November 19, 2017

The cost of bad writing

It’s a $37 million problem a year at one organization

Bad writing causes 40% of the cost of managing business transactions, writes William H. DuBay, a readability expert at Impact Information, in Working with Plain Language (PDF).

Cost of bad writing

Eye on the bottom line How much does bad writing cost your organization? Image by frankieleon

He cites:

  • Newsletters that reach only a fraction of the targeted audience
  • Press releases that never make the news
  • Websites that fail to inform and motivate readers to act
  • Forms and applications that are badly filled in or left incomplete
  • Memos and business letters that require endless clarification
  • Legal notices and procedures that no one can read

How much is bad writing costing your organization?

Read full article >

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“Plain language does not mean baby talk or dumbing down the language. It means clear and effective communication.”
— Joseph Kimble, chair of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School’s research and writing department

Are you missing 97% of your audience?

Reach more readers with simple readability tweaks

“The problem with communication,” said George Bernard Shaw, “is the illusion that it has been accomplished.”

No kidding. Send out a message that’s written at the 11th grade level, for instance, and 97% of U.S. adults won’t be able to understand it, according to the Department of Education’s latest adult literacy test.

Can you read me now?

Can you read me now? Get the word out with easy-to-read messages. Image by Gaelle Marcel

At Cut Through the Clutter — our two-day concise-writing master class on Aug. 17-18 in San Francisco — you’ll dive into the results of this massive worldwide literacy study to get a reality check on the level at which your readers really read. (Prepare to be depressed!)

Then you’ll find out how to write easy-to-read messages that get more people to read your piece, read more of it, read it faster, understand it better and remember it longer.

Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Write at a reading level that really reaches readers. Chances are, you’re vastly overestimating your audience members’ literacy rate, according to a massive international study
  • Plan your communications for special audience challenges. Older people, health care consumers, mobile users — maybe even your CEO — may need more help than you realize.
  • Sell your boss on the bottom-line business value of making messages more readable. (The U.S. Navy, for instance, saved more than $27 million in officer time by increasing readability.)
  • Increase reading by up to 75% by making one change to your message.
  • Measure, monitor, manage and report readability — your No. 1 tool for making your messages more effective.

Save $100 when you register by May 17.

This is the only concise media-writing workshop we’ve scheduled for 2017. Don’t miss out. Register now.

“TONS of new tips and tricks. 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

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

Chicago | May 18-19

Register for Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked - Ann Wylie’s online-writing workshop in Portland on July 27-28, 2017

Portland | July 27-28

Register for Cut Through the Clutter - Ann Wylie’s concise-writing workshop in San Francisco on Aug, 17-18, 2017

San Francisco | Aug. 17-18

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

New York | Sept. 25-26

Register for Catch Your Readers in Kansas City: Ann Wylie’s persuasive-writing workshop in Kansas City on Nov. 16-17, 2017

Kansas City | Nov. 16-17

Register for Write For The Web and Mobile: Ann Wylie’s online-writing workshop in Miami on Dec. 11-12, 2017

Miami | Dec. 11-12

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, CT: May 31
  • Birmingham, MI: June 16
  • Chicago: May 18-19
  • Geneva: July 6
  • Johnson, RI: Aug. 7-11
  • Kansas City: Nov. 16-17
  • Miami: Dec. 11-12
  • New York: Sept. 25-26
  • Northbrook, IL: June 14
  • Plano, TX: Oct. 19-20
  • Portland: June 6 & July 27-28
  • Roseville, CA: Oct. 24
  • San Francisco: Aug. 17-18

Keep up with my calendar.

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