Sunday, March 11, 2012

Peek Behind Curtain at Workshop in Session

Lively and hands-on, my writing and editing workshops for PR writers, engineers and others in the high-technology industry involve very little lecture.

There's no critiquing; I don't even own a red pen. I've got something more effective: tools that I created, refined and updated over 12 years to help already-capable business professionals break old habits and speed their creation of anything from blogs to reports for executives.

Your work, not "make-work"

The focus is on process, yours. Attendees bring in their own source material -- usually PR pitches, online news articles, award submissions, case studies or reports. This means you are doing work that is practical and relevant, not "taking a class."

People hire me so their agency or company can make more money or promote a cause. My workshops help you advance your own business goals, gain traction with customers and save time.

By Popular Demand

The outline below describes what has emerged as my most popular four-hour workshop. I cut and pasted it from a document that I sent to a new client just this afternoon. 

I pride myself on customizing classes to suit your team's specific challenges, but this particular class has turned out to be universally effective

The emphasis is on identifying the best content and moving it to the right place in your document, or recognizing what "compelling" is so that you can go get the right stuff in the first place. But the techniques also dramatically reduce word count, so they are excellent editing tools as well.

Check me out on LinkedIn to see some of the other classes I created, all in response to actual business problems.


“Creating Compelling Content” – detailed workshop outline

All three of the workshop sections described below are interactive and include examples. Each builds upon the next; that is, the newsworthiness section is required for the compelling content section, and both are required for the final section on relevance. Similarly, the second section is not complete until the third section has been completed.

In each section, writers will use the tools and criteria described below to arrive at better decisions in their own writing process, while using agency and client documents as source material. Each person will write several times throughout the workshop and receive feedback. The emphasis is on striving for new standards and breaking old habits, not critiques of past work or make-work.
1. How to be newsworthy: Use “binoculars” and “PDAs”
9 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., including a 10-minute break after the first hour

What to bring

Attendees should bring their own team’s collateral with them, no matter who wrote it. We’ll use it as source material. Each person can bring different information, but it’s OK if there’s some overlap. Best choices: PR pitches, speaker abstracts, case studies, contributed articles, press releases, executive memos and fact sheets.

Biggest takeaway

What’s the internal landscape of a journalist’s mind when he or she is assessing a situation and choosing which information to lead with? What can we borrow from that kind of thinking to better promote our own causes in writing? How can we package information for high appeal, even if at first glance it doesn’t look compelling or like “news,” without resorting to hype or giving a false impression?
In this session, attendees will learn and practice:

· Processing information the way an experienced journalist does
· Making faster decisions about what nuggets to move up and which to bump down or leave out altogether
· Recognizing hidden opportunities in your material

2. How to be compelling: Use seven criteria to “pan for gold”

10:55 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., including a 10-minute break

What to bring
Attendees should bring their own team’s collateral with them, no matter who wrote it. We’ll use it as source material. Each person can bring different information, but it’s OK if there’s some overlap. Best choices: award entries, contributed articles, NAPS releases, blog posts, op-eds and pitches.
Biggest Takeaway
What are the seven elements that glue a reader’s eyes to the page? How can they help us radically reduce word count while boosting appeal?
In this session, attendees will learn and practice:
· Objectively identifying the seven elements
· Discovering what’s missing and how to go get it
· Rearranging information for higher impact
3. How to be relevant: Five questions home in on your audience
12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.
What five questions will keep you on track and help you gain traction?
In this session, attendees will practice:
· Turning excessive background into as-needed backstory
· Balancing your agenda with readers’ “north star”
· Breaking old habits and using new tools in future work