Though not often, there are instances when people interchangeably use the terms media advisory, press release, and media release. While in a sense they are interconnected and are somehow related to one another, there are still points at which it is unacceptable to use a term in place of the other.
This mistake can often be seen in online content creation and marketing. Some content creators and some content curators sometimes mix the terms up, thus leading readers into some sort of confusion. Read on to clearly understand what makes these terms similar, and what makes them different from one another.
Press Release vs. Media Release
Basically both press release and media release are the same. They take on the same form, they have the same contents, and are directed to the same audience.
Technically, a press release is a piece of communication which is directed to different members of the news media in order to inform them of the release of something newsworthy. From a company’s standpoint, press releases are a good way of gaining interest and good PR for up and coming products, news, events, etc. This is one way for competing companies to gain an edge by getting their soon-to-be-announced news and products into the stream of news reports, thus increasing people’s awareness of it. This doesn’t mean though that the playing field in marketing is tilted to the side of bigger companies when it comes to marketing. Through free online press release distribution websites, smaller companies are able to send the word about their upcoming products or services out to within the reach of the general public, thus these companies avoid getting overshadowed by the bigger, more established companies in the market. Press releases are often sent out to concerned members of the media in order for them to disseminate the contents of the press release properly to the general public. This is where the difference between press and media releases is seen.
Media releases are pieces of communication that are released only for the consumption of members of the media, and are often not published in any way. Media releases are often used for the information of media people only.
Press releases and media releases share the same form, or the same elements. They are the following:
Headline – This is the part that should catch the attention of media people and should contain enough information about the news.
Dateline – This part contains the date during which the news is released, and usually it includes the city of origin of the news.
Introduction – This is the first paragraph of the press release, and it contains answers to basic questions such as who, what, when, where and/or how.
Body – An elaboration of what the news is about. This should contain statistics, background, and other information that is relevant to the report.
Boilerplate – The section of the press release where information about the company which the release is about or is from.
Press or media releases are often, though not always, sent way ahead of the actual occurrence of what the release was about. For example, if a certain smartphone manufacturing company is set to unveil a new product, they would have their PR Company send out press releases to inform the media of the event. Now, since this is long before the actual event, a media advisory is used to remind the media people about the event, like some sort of a reminder.
A media advisory should come as an abbreviation of some sort to the press release. It should contain the answers to the essentials questions which are who, what, where, when, and why. Media advisories can also be used for last-minute information of local media, so that they may still cover any event stated in a press release.
Now that you’ve learned what these terms really mean, it will be easier for you to not get them mixed up. This bit of clarification can help if you’re into content curation, in which you would have to deal with various types of sources of information, including press and media releases. This would also be helpful if you are looking into the PR industry.