NOT Your Father’s News Release

Learn to get the word out in this PR-writing workshop

“Since I attended Ann’s PR writing class and started implementing her tips, every press release I’ve written has been picked up by the media. That’s what I call ROI!”
— Stephanie Sobotik, senior manager, global marketing communications at Freescale Semiconductor

PR professionals have been married to the traditional news release format since Ivy Lee created the release more than 100 years ago. Why, then, do we need a new approach?

NOT Your Father's News Release: PR-writing Master Class on Sept. 6-7 in Atlanta

Beat the odds Learn to put your releases among the 3% to 45% of those that actually get the word out at our PR-writing Master Class on Sept. 6-7 in Atlanta. Register now.

With 2,500 releases going out each day — that’s one every 35 seconds — the impact of your traditional news release ain’t what it used to be. In fact, fewer than 50% of all traditional news releases ever get covered, according to PR Newswire’s own research.

Fewer than 50% of all traditional news releases ever get covered, according to PR Newswire’s own research.

In this PR writing workshop, you’ll learn current best practices from the Public Relations Society of America’s “national writing coach.” You’ll find out how to go beyond PR 101 approaches to write media relations pieces that get posted and published and reach stakeholders directly.

Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

PRSA members: Earn 4 APR maintenance credits.

Save $100 when you book by June 6.

Agenda

Think Like a Reporter

Develop stories that media outlets want to run

Some 55% to 97% of all releases sent to media outlets are never used, according to Dennis L. Wilcox and Lawrence W. Nolte’s Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques.

Think Like a Reporter: Develop stories that media outlets want to run

So how can you create PR pieces that are among the 3% to 45% of those that actually get the word out?

Put your PR pieces among the 3% to 45% that actually get the word out. 1

In this session, you’ll learn how to think like a reporter to develop story angles that readers want to read (and that journalists and bloggers want to run). Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Fill in the blanks to a great benefits lead: Get formulas for leads that sell the story and stand out from the crowd.
  • Move from event to impact: Learn simple steps for transforming your event, speech or meeting coverage into news readers can use to live their lives better.
  • Create two types of stories media outlets want more of (and avoid one they wish they’d never see again!)
  • Go beyond “new and improved” to information readers really want to know about your product.
  • Steal secrets from Silver Anvil winners: What do nationally award-winning PR writers do that you don’t do?
“Ann’s approach helped me showcase the story angle our readers want to read. Best of all, senior management was thrilled with the new style.”
— Loren LeVasseur, public relations supervisor, Coverys

Build a Better Release

Tap current best practices, from lead to boilerplate

Prose is architecture, Ernest Hemingway famously said. It’s not interior design.

Write hot releases: Tap current best practices, from lead to boilerplate

Are you building a compelling foundation for your PR pieces? Or are you still using structural techniques you learned when you were 19?

Organize PR pieces to grab reader attention, keep it for the long haul and leave a lasting impression.

In this session, you’ll learn how to organize PR pieces to grab reader attention, keep it for the long haul and leave a lasting impression. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Decide between triangles, boxes or lists: Choose a structure that increases readership, engagement and sharing. (Hint: The structure you’re using now is probably doing the opposite.)
  • Steal a trick from The New York Times: Trade in your bloated fact packs for snappy synthesis leads.
  • Build a better benefits lead with our fill-in-the-blanks approach.
  • Avoid PR 101 leads: Still stuffing all those W’s and the H into the first paragraph? Still writing “XYZ Company today announces that …”? It’s time to move on to a more effective approach.
  • Beat the boilerplate blues: What’s really supposed to go into these things?
“Every press release I’ve ever written needs to be completely rewritten!”
— Jennifer Cole, public affairs specialist, USDA NRCS

Cut Through the Clutter in PR

Measurably boost readability with our targets, tips & tools

Regardless of what you’re writing, Cutting Through the Clutter is the No. 1 way to keep readers reading.

Cut Through the Clutter in PR: Measurably boost readability with our targets, tips & tools

But the stakes are even higher when it comes to PR pieces. That’s because, say, if your lead is too long, Google News might reject it. If it’s too short, Google News will reject it.

Leave this session with “the numbers” you need to measurably improve your readability.

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 PR writers who could actually apply it.

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

  • Pass the Goldilocks test: Write a headline that’s not too long or too short, but just right. (Google News ignores one in five releases because the headline is too long!)
  • Write a one-minute release: Journalists rarely spend longer reviewing releases, according to a GreenTarget survey.
  • Stop using the most overused PR buzzwords: Journalists and bloggers — not to mention readers — will love you for it.
  • Write by number: What’s the right length for your release? Your paragraphs? Your quotes? Your sentences? Your words?
  • Use a cool tool (to quantifiably improve your copy’s readability. PR pros in our Master Classes have improved readability by up to 300% with this resource.
“This is the best writing class I’ve attended in my 25-year PR career.”
— Mark Alden, PR manager, National Semiconductor

Write Killer Bites

Turn lame-ass quotes into scintillating sound bites

Half of reporters complain that quotes in releases don’t sound natural, according to a 2014 Greentarget survey. Maybe that’s why 78% of them don’t regularly use quotes from releases.

Write Killer Bites: Turn lame-ass quotes into scintillating sound bites

No wonder! As one of my clients says, “Quotes in news releases sound like the teacher in a Charlie Brown cartoon: ‘Wah wah wah wah.’”

Transform your quotations from bleh to brilliant.

So how can you get the wah-wah out to write quotes that reporters will actually use? In this session, you’ll learn how to transform your quotations from bleh to brilliant. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Write tight bites. Even a lame quote will sound better when you use our quote length targets.
  • Put a quota on quotes. Steal a trick from The New York Times to avoid overquoting.
  • Write quotes that sound human — not like a computer spit them out.
  • Avoid the worst PR clichés. PR Newswire sees 1,284 of these in a single month.
  • Steal techniques from Silver Anvil winners. Make your sound bites sound better.
“Without question, the best workshop I’ve ever taken.”
— Sarah Julian, director of communications, Oklahoma Public School Resource Center

Lift Ideas Off the Release

Reach nonreaders with display copy

Sixty percent of your audience members aren’t reading your release, pitch or bylined article, according to estimates by professors at the University of Missouri.

Lift Ideas Off the Release: Reach nonreaders with display copy

So how can you craft PR pieces that reach nonreaders?

Pull readers into your PR pieces, make them more inviting and even communicate to flippers and skimmers.

In this session, you’ll learn how to use your display copy — subject lines, headlines and links, for instance — to pull readers into your PR pieces, make them more inviting and even communicate to flippers and skimmers. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Reach the 67% of “readers” who skim the news, according to Harris Interactive Poll. (Just 19% read news word-by-word.)
  • Write links that don’t get lost on portals. Plus, avoid the wrath of Google News by adding one essential element to your links.
  • Make the most of the first 11 characters of your headline. Otherwise, potential readers might skip instead of click.
  • Make your release, pitch or other PR piece 47% more usable by adding a few simple elements.
  • And more … Learn other PR writing best practices from the author of PRSA Tactics’ “Writing With Wylie.”
“Every PR pro should take this!”
— Najeema Holas-Huggins, communications manager, Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

Optimize for Google and Humans

Master SEO for releases

Optimizing your release can increase the audience for your news by 538%, website visits by 1,900% and tweets by 800%, according to five side-by-side case studies by SEO-PR and Rutgers CMD.

Optimize for search: Master SEO for releases

The good news is, news release optimization takes only a few simple steps. The bad news is, few PR pros know what those steps are. Even some of the best-intentioned pros use SEO techniques that get penalized — not rewarded — by Google.

Learn the latest best practices for optimizing your release.

In this session, you’ll learn the latest best practices for optimizing your release. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Avoid Google’s wrath. Avoid best practices from last year that Google now treats as gaming the system. The penalty: lower rankings.
  • Link for SEO. Learn where to link, how often to link, how to write a release link (it’s different from every other kind) and what you must add to your links to avoid being penalized by Google.
  • Optimize for semantic search. Now that Google’s gotten smarter, as well as tougher, keyword stuffing can’t help, might hurt. So what’s a writer to do?
  • Write for search engine results pages. Help readers click on, as well as find, your release.
“Ann has shaken up my perceptions about what PR writing should look like.”
— Deb Stenberg, communication director, Federal Way Public Schools

Get a PR-Writing Workout With Wylie

Take your story 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 a PR-Writing Workout With Wylie: Take your story from ‘meh’ to masterpiece

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

Get a chance to write and rewrite, get and give feedback, and leave with a totally rewritten piece.

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.
“The release I worked on in Ann’s Master Class got 68.5% more page views and 19% more coverage vs. our top competitors than average. It got picked up by two targeted industry publications and resulted in a follow-up interview with our metro daily.”
— Loren LeVasseur, public relations supervisor, Coverys

Don’t miss out. This is the only PR-writing workshop in Atlanta we have scheduled for 2018.

Location & logistics

“Ann’s approach helped me showcase the story angle our readers want to read. Best of all, senior management was thrilled with the new style.”
— Loren LeVasseur, public relations supervisor, Coverys

Location & logistics

Venue

Roam Galleria

3101 Cobb Pkwy SE, 2nd floor
Atlanta, GA 30339

Directions, Maps and parking information.

Maps

“Reviewing other’s work and progression provided a lot of inspiration I wasn’t expecting.”
— Kersten Rohrbach, communication specialist, Edward Jones

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

Meals

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

Ready to learn to make messages measurably more readable?

Fees

“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

Fees

Silver
$1,195
Gold
$1,295
Save $100+
Platinum
$1,395
Save $300+
Diamond
$1,795
Save $700+
Training, lunches, workbook
$250 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)

Discounts

  • Save $100 when you register by June 6.
  • Save $100 if you’re a Rev Up Readership member. (Join Rev Up Readership.)
  • 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.

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

Cancellations/substitutions

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 July 6, 2018, to receive a full refund, minus a 20% handling fee.
    • by Aug. 6, 2018, to receive a 75% refund.
    • Sorry, no refunds after Aug. 6, 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.

Confirmation

You’ll receive confirmation of your registration by email. Please white-list Ann@WylieComm.com and orders@eventbrite.com 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

FAQ

“Great – a must! Highly recommend.”
— Jo Banner, communications manager, New Orleans Plantation Country

Frequently asked questions

May I pay by check or purchase order?

Yes, please contact us at Ann@WylieComm.com. 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.

“Fantastic! Reinforced some of our best practices, and identified so many more that we can put to action immediately.”
— Kelsey Ruthman, account manager, Osborn Barr

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 when you register by June 6.
  • 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 if you’re a PRSA member. (Join PRSA.) 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.
“Ann’s workshop is a fun, informative way to drastically improve my work.”
— Bill Pearson, public relations specialist, Navy Federal Credit Union

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.

“Progressive. Should be a movement!”
— Brandon Moore, public communications manager, Tampa Bay Water

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.

“Super enlightening, evidence-based tips, tricks on how to engage reporters, readers.”
— Tamara Hargens-Bradley, associate director, media relations, Oregon Health & Science University

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.

“With 8 years of military public affairs experience I was worried this would be just a refresher, but I’m returning energized with a toolkit to shake things up!”
— Jacqueline Leeker, regional engagement coordinator, Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve

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.

“It has changed how I think about my writing. I thought my writing was concise and easy to understand, but I have a lot of room for improvement.”
— Nicole Napoli, media relations associate, American College of Cardiology

How do I contact you?

Please email us at Ann@WylieComm.com.

“So much great info I had never thought about before. Completely new way of looking at press releases.”
— Sarah Broome, public relations specialist, Microchip

May I update my registration information?

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

“Having a solid structure gives me somewhere to start instead of sitting at my desk grasping for straws.”
— Ian Jones, senior communication specialist, Columbia Gas of Virginia

Should I bring my printed ticket to the workshop?

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

“How to get away from boring releases! Good-bye CEO quotes, good-bye patting ourselves on the back. Hello interesting and entertaining release!”
— Jacqueline Leeker, regional engagement coordinator, Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve

What is the dress code for the workshop

Business casual.

“I truly believe that one tip I learned from Ann has enhanced the interest of the media at least threefold, as we received better media coverage than expected at several events.”
— Carl Walton, U.S. Postal Service

Do you accommodate special dietary preferences?

Please specify your dietary preference when you register.

“My releases are tighter and much more attention grabbing. I’ve received compliments from even the biggest critics. I learned more from Ann’s workshop than from all the books I’ve read. This is down-and-dirty information that tells you all you need to know to write a great release. No fluffy stuff — just the tools you need to get the job done.”
— Kim Schwalje, public relations specialist, National Comprehensive Cancer Network

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.

“Puts me one step ahead of everyone else writing press releases and trying to get media coverage.”
— Katie Haney, McMurry, Inc.

Will you sell my personal information?

No. We never share personal information with other companies.

“My manager came in to my office and said, ‘Wow, who wrote the release you just sent me? It was great!’ Overall I have seen an improvement in my writing skills daily.”
— Tricia Hummel, City of Naperville

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.

“Today my boss told me that she thinks I’m a ‘wonderful’ writer. (I feel like a million bucks.)”
— Victoria Rochkind, copywriter, communications, Affinity Health Plan

Ready to polish your PR-writing skills?

Trainer

“Other writing coaches tell you what to do.
Ann shows you how.
— Roberta Laughlin, vice president, mutual funds marketing, Northern Trust

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 RevUpReadership.com, 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 when you register by June 6.

Questions? Ann@WylieComm.com; 503-954-2289.

____

[1] Wilcox & Nolte


Free writing tips
  • Get tips, tricks & trends for Catching Your Readers
  • Learn to write better, easier & faster
  • Discover proven-in-the-lab writing techniques