by David Tandet
Wylie’s writing is like a terrific dresser: consistently great from top to bottom, always with something new that you can’t wait to see. – David Tandet
Wylie Provides “Dos” Writers Can Use
The June 2011 issue of “Wylie’s Writing Tips” is an example of communications consultant Ann Wylie’s great writing and clear teaching. Some of how Ann walks the walk:
1. Start with a terrific quote.
Novelist Vladimir Nabokov’s words are featured: “Caress the detail, the divine detail.” How appropriate for Ann’s first subject: “Do Sweat the Small Stuff.”
2. Ann provides information you can use right away.
“Find the telling detail” . . . “Outer details reveal inner character”: two subheadings. Continue listing, then Scotch tape all of Ann’s categories to your refrigerator, and you’ll have one terrific checklist. (Of course if you continue reading beyond the categories, you’ll be rewarded with Ann’s deeper perceptions.)
3. Vivid examples from experts help Ann make her points.
For the “Outer details” subheading, Ann introduces novelist Steve Martin. One example from Steve’s writing reveals an inner character through outward appearance: “His skin was mottled red, sanded to a shine by one too many chemical peels.”
4. Ann Wylie always finds a way to make the quoted author’s meaning clear.
Under the “Be There” category of subheading “Find Meaningful Specifics,” Wylie tells us American poet Theodore Roethke said, “I learn by going where I have to go.” That’s a great concept, as Ann helps readers see when she includes three bulleted statements of her own:
• Interview subject matter experts in their natural habitat.
• Take a field trip.
• Go on more tours and demonstrations.
5. Wylie reminds us that there’s a way for any company to incorporate her style of illuminating detail into its own communications: use her services.
It’s what she’s expert at, and she’s simply reminding readers that if they haven’t already decided to contact her to help take advantage of the special magic she provides, the option is available.
6. Wylie’s expertise is flexible, it’s complete, and it’s cutting edge.
No one writes better print headlines than Wylie. And no one understands the special requirements for effective internet headings as well as she does. Fitting form to function, Wylie says: “Sad, but true: When it comes to writing headlines for the Web, it’s more important to be clear than clever.” Under “Get Clicked,” she offers tips for, and examples of, internet headlines that mean business.
7. Wylie cites appropriate sources and provides useful links.
Lest anyone doubt her data, Wylie links to complete articles when it makes sense. She continues to exhibit unparalleled integrity and professionalism to the max, just as she always has.
8. Wylie delivers “from soup to nuts.”
In one paragraph, Wylie describes the best way to write web headlines. In the next, her topic is “boilerplates.” A boilerplate is the “About us” paragraph at the end of a release. Ann gives you everything you need to know right there in her newsletter.
9. Wylie uses testimonials that work.
Advertising genius David Ogilvy didn’t even consider himself expert in that “new medium” called television! Of course many of his ideas continue to resonate through all media. Here’s one of them: “Testimonials increase credibility and sales.” Ogilvy went on to emphasize that it has to be the right kind of testimonial. That’s why a sports star’s endorsement of a family car might not always work.
When Lori Walker, communications manager, Sprint, says that Ann Wylie’s communications newsletter “Rev Up Readership” is “like having your personal communications mentor” – it works because it’s the right kind of testimonial from a sincere and devoted “Rev Up Readership” user.
10. Ann Wylie makes it as easy as possible for her readers, clients, and students.
Ann Wylie’s newsletter is organized, prioritized, and categorized. In addition, an “In This Issue” table of contents is included.
Ann Wylie is one of the few examples of an Area 51 Writer. You want to know how she does it, but some things simply defy explanation.
Well, that’s not entirely true.
Fortunately for the rest of us, Ann’s ability as a communication instructor is on a par with her writing. That’s one of the things that makes her service so uniquely valuable. Some of her secrets are teachable. That’s why there are lots of corporate writers, public relations consultants, and marketing scribes who can thank Ann for helping them take their communications to a higher level.