October 21, 2014

Writing workshop: Catch Your Readers

Learn to move people to act — in print and online —
in this two-day Master Class

Current writing workshops

New York | Oct. 28-29, 2014
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Register for Writing Workshop in New York.

Past writing workshops

Portland, Oregon | July 23-24, 2014
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Register Now

Find out what attendees said about our Portland Oregon Master Class.

Kansas City | April 29-30, 2014
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Register Now

Find out what attendees said about our Kansas City Master Class.

Catch Your Readers

Learn to move people to act — in print and online

“Absolutely the best money I’ve ever spent. I learned more about writing for my audience from Ann in one day than I have in any other seminar.”
— Carie Behounek, marketing communications coordinator, COPIC Companies

Dear Colleague,

In all economic times, the communicators who thrive — and those who help their organizations thrive — are the ones who know how to write copy that sells: not just products and services, but programs, plans and positions, as well.

Let’s face it: Organizations can’t afford to communicate just to get the word out. They need communicators who know how to move the needle on the bottom line.

Sadly, most communicators were taught to report and inform, not to write copy that moves readers to act. In fact, many of the standard practices in business communication and PR writing today actually do more to put readers off than to persuade them.

But now there’s a way to become one of the small minority of communicators who know how to write copy that catches readers …

In October, just 60 writers
will have a chance to write copy
that catches readers
at my two-day Master Class

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  1. Get readers to 1) pay attention to your message, 2) understand it, 3) remember it and 4) act on it. That — not merely getting the word out — is your four-part job description. You either achieve it or you don’t. In this class, you’ll learn to ditch outdated writing practices that actually annoy, rather than attract, readers. You’ll leave with fresh techniques based on relevant research that you can use to reach and sway your audiences.
  2. Build your business or boost your career with top-level writing skills. As I work with communication departments throughout North America, I hear executives rant about the dearth of writing skills in business communications. When your management team meets to discuss cutbacks or promotions, do you want to be the communicator with the most Pinterest followers — or the one who knows how to write copy that changes reader behavior?
  3. Slash the time it takes to write. Writing isn’t a matter of talent, it’s a matter of tricks. The more tricks you have, the more confident you are. The faster you can make decisions, because you know what works. The less time you spend agonizing over your copy, knowing something’s wrong but not knowing how to fix it. In this class, you’ll stuff your writer’s toolbox with tricks and techniques, systems and formulas. They’ll help you write better, easier and faster.
  4. Stop spending your life begging for approvals. Communicators struggle with the approval process in part because we aren’t very good at explaining the art and science of writing. (Isn’t that ironic?) The ability to talk about what works and why — and to back that talk up with proven, scientific evidence — is one of the best ways I know to gain more control in the approval process. In this class, you’ll learn about relevant research you can use to support your points and sell your approaches to management.

In two days, you’ll have time to cram your writer’s tool bag with tricks — hard-to-find but easy-to-implement techniques that will make your copy more persuasive, make your writing decisions easier and give you the information you need to have a successful conversation with management about what works in writing and why.

If you’re a good writer, this Master Class will give you a bigger, better bag of writing tricks. If you’re struggling, the program can give you the tools you need to get up to speed almost immediately.

Wherever you are on the learning curve, you’ll be a much better writer when you walk out the door at the end of this class. See you on October 28!

Ann Wylie
Ann's sig crop
 Register for Writing Workshop in New York, NY.

Course description

Learn to Catch Your Readers

“Great step-by-step instructions on how to do it right.”
— Stacy Mayo, assistant account executive, Rhea + Kaiser

Think Like a Reader

The secret to writing to persuade is to position your messages in your reader’s best interest. (Most communicators position their messages in their organization’s best interest.)

In this session, you’ll learn a four-step process for making your message — and your organization — more relevant, valuable and rewarding to your audience. Specifically, you’ll learn:

  • The formula people use to determine which messages to pay attention to
  • Two rewards you can use to boost audience interest in your message
  • The No. 1 question to answer on your reader’s behalf
  • A two-minute perspective shift that focuses your message on the value to the audience
  • A simple translation process that pushes audience benefits to the top of your message
  • A three-letter word to use to make your message more relevant to your audience

Register for Writing Workshop in New York, NY.

Go Beyond the Inverted Pyramid

Our old friend the inverted pyramid hasn’t fared well in recent research.

According to new studies by such think tanks as The Readership Institute and The Poynter Institute, inverted pyramids:

  1. Reduce readership
  2. Slash understanding
  3. Don’t make readers care about the information

In short, researchers say, inverted pyramids “do not work well with readers.”

In this session, you’ll learn a structure that will:

  1. Increase reader satisfaction
  2. Boost the amount of time readers spend with your message
  3. Help readers understand your information more easily

Specifically, you’ll learn:

  • How to organize your message to grab readers’ attention, keep it for the long haul and leave a lasting impression
  • Three elements of a great lead — and five leads to avoid
  • How to stop bewildering your readers by leaving out an essential paragraph. (Many communicators forget it.)
  • Five ways to avoid the “muddle in the middle”
  • A three-step test for ending with a bang

Register for Writing Workshop in New York, NY.

Make Your Copy More Creative

It’s not fluff. Creative material communicates more clearly, builds reader loyalty, creates a “buzz” for your topic — even enhances credibility. The good news is that creative copy doesn’t take talent. It doesn’t even take creativity. Instead, it takes techniques, tricks and time.

In this session, you’ll learn how to bring your messages to life with storytelling, wordplay and metaphor. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Go beyond twist of phrase to diversify your wordplay. Soon, you’ll be listing, rhyming and twisting — even coining new words. The more techniques you master, the more sophisticated and satisfying your copy will be.
  • Work your word tools. Get links to online resources that are so good, you’ll hardly need to trouble your pretty head to write dazzling twists of phrase
  • Get inspired by some of the world’s most creative headlines
  • Ask the question that will help your subject matter experts recall a story
  • Use a simple structure for crafting an effective anecdote
  • Apply a four-step process for coming up with a creative metaphor
  • Take advantage of a fill-in-the-blanks template you can use to write your next analogy

Register for Writing Workshop in New York, NY.

“A semester’s worth of knowledge in a few hours.”
— Amy Kappler, communications specialist, Burgess and Niple

Get the Word Out On the Web

When reading on the screen, your audience members suffer physical ailments ranging from double vision to nausea to difficulty thinking. No wonder people avoid reading online!

In this workshop, you’ll learn a six-step process for writing Web copy that overcomes the obstacles of online reading. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Increase usability by 124% with three simple copywriting steps
  • Create Web copy that works with, not against, readers’ natural online reading habits
  • Run a quick test to make sure your copy gets to the point fast enough
  • Go beyond WWWWWH to include the two elements that really need to be included in an online lead
  • Determine how long your Web page should be. (Beware: Many page-length recommendations are based on outdated research)
  • Apply the 30-3-30-3 rule to give online readers what they’re looking for
  • Chunk your copy instead of irritating the reader by chopping it
  • Develop a voice for your online communications

Register for Writing Workshop in New York, NY.

Reach Readers via Social Media

Social media is more like a cocktail party than a press release. Write status updates that sound like they were produced by a corporation — or even a public relations pro — and you’ll soon find yourself socializing with the chips, not attracting new friends and followers.

In this session, you’ll discover how to make your blog postings, tweets and other status updates more relevant, valuable and interesting to your readers. In this session, you’ll learn how to:

  • Use the 70-20-10 rule for engaging your followers, plus other tips for making sure your status updates are welcome guests, not intrusive pests.
  • Pass the “who cares?” test and four other techniques for becoming a resource, not a bore, on social media.
  • Get retweeted. Five steps for expanding your influence and reach on Twitter.
  • Tweet like the FBI. Write dramatic, compelling status updates that draw followers and get clicks.
  • Make your posts personable. There’s a reason they call it “social” media.
  • Tweak your tweets. Get your message across in 140 characters or less. Plus, learn how to make 140 characters go further — and when you mustcome in under the character limit.

Register for Writing Workshop in New York, NY.

Cut Through the Clutter

Is your copy easy to read? According to communication experts, that’s one of the two key questions people ask to determine whether to read a piece — or toss it.

Fortunately, academics have tested and quantified what makes copy easy to read. Unfortunately, that research virtually never makes it out of the ivory tower and into the hands of writers who could actually apply it.

But you’ll leave this session with “the numbers” you need to measurably improve your copy’s readability. Specifically, you’ll learn:

  • How long is too long: for paragraphs? Sentences? Words?
  • Three ways to shorten your copy — and which is the most effective way
  • How to cut your copy before you’ve even written the first word
  • How to avoid causing your reader to skip your paragraphs
  • A tool you can use (you probably already have it, but you might not know it) to quantifiably improve your copy’s readability
  • A seven-step system for making your copy clearer and more concise

Register for Writing Workshop in New York, NY.

Lift Your Ideas Off the Page or Screen

Sixty percent of your audience members aren’t reading your copy, according to estimates by two professors at the University of Missouri. So how can you craft communications that reach non-readers?

In this program, you’ll learn how to use your display copy — headlines, decks and subheads, for instance — to pull readers into your copy, make your piece more inviting and even communicate to flippers and skimmers. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Reach “readers” who spend only three minutes — or even just 30 seconds — with your piece
  • Avoid dropping the piece of display copy that 95 percent of people read — but that many communicators forget
  • Pass the Skim Test
  • Make your copy 47 percent more usable by adding a few simple elements
  • Use a dollar bill to make your copy more reader friendly
  • Add one simple element to increase reading for those whose attention is beginning to wane

Register for Writing Workshop in New York, NY.

About Ann Wylie

Develop world-class communications
with a global-award-winning communicator

Get the word out - Learn to Catch Your Readers  with Ann Wylie

Get the word out
Learn to Catch Your Readers
with Ann Wylie
on Oct. 28 and 29
in New York.

“Other writing coaches
tell you what to do.
Ann shows you how.”
— Roberta Laughlin,
vice president, Mutual Funds Marketing,
Northern Trust

Hi! I’m Ann Wylie. So why should you learn to Catch Your Readers from me?

That’s easy. Because I’m a nerd.

I’m a nerd.

I was never happier than when I was in graduate school, gathering information for my journalism thesis. Today, my idea of a great Sunday afternoon is to curl up on the couch with a cat, a cup of tea and a great communication study.

I love researching best practices, formulating techniques and sharing those approaches with others. So I’ve built a career that allows me to do just that.

I’m a trainer.

I taught graduate writing classes at a university for 10 years in my “spare time” — in the evenings after I’d worked a full day as a business communicator and magazine editor. Since then, I’ve traveled from Hollywood to Helsinki to train tens of thousands of writers in nearly 1,000 workshops at organizations like NASA, Nokia and Nike.

I’ve been designated an “IABC Recommended Speaker” for my top ratings at IABC International Conferences. And I serve as the Public Relations Society of America’s “national writing coach.”

I’m a writer.

And I’ve tested my tricks and techniques in the real world. During my tenure as editor of Hallmark’s employee magazine, for instance, CROWN was named the best publication of its kind in the world by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). Since then, my communications have earned more than 60 awards for excellence, including two IABC Gold Quills.

Today, one of the things that sets me apart from many writing trainers is that I practice what I preach. I actually write. In fact, half of my business is writing — newsletters, magazines, websites, brochures and the like — mostly for big, corporate clients. The other half is helping professional writers learn to write better.

Won’t you join me?

Frankly, you don’t have time to do a deep dive into writing tricks and techniques like I do. After all, you have a job. You have a life. You don’t have hundreds of hours to spend each year, digging into the research, finding ways to improve your writing.

Fortunately, all the years I’ve spent nerdishly analyzing, reading and researching writing techniques can cut hundreds of hours off your learning curve.

All you have to do in join me at my two-day Catch Your Readers Master Class. I look forward to seeing you there!

Register for Writing Workshop in New York, NY.

Have questions?

Let us know how we can help

“Ann’s research-based, practical approach to writing yields results for communicators in the most important way — influencing your audience.”
— Ken Muche, PR manager, Verizon Wireless

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Wylie Communications
949 NW Overton, Ste. 1102
Portland, OR 97209

Register for Writing Workshop in New York, NY.

Writing Workshop - Catch Your Readers

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What clients say about Ann’s workshops

“If I were to write a headline
and deck for Ann’s workshop, it would go something like this …
‘West Point for Writers: How to win the war for readers’ minds.’”

— Jim Rink, media relations specialist, The Auto Club Group

“Absolutely the best money I’ve ever spent. I learned more about writing for my audience from Ann in one day than I have in any other seminar.”

— Carie Behounek, marketing communications coordinator, COPIC Companies

“Great step-by-step instructions on how to do it right.”

— Stacy Mayo, assistant account executive, Rhea + Kaiser