Advisory or Release: What’s the Difference?

When someone tells me they need to issue a media advisory my first question is, “Where is your event being held?” This is inevitably followed by a blank stare and the response, “We’re not having an event …” and therein lies the issue: media advisories and news releases are often confused. Here’s a quick guide on how to use both effectively. 

Let’s start with some definitions: 

A media advisory is a one-pager that alerts the media – not the public – about an upcoming event like a news conference, product launch or presentation. It’s typically emailed at least three days before the event and followed up with calls to determine who will attend. Think of it like an invitation that succinctly answers the questions: who, what, when, where, and why. The goal is to get the media interested enough to show up without providing them so much information that they don’t have to show up! 

Moving on… 

A news release announces breaking news and is written like an actual article. Where a media advisory offers basic information to generate interest and get reporters in the room, a news release delivers a more complete story that can stand alone, or serve as background when a reporter is writing a story. Releases are distributed either to targeted media lists or via the wire. But wait, here’s an important fact. While a news release does not function as the “invitation” to the event, it is part of the materials given to the media who attend the event, in addition to being distributed. 

Both media advisories and news releases can increase your company’s visibility and everyone wants that. The key is making sure you’re using them correctly!