Media Relations and Publicity

Public Service Announcement, Media Advisories, and Press Releases

Public Service Announcements

Public Service Announcements (PSAs) are a free way to get your event publicized on radio and television and in newspapers. Most local electronic media outlets have a community calendar or designated time for event announcements.

From our perspective, it is an affordable way to get out project or event information in places where we cannot afford to advertise. For the media producer, it is free content that fills a space. For PSAs to work for both parties you need to follow these guidelines:

  • Be clear and concise.
  • Write it like a script. A radio announcer will not read a PSA that needs to be rewritten or is too clunky.
  • Make sure to include the “who, what, where, when and how” as well as contact information you are willing to have broadcast.
  • Check deadlines. Some places want PSAs six weeks in advance, others a day or two.
  • This is not your only method of advertising – there is no guarantee it will get used.
  • Be sure to send it to the right place – there is usually a PSA address or email address. Do not send your PSA to radio hosts email, unless you know them, and even then be careful.
  • Do not post it on online discussion forums unless it is designated as an upcoming event.

Media Advisories

If you choose to open your event to the media, you could send a media advisory, which is an abbreviated form of a press release. A media advisory is for getting media out to your event (press conference, performance, fundraiser). It informs the media they are invited to get a sneak peek of your project and can get more information. If you are serious about getting media to your event, you need to make a point of assessing why your project is more important than any other media advisory requests they receive for the same day.

If it is important to the community or people of Manitoba, say why. If you give out contact information, ensure there is someone to answer the phone and greet media. If someone calls for an interview and there is no answer, they’ll move onto the next story.

Press Releases

Press releases (also called media releases) give reporters the information they need to write a story about your project. You need to get their attention and answer the question “What is newsworthy about this story?”

If you want a story to appear before your event, you need to get the press release out at least one week in advance. This gives reporters a chance to do an advance story and, hopefully, increase attendance and awareness of your event. If your project is about an issue, then you would send this three or four days before the event. Following up with a phone call is recommended and makes your project stick out more. Try to think of story angles and what the human interest is in your story.

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