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PR pros often use a media alert to capture the attention of news professionals who work in radio and audio communications. Different from a press release or a press story, media alerts are straight-forward notices that are strictly intended to catch the eye of journalists. They provide enough information to motivate the recipient to attend an event or schedule an interview, and develop a story that will hold interest for their audience.
Clearly identified as a “media alert,” these one-page communications contain a compelling headline; brief overview; complete who, what, when, where, and why facts; and contact details. They do not provide angles, but provide sufficient information so that the journalist can see a news story forming. While extremely effective, they must be used judiciously to maintain credibility and assure the journalist that this is indeed something worth covering. Here are the top five questions to ask before sending a media alert:
- Why would a journalist want to know about this story or event? If you can’t offer a good reason in one or two sentences, then a media alert is probably not the way to go.
- Does my headline convey this in a very concise way? Journalists might get hundreds of alerts, packages, and press releases across their desk every month. Make sure your headline is impactful and really stands out.
- Have I included the most important details at the very beginning? There’s not a lot of time in the never-ending news cycle. Your recipients make decisions in the blink of an eye based on the key details you provide.
- Is it visually appealing? Is there readable font type and size, short and sweet messaging, and a great photo? If it looks like too much to read, it might just get put on the “not now” pile, never to be seen again.
- Are details on availability for interviews super clear? This is an audio medium, and news professionals want to know they can get a good audio clip when they need it.
One way to think outside the public relations box is to access the incredible reach of the remarkably powerful radio audience. According to Nielsen’s 2019 Audio Today – Total US Report, AM/FM radio still leads the pack in overall weekly reach at 92% of all adults. Since this report confirms that radio reaches more Americans each week than any other information communication platform, it is the perfect opportunity to deliver news messages to a highly-targeted and engaged audience.
MediaTracks Communications is a leading provider of audio and radio services for the public relations industry. Visit our website, call 847-299-9500, or email [email protected] to learn more about using media alerts to achieve your public relations goals.