Saturday, August 15, 2009

Q&A a la Ann Landers: So What's with This Media Alert Thing Anyway?


Carolyn, I've learned about Media Releases from you, but I don't recall Media Alert lessons. Care to educate the public on that topic? See the sample below. It caught me by surprise.

Yocheved Golani, author Coping with a Medical Crisis? , and self-help coach


Yocheved, I am publishing the entire alert that you receive below because all of us should know what a media alert looks like and how to write one. Though I did a bit of critique (see below) on this one, it is an excellent example.

Yosheved, I did touch on these shorty releases in The Frugal Book Promoter but what they are called has evolved a little since I wrote it. The alert form is more casual than the media release format, so following it to the Nth degree isn't as important as it is with a regular media release.

Alerts are especially good these days because attention spans seem to be shrinking plus the very name in a subject line imparts a feeling of urgency. They should be used only for time sensitive and really new, new, NEW news. Never try to fool mother nature. Don't pretend that the release of a book deserves an alert; in fact the release of a book often isn't even considered newsworthy enough to require a release unless you can tie to something especially intriguing, new, or something big that is already in the news.

Here is the sample that you sent me. It works like an alert but it is really a too long for an alert. I removed lots of italics and underlining. It's always a good idea to keep the fonts you use in all releases unadorned as you can within the parameters of grammar rules. I probably wouldn't have added the About Groundswell either. That section makes the alert a little long for an alert. (-:
Otherwise it's a great little release. A picture was included.


Contat info goes here


New Aquarium Mural Transforms Boardwalk at Coney Island Public Dedication Ceremony
Thursday, June 25 at Noon
On the Boardwalk at the New York Aquarium, Coney Island, Brooklyn

WHO:New York Aquarium officials, Members of the Parks Department, Groundswell Community Mural Project, South Brooklyn Youth Consortium, and Coney Island Community Leaders.

WHAT: A public dedication ceremony for a new mural created at the New York Aquarium at Coney Island in Brooklyn. Working in partnership with South Brooklyn Youth Consortium (SBYC) and the New York Aquarium, the mural was created by a group of youth from SBYC who worked with Groundswell artists Candice Sering and Chris Beck. The finished mural transforms the Boardwalk with a vibrant floating collage of aquatic images. From the aquarium staff, the mural team learned about the habitats that sea animals live in. In intensive workshops, they learned how color factors into sea creatures environments and how their shapes are key to their survival. Choosing colors that they actually saw in aquatic life, the team created a progression of imagery that flows across a span of 100 feet along the Boardwalk. Playing with color, repetition and scale, the group developed a scene that shows the movement and intensity of sea life habitats. The New York Aquarium is proud to support this project and the community.

WHERE: On the Boardwalk to the left of the New York Aquarium, Surf Avenue & West 8th Street, Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY.

WHEN: Thursday, June 25, 2009 at Noon.
Interviews available by request.

The New York Aquarium opens every day of the year at 10am, and closing times vary seasonally. Admission is $13.00 for adults, $9.00 for children ages 3-12 and $10.00 for senior citizens (65 and older); children under 3 years of age are admitted free. Fridays after 3pm, admission is by suggested donation. The Aquarium is located on Surf Avenue at West 8th Street in Coney Island. For directions, information on public events and programs, and other Aquarium information, call 718-265-FISH or visit our web site at Now is the perfect time to visit and show support for the New York Aquarium, Brooklyn’s most heavily attended attraction and a beloved part of the City of New York.
The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.

About Groundswell
Groundswell is a New York based nonprofit organization dedicated to using art as a tool for social change by bringing together professional artists, community organizations, and youth to collaboratively create over 100 public art projects in communities across NYC. Over the last 12 years Groundswell has developed complex partnerships with community-based and educational institutions, serving thousands of youth and community members with whom we have worked to visually transform New York’s urban landscape. For more information, visit

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Her FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

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