Learn to draw people in and move them to act
It’s the art of persuasive writing: If you want to Catch Your Readers, you need to think like a reader. Then you need to use the bait your reader likes, not the bait you like.
Problem is, many of the writing processes we’ve institutionalized in PR, marketing and corporate communications are not the bait the reader likes. In fact, some of the standards in the communicator’s repertoire are more likely to hinder than help your chances at getting the word out.
“My mind was blown in the first hour.”
— Kelly Whitman, senior marketing specialist, Magna International
Read more rave reviews
In this persuasive-writing workshop, we’ll debunk destructive writing myths. You’ll leave with scientific, proven-in-the-lab theory and practical techniques for getting people to pay attention to, understand, remember and act on your messages.
Think Like a Reader
It’s counterintuitive, but true: The product is never the topic. The program is never the topic. The plan is never the topic. The topic is never the topic.
The reader is always the topic.
In this persuasive-writing class, you’ll steal techniques from persuasive 20th-century Americans including Martin Luther King Jr., John Kennedy, Margaret Chase Smith, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. You’ll learn a four-step strategy for writing from the readers’ point of view. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
- Take advantage of the formula readers use to decide what to read.
- Tap 2 rewards of reading to boost interest in your persuasive argument.
- Answer the No. 1 question your reader is asking about your piece.
- Make a 2-minute perspective shift to focus your message on reader value — not on “us and our stuff.”
- Use a 3-letter word that magically increases relevance to your readers … a useful skill in many settings.
Go Beyond the Pyramid
Writers say, “We use the inverted pyramid because readers stop reading after the first paragraph.” But in new research, readers say, “We stop reading after the first paragraph because you use the inverted pyramid.”
Indeed, our old friend the inverted pyramid hasn’t fared well in recent studies. Research shows that the traditional news structure reduces readership, understanding, sharing, engagement and action.
In this session, you’ll learn to construct a persuasive piece using a structure that’s been proven in the lab to grab readers’ attention, pull them through the piece and leave a lasting impression. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
- Pull readers in with our checklist of good lead approaches.
- Stop bewildering readers by leaving out a key paragraph.
- Avoid the “muddle in the middle” with our menu of structural approaches.
- Draw to a satisfying conclusion in the penultimate paragraph.
- End with a bang, not a whimper by using our three-step test.
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 readability targets to hit to reach all of your audience members, tools to measure your copy’s readability and techniques for hitting those targets. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
- Apply a 6-step system for measurably boosting readability.
- Use a cool, free tool to measure and manage reading ease.
- Quickly cut copy in half with our menu of approaches.
- Hit the targets. What’s the best length for paragraphs? Sentences? Words?
- Increase reading by hitting one key on your keyboard more often.
Plus: Boost readability by 20%, 200% — even 1,200% — in our Readability Smackdown.
Lift Ideas Off the Page
“Readers” don’t read. Even highly educated web visitors read fewer than 20% of the words on a web page. So how do you reach “readers” who won’t read your paragraphs?
In this session, you’ll learn how to put your messages where your readers’ eyes really are — to use your display copy to pull readers into your message, make your piece more inviting and even communicate to flippers and skimmers. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
- Communicate to people who spend just 2 minutes with your piece.
- Avoid dropping the piece of display copy that 95% of people read.
- Make sure people get your key ideas without reading the paragraphs.
- Increase readership by making your message look easier to read.
Formats for persuasive writing
Choose from these formats for persuasive-writing workshops:
- In-house training programs: Bring Ann in to train your whole team with on-site or online courses.
- Public Master Classes: Build your own persuasive writing skills when you attend one of our writing workshops near you.
- Association workshops: Bring Ann to your conference or chapter for a keynote, breakout session or professional development program.
Browse all writing workshops. (Note: This signature course is an introduction to the theory of how to reach humans with words. We suggest that you start here, then move on to our content-marketing writing, email-writing, PR-writing, web-writing and other writing workshops.)
I’m ready to boost my persuasive-writing skills!
I’d like to:
- Book Ann for an in-house or association workshop.
- Learn about our corporate communication trainer, Ann Wylie.
“I have been a journalist for 30 years, published more than 10,000 times, and I have learned more about writing in the past two days from Ann than I have in all that time. I so needed this!”
— Jim Masters, internal communications specialist, Accenture
Questions? Contact Ann.