November 25, 2015

“Most quotes in news releases sound like the teacher in Charlie Brown cartoons: ‘Wah wah wah wah.’”
— A frustrated PR pro

Say it ain’t so

Reporters shoot down PR quotes

What’s the least important element in a release — less important even than the dateline or the boilerplate?

Say it ain't so

What’s that you say? If it doesn’t sound conversational and substantive, don’t expect journalists to pick it up.

Quotes, say one in four reporters surveyed in a 2014 study by Greentarget. According to Greentarget’s research:

  • 13% of journalists never use quotes from releases.
  • 31% rarely use quotes from releases.
  • 28% use quotes from releases only when they’re on deadline and can’t get an interview.
  • 28% use quotes from releases regularly.

What’s their beef?

  • 50% complain that the language doesn’t sound natural.
  • 34% say the quotes aren’t substantive enough.
  • Only 9% have no complaints about the quotes.

“Please don’t make me wade through a bunch of boilerplate, taglines and patting-ourselves-on-the-back quotes to find out if the news release is relevant,” begs one journalist surveyed by Greentarget.

Another writes: “I dislike press releases that have ‘spin.’ I just want the facts. Not a sales pitch, not canned quotes about how fantastic the person/company/event is.”

‘Don’t sound natural’

These aren’t unreasonable complaints, considering the wah wah that passes for quotes in releases these days.

Here are three quotes from releases posted on PRNewswire recently. (I could show only one in my PR Tactics column, because these suckers weigh in at more than 100 words each — 20% of my word count. Think about that for a minute.)

“My partner Rick Sullivan and I are thrilled to announce the addition of MSDP to our portfolio,” said Tom Callahan, Managing Director at Lincolnshire. “Under the leadership of a talented management team, MSDP has developed into a world-class performance automotive business managing great brands and boasting key strengths in both ignition and electronic tuning technologies. MSDP provides the ideal partner for Holley, a Lincolnshire portfolio company that is the leading manufacturer and marketer of performance fuel and exhaust systems. Together, these two iconic franchises, Holley and MSDP, will serve future generations of brand conscious street performance enthusiasts, hot rodders and racers with innovative new products and category-leading lines of refreshed, rejuvenated and improved versions of existing products.”

Z Capital Partners Announces Sale of MSDP Group to Lincolnshire Management

“We are pleased to begin collaborating with NESI, a comprehensive solar developer, and believe that together our companies will drive the adoption of BIPV and agricultural solar applications in China,” commented Mr. Gang Wang, Vice President of Sales of Yingli Green Energy. “Our new partnership with NESI exemplifies Yingli’s strategic effort to expand relationships with China’s leading private enterprises, which has resulted in 350 MW of supply agreements with cash before delivery in 2015. With demand expected to grow in China through the second half of 2015, Yingli is focused on expanding our domestic footprint by strengthening our customer relationships and continuing to supply our high-quality products to this key market.”

Yingli Supplies 130 MW of Solar Panels for Projects in China

“Operating results were in line with our expectations for the seasonally small quarter. We were pleased with the solid growth in our trade business, both in the U.S. and internationally, confirming the expanding market for quality children’s books,” said Richard Robinson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “As we begin the new school year, educators and families are still adapting to higher standards and more challenging tests, and are more focused than ever on independent reading as a critical tool to help young people develop higher level thinking skills that lead to success. The need for more books that kids want to read is a key growth driver for all of our businesses, including our Education segment which delivered first quarter gains in classroom books and summer reading book packs. With its closely aligned core businesses, Scholastic is in a unique position to offer customizable, comprehensive literacy solutions, including books for independent reading delivered through clubs and fairs, classroom magazines and instructional reading and writing programs, along with consulting and services for Professional Learning and Family and Community Engagement and Learning Supports, in tailored offerings to meet the specific needs of its customers.”

Scholastic Reports First Quarter Fiscal 2016 Results

Wah wah, indeed.

Transform the wah wah.

How do you get the wah wah out of your release quotes? Make quotes:

1. Short. While PR quotes measure in the triple digits, journalists use much shorter quotes. In fact, the average length of a quote in a recent issue of The New York Times, not including attribution, was between 19 and 20 words, according to a 2015 Wylie Communications analysis. The most common length: seven words.

So “peel the quote back to one great sentence,” counsels Jacqui Banaszynski, a chaired editing professor at the University of Missouri.

How about:

“Hot rodders, racers and other street performance enthusiasts will now be able to do something better [we can’t figure out what from the release], thanks to our merger,” Callahan says.

2. Rare. Don’t use quotes to convey basic information:

“The program curriculums are currently being designed and prepared to launch first class this fall with all classes online in 2016,” stated Pierre Voltaire, the Educational Program Coordinator Consultant.

Hip Hop Hall of Fame + Museum To Open Harlem Office on 125th St & Secure Its Museum Building in December 2015

Instead, paraphrase.

3. Personable. Clearly, no human ever uttered the words, “MSDP provides the ideal partner for Holley, a Lincolnshire portfolio company that is the leading manufacturer and marketer of performance fuel and exhaust systems.” Just as no human has ever sought “customizable, comprehensive literacy solutions.”

Write quotes that sound human, not like a computer spit them out. Here’s one to model, from a Pulitzer Prize-winning series in the New York Daily News about the declining health of 9/11 rescue workers:

“I’m begging for someone to help me,” Valenti said. “I do not want to die.”

4. Creative. Quotes should sound like more than just the most basic parts of human speech. Make your executive seem eloquent — even interesting. Here’s a New York Times quote by former New York mayor Ed Koch on political consultant David Garth:

“I said, ‘Listen David,’” Mr. Koch recalled, “‘You want me to kill my mother? Tell me what time and where?’”

Now, that’s a quote that reporters won’t shoot down.

Turn Lame-ass Quotes Into Killer Sound Bites

BuzzWhack reports two new PR buzzphrases:

“LAQs: A publicist’s worst nightmare: Lame-ass quotes. In a sound bite world, the last thing you want are LAQs.”

“killerbite: A very clever — but very brief — statement. A killer sound bite.”

So how do we turn lame-ass quotes into killer bites?

At NOT Your Father’s News Release — our two-day PR-writing workshop in New York on Dec. 9-10 — you’ll learn how to transform your quotations from bleh to brilliant. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Make quotes crisp, clear, concise. How long is too long for an effective sound bite?
  • Sprinkle quotes instead of hosing them. What percentage of your PR piece should you dedicate to quotes? And how do you handle the problem of every VP wanting a quote?
  • Write quotes that sound human … not like a computer spit them out. Plus, how can you avoid the worst PR quote clichés?
  • Craft creative quotes. How can you make your executives sound instantly eloquent?

Learn more.

Register for Public Relations writing workshop in New York

Browse all upcoming Master Classes.

Would you like to hold an in-house NOT Your Father’s News Release workshop? Contact Ann directly.

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“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”
— Ken Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager

Get a PR-writing workout with Wylie

Learn to get the word out via media relations
in this two-day PR-writing workshop in New York

Your PR pieces run the approval gauntlet. But getting notes from folks who don’t know the art and science of PR writing can hardly be considered feedback.

Make this guy's eyes bug out

Make this guy’s eyes bug out You’re not still writing releases the same way Ivy Lee did when he invented the form in 1906, are you? If so, it’s time to master a new approach.

So in the crunch of writing headlines and meeting deadlines, how do you polish your skills and improve your craft?

At NOT Your Father’s News Release — a two-day PR-writing workshop in New York on Dec. 9-10 — you’ll get a chance to write, edit and rewrite; get and give feedback; and learn from your peers, as well as from me, PRSA’s “national writing coach.” In the process, you’ll:

  • Master the techniques you learn in the workshop by applying them immediately
  • Gain valuable insights on your work from your peers and me
  • Learn to analyze and improve others’ writing — the best skill you can develop for improving your own work

Deadline extended! And if you act by Nov. 9, you can save up to $300 on registration.

Fill your toolbox with tricks.

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 help you:

  • Think Like a Reporter. Place your PR piece among the 3% to 45% (Wilcox & Nolte) that actually get used.
  • Avoid PR 101 Approaches. Learn current best practices — proven in the lab! — for organizing a contemporary, compelling PR piece.
  • Cut Through the Clutter for PR. Make your PR piece up to 300% easier to read in our Readability Smackdown.
  • Turn Lame-ass Quotes Into Killer Sound Bites. Make your subject matter experts sound as fascinating as Winston Churchill or Ronald Reagan.
  • 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.

Meet me in New York.

New York has long been the center of the American literary universe. It’s the city of Walt Whitman, Edith Wharton, Henry Miller, Philip Roth. It’s home to The New York Times, Reader’s Digest and The Huffington Post.

The city is teeming with good writing juju — so much so that you can virtually feel your writing muscles grow while you’re sitting in a Greenwich Village bar or sipping champagne at The Algonquin. (Now that’s my idea of a writing workout!)

Ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center. Visit after the Public Relations Writing Workshop

Lion in Winter December is one of the best times to visit New York, thanks in part to the glittery ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center. Photo by Rose Trinh

Why not make a long weekend of it? I, for one, will be staying after the workshop to walk the High Line, shop Madison Avenue consignment shops, have the multicourse prix fixe lunch at Bouley, see “Hamilton” on Broadway and catch the Picasso sculpture show at the Museum of Modern Art.

Maybe we’ll run into each other!

Save up to $300 when you register by Nov. 9.

I have no doubt that this Master Class will be the best money you invest on your professional development this year.

Plus, now you can save up to $100 with early bird registration if you sign up by Nov. 9. Save even more when you bring a friend, refer a friend or belong to

Interested? Contact me directly, learn more or register now.

You’ll find out why Carl Walton, PR pro at the U.S. Postal Service, writes: “One tip I learned from Ann has enhanced the interest of the media at least threefold.”

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“Don’t write about man, write about a man.”
— E.B. White, author of the writer’s “bible,” The Elements of Style

Turn programs into people

Bring stories to life with human interest

Stories about organizational programs, policies and procedures can kill reader interest. But bring those stories to life through people, and you can resurrect attention, too.

Turn programs into people

Put the human in human resources Let people stand for the success of your organization’s HR programs.

That’s what graduates of our most recent Master the Art of the Storyteller Master Class did with these before-and-after leads about HR programs.

Let people stand for awards program nominations.

When Mollye Harper wanted to invite employees to nominate colleagues for her organization’s awards program, she could have used a conventional, abstract lead. But the communications specialist at Service Corporation International swapped it out for a compelling human-interest starter instead:

Do your associates consistently provide extraordinary service, deliver superior results and develop lasting relationships with our customers, communities and colleagues? The Living the Brand program is back for 2015 and now is the time to recognize them!

As the Company’s premier awards program, Living the Brand celebrates exceptional associates who demonstrate unwavering commitment to our core values of integrity, respect, service excellence and enduring relationships.

Each year, our top five finalists receive $500, an all-expense paid trip to the home office with one guest, an award reception dinner with senior leadership, a Houston tour, recognition throughout the entire company and more! And as an added bonus, our overall winner receives an additional $500!

When Cemetery Superintendent Alfredo Colon witnessed an elderly woman furiously pulling dollar weeds as she hunched over her late husband’s grave in the 100 degree heat, he quickly hopped off of his Kubota cart to offer a hand.

Observing the tiny droplets of sweat mixed with salty tears run down her face, Alfredo ushered the woman to the air conditioned lobby, offered her a chilled glass of water, and assured her he would take care of the space. When the woman returned to the graveside, she was elated to find the entire area had been re-sodded with lush Bermuda grass and the full-marble ledger had been restored to its original luster.

From the kindness Alfredo displayed, to the office manager who delivers hand-crafted cards to client families on the first anniversary without their loved one, to the IT specialist who hustles out of the grocery store at 10 p.m. on a Saturday to restore cell phone service for a colleague, associates throughout the company are exceeding expectations and deserve to be recognized.

The Living the Brand program is back and now is the time to recognize your outstanding associates!

Let people stand for awards program winners.

Teresa Day, senior writer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, brought her employee awards program to life with people, too. She turned “Ten more names” into a living, breathing winner in this rewrite:

Ten more names have been added to the list of outstanding volunteers for children in Louisiana with the selection of this year’s winners of the Angel Award presented by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation. The award is given annually to those who donate their time and talents to better the lives of Louisiana children, whether through enrichment projects in the areas of arts and education or programs addressing the direst needs of an underserved population.Ashley Belding got tired of seeing her patients’ faces fall at the words, “It’s too dangerous for you.”

Ashley’s patients are children with asthma, cystic fibrosis, have tracheotomies or are on ventilators. They watch their friends do many things they can’t, one of which is go to summer camp, outside the hospital, away from the constant ding of machines and worried glances of parents. So 20 years ago, she began spending her free time volunteering and fundraising for Camp Pelican, a weeklong resident camp for children who have health problems like her patients.

That is why Ashley is what the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation calls an Angel. Ashley will join nine other volunteers for Louisiana children as this year’s Angel Award recipients.

Let people stand for HR programs.

When Harper wanted to promote Service Corporation International’s tuition assistance program, she could have blah-blahed about the program itself. Instead, she showed instead of told with the story of one employee who’s using the program:

Want to get to the next step in your career by strengthening your skills and growing professionally? Continue your path to success with SCI’s tuition assistance program. The Company reimburses you for education expenses up to $4,000 annually at accredited colleges, universities, technical institutes and mortuary schools.

“The program helps offset the financial strain of education and makes going back to school affordable,” says Josh Hite, funeral director/embalmer, McPeters’ Funeral Directors, Houston. After earning a degree in Applied Science from Commonwealth Institute, Josh was offered additional responsibilities and the ability to work at multiple locations, without the burden of high student loans.

In two years, Michelle Moses went from managing urn vendors to managing the Direct Procurement department and received $8,000 in the process.

With the help of the Company’s tuition assistance program, Michelle made the difficult decision to return to school to earn her MBA get to the next step in her career.

You too can continue your path to success with SCI’s tuition assistance program. The Company reimburses you for education expenses up to $4,000 annually at accredited colleges, universities, technical institutes and mortuary schools.

Programs are dreary; people are fascinating. Why not let people stand for programs in your next piece?

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 at Make Your Copy More Creative — a two-day creative writing master class on Feb. 23-24 in Phoenix — you’ll get a chance to write and rewrite, get and give feedback, and leave with a totally rewritten piece. In these practice sessions, you’ll:

  • Grab Attention With Feature Stories: Craft creative leads and kickers
  • Make Your Copy More Colorful: Engage readers with fun facts, juicy details
  • Play With Your Words: Spice up your headlines, leads and sound bites with wordplay
  • Master the Art of the Storyteller: Tap ‘the most powerful form of human communication’
  • Add Meaning With Metaphor Clarify complex concepts with analogies

Learn more.

Register for Make Your Copy More Creative - creative writing workshop in Phoenix

Browse all upcoming Master Classes.

Would you like to hold an in-house Make Your Copy More Creative workshop? Contact Ann directly.

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“It’s not ‘who, what, when, where, why and how,’ it’s ‘YOU, what, when, where, why and how.’”
— Anita Allen, communicator at Sabre Travel Solutions

Use the magic word

‘You’ gets the story started in media relations pieces

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.

Use the magic word

Every little thing you do is magic Try this trick: Want reader attention? Write about the reader.

The reader is always the topic.

Here’s how six PR pros made the reader the topic in their PRSA 2014 Silver Anvil Award-winning campaigns.

Use the ‘Y word.’

The easiest way to write about the reader, in PR as well as in other pieces, is to use the magic word: You. That’s what PR pros did for these award-winning leads:

It’s on you. You have the power to save a life. That’s the message going out to [City] residents — especially those in the African American community — who will be asked to become potential marrow donors at a donor registry drive hosted by Be The Match®. The [date] event is part of a nationwide effort during African American Bone Marrow Awareness Month.

— Be The Match media advisory

The billion dollar-a-year tax increase, Amendment 66, is like the latest “As Seen on TV” product. It’s full of promised innovation and life-changing outcomes, but post-purchase you realize you just spent a lot of money and nothing is actually better.

— Vote No on 66 campaign op-ed

Your school is invited to join Celebrate My Drive (CMD) 2013, an opportunity for students and communities to come together to celebrate 2013’s class of new drivers. The first year behind the wheel is the most dangerous for teens, and it’s an issue we know is important to your school.

— State Farm Celebrate My Ride news release

Use the imperative voice.

Here’s another approach to leading with the reader: Use the imperative voice.

We learned in third grade to call the imperative voice the command voice. And it can be a command: Do the dishes. Make your bed. Clean your room.

When we use it, though, it’s the invitation voice: Grab a spade … prepare your senses … dig a little … learn a lot.

Davis, Calif., April 3, 2013 — As spring temperatures go up, it’s an excellent time for farmers, ranchers and gardeners to focus their attention down to the soil below them. A spring check-up of your soil’s health gives clues of your ground’s ability to feed plants, hold water, capture carbon and more. No fancy equipment required. Just grab a spade or shovel and prepare your senses to dig a little and learn a lot.

— Natural Resources Conservation Service news release

Use a placeholder for ‘you.’

I actually prefer to avoid you and the imperative voice in media relations pieces. For one thing, who’s you — the reporter or the end reader? For another, I still like to retain an objective, third-person voice in PR pieces.

The solution? A placeholder for you: Community members. New drivers. Farmers throughout the state. Teens who commit to safe driving.

That’s how these Silver Anvil award-winners set up their stories:

Community members of all ages are invited to join Celebrity Chefs Nicolas Come of Nicolas’ Garden and Adam Pechal of “Restaurant THIR13EN” and “Tuli Bistro” fame, as they co-host the inaugural “Farm-to-Fork Family Food Feud,” game on Saturday, September 28, 2013, at 11:00 am.

— Nicolas’ Garden news release

Bloomington, III., (Sept. 16, 2013) — Parents of teen drivers believe teens are obeying the letter of the law when it comes to graduated driving licensing (GDL) laws. As it turns out, what parents think — or hope — and what teens report actually doing don’t match up according to a new survey conducted by State Farm.

— State Farm news release

During National Teen Driver Safety Week, new drivers across North America are rallying their communities to commit to safe driving. Car crashes are the number one killer of teens in the US and Canada. Students in more than 3,000 participating high schools are celebrating the joy of driving while at the same time working to reverse this startling statistic.

— State Farm news release

A growing number of farmers throughout STATE have “discovered the cover” — and for some very good reasons. They’re increasingly recognizing that by using cover crops and diverse rotations, if s possible to actually improve the health and function of their soil.

— Natural Resources Conservation Service op-ed

Bloomington, III., (August 15, 2013) — Teens who commit to safe driving could have the chance to bring Grammy Award winner Kelly Clarkson to their hometown for a free concert this coming school year. As part of the company’s Celebrate My Drive® program, State Farm is teaming up with Clarkson and offering teens across the U.S. and Canada the opportunity to learn more about safe driving, win grant money for their school, and be one of two schools to win a free concert by Kelly.

— State Farm news release

Put the end user first.

Sometimes, the topic is just one or two members of the reading community. In this case, start with a placeholder for you anyway. Here, instead of leading with CHS Energy or its Tanks of Thanks rewards program, brilliant PR pros lead with the award winners:

Two local residents have received a special thank you for their contributions to the community. Colleen Wallien and Kirk Zastoupil of Aberdeen, S.D., were selected to receive free fuel from Tanks of Thanks®, a program that rewards people who do good deeds to help make their community just a little bit better.

— CHS Energy Communications news release

Want reader interest? Take a tip from these Silver Anvil winners and write about the reader and the reader’s needs, not about “us and our stuff.”

Think Like a Reader

Move readers to act

The secret to reaching readers is to position your messages in your audience’s best interests. (Most communicators position their messages in their organization’s best interests.)

At Catch Your Readers — a two-day Master Class on April 20-21 in Atlanta — you’ll learn a four-step process for making your message 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 three-letter word to use to make your message more relevant to your audience

Learn more.

Register for Persuavsive writing workshop in Atlanta

Browse all upcoming Master Classes.

Would you like to hold an in-house Catch Your Readers workshop? Contact Ann directly.

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“Three-bowler: number of bowls of oatmeal your readers fall asleep in while reading your lead.”
— Cynthia Gorney, former Washington Post reporter

Avoid the suitcase lead

Try a bikini lead instead

Some folks write “suitcase leads”: They try to cram all of the story elements into the top. Instead, make yours a bikini lead, and cover just the most interesting essentials.

Avoid the suitcase lead

Don’t pack it in Tempted to stuff all of the W’s into a suitcase lead? Cover just the most interesting essentials instead. Photo by Elliot Margolies

Remember: It’s not the job of the first paragraph to tell the whole story. It’s the job of the first paragraph to get people to read the second paragraph.

So target 25 words or less for the first paragraph.

Write like the Times.

You can find great super-short leads to study in The New York Times. We pulled this sampling from one recent issue:

An 8-word lead

MOSCOW — Russia has a new enemy: the currency markets.

Interest Rate Raised to 17%

A 14-word lead

The problems facing Uber, the popular ride-booking service, are going from bad to worse.

France Says It Will Ban Uber’s Low-Cost Service in New Year

A 16-word lead

BT, the former telecommunications monopoly in Britain, is trying to get back into the mobile business.

British Telecom Company BT Is in Exclusive Talks to Buy EE

A 17-word lead

After 10 years, a class-action antitrust lawsuit involving iPods is finally in the hands of a jury.

Lawyers in iPod Trial Await Jury Decision

A 19-word lead

Oldies radio used to mean Johnny Mathis and the Four Seasons. Now it’s Tupac Shakur and LL Cool J.

Classic Hip-Hop Is Spreading on the Radio Dial

A 23-word lead

SOME James Bond fans will be shaken, and others stirred, to learn that 007 is being given a new vodka for his martinis.

Bond’s Martini Will Be Shaken With a Different Vodka

A 24-word lead

For years, even as the economy recovered and the stock market soared, most American workers saw little evidence of better times in their paychecks.

Economic Recovery Spreads to the Middle Class

So make like The New York Times: Don’t try to tell the whole story in the lead. Instead, write leads that get the story started.

Avoid long leads.

Short leads are like bridges from the headline and deck: They help readers ease into the story without really realizing that they’ve left the display copy.

Long leads, though, become obstacles to reading the story. Take this 103-word press release lead:

An international committee assigned to review all of the available evidence on red meat and cancer risk were divided on their opinion whether to label red meat a “probable” cause of cancer, according to the Beef Checkoff nutrition scientist and registered dietitian who observed the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) process. After seven days of deliberation in Lyon, France, IARC was unable to reach a consensus agreement from a group of 22 experts in the field of cancer research, something that IARC has proudly highlighted they strive for and typically achieve. In this case, they had to settle for “majority” agreement.

Science Does Not Support International Agency Opinion on Red Meat and Cancer

Your readers have 4,999 other things, plus social media, to read today. What are the chances they’re going to scale a wall to get into your piece?

Keep your lead short.

So start with a sentence or two.

“An effective lead paragraph is usually either one or two sentences,” writes Chris Smith, senior lead communications specialist, Entergy Communications. “Once you get to three or more, it just looks like you don’t know where the Enter key is.”

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 at Cut Through the Clutter — our tight-writing Master Class on May 11-12 in Chicago — you’ll learn “the numbers” you need to measurably improve your copy’s readability. Specifically, you’ll learn:

Specifically, you’ll learn to how to:

  • How long is too long: For your paragraphs? Your sentences? Your words?
  • Three ways to shorten your copy — and which is the most effective way
  • 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

Learn more.

Register for Tight writing workshop in Chicago

Browse all upcoming Master Classes.

Would you like to hold an in-house Cut Through the Clutter workshop? Contact Ann directly.

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“I used to think I was a good writer. I now realize my approach is outdated. The stats Ann shared made a big impact.”
— Rosemarie Stewart, manager, Con Edison

Ann’s touring schedule

Polish your skills at one of these events

Alas, I can’t invite you to the in-house seminars I present for private organizations.

Ann's touring schedule image

Come along for the ride Catch Ann at one of her upcoming workshops.

But everyone’s invited to these upcoming public seminars in:

Would you like to attend? Please contact meeting planners directly for details.

Can’t make these events? If you’d like to bring me in for a workshop at your organization, contact me.

Want to polish your skills? Keep up with Ann’s latest two-day Master Classes.

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Where in the world is Ann?

Cut your training costs when you piggyback your program

Save money when you piggyback your workshop by scheduling it when I’m already “in the neighborhood.” Book your program the day before or after another organization’s and split my airfare and ground transportation with the other group.

Ask about piggybacking on my upcoming engagements in:

  • Atlanta: Nov. 9 & April 20-21
  • Bloomington, Indiana: April 5
  • Chicago: May 11-12
  • Englewood, Colorado: March 16-17
  • Falls Church, Virginia: Dec. 2
  • Houston: Nov. 2-3, 2016
  • New York: Dec. 9-10, & Sept. 28-29
  • Phoenix: Feb. 23-24
  • Portland: July 27-28
  • Raleigh, North Carolina: Nov. 3-4
  • San Antonio: Jan. 14
  • San Diego: June 28-29
  • Vacaville, California: March 1-2

Save even more: Ask about my communication-association discounts and second-day fee reductions.

Contact me to discuss piggybacking.

Want to polish your skills? Bring me in for a workshop at your organization.

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What are we up to?

The folks at Wylie Communications have been enjoying:

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Find out when I’m coming to your neighborhood, learn when you can sign up for one of my programs and otherwise keep up with my calendar.

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