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We began by looking at media advisories. No longer than a page in length, advisories just give the who, what, where and why of an event to invite reporters to cover. Advisories are meant for journalists and not the public eye, which alters somewhat the way we write them.
They are meant to be brief and to the point. Instead of writing them in paragraphs, they usually have a short lead paragraph giving some details and then followed by bullet points of who, what, where and why. It sounds simple enough, but you must know what information is important enough to include since these are basically invitations to journalists and not news releases.
Right after media advisories were media pitches. Pitches are similar to advisories but are usually meant for a small number of reporters if not just one. They take the form of an email, replacing the former pitch letter. These are about more than inviting a reporter to cover an event. They are about building a mutually beneficial relationship with a certain reporter. As such, it is important to be personal when writing a pitch email.
Pitches are much shorter than advisories. You must get to your point at the very beginning. Equally important is your subject line, which must intrigue a reporter to open the email and read the pitch. Subject lines must be short, fewer than 60 characters. Your tone must be friendly yet professional when writing the body. Make sure your topic is interesting enough to pique the interest of your reporter. Following up is a must, meaning call the reporter or meet with them in person.
You must anticipate the reporter's needs when writing a pitch. This goes back to creating mutually beneficial, two-way relationships with the press. A short, personal pitch with an intriguing topic can go a long way when trying to get some coverage for a public relations event.
In these assignments, I learned even more about the importance of discriminating against information. I also thought about the needs of the journalist who is the target audience of these two tools.
Writing effective advisories and pitches is probably the next crucial skill after writing good news releases. We must learn how to persuade journalists to cover events. How is the public going to know about our initiatives if we can't get journalists to spread the word?
I forsee using these skills quite a bit in the future. Like I said previously, it is imperative that we know how to write advisories and pitches as future public relations professionals. After all, media relations is a significant part of the daily work of a practitioner.