February 19, 2018

Measure A.R.T.

How long will it take them to read?

I am, sadly, monolingual, so I am not able to read 20 minutes, a free commuter newspaper published in Geneva and Lausanne, Switzerland.

Measure Average Reading Time

How long is too long? Readers measure the length of your message in time, not space. If you’re smart, you will too. Image by Lukas Blazek

But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t appreciate it.

20 minutes lets readers know in its title how much time they’re likely to read the piece. In other words, it reports average reading time, or A.R.T.

If your piece is short enough, reporting A.R.T. may increase readership. Readers who had planned to put your piece in the pile of things “to read later” — aka the rest stop on the way to the trash can — may say, “Geesh, surely I can spend two minutes on this now.”

Measure, manage and report ART … >>>

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“The more you say, the less people remember.”
— Fortune in a cookie opened by a writer

Cut Through the Clutter - Ann Wylie’s clear-writing workshop on April 17-18, 2018 in New York

People spend 96% of their time on websites looking, not reading, according to a Xerox PARC critical incident study.

Would your message be twice as good if it were half as long? The research says yes: The shorter your piece, the more likely readers are to read your message, understand it and make good decisions based on it.

But most communicators (and, let’s be fair, their reviewers) ignore the research and keep piling on the paragraphs. The result? “You’re not more informed,” writes Tom Rosenstiel, former media critic for the Los Angeles Times. “You’re just numbed.”

Analyze your message for 27 readability metrics and leave with targets, tips and techniques for improving each one.

So how long is too long? What’s the right length for your piece? Your paragraphs? Your sentences? Your words? In this session, you’ll run your message through a cool (free!) tool to measure, monitor and manage readability.

At Cut Through the Clutter — my one-and-only 2018 clear-writing Master Class on April 17-18 in New York — you’ll learn how to:

  • Analyze your message for 27 readability metrics — and leave with quantifiable targets, tips and techniques for improving each one.
  • Increase reading, understanding and sharing with five techniques for cutting your copy significantly.
  • Avoid discombobulating readers. Leave this workshop with 11 metrics for reducing sentence length and increasing comprehension.
  • Stop getting skipped. Find out how long is too long — and leave with three ways to shorten paragraphs.
  • Eliminate multisyllabic pileups from your copy. They’re the No. 1 predictor of poor readability.

PRSA members: Earn 4 APR maintenance points!

Save $100 when you register by Feb. 17.

“I got a new client by applying one of Ann’s principles. [Cut Through the Clutter] was a breakthrough for me.”
— Marsha Strong, 92.7 KKBS Boss Radio

Polish your skills

Learn to Catch Your Readers and more at these Master Classes

Register for Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked - Ann Wylie's social media-writing workshop on Feb. 6-7 in Los Angeles

Only chance in 2018
Los Angeles | Feb. 6-7

Register for Cut Through the Clutter - Ann Wylie's concise-writing workshop on April 17-18 in New York

Only chance in 2018
New York | April 17-18

Register for Catch Your Readers - Ann Wylie's persuasive-writing workshop on May 1-2 in Denver


Denver | May 1-2

Register for Writing For the Web and Mobile - Ann Wylie's digital-writing workshop on June 12-13 in Chicago

Only chance in 2018
Chicago | June 12-13

Register for Master the Art of the Storyteller - Ann Wylie's creative-writing workshop on July 25-26 in Portland

Only chance in 2018
Portland | July 25-26

Register for NOT Your Father’s News Release - Ann Wylie's PR-writing workshop on Sept. 6-7 in Atlanta

Last chance in 2018
Atlanta | Sept. 6-7

Register for Catch Your Readers - Ann Wylie's creative-writing workshop on Oct. 2-3 in Dallas

Last chance in 2018
Dallas | Oct. 2-3

Register for Inside the Inbox - Ann Wylie's Email-writing workshop on Nov. 7-8 in Washington D.C.

NEW! ONLY chance in 2018!
Washington D.C. | Nov. 7-8

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:

  • Atlanta: Sept. 6-7
  • Chicago: June 12-13
  • Dallas: Oct. 2-3
  • Denver: May 1-2
  • Los Angeles: Feb. 6-7
  • Montreal: June 3-6
  • New York: April 17-18
  • Portland: Feb. 16 & July 25-26
  • Tacoma: Aug. 14
  • Vacaville, CA: Feb. 27
  • Washington, DC: Nov. 7-8

Keep up with my calendar.

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