It’s quite common for people to get these two things confused, so in this short post I’ll break down the difference between the two and advise on when to use each.
First of all, the words “press” and “media” are interchangeable. Media would of course be a more modern term and likely more appropriate, because it’s unlikely you’ll send your press release exclusively to print media outlets. That being said, the “press” term is still perfectly acceptable.
So, a press releases is a media release and a media advisory is a press advisory. Clear? Moving on.
The differentiator is the word “release” or “advisory”.
To keep it simple:
Common practice therefore is to issue an advisory prior to the event or situation, and to issue a release following the event or situation.
If the snowmobile club will be holding a special meeting to discuss expanding its trail network, it might issue a media advisory. The purpose of the advisory is to encourage media to attend to meeting, in hopes that they’ll report on what takes place.
Let’s say the media didn’t bother to come. Then, the club might issue a release explaining the details of the discussion and the proposed changes. This information could be printed exactly as it’s issued, or it might prompt a reporter to follow up with a phone call or visit to the club to expand on the story.
Perhaps the media did attend, and the meeting was hijacked by protesters upset about snowmobile trail expansion in a quiet residential neighbourhood. The club has a viewpoint contrary to that of the protesters, so it might issue a press release outlining the club’s take on the issue, with a statement from the president and the chairman of the trail development committee, all of which could be quoted by the media.
In the case of both releases and advisories, keep them short and punchy. If you feel the need to include all kinds of information, add it as a “backgrounder” on a second page.
Have you every written a press release or media advisory that had great success? Do you have tips for making sure advisories and releases get read? Leave a comment on my blog.
If you need help drafting a media advisory or a press release for an announcement or special event, let me know.