Learning New Genres at an Internship

Guest Blogger Taylor Hill ’14

CUPID PICThis spring, I had the amazing opportunity to intern with ArtsGreensboro which is a non-profit organization that promotes arts events in the Greensboro, NC area. This was my first time as an intern, so naturally I came into the experience with some trepidation, however the people that surrounded me and the tasks that I was given allowed me to become acclimated quickly.

My main tasks as an intern involved writing blog posts for the ArtsGreensboro blog, updates on their Facebook pagtaylor1e, and press releases and eblasts for their subscribers. My very first assignment was to write a blog post about an incoming performing arts theatre in the Greensboro area. My time as a CUPID Associate had given me experience with writing blog posts, so I used that to my advantage. The only difference was that instead of representing an  academic center, I was representing a professional organization and the audience was larger, ranging from avid art lovers to people who may discover the site arbitrarily and are just curious about the content. With that in mind, I made sure to make the blog posts as informative as I could, while being detailed and writing in a positive tone. In the posts, I would also add hyperlinks, images, and video clips where necessary.

Writing the press releases was new to me, as I had never written this type of content before. I can only liken it to a memo, where there is a preferred structure and tone to the press release. The audience for the press releases included exec boards at other organizations, donors, volunteers, and other subscribers of ArtsGreensboro. In press releases, there is no flowery language but hard facts and straight information and, I learned quickly how to distinguish between this type of content and blog posts.

taylor2When writing the press releases, I made sure to include an informative and attention grabbing headline. Since these would arrive to readers via email, I had to make them more likely to be opened and read. I made sure to get to the point of the press release within the first paragraph, addressing every important piece of information in the first few sentences. This way, readers would not have to read the entire piece in order to get the main point relayed to them. On the topic of length, I also made sure to keep the press releases at a decent length to minimize the possibility of readers being turned off by a lengthy document. I also included links wherever necessary in the content and quotes to include information from a direct source.

I was also given the tasks of creating eblasts, which were similar to online flyers. These had the purpose of being quick, visual reminders of upcoming arts events. This allowed me to utilize my knowledge of document design when creating documents for a professional organization. I utilized design principles such as C.R.A.P. (contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity) to create informative and visually neat documents that would draw the attention of the subscribers.The writing in these documents was similar to that of the social media posts that I would post. The tone was light-hearted, fun, and I would start with an attention grabbing line, usually in the form of a question.

taylor3I also got some experience with grant writing during this internship. One day I was given the surprise task of drafting two grant narratives. I had never written for a grant application prior to this; however, the Director of Development at ArtsGreensboro provided me with a lot of tips and strategies to consider when writing within this genre. Since grant writing has the purpose of persuading a grant program to provide necessary funds, it was important for me to be not only thorough with the information that I provided but to also include that information in a persuasive format. I stated how the grants would be able to help ArtsGreensboro, making sure to be detailed as far as the specific needs the money would cover. I would also refer to the purpose of the grants and how they connected with the goals and objectives of ArtsGreensboro.

I am thankful for this internship because it provided me with writing in many different genres, all within a professional scope. I was able to take the many things that I learned as a student of rhetoric, and implement them into the tasks I was given at ArtsGreensboro.

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