June 25, 2017

Avoid flabby middles

Five ways to shape the body of your message

My favorite scene in the movie “High Fidelity” is when Rob Gordon (John Cusack) becomes so depressed over his failed love life that he seeks solace in reorganizing his albums.

Avoid flabby middles

Build a better body Avoid ‘the muddle in the middle’ when you create a solid structure for the body of your piece. Image by Vincent Brassinne

His nerdy pal Dick (Todd Louiso) is curious about the project. “Are you going to file them alphabetically?” Dick asks.
Nope, Rob answers.

“Chronologically?” Dick presses.

Nope, Rob replies.

“Not …” Dick gasps.

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“The middle [often] has no recognizable sequence of ideas, no flow of cause and effect, and no narrative, just puddles of information.”
— Roy Peter Clark, senior scholar, Poynter Institute; and Don Fry, writing coach

Think Like a Reader

To move people to act, give them what they really want

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.

Think Like a Reader

Can you read me now? Overcome the obstacles of reading on the screen to get the word out on the web. Image by Tamarcus Brown

If you want to reach readers, you need to write to and about your readers, not about “us and our stuff.”

Indeed, 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. Which is fine, as long as you’re talking to yourself.)

At Catch Your Readers — our two-day writing master class on June 19-20 in Boston, and on Oct. 16-17 in Dallas — you’ll learn a four-step process for moving readers to act by giving them what they really want.

Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Take advantage of the formula readers use to determine which messages to pay attention to (and which to toss).
  • Tap two rewards of reading you can use to boost audience interest in your message.
  • Answer the No. 1 question your reader is asking, regardless of your topic, medium or channel.
  • Make a two-minute perspective shift to focus your message on the value to readers — not on “us and our stuff.”
  • Use a three-letter word that magically makes your message more relevant to your readers.

Save $100 when you register by April 19. Don’t miss out on the lowest possible price on this workshop. To capture this early bird discount, please register now.

“I never imagined there would be so much new information about writing, story structure and readers. I also appreciated it was all backed by research.”
— Brenda Gibson, public relations manager, The Miami Conservancy District

Polish your skills at these Master Classes

Learn to Master the Art of the Storyteller, Catch Your Readers, Get Clicked, Cut Through the Clutter and more

Register for Not Your Father's News Release - Ann Wylie's PR-writing workshop in Chicago on May 18-19, 2017
Register for Catch Your Reader: Ann Wylie's persuasive writing workshop in Boston on June 19-20, 2017
Register for Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked - Ann Wylie's online-writing workshop in Portland on July 27-28, 2017
Register for Cut Through the Clutter - Ann Wylie's concise-writing workshop in San Francisco on Aug, 17-18, 2017
Register for Master the Art of the Storyteller in New York: Ann Wylie's creative-writing workshop in New York on Sept. 25-26, 2017
Register for Catch Your Readers in Dallas: Ann Wylie's persuasive writing workshop in Dallas on Oct. 16-17
Register for Not Your Father's News Release - Ann Wylie's PR-writing workshop in Kansas City on Nov. 16-17, 2017
Register for Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked - Ann Wylie's online-writing workshop in Miami on Dec. 11-12, 2017

Rather bring Ann in to train your whole team?

Catch Ann on the road

Save when you book a workshop while I’m in your neighborhood

Ask about piggybacking on my upcoming engagements in:

  • Avon, Connecticut: May 31
  • Birmingham, Michigan: May 22
  • Boston: June 19-20
  • Chicago: May 18-19
  • Dallas: Oct. 16-17
  • Geneva: July 6
  • Johnson, Rhode Island: Aug. 7-11
  • Kansas City: Nov. 16-17
  • Miami: Dec. 11-12
  • New York: Sept. 25-26
  • Northbrook, Chicago: June 14
  • Portland: June 6 & July 27-28
  • Roseville, California: Oct. 24
  • San Francisco: Aug. 17-18

Keep up with my calendar.