Understanding the difference between a media alert and a press release is crucial for effective PR strategies. Both of these tools are considered valuable assets in the world of marketing, with over 90% of marketers recognizing their importance. To help you navigate these tools more effectively, we have created a comprehensive guide that outlines the distinctions between media alerts and press releases.

From experience, we know that using PR tools whose purpose you don’t understand can have devastating effects. In addition to destroying the credibility of your company, using a PR tool incorrectly erodes public trust in your company. Once you’ve lost the trust of your target audience, it’s hard to reverse this.

Understanding the difference between a media alert and a press release will empower you to leverage both of them effectively for your business, with optimum results. While there are differences between the two, both are effective in boosting your brand image and widening the reach of your business.

What’s a media alert?

As the name suggests, a media alert notifies the media about major upcoming events from your business. The ultimate goal of a media alert is to encourage media professionals to attend the event and report about it to the general public or your target audience. This is an effective means of inspiring journalists to develop content about your brand and promote its visibility.

The best media alert is direct. It highlights the major points including the type of event you’re holding. With this approach, you’ll capture the attention of relevant journalists. Having said that, you can create a media alert for the following events:’

  • Special visitors
  • Success celebration
  • Informational workshops
  • Charity events
  • Grand opening

When you’re developing your media alert, remember to send it to local media outlets for more publicity. After all, media outlets that are local to your brand are more likely to be interested in your news. What’s more, since they’re right next door, they will find it easier to send media representatives to attend and then cover your event. When some of these media professionals attend, you’ve got a chance to create a positive impression in your local area.

The purpose of creating media alerts is not that different from that of creating a press release. At the end of the day, they both share newsworthy content about your business or brand with the final goal of generating brand visibility. However, a media alert has a different target audience from that of a press release.

What’s a press release?

Media alerts are primarily designed to attract media attention. On the other hand, a press release is designed to capture the attention of your target audience. While you still need to appeal to a media professional to get your press release published, the final audience of your press release is the general public. Moreover, you can bypass the media outlets and just share your press release online. Even so, something has to be said about the wider reach that you get by having your press release published by a media outlet, rather than relying on your owned media channels.

Since you’re writing your press release for your target audience, it’s important to find out what matters to these people so that you can adapt your announcement to appeal to them. Once you’ve done that, you need to identify journalists who regularly write for the same target audience.

If you follow the press release format to a tee, then media professionals can directly use it to create newsworthy content. During the low season when there are no events, a press release is a fantastic tool that can help you revive your business. In fact, it offers you an opportunity to connect with your audience and remind these people that your business still exists. By using it, you can consistently boost brand awareness and keep your brand top of mind among the target audience. You can also use a press release to update the audience about new clients, offers, and services. That being said, some occasions that require press releases include:

  • Top-tier recognition in your niche
  • Ranking on top ten lists
  • The upcoming launch of new services or products in the company
  • New partnerships
  • Product awards

These are all things that your target audience will be excited to hear about. These announcements also boost your brand profile, ensuring that your target audience sees you as more credible. With an effective press release, you can share these pieces of information and create a positive perception of your brand.

Media alert vs. press release: what are the differences?

At this stage, we can now list the distinctions between the two and show you how to use both effectively.

1) Content

What does each tool require when it comes to content? For starters, media alerts for starters cover key details about your company’s event. It doesn’t include commentary from the company’s officials. The standard media alert covers the following elements:

  • The purpose of the event you’re announcing
  • How the recipient can attend
  • Who else will be in attendance
  • An event schedule or timeline
  • The location of the event

With the help of these details, the recipient can decide whether they want to attend or not. These details can also form the foundation of their news story, if they decide to write one about you.

On the other hand, a press release revolves around key information about an important development at the company. It also includes contributions like quotes from company officials. With this content, a journalist has enough information to write their story, without attending any events at your company.

2) Length

Another key difference between a media alert and a press release is in the level of detail provided. After all, one is a report and the other is an invitation. It shouldn’t be surprising that a typical press release can be 1-2 pages in length. The standard press release highlights all the pertinent details regarding your announcement so that a journalist can easily write a story about your brand.

On the other hand, since a media alert only highlights key details about the upcoming event, they are very brief. Their core purpose is to capture the journalist’s attention and get them to attend the event you’re hosting. Media professionals can only start to write a story after they’ve attended the event – without coming to your event, they have nothing to work from.

3) Audience

Since each tool serves different goals, the recipients they are targeting differ. To use each effectively, you must tailor it for the relevant audience. When creating a media alert, for example, you should target legitimate audiences like the local media representatives.

A press release has an added advantage in that it allows you to target many audiences. This puts less pressure on you to write it in a specific way. Rather than convincing specific people to attend your event, all you need to do is present the important information and convince the readers of why it matters to them. A press release normally targets the general public, but you can tweak it to appeal to a more niche audience. For example, you could be marketing a motorcycle brand so you can write your press release specifically to appeal to motorcycle enthusiasts.

Media alert vs. press release: Which option is the best?

Choosing between a press release and a media alert can create a lot of confusion when you don’t understand the purposes they serve. However, understanding the difference between the two brings you closer to picking the right option for your business.

From a professional perspective, a press release is the best pick for general publicity or brand awareness. On the other hand, if you’re hosting an event and you want the media to cover it, a media alert is perfectly designed for this. Regardless of which option you’re leaning towards, if you need help developing an effective press release or media alert, you can reach out to PR experts who have been doing this for a long time.

How Pressfarm can help with your press release writing

While writing a press release is not rocket science, it can be challenging to compile all the necessary information and write it in a unique and compelling way. If you need help with this, worry not. The PR professionals at Pressfarm specialize in crafting professional press releases that can attract media attention and inspire your target audience.

In addition to creating professional press releases, the Pressfarm team can also distribute these press releases widely within your niche. The expert writers are skilled at writing and placing engaging guest posts for brands across different industries. Moreover, the certified designers have what it takes to create an eye-catching media kit that helps you stand out from your competitors.

By submitting your content to the right media outlets and startup directories, Pressfarm can boost your online visibility and make sure you rank in relevant search results across different search engines. Finally, the Pressfarm account executive creates custom media lists for each client. When combined with the Pressfarm media database of 1 million+ journalists, bloggers, and influencers, these media lists can help you to connect with the best thought leaders in your industry.