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Journalists and editors are busy people and have many items competing for their time and attention. Thus, the first step for effective media advisories and press releases is to make sure your media advisory or press release gets attention. Newsrooms receive a great many of these documents every day, and most get 10 seconds or so of consideration before they either a) go in the trash/get deleted; or b) get set aside for follow-up.

Media advisories are the journalistic equivalent of an “invitation” to follow-up or cover a potential story, usually an event where you’d like media coverage. Media advisories contain your direct contact information and include a brief summary of the “who, what, why, and when” of the event. In addition, it’s often a good idea to explain where or when you’ll be available if the media wants to interview you.

Press releases are actual news stories. It contains enough information to appear in print or online without any changes. Many smaller newspapers will print press releases exactly as they are written. Other times, however, a press release will prompt a reporter to follow-up and do their own story on the topic.

Some quick tips:

  • Keep media advisories and press releases short and to the point.
  • Always include your contact information.
  • “###” at the bottom of the document means “that’s the end.”
  • Send media advisories out a few days in advance of the event. Call or email to make sure the advisory was received.
  • Press releases can be sent with a follow-up phone call or email a day or two later to see if the journalist is interested in the story. Try being low-key and helpful; don’t “beg” for coverage, though be sure to gently sell the story/event.
  • The day of an event, make sure to call to follow up again and persuade the media to cover your event.
  • Persistence in following-up is key; it can be the difference in determining whether an event receives news coverage or not.

 

Sample Press Release:

 

Center Helps Small Businesses Comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Unique Partnership Provides Training and Identifies Potential Violations

August 14, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jenny Smith, 555-555-1212

A new partnership between the Center for Disability Rights (CDR) and ABC Law Firm will help area small businesses comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the federal law that specifies accommodations for disabled people. CDR is also helping individuals throughout the area identify ADA violations and work toward remedies for these violations. If necessary, CDR may go to court to promote compliance with the law.

“We want to ensure access across our area for people with disabilities and we are happy to work with businesses to proactively improve access. That is what this training is about,” said John Doe, CDR’s President and CEO.

CDR’s ADA compliance training session will be held on August 17, 2012, at 3:00 pm at 100 Main Street. The ADA compliance training will address a wide range of violations and discuss steps and tools for ensuring compliance. Employment discrimination against people with disabilities will also be discussed. The training is free and open to the public. RSVPs are appreciated but not required. RSVPs and questions may be directed to Jenny Smith at 555-555-1212 or by email.

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