Press Release vs Media Alert; Your Guide To Making The Right Choice 

You want your announcement to get in front of local and trade media, and your PR team tells you they will work on a media alert. Are they really telling you your announcement isn’t newsworthy? Not at all. It’s important to understand that a media alert is just as useful as a press release, it just takes a different path to get your brand in the news. This blog will help you understand what news is better for a press release and what announcements are more suited for a media alert. 

Press Release 

A press release is best for announcements where the story writes itself. If you want a reporter to take the release, repurpose it into a story in their own words, and have it run as a standalone article, a press release is your best option. That is because the press release makes it as easy as possible for reporters to write the story; it gives a factual summary, background, and a quote.  

That is not to say that it can’t also lead to an interview for a larger story. Very often a press release can start a conversation that builds solid relations with reporters and puts your client’s name into larger trending conversations, even if that release doesn’t directly lead to a story.  If your announcement can tell its own story, capture that story in a press release, and see where the story leads. 

Media Alert 

If your announcement is newsworthy but reporters are more likely to use it as part of another story, then a media alert is your best choice. For example, if you have a major conference coming up, and you are announcing dates for when people can register, exhibits, or other elements that would be part of a larger story about that conference.  A media alert will make it easy for reporters to take the cold hard details they need and use them as supporting information in a larger story. Again, this doesn’t make the content less interesting, it just reaches your audience as part of articles reporters are already working on.  

When in Doubt 

There are times when you will feel it is ambiguous and choosing between a press release or a media alert could go either way. For example, if you are announcing a series of holiday events for November and December, you might wonder if the media would write its own standalone article or if they would choose to use it for a roundup article of holiday events in the area. In that case, consider factors such as: has the local media already written about you recently? Reporters try to avoid writing the same story twice within a 6-month period, so if they already covered a story about your brand with similar content, your best option is a media alert. However, if that story was close to a year old, you can often get them to write that story with a press release. Additionally, consider how unique your announcement is, whether it fits into the assigned beat of the local media, whether the local writers typically write the type of story that would include your announcement, and whether you are also announcing something else within the week. Those are all factors to consider in deciding between a press release and media alert. 

At the end of the day, a media alert can get you just as many placements as a press release. It just takes your content on a different path to get there. Content for a media alert is not any less important for your brand than content for a press release, so make sure you use the right vehicle to take your brand to your audience on the right journey. 

If you would like help with public relations, marketing, and advertising, feel free to contact us. We offer a variety of services like digital marketing & analytics, marketing & brand strategy, and more to small and large companies. 

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