PR communication device rarely gets attention: media alerts.
Part of the reason for the lack of attention is because press releases have grown in popularity as an SEO (search engine optimization) tool for companies seeking to improve their search engine rankings.
Media alerts truly are virtuous for their single-minded focus. They exist to inform media outlets of an organization’s plan to hold an event:
- Press conferences
- Demos at a tradeshows
- Award ceremonies
- Grand openings of entertainment venues like water parks, music halls, or theaters
- Annual fundraisers benefitting charities like Susan G. Komen or Salvation Army
The format of a media alert is extremely formulaic – much more than a press release – and is limited to communicating the what, where, when, why & how of the event. In fact, the layout of a media alert should literally show each of those items in bold with a brief explanation indented to the right.
Not unlike this:
August 10, 2014
Fun Kart Lanes to Hold VIP & Media Day in Advance of Grand Opening
What: Fun Kart Lanes is holding a VIP & Media Day before its official grand opening on August 10. Media professionals and select guests will be able to get behind the wheel of a professional kart and live the dream of being an Indy driver while racing around Fun Kart Lanes’ half-mile winding track.
Who: We expect several community leaders to attend our VIP & Media Day including Mayor Dianne Sawyer, Congressman Samuel L. Jackson, State Senator George Lopez and Chamber of Commerce president Rick Grimes.
When: 12:00 – 4:00 PM Saturday, August 10
Where: 1001 Speedway Boulevard, Anytown
Why: Fun Kart Lanes gives a real-life feeling of what it’s like to be a professional driver in the IndyCar series in a safe, controlled kart. Fun Kart Lanes will also offer driving lessons for young, aspiring drivers with dreams to break into the IndyCar world.
How: Media are invited to experience and cover the exclusive event and are encouraged to arrive up to one hour in advance in order to set up equipment, arrange interview times with Fun kart Lanes Founder & CEO, Tom Brady, and take pictures of the karts.
Some media alerts may start with an introductory paragraph or two then segue into the who, what, where, when… Some also drop the ‘how’ and keep it limited to the 5-w’s.
No matter what you decide works best for your organization, media alerts are a powerful PR tool when used for the right event call-to-actions.
Want to share how a media alert helped your organization grab some great publicity? Share your ideas below!
About Dave Manzer: Dave Manzer founded an Austin tech PR agency for startups and emerging-growth businesses in 2009. Dave Manzer specializes in highly integrated PR & marketing strategies that help companies in technology, healthcare and professional services reach their goals in brand awareness and revenue growth. To contact Dave directly about the PR over Coffee blog, please email him at dave(@)davemanzer.com.