Why You Need to Put Your Readers and Their Needs First

Would you like to learn more techniques for drawing leaders in and moving them to act? If so, then join PRSA and Ann Wylie at Catch Your Readers, our persuasive-writing workshop, starting on May 16. You’ll master a four-step system for getting readers to pay attention to your message, understand it, remember it and act on it. Save $100 with coupon code PRSA22. APRs: Earn 4 Accreditation renewal credits.


If you were giving away a Hawaiian vacation to people who signed up for your webinar, which would you lead with? The vacation or the webinar?

From what I’ve seen — from training more than 25,000 communicators in more than 1,000 organizations over 20 years — most folks would choose the webinar.

Sign up for our webinar
and get a dream trip to Hawaii!

But leading with the webinar won’t grab your readers’ attention and move them to act.

Instead, lead with the benefits and substantiate with the features:

Get a dream trip to Hawaii
when you sign up for our webinar

Focus on your reader’s wants and needs first, then follow up with your organization and its products, services and ideas.

Lead with the benefits.

Here’s how one of my clients did it in a recent persuasive-writing workshop:

DON’T lead with the features:

Use your Tic-Tac-Toe skills to inspire the next generation of data enthusiasts.

DO lead with the benefits:

Inspire the next generation of data enthusiasts by joining our Tic-Tac-Toe Student Ambassador program today.

DON’T lead with the features:

Our Client Success program is a fantastic opportunity to share your success story with a broader audience.

DO lead with the benefits:

Broaden your company’s profile through a partnership with our Client Success program.

DON’T lead with the features:

Doodley Doo is an innovative and fun way for your employees to upskill in data visualization and data storytelling.

DO lead with the benefits:

Help your employees boost their data visualization and storytelling skills with Doodley Doo.

DON’T lead with the features:

Find all of our client case studies in this file.

DO lead with the benefits:

Inspire your prospects, build your credibility and win customers over with this file of client case studies.

DON’T lead with the features:

Learn from Applesauce why brand loyalty is essential for your brand to succeed today, and register for our webinar today.

DO lead with the benefits:

Increase sales revenue by showing how similar customers grew their business with us. Nominate your customers using this form.

DON’T lead with the features:

Invite your customers to our virtual event this month. Share this link with them.

DO lead with the benefits:

Strengthen your relationship with your most strategic customers by inviting them to our virtual event this month.

Make the switch.

Sometimes, a small switch is all you need to put the benefits first.  Here’s how it works in a Silver Anvil Award-winning campaign.

DON’T lead with the features:

National Semiconductor’s Workbench Sensor Designer tool enables engineers to quickly move from concept to simulation to prototype in a few keystrokes.

DO lead with the benefits:

Engineers who typically take weeks to design sensor systems can now complete their designs in minutes, thanks to a new online design tool.

Next time you write a press release, blog post or content-marketing piece, put the reader first. Lead with the benefits; substantiate with the features.


Ann Wylie works with communicators who want to reach more readers and with organizations that want to get the word out. To learn more about her training, consulting or writing and editing services, contact her at ann@WylieComm.com. Get FREE writing tips here. Find more than 2,000 writing tip sheets at RevUpReadership.com.

Copyright © 2022 Ann Wylie. All rights reserved.

[Photo credit: dimaberlin]

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