Learn to get the word out via media relations in this two-day,
hands-on PR-writing workshop in Portland, Oregon
“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?
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, more than half of all traditional press releases never 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 to how to:
- Think Like a Reporter. Place your PR piece among the 3% to 45% (Wilcox & Nolte) that actually get used: Develop story angles that media outlets actually want to run, instead of those that you just wish they’d run.
- Build a Better Release. Tap current best practices, from lead to boilerplate.
- Cut Through the Clutter for PR Smackdown. Make your PR piece up to 300% more readable. Find out how long is too long for PR headlines, leads, sentences, phrases and words. Then use a cool tool (you already have it on your computer) to measurably improve readability.
- Write Killer Bites. Do your PR quotes still sound like the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons: “Wah wah wah wah”? Learn techniques for making your subject matter experts sound as fascinating as Winston Churchill or Ronald Reagan.
- Lift Your Ideas Off the Release. Reach journos, bloggers and readers with display copy.
- Optimize for Google and Humans. Master SEO for releases.
- Transform Your Story From ‘Meh’ to Masterpiece. Bring your laptop and a story to work on, write and rewrite, get and give feedback, and leave with a totally rewritten piece.
Fee: $895-$1,795 | early bird discount deadline:
May 1 June 15 – Sold out!.
“Great step-by-step instructions on how to do it right.”
— Stacy Mayo, assistant account executive, Rhea + Kaiser
Think Like a Reporter
Develop stories that media outlets want to run
Consider the numbers:
- Two-thirds of business-to-business editors surveyed said that fewer than half of the releases they receive are relevant to their publication, according to a survey conducted by Thomas Rankin Associates.
- Some 65 percent to 75 percent of city editors surveyed believed media relations pieces promote “products, services and other activities that don’t legitimately deserve promotion,” write Dennis L. Wilcox and Lawrence W. Nolte in Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques.
- No wonder some studies estimate that 55 percent to 97 percent of all releases sent to media outlets are never used, according to Wilcox and Nolte.
So how can you create PR pieces that are among the 3 percent to 45 percent of those that actually get the word out?
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: You’ll leave with formulas and recipes for crafting 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?
Build a Better Release
Tap current best practices, from lead to boilerplate
Prose is architecture, Hemingway famously said. It’s not interior design.
Are you building a compelling foundation for your media relations pieces? Or are you still using structural techniques you learned when you were 19?
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, understanding and satisfaction with your message. (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. Here’s one way to stay off The Bad Pitch Blog.
Cut Through the Clutter for PR Smackdown
Make media relations pieces easier to read & understand
Regardless of what you’re writing, Cutting Through the Clutter is the No. 1 way one to keep readers reading.
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.
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 PR message’s readability. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
- Pass the Goldilocks test: Write a headline that’s not too long, not too short, but just right. (Google News ignores one in five releases because the headline is too long!)
- Make the most of the first 11 characters of your headline. Otherwise, potential readers might skip instead of click.
- 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 (you probably already have it, but you might not know it) to quantifiably improve your copy’s readability. Note: PR pros in our most recent Master Class improved readability by up to 300% with this resource.
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.
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.'”
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.
Lift Your Ideas Off the Release
Reach journos, bloggers and readers 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. So how can you craft PR pieces that reach nonreaders?
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 “readers” who spend only two minutes — or even just 10 seconds — with your piece
- 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 your release, pitch or other PR piece 47% more usable by adding a few simple elements
- Tap open secrets: Write subject lines that boost open and click-through rates.
- And more … Learn other PR writing best practices from the author of PRSA Tactics’ “Writing With Wylie.”
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.
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.
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.
Take Your Story From ‘Meh’ to Masterpiece
Leave with a totally rewritten PR piece
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.
Bring your laptop and a story to work on. We’ll give you 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
- Get feedback with specific ideas you can use to improve your work immediately
- 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 improving your own work
“Other writing coaches tell you what to do.
Ann shows you how.”
— Roberta Laughlin, vice president, Mutual Funds Marketing, Northern Trust
About Ann Wylie
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 more than 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. 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 NOT Your Father’s News Release Master Class. I look forward to seeing you there!
“Makes me want to go back and revise everything I’ve done in the past three years.”
— Blythe Campbell, director, Communications & Marketing, NANA Development Corp.
Meet me in Wordlandia.
As a writer, I hope you’ll love literary Portland as much as I do. Here, you’ll find the world’s largest bookstore (just a few blocks from our workshop), an annual writing weekend called “WordStock,” and — the weekend after our workshop — a free playwrights festival that is one of the highlights of my year.
Why not make a long weekend of it?
Within 90 minutes, you’ll find yourself at the spectacular Columbia River Gorge, the Oregon Coast or Oregon’s celebrated wine country. (Check out The Seven Wonders of Oregon.)
And you don’t need to leave town to enjoy James Beard Award-winning chefs, Beervana, food carts and all the other Portlandish elements that make my adopted hometown so much fun. Don’t miss my favorite restaurant, Andina, which serves modern Peruvian cuisine.
Maybe we’ll run into each other!
“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
Select your VIP level
- Two days of training
- Lunch each day (Please do let us know about your dietary issues and aversions when you register)
- Coffee and tea each morning
- Workbook for capturing your ideas and insights
Get more than $200 worth of learning tools for just $100:
- Everything at the Silver level
- More than $200 worth of learning tools
- Anatomy of a press release, a $127 value
- Clarify Complex Copy toolkit, a $127 value
- Get Good at Getting the Goods handbook, a $27.50 value
Get $297 worth of additional learning tools for just $100:
- Everything at the Gold level
- 12-month subscription to Rev Up Readership, a $297 value
Get follow-up support — plus an exclusive conversation with Ann:
- Everything at the Platinum level
- A 30-minute one-on-one phone consult with Ann after the workshop
Sorry: only 10 Diamond tickets available!
Save up to $300, earn bonuses.
- Save $100 – book an early bird ticket when you register by
May 1 June 15Sold out!.
- Save $100 if you’re a Rev Up Readership member. (Join Rev Up Readership.)
- Save $100 each when you bring two or more colleagues.
- Save $50 each when you bring one colleague.
- Earn a free, three-month Rev Up Readership subscription (or extension, if you’re already a member) — a $100 value — when you refer a friend who buys a ticket and attends the Master Class.
|VIP Level||Non-member||Rev Up Readership or PRSA member|
|Single||Double||3 or more||Single||Double||3 or more|
|Silver||Before June 15||$1,095||$1,045||$995||$995||$945||$895|
|After June 15||$1,195||$1,145||$1,095||$1,095||$1,045||$995|
|Gold||Before June 15||$1,195||$1,145||$1,095||$1,095||$1,045||$995|
|After June 15||$1,295||$1,245||$1,195||$1,195||$1,145||$1,095|
|Platinum||Before June 15||$1,295||$1,245||$1,195||$1,195||$1,145||$1,095|
|After June 15||$1,395||$1,345||$1,295||$1,295||$1,245||$1,195|
|Diamond||Before June 15||$1,695||$1,645||$1,595||$1,595||$1,545||$1,495|
|After June 15||$1,795||$1,745||$1,695||$1,695||$1,645||$1,595|
Do you have 10 or more colleagues who would benefit from training? Contact Ann to schedule a customized, in-house writing workshop.
Don’t miss your chance.
Our Master Classes sell out quickly. If you’re interested in attending, please act now.
You’ll receive confirmation of your registration by email. Please white-list Ann@WylieComm.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to make sure you receive your registration materials. If they don’t arrive within an hour of your registration, please contact us directly.
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 May 27, 2016, to receive a full refund, minus a $50 handling fee.
- By June 27, 2016, to receive a 75% refund.
- Sorry, no refunds after June 27, 2016.
What participants say about Ann’s PR training
“Ann has shaken up my perceptions about what PR writing should look like.”
— Deb Stenberg, communication director, Federal Way Public Schools
“This is the best and most practical training I’ve ever had. I’ll use all of her tips on a daily basis.”
— Daphne Siefert Herron, senior communications officer, Indiana University, Office of Vice President for IT
“Excellent! I expected to learn but didn’t realize how much I’d learn.”
— Vicki Cunningham, manager, creative and corporate communications, Ritchie Bros.
“It was awesome. Best conference I’ve ever attended.”
— Ian Malinski, corporate communications lead, Ritchie Bros.
“It was great. I enjoyed sharing our writing and getting feedback from our peers.”
— Elisa Lagos, communication associate, World Education Services
“Wonderful. Best I’ve ever attended.”
— Mark Zelermyer, vice president, director of corporate communications, Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston
“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
“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
“I learned more in an hour than I learned in my last semester in college (earlier this year) as a public relations major.”
— Avery Budman, BBYO
“Puts me one step ahead of everyone else writing press releases and trying to get media coverage.”
— Katie Haney, McMurry, Inc.
“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
“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
“I was familiar with Ann through her PRSA columns. I wanted to see if a workshop with her was as idea packed as the columns and tips. Expectation exceeded!”
— Beth Felice Communications Director, Diocese of Missouri
“Fantastic! Within 90 minutes I was applying the ideas Ann presented.”
— Jennifer Uschold, senior manager, Internal Communications, Direct Energy
Billy Frank Jr. Conference Center
721 NW 9th Ave #200
Portland, OR 97209
“I learned more in this two-day class than I did in my two-year master’s program.”
— Rochelle Juette, communications specialist, Washington Closure Hanford
Hotels near the Master Class
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Please contact hotels directly for room rates and booking.
“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
Need more information?
How may we help?
Contact us via:
949 NW Overton, Ste. 1102
Portland, OR 97209