In Dr. McArthur’s COMM 306 course, I was asked to write a press release for an upcoming event in the Charlotte community. I chose a comedy event called Stand Up for Dogs and Cats, hosted by The Comedy Zone of Charlotte. I received helpful editing notes from Dr. McArthur and a few classmates. (To see the first draft, click here.) From these notes, I learned a lot; not only about how to make my press release better, but how to improve my voice as a writer as well.
At the start of this assignment, I researched different press releases and studied the ones I found most effective. They contained all ten items that make a good press release, as supplied by Dr. McArthur. I had my focus, which is the first step; without a focus, there is no press release. The two things challenging for me were making it localized and developing a good lede, or attention getter. The attention getter seems so easy, but it’s just as easy to completely butcher it. You want to avoid it long and complicated. It should just do its job; grab the readers attention!
That was one part I didn’t do quite well. Fellow classmates and bloggers Carter, Ashley, and Chris gave me suggestions to make it shorter and more to the point. There was just too many words. In addition, Dr. McArthur gave me suggestions on how to organize it better which is so important. I learned that I could have a great lede, but it’s all in the way I organize it.
Another part that I feel I learned a little more about was the target audience. A helpful reminder that Dr. McArthur informed the class on is to remember it’s a media release; the initial target audience you need to “talk” to is the media. Then comes the secondary target audience. For example, my press release is about a comedy show fundraiser; I needed to first and foremost appeal to the media, then aim for all the animal lovers/activists. As I hope you can tell from my first draft, I was a little hazy on that. Going through Dr. McArthur’s notes, it was much more clear in where I made my errors. Mostly, they were just two or three words within a sentence that separated it apart from the media; it’s that simple to miss! I am definitely trying to re-read all of my edits more closely now.
The main thing I learned over this assignment was actually conducting a press release. I have never done one before, so it is an entirely new writing experience for me. I feel it has opened up a whole new realm of writing for me, as well as appreciation. I will admit, I will probably become more critical when reading press releases from now on, since I now have the knowledge of what makes on successful.
Below, you will find a revised copy of my media press release. Enjoy!