The issuance of both a media advisory and a press release provides a method for generating multiple contacts with the media and for turning a one-event story into a possible two-event story. However, when using this strategy it is important to understand the differences between the two documents. If the documents are too similar and become viewed as spam, it is unlikely that your event will receive significant media attention.
A media advisory contains the details that instruct the media as to the nature of an upcoming event. A media advisory is a time-sensitive document that provides informative background information such as the "who", "what", "when", "why" and "where" of a press conference or other similar occurrence such as a product unveiling or ribbon cutting. This allows media personnel to decide if they should attend the event, how to obtain access to the event and what to expect should they need to perform due diligence research prior to the commencement of the event. The advisory may incentivize the media to run a pre-story that tells the public of the upcoming event.
A press release describes the details surrounding a story that the writers wish to tell. It provides a narrative intermingled with quotes from the story's principles. It is designed to convey a message to the reader that can be understood even if the reader is not in attendance at the media event. A well-written press release will get directly to the point that is being conveyed. It will provide clear, succinct quotes that in and of themselves describe most important aspects of the story.
Differences - Target Audience
A media advisory is mostly designed to be provided to the media only. It is not necessarily for public purview. The press release must be designed to have an appeal to the public so that even if it is carried in the media verbatim it still has its desired impact.
Differences - Timing
The media advisory will be issued prior to a media event. After all, it is providing directions to the media on what is about to occur. The press release will likely be released during the event or after the event has taken place. It serves as a written confirmation of the media event just in case media members cannot attend or need to source a written version of the message that is being conveyed.
Differences - Narrative and Quotes
The media advisory simply provides the basic details surrounding an upcoming event. It does not have the same narrative or story that is reflected in the press release. And, unlike a press release, the media advisory does not likely contain quotes from the principals of the event.
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