How to Write a Media Advisory
What is a Media Advisory?
A media advisory is an invitation sent to notify the media about a time-sensitive event. The goal of an advisory is to give just enough essential information to convince media outlets of the importance of sending a reporter to cover your event or activity.
What to Include
Under your letterhead, put the heading, “MEDIA ADVISORY” in bold capital letters with the event name below that.
A media advisory is similar in format to a party invitation. Right at the start, it needs to state the basics of Who, What, When, Where and Why. Below that, add important information that is not covered by the 5 W’s. This can include things like guest speakers, the goal of the event or a map to the location.
Next, put the event agenda. This is vital. Reporters often have events overlapping or so closely spaced together that getting from one to the other is difficult. If the reporter is able to consult your event agenda, he or she will be able to determine when would be most beneficial for them to be present and plan accordingly. Including your agenda also gives media outlets a better idea of what kind of event you're hosting.
The media advisory must have the name, phone number and email address of your media contact person. This is the person who is best qualified to field questions about the event’s topic, goals, agenda and guest speakers. It is also a good idea to include key information about your company or organization.
Your media advisory should not exceed one page in length, single spaced. Margins should be one inch on all sides. Use a professional font such as Times New Roman or Arial. For a printed advisory, use your company or organization’s letterhead.
Advisories can also be tailored to send to dignitaries, public figures and other VIP’s that may have interest in attending your event. In this case, replace the “MEDIA ADVISORY” heading at the top of the page with the word, “INVITATION”. You may also use colors and fancier font, if appropriate to the event and easily legible. Also, be sure to include RSVP date and information.
What to Expect Next
If you know the editor at the media outlet, send the invitation directly to him or her so they can assign a reporter to your event right away. If you have developed a relationship with one of the reporters, CC a copy to them to increase your chance of having a reporter show up (and with a favorable attitude).
After receiving your advisory, a reporter may call you for clarification, further details or to schedule a quick interview and snap some photos if they know they won’t be able to attend your function.
Please Note: A Media Advisory is not the same thing as a Press Release. A Press Release is a full-fledged article with full details, relevant quotes and even event photos. Details of How to Write an Effective Press Release can be found in a separate article.
© 2011 Rosa Marchisella