Improve Your Content in 7 Minutes

Press Release or Media Release vs. Media Alert vs. Media Pitch: 3 media strategy tools explained

Episode Summary

Have you ever wondered what the difference was between the terms "press release", "media release", "media alert", and "media pitch". Well, you're not alone. They all kind of sound the same, don’t they? However, there are critical differences between them. If you’re just getting started in tackling some public relations or publicity for your business, you’ll need to be clear on what those differences are, so your story doesn’t immediately get rejected. So if learning how to approach the media, online publications, and podcast hosts with confidence appeals to you, listen to today’s episode.

Episode Notes

Hi everyone. In today’s episode, I hope to alleviate some confusion by explaining the differences between the terms "press release", "media release", "media alert", and "media pitch".

If you think they all kind of sound the same, you’re not alone.  

01:30 What is a “press release” or “media release”?

02:45 What is a “media alert”?

03:48 What is a “media pitch”?

04:40 To recap

Remember to listen to the full episode for all the details.

To learn more about my business marketing services and training courses visit my website: simonecunningham.com

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Episode Transcription

Welcome to Improve Your Content in 5 Minutes, the podcast that’s here to make your business’s content, videos and publicity memorable through tips and hacks that can be learned in minutes.

Have you ever wondered what the difference was between the terms "press release," "media release," "media alert," and "media pitch?" Well, you're not alone. They all kind of sound the same, don’t they?

However, there are critical differences between them. 

If you’re just getting started in tackling some public relations or publicity for your business, you’ll need to be clear on what those differences are, so your story doesn’t immediately get rejected. 

So if learning how to approach the media, online publications, or podcast hosts with confidence appeals to you, keep listening.

I’m Simone Cunningham, a content and public relations expert, and every week I share actionable tips in content, video creation and how to get your story featured in the media and online, so you can take your business from invisible to in demand.

So, let’s get started. Firstly, let’s talk about “press releases” and “media releases”. Are these different? The answer is no. They are exactly the same thing. 

When I first began my career as a journalist, they were called “press releases” and were sent to us via a fax machine. Now that’s showing my age! 

But fast forward to now. The more modern term is “media release” and they are, of course, now emailed. We also don’t call journalists “the press” anymore, that’s old fashioned. They are “the media”.

So what is a Media Release?

It’s the written notification of a business’s or individual’s newsworthy event or announcement. Its purpose is to attract interest from the media, so the message is shared more broadly on TV, online or in printed publications. 

A media release must answer journalism’s “Five Ws and H” (the who, what, where, when, why, and how”). It should grab their attention immediately with a catchy headline. The body should communicate over a series of short paragraphs, why they should be interested in your story, and include quotes from your spokesperson. Also be sure to insert the contact details at the bottom and keep it to 1 to 1 ½ pages long.

What then is a Media Alert?

It contains similar information to a Media Release, but, think of it as an invitation. 

Your media alert, is asking the media to attend your event or announcement. In it, you still need to cover the “Five Ws and H” (the who, what, where, when, why, and how”), but it’s extra brief. You’re giving the bare-bones outline of why they should attend. What is the main newsworthy element they need to know?

To construct your media alert, start with a headline, then the event or announcement summary, the date and location, and who the media talent or spokesperson is. Under that in dot points add a few key messages or statements, and then contact information.

Most media alerts are distributed twice, first a couple of weeks before the event, and then the day before. If you can, follow up the morning of the event with a phone call to the editor or chief of staff. This way, your story is at the top of their mind and may even get prioritised.

Lastly, what is a Media Pitch?

Think of it as a conversation between you and the journalist, blog writer or podcast host. This is your chance to suggest story ideas to them via email or on the phone. It gives them an idea for a story they could write, or an interview they could do. 

Media pitches are shorter and less formal than media releases. A media pitch should be a few paragraphs long and tell them exactly what is new or exciting about your story idea. 

The key here is to find the newsworthiness of what you have to say. This isn’t a promotion or an ad. You really need to think about what sets you apart from other businesses.

To learn more, I recommend listening to my podcast episode where I explain the 3 the reasons why your media pitch gets ignored or deleted.

So to recap. Press releases and media releases are the same. They provide details of your newsworthy event or announcement, cover the 5Ws and H, and include quotes. A media alert, is an invitation for the media to attend your newsworthy event. A media pitch is a story idea you suggest to the media, an online publication or podcast. In it, you are selling yourself in a few short paragraphs.

I hope you’ve found these tips valuable. If you’re keen to get started now and would like some guidance you can book your FREE Unlock Your Sellable Story Audit with me (1:1 call). We’ll discuss your goals, find your sellable story and start planning your next media release or media pitch. 

If you’d like to take me up the offer I just mentioned, visit simonecunningham.com.