ASSIGNMENT TWO Submit a press release announcing an event in your life. The event could be a children’s birthday party, friend’s wedding, family vacation, promotion at work, etc. For the purposes of this assignment, the actual event chosen is not as important as the format it is presented. Requirements for this assignment are no more than one full page of text, standard margins, single spaced, no larger than eleven point font. PRESS RELEASES Press releases are an essential tool for media writers. These short, compelling documents detail product releases, event announcements, and other newsworthy items. Good press releases do more than keep the media of your organization’s recent developments. They are meant to pique the interest of journalists, who may seek to cover the topic further. Journalists are flooded with potential stories and pitches on a daily basis. Making yours stand out from the pack is crucial. TIPS FOR WRITING SOLID PRESS RELEASES Grab attention with a good headline – The beginning of a press release is the most important. A strong headline (and, for that matter, email subject line when you send out the release) will pull in journalists seeking good stories. Your headline should be as engaging as it is accurate. Get right to the point in the first paragraph – Because reporters are busy people, you must assume that they will only read the first sentence and then scan the rest. Get the message of your press release out quickly.

Every important point should be addressed in the first few sentences. The subsequent paragraphs should be for supporting information. Include hard numbers – It’s easy to fill up a page with a creative, colorful narrative. Instead pack your press release with hard numbers that support the significance of your product or announcement. If you’re claiming a trend, you need proof to back it up. Quantify your argument and it will become much more compelling.

Make it grammatically flawless – Proofread your press release and let a few other people proofread it as well before sending it out. Even a single mistake can dissuade a reporter from taking you seriously. Include quotes whenever possible – Quotes are sources of natural color that cannot be replicated. Including a good quote from someone in the company or close to the product/event can give a human element to the press release, as well as being a source of information in its own right. Include your contact information – A common oversight that can render a press release ineffectual is a lack of contact information for reporters to follow up with. Whether you or someone else at the company is the point of contact, don’t forget to include an email address and phone number on the release (preferably at the top of the page). Shorter is better – As with most good writing, shorter is usually better.

Limit yourself to one page, though two pages is acceptable. This will also force you to condense your most salient information into a more readable document, something journalists are always looking for. Provide access to more information – Provide relevant links when applicable. Don’t make writers search on their own for more information, guide them as quickly as possible to additional content and keep their interest.

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