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With all the focus on social media these days, maybe the good old fashioned media alert has become a neglected part of your marketing efforts. Following are a few tips and a media alert template to get you started.

It can be a very effective tool however, creating buzz around your fundraising events. It is used to send information about your event to members of the media which will help create interest in your event so people will be enticed to attend.

It is related to a press release, is supposed to be much shorter (one page), yet it is a great tool in getting media attention for your organization’s events. In fact, traditionally, a media alert is supposed to be sent before your event and a press release afterwards.

Even if you’re not a public relations pro, you can still draft an effective media alert and put it into action!

Create an interesting headline for your media alert

The first step of the media alert is to create a headline that evokes curiosity. Similar to any other media related piece, the title should quickly grab the reader’s attention while providing a brief description to what the media alert is about. An editor or reporter receiving the media alert should immediately be able to figure out the central information for the release.

Who, what, when, where, why?

The next section should include all the basic details for your event. The layout of your media alert will help present your information in a clear and simple way. One of the most effective ways to do this is to utilize the simple who, what, when, where and why format.

There are basically two ways you can go about this:

– Write a single sentence to answer each question and then provide a bit more detail in an additional paragraph that will convince the reader why the event is noteworthy. Keep it short – remember that this is not a press release.

– Write a short paragraph to answer each question that includes all pertinent information. In any case, only feature the most important information and leave some room to foster curiosity about your event.

Layout example:
(click on media alert template to download)

template for media alert

Tip: Before sending your media alert, have two or three members of your group check all the information for accuracy.

Now that you’ve got your media alert composed it is time to put it into action! If you haven’t done so yet, make a list of the emails and phone numbers of local media contacts in your area that might be interested in covering the event. Be sure to get information on how and when to submit media alerts. That way you’ll give the editors enough time to go over the alert and fit coverage of the event into their publication schedule.

Using media alerts before noteworthy events is a great way to help spread the word and at the same time build a good relationship with local media outlets.

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