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Home The Lions Blog Should I use a press release or media alert?

Should I use a press release or media alert?

Shauna Schuda March 15, 2020

Communications tools explained

Public relations professionals use a variety of tools to share important news with members of the press. The most well-known PR tool is the press release.

A press release is a one- to two-page statement that shares newsworthy information with members of the press and your target audience.

Press releases are often written in an editorial format, with a clear beginning, middle and end. Quotes from key spokespeople, data and background information about the organization may also be included.

Many press releases follow the order below:

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It is common for organizations to assume that the quickest way to get media to cover their stories is to send out a press release. There is not a PR person around who hasn’t heard someone say the following:

“We are having an open house and I want media to be there. Can you write up a press release that tells people about the event?”

“It would be really great if the local media would interview our expert. Can you develop a press release about how great our expert is?

“We are going to be giving out an award. Can you craft a press release so the media can cover this story?”

If you are interested in inviting members of the media to attend a press conference, interview or another important newsworthy event, instead of a press release, consider adding media alerts to your PR toolkit.

What’s a Media Alert?

Media alerts are short, one-page documents that are intended to invite members of the media. A media alert will always include important, at-a-glance information such as the date, location and time of the event, relevant parking info, and a brief description of the event. Essentially, a media alert is an overview of all the major details that are usually included in the beginning of a press release. 

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If you are hosting an event that you want media to attend, we recommend that you send out a media alert first and follow-up with a press release after your event concludes that goes into more detail about what occurred. By expanding your PR toolkit to include both press release and media alerts, you may be more effective in having press attend and cover your events.

Media Alert versus Press Release

Media Alert Press Release
  • Used to invite members of the media to attend an event.
  • Brief and to the point.
  • One page maximum.
  • Includes the most important information and answers the questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why?
     
  • Used to tell a detailed news story.
  • Content is written like an actual article you would read in a newspaper.
  • One to two pages maximum.
  • Includes quotes from experts, facts and figures, or expanded background information.


Distribute one to two weeks prior to your event.

Audience: Media only


 


Distribute the day of or immediately following an event or news announcement

Audience: Media and the general public

Template press releases and media alerts are available to be downloaded in the Resource Center on the Lions Clubs International website.


Shauna Schuda is the senior media relations specialist for Lions Clubs International.