Inside the Inbox email-writing workshop

How to write for your top communication channel

It’s Americans’ No. 1 online activity.1 The top sharing channel in the world.2 The preferred tool for business communications.3

Inside the Inbox: Email-writing Master Class on Nov. 7-8 in Washington, D.C.

It’s email. And averaging a 4,300% ROI, according to the Direct Marketing Association, it’s all but certainly your most productive marketing channel, as well.

But the competition for attention in the inbox is fierce. And that return is an opportunity — not a promise.

How, then, can you make the most of your e-zines, newsletters and blast emails?

  • Get Opened: Draw recipients in with “the envelope.”
  • Get Read: Make your message valuable, interesting, easy.
  • Get Clicked: Reach nonreaders with links, display copy.
  • Get Going: Optimize email for mobile.
  • Get Great: Take your email from meh to masterpiece.

PRSA members: Earn 4 APR maintenance credits.

Save $100 with our group discounts.


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

Get Opened

Draw them in with ‘the envelope’

You’ve read the numbers:

  • American professionals receive an average of 121 emails a day.4
  • That’s per inbox. Now multiply that by the several personal email accounts people tend to have in addition to a primary work account.5
  • No wonder 68% of those emails aren’t getting opened.6 And an average of 276 emails languish unread in inboxes at any given time.7 That’s an increase of 300% in just four years.

Get Opened: Draw them in with 'the envelope'

So what’s a sender to do? In this session, you will learn how to grab attention in the inbox to get your email opened. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

Because readers open just 32% of their emails.

  • Go beyond the subject line. Make the most of the four key elements recipients consider before deciding whether to open your message — or to delete it without reading further.
  • How long should your subject line really be? 40 characters? 60? 90? More?
  • Don’t forget the most ignored element on your envelope. 24% of recipients check this before opening. Too often, senders forget to write it — or, worse, have never even heard of it.
  • Tap the No. 1 technique for getting opened. Carnegie-Mellon researchers proved it … now it’s up to us to use it.
  • Avoid 3 common subject line approaches that reduce opens. That trick you’re using to draw them in? It may be keeping them out.

Get Read

Make it valuable, interesting, easy

Assuming your audience members do open your message, people spend an average of just 11.1 seconds on each email they review.8 That’s enough time to read about 37 words.

Get Read: Make it valuable, interesting, easy

No wonder the No. 1 piece of advice email readers give email writers is to keep it short.

Because people read, on average, just 37 words of their emails.

But you’re not average — and neither is your message. In this session, you’ll learn to beat those odds to get your message read. Specifically, you’ll learn to:

  • Solve the Goldilocks Conundrum. Recipients are turned off by e-zines with too much information — and by those that don’t offer enough. So how much is just right?
  • Choose between three “most valuable” e-zine formats. If you’re struggling with opens, click-throughs and unsubscribes, bring one of these formats to the rescue.
  • Tap the No. 1 reason people find newsletters valuable.9 And avoid the No. 1 reason they quit, which is responsible for 67% of unsubscribes.10
  • Decide when to personalize. Yes, slapping a name in the subject line may boost opens. But it can also creep readers out and make them worry about their privacy — unless you also do these two other things.
  • Make it clever … but not too clever. Readers complain when your email isn’t clever, edgy, insightful or witty enough. They also complain if it’s too cutesy. Find the fine line between interesting and silly.

Get Clicked

Reach nonreaders with links, display copy

People skim 69% of their e-zines. They read only 19%. (That’s the good news. On mobile, they skim 74% of their e-newsletters.)

Get Clicked: Reach nonreaders with links, display copy

How do we reach the three-quarters of subscribers who don’t read our paragraphs?

Because people skim — they don’t read — 69% of their e-zines.

  • Avoid the worst link problem. It decreases accessibility, reduces scanning and cuts your chance of getting clicked.
  • Pass the Squint Test. Because if your piece looks easier to read, more people will read it.
  • Don’t get your head cut off.What’s the right length for email headlines that don’t get cut off by email apps, social media — or humans?
  • Master email tables of contents: Do you have a TOC? (Do you need one?) How much detail should you provide? Is it mobile-friendly? Run your TOC through our checklist.
  • Sidestep fat-finger syndrome. Can they click? Optimize links and buttons for mobile.

Get Going

Optimize email for mobile

Recipients now read 54% of your emails on a mobile device.11 That makes email the No. 1 mobile activity.

Get Going: Optimize email for mobile

Problem is, mobile reading reduces everything from comprehension to click-throughs:

  • More than half of consumers have unsubscribed from brand emails because they don’t work well on mobile.12 Participants in one study ranked the average e-zine’s mobile usability at 3.3 out of 7 — aka miserable.13
  • People skim instead of reading more often on mobile. People skim e-zines on laptops 69% of the time. But on mobile, they skim instead of reading 74% of the time.14
  • Mobile readers click 40% less often.15 And they click on fewer links than desktop or laptop users.

Because people rank email’s mobile usability 3.3 — aka miserable.

So how do we reach the huge and growing percentage of our recipients who now read emails on their smartphones?

  • Pass the 1-2-3-4 test to put your message where your subscribers’ eyes are. Tip: Try this simple test on your smartphone for best results.
  • Weed out the top. Are you cramming the top of your message with the three elements mobile readers often skip? If so, you may be burying your important information so deep, nobody ever sees it.
  • How long should your mobile subject line be? Chances are, it’s twice as long as the recommended benchmark.
  • Make it a mullet — and 4 more steps for writing effective mobile headlines.
  • Avoid the Mobile Paradox: The No. 1 activity for mobile users is wasting time. But mobile users get “visibly angry” at verbose e-zines that waste their time. How do you avoid enraging readers?

Get an Email-writing Workout

Take your message from meh to masterpiece

In the crunch of writing headlines and meeting deadlines, it sometimes seems as if there’s not enough time to pause and consider how you’re doing. But in our practice sessions, you’ll get a great opportunity for reflection and improvement.

Get an Email-writing Workout: Take your message from meh to masterpiece

Bring your laptop and an email message to work on. You’ll get a chance to write and rewrite, get and give feedback, and leave with a totally rewritten piece.

Make Ann your personal writing coach.

In these practice sessions, you’ll:

  • Master the techniques you learn in the workshop by applying them immediately. (That’s how we put the “Master” in the Master Class!)
  • Gain valuable insights on your work from your peers and from Ann.
  • Learn to analyze and improve others’ writing — the best skill you can develop for editing others or improving your own work.

Ready to get the word out on the web with social media writing?

Location & logistics

“Makes me want to go back and revise everything I’ve done in the past three years.”
— Blythe Campbell, director, communications and marketing, NANA Development Corp.

Location & logistics


The American Institute of Architects

1735 New York Avenue, NW,
Washington, DC 20006

Directions, maps and parking information


Hotels near the Master Class

Please contact hotels directly for room rates and booking.

Daily schedule

8:15 a.m. Registration
9 a.m. Workshop begins
Noon Lunch
1 p.m. Workshop resumes
4 p.m. Workshop ends


Your ticket includes morning coffee and tea, lunch and afternoon refreshments.

Ready to learn to make messages measurably more readable?


“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


Save $100+
Save $300+
Save $700+
Training, lunches, workbook
$256 worth of learning tools for $100
$297 subscription to Rev Up Readership for $100 more
30-minute one-on-one phone consult with Ann ($750 value)


  • Save $100 with our group discounts.
  • Save $100 if you’re a Rev Up Readership member. (Join Rev Up Readership.) Click “Enter promotional code” and enter your promo code.
  • Save $100 each when you bring two or more colleagues. (Big group? If you have 10 or more colleagues who would benefit from training, contact Ann to schedule a customized, in-house writing workshop.)
  • Save $50 each when you bring one colleague.
  • Earn a free, 3-month subscription to Rev Up Readership — a $97 value — if you’re among the first 10 to register.

Payment policy

Your registration is not complete until you have paid in full. If your company requires an invoice, please use either the printable invoice or the email confirmation you will receive. Both will include the details of the workshop, including the dates and the workshop fee.

Payment methods

You may pay by credit card or check.
Amex, Mastercard and VIsa credit cards accepted


Can’t make it?

  • Send a colleague. We’ll miss you! But please feel free to send a friend in your place. No charge for substitutions.
  • Transfer to a different Master Class. Choose one of our upcoming workshops. No charge to transfer.
  • Don’t cancel! But if you must, please cancel via email:
    • By Sept. 7, 2018, to receive a full refund, minus a 20% handling fee.
    • By Oct. 7, 2018, to receive a 75% refund.
    • Sorry, no refunds after Oct. 7, 2018.

We reserve the right to cancel workshops. If we do, we will apply your registration fee to another workshop or refund your fee. But we will not be responsible for any additional costs you have incurred, such as airfare or travel expenses.


You’ll receive confirmation of your registration by email. Please white-list and to make sure you receive your registration materials. If they don’t arrive within an hour of your registration, please contact us directly.

Don’t miss your chance.

Our Master Classes sell out quickly. If you’re interested in attending, please act now.

“Some of the most valuable, actionable information I’ve ever taken away from a conference. Well worth the time and investment.”
— Lindsey Foss, PR manager, Iowa Soybean Association


“I cannot believe how much I changed and improved one piece in this session. I also enjoyed the ability to hear more from the other professionals in the room. Very interactive, which I loved.”
— Megan McCarl, public relations associate, Lambert, Edwards & Associates

Frequently asked questions

May I pay by check or purchase order?

Yes, please contact us at Let us know how many and what type of tickets you need, attendee details and your preferred payment method. We will issue an invoice or purchase order if you need one.

Do you offer any discounts?

We have no doubt that the Master Class will be the best money you invest this year on your professional development. But here are six ways to reduce that investment or boost your return on it:

  • Save $100 with our group discounts.
  • Save $100 if you’re a Rev Up Readership member. (Join Rev Up Readership.) Click “Enter promotional code” and enter your promo code.
  • Save $100 each when you bring two or more colleagues. (Big group? If you have 10 or more colleagues who would benefit from training, contact Ann to schedule a customized, in-house writing workshop.)
  • Save $50 each when you bring one colleague.

I booked my ticket without applying the discount code. Or I received the code after booking the ticket. Can I get a refund for the discount?

Sorry, but you need to apply the discount code when you purchase. We are not able to apply discounts after the fact.

I booked my individual ticket, and now I’m bringing colleagues.

Can I still get the group discount? Please email us, and we’ll send you a special discount code your colleagues can apply to get the discount.

Should I bring a laptop?

Yes, please bring one. You’ll need it to edit your work and get feedback from your peers and Ann.

Should I bring my writing sample to the workshop?

Yes, please bring your writing samples to the workshop. You’ll write, rewrite and edit and leave with a totally rewritten piece.

How do I contact you?

Please email us at

May I update my registration information?

Yes. Please go to your ticket and update your registration information and dietary information.

Should I bring my printed ticket to the workshop?

Yes, please bring a copy of the ticket to the workshop.

What is the dress code for the workshop

Business casual.

Do you accommodate special dietary preferences?

Please specify your dietary preference when you register.

Can you you accommodate special needs (accessibility, nursing mothers, etc.)?

Yes, we will do everything we can to accommodate your request. Please contact us by email and let us know what you need.

Will you sell my personal information?

No. We never share personal information with other companies.

Do you have any advice on what to tell my boss about why I should attend this writing workshop?

Here is a draft letter that you can use to help convince your boss. Also attached is a one page fact-sheet about our workshop.


“Top notch! I would recommend it for any writer and only wish I had attended sooner.”
— Andrea Smith-Ruff, communication specialist, University of Michigan

About Ann Wylie

Ann WylieAnn Wylie runs a training, editing and consulting firm called Wylie Communications. She works with communicators who want to reach more readers and with organizations that want to get the word out.

Her workshops take her from Hollywood to Helsinki. There, she helps clients at organizations like NASA, Nike and Nokia polish their skills and find new inspiration for their work.

Ann has earned more than 60 awards, including two IABC Gold Quills, for her communications. She is the author of more than a dozen learning tools that help people improve their communication skills, including, a toolbox for writers.

Learn more about Ann.

“Ann is brilliant and arms you with the tools to succeed.”
– Katie Anselmo, internal communication manager, Comcast

Save $100 with our group discounts.



[1], 2017

[2] Chadwick Martin Bailey, 2010

[3] HubSpot, 2016

[4] Radicati, 2014

[5] Nielsen Norman Group, 2017

[6] HubSpot, 2018

[7] Nielsen Norman Group, 2017

[8] Litmus, 2017

[9] Nielsen Norman Group, 2017

[10] #LyrisROI chat, 2010

[11] Litmus, 2017

[12] Litmus, 2017

[13] Litmus, 2017

[14] Nielsen Norman Group, 2017

[15] MailChimp, 2017

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