In public relations and marketing, there are several methods for reaching out to the media. Two of the most popular are media alerts and press releases.
A media alert or a press release can both be used to attract the interest of reporters, journalists, and other members of the press. For example, both a media alert and a press release that announces an upcoming charity fundraiser.
If they successfully communicate the impact of a recent or upcoming development, a media alert or press release can help a person or a company gain widespread coverage and extend the reach of their narrative and brand recognition.
While they can both be a step in gaining these results, media alerts and press releases are very different.
Depending on the type of news or information you wish to share, a media alert may be a better method for attracting coverage than a press release or vice versa. It’s also possible to use both as part of a larger PR campaign.
This article will look at key differences between media alerts vs. press releases so you can choose the right one for your marketing goals.
Differences Between A Media Alert Vs. A Press Release
There are some major distinctions between a media alert and a press release, which are mainly due to the fact that they serve different purposes.
The Purpose Of A Media Alert
- Alert members of the press of an upcoming coverage opportunity
- Provide a basic overview of what will be happening, when, where, and why it’s happening, and who is involved, as well as contact information
- Give journalists foundational details to help them decide if they want to cover your development
The Purpose Of A Press Release
- Give members of the press and the general public details on an upcoming or recent development
- Enable a person or an organization to issue an official statement or account of something notable
- Since a media alert and a press release are meant to accomplish different things, they are also structured to suit their unique goals.
Media Alert Format
- A single-page document on official letterhead
- Contains a basic pitch headline and subheading to capture a journalist or media editor’s attention.
- Lists answers to key journalistic questions on the upcoming development: who, what, where, when, why
- Provides a means for contact, background information, and links to related media
Press Release Format
- A 300 – 500 word release with a headline, summary, and boilerplate, which can be seen in a press release template
- Explains a notable development like a brief news article, and in a way that’s informative and interesting to casual news readers as well as journalists
- Provides a means of contact and link to a targeted landing page
When To Use A Media Alert Vs. A Press Release
If something noteworthy has happened and you want to get the attention of the media but you’re not sure whether to issue a press release or a media alert, the following information can help.
When To Use A Media Alert
- Your development is upcoming or ongoing, such as an event that is scheduled to happen but has not yet occurred.
- Your event is something that people can experience or attend, such as an in-person or live virtual event
- You want to provide an opportunity for journalists to create an article and have their questions answered directly
When To Use A Press Release
- Your development is upcoming or has happened recently, such as a recently finalized business partnership
- Your development is something that can be explained in a brief but compelling narrative, like a single-page news article, which is shown in this how to write a press release guide
- You want to issue an official statement to ensure that your target audience is given accurate information on something that concerns you or your company or something for which you or your company wants to be recognized, for example, issuing official details on a recalled or discontinued product
- You want your story to appear on media sites and in search engine news results
When To Use Both A Media Alert And A Press Release
You want journalists to attend your event but you also want to release your own official statement
You’re creating a media kit for a comprehensive marketing campaign and you want journalists to have as many primary sources as possible