Whether you’re promoting a pie-eating contest, a press conference on the courthouse steps or a perfume product launch, a media advisory is a great tool for inviting the media, particularly television and radio. I think of media advisories as shorthand press releases – a means for delivering the who, what, where, when and how in a stripped-down format that a reporter can grab on her way out the door and get all the information she needs to cover the story once she is on location.
Typically less than one page long, the media advisory includes contact information, a headline, description of the event including the date and time, a listing of who is involved, the address (include cross streets if you can), and a detailed schedule. Each of these should be broken into separate sections of your document, like so:
The headline should be a catchy sentence that captures the essence of your event and conveys a sense of urgency. Highlight celebrities if you’ve got them, or compelling visuals like a children's blueberry pie eating contest or hot air balloons taking off.
Describe the event in one or two sentences here.
List the VIPs who have been invited and/or are confirmed to attend. This can mean your corporate CEO, the mayor, the local weathercaster or a skateboarding cat. This is also a nice place to make sure to give kudos to anyone you want to pay special attention to.
Date and time. Include a detailed schedule if you can do it in a few lines, so that reporters, who are often crunched for time, can easily tell when the pie-eating contest starts. For example:
9 to 9:30 a.m. CONTESTANT CHECK-IN
9:30 to 9:40 a.m. OPENING REMARKS BY MAYOR SMITH
9:40 to 9:45 a.m. REMARKS BY CHAIR OF PIE-EATING CONTEST
9:45 to 10 a.m. INTRODUCTION OF CONTESTANTS
10 a.m. PIE-EATING CONTEST BEGINS
11 to 11:30 a.m. WINNER AVAILABLE FOR ONE-ON-ONE INTERVIEWS
If there is coffee and, er, pie available for reporters, say so. Don’t be shy. A good PR person is not afraid to use free food as a selling point.
This is where to put the location details. Include the place name, street address, cross streets, landmarks and parking information here. If you have special parking for the media but not for the public, make that very clear here.
Still got space on the page? Then use it to describe the visuals if it is not obvious from the headline and description. Or include a sentence or two about why your company is sponsoring the event. Close with your organization’s boilerplate info, and distribute to assignment desks.