Writing a Powerful News Advisory For Your Press Conference
Send out a Press Advisory to all the contacts on your press list so that you can excite the media about covering your news event, and have them put your conference on their calendar. Follow up with a call about the advisory and speak further about the press conference.
Imagine a very busy person with a huge stack of mail, a very short attention span, and a very big wastebasket . . . that’s the person you’re trying to reach! Thus, your news advisory should be:
Short: 1 page maximum.
Attention-getting: Use brightly colored paper, or some other attention getting device. Some creative advisory drops have involved attaching the advisory to a helium balloon and delivering it to the newsroom, or delivering it with a cake, with the news advisory placed inside the lid. Be creative, you’ll get noticed!
Easy to read quickly: Laser-print your advisory, and be sure to include lots of “white space” (i.e., the page is not so jammed full of information that there is no blank space).
. . . and contain the 5 W’s in crisp, catchy phrases (work hard to keep your release to one-page):
WHO: Who is sponsoring the event? Names of celebrities, hosts and community leaders should be printed in ALL CAPS. Emphasize photo opportunities and interviews with celebrities and panelists.
WHAT: Describe the event briefly, paint an exciting picture of what will happen. Include the visual angle any photo opportunities that might attract the attention of a potential reader.
WHY: Why is this event important? Why would my newspaper, TV station, or radio station come? Why would this community care?
WHEN/WHERE: Location, room, starting time, date
Be sure to include brief quotes from members attending the event, talking about the Department of Peace and your event. Include quotes from any prominent figures you can. Reporters often use these quotes in the article.
You must follow up the advisory with a phone call (or several phone calls) and call attention to it: “Did the writer/city desk editor/news director get the advisory? Who will she/he be sending to cover the event? Can I tell you more about the event and some of the groups that are co convening the news conference with us?”
The advisory should get to the media one week before the event. Any sooner and they’ll lose it; any later and it will be too late. Resend the press release very early the morning of your event. The person you connect will likely tell you they don’t assign reporters until the morning of the event. Be sure and call to confirm that morning.
Co-Conveners – think of organizations or groups or famous individuals who would be interested in Co-Convening the event with you. The higher the profile of the group, the better chance you’ll have of getting the media to show up.
Find out where the press in your town likes to have press conferences. What time of day and what locations would make it more probable that they’ll show up. They have deadlines to meet. Try to keep their ‘ease’ of logistics in mind.