30 things we learned from @AnnWylie, @KellyMcB and @Shonali at #kciabcbcs






This post is exactly what the headline says it is. Our Kansas City IABC chapter hosted the annual Business Communicator’s Summit today and we had three amazing keynote speakers — Ann Wylie, Kelly McBride and Shonali Burke. You’ve no doubt heard of the 3 Wise Men. Well, this trio was our 3 Wise Women and here are 30 tips, stats and best practices (in no particular order) they shared that made us smarter:

  1. Divorce the inverted pyramid. There’s a better writing style out there for you (Wylie)
  2. Millenials are more open to authority than Gen X (McBride)
  3. Don’t use ROI when you mean something else…like impact (Burke)
  4. Embrace the feature lead. After all, the AP has. They now supply one feature lead with every story because they know readers respond to it better. Research proves it (Wylie)
  5. Millenials make up 35 percent of the Internet-using population (McBride)
  6. If what you’re measuring is not relevant to your business, you might not want to measure it (Burke)
  7. Online readers scan. They don’t read. 50 percent of Web visitors don’t actually read the paragraphs, according to The Poynter Institute’s EyeTrack07 study (Wylie)
  8. Millenials use e-mail, but they hate it. Gen X and Boomers love e-mail (McBride)
  9. A new online focus group tool called GutCheckIt.com just recently launched (Burke)
  10. The palm test — When writing for the Web, use subheads, bolded lead-ins, bulleted lists and other display copy to break up the text into chunks smaller than the palm of your hand (Wylie)
  11. Social is the No. 1 way millenials get their news (McBride)
  12. Defining KPIs is a must because that’s what business leaders are used to seeing when judging the company’s success (Burke)
  13. Nobody wants to read your thesis or key messages (Wylie)
  14. Not nearly as many millenials, Gen Xers, Boomers blog as you might think (McBride)
  15. Judging influence without context is a waste of time. Don’t just look at numbers for numbers sake (Burke)
  16. So many companies use the same style of press releases, which is a good reason to differentiate, stray from inverted pyramid (Wylie)
  17. 63 percent of millenials use the Internet on their mobile phones (McBride)
  18. Crowdsourcing case study: BBC Chartjackers (Burke)
  19. 30-3-30 rule. There are three types of readers you need to write for — those who will spend 30 minutes reading your content, those who will spend 3 minutes reading and those who will give you 30 seconds (Wylie)
  20. Most generations still use traditional media to verify the story (McBride)
  21. Integrating communications channels is key because they are not as powerful on their own (Burke)
  22. Break your writing up into bullets, lists and shorter paragraphs so it’s easier to scan (Wylie)
  23. Fastest-growing demographic on Facebook is 70 and older, but they only join to keep in touch with kids and grandkids (McBride)
  24. Impressions on their own without context don’t mean a whole lot (Burke)
  25. For every 100 people who read your post, 250 read your photo cutline and 500 people read the headline (Wylie)
  26. Millenials sleep with their cell phones and their computers because text is their No. 1 form of communication and they watch TV on their laptops (McBride)
  27. Case study: Samuel Gordon Jewelers (@DanGordon) decreased ad spend from about $500K to about $50K between 2004-2010, focused on building online community and saw a revenue increase of 30 percent and a foot traffic increase of 20-40 percent (Burke)
  28. 42 words in a paragraph and no more than 14 words in a sentence are good rules of thumb to remember to keep your writing succinct and clean (Wylie)
  29. Millenials mutitask within multitasking, so much so in fact that we are starting to see applications that serve up additional information and conversation opportunities while a TV show is on — e.g. Rachel Maddow Show iPad app (McBride)
  30. 6 keys to the measurement world: 1) Who are you trying to reach, 2) What do you want them to do, 3) Why is it so important, 4) When are you going to do it, 5) How are you going to tell them, 6) Where are you going to do it, meaning what channels will you use to tell the story (Burke)

For more information on the Business Communicator’s Summit, check out the hashtag #kciabcbcs or kc.iabc.com. Our 3 Wise Womens’ presentations will be uploaded on the website soon and I promise, you’ll find a lot more than 30 takeaways you can apply to your job.

What else did you learn?


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DanGordon 15 pts

thanks for the mention & really great info. thanks & enjoyed the post!

JGoldsborough 247 pts

DanGordon Hi, Dan. Thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the post. A colleague of mine and I were talking after shonali preseneted and we thought her case study about your biz was one of the best takeaways. Every time we talk social media measurement with clients or prospects, they always ask for examples. And now we have a great one. Cheers!

Shonali 1304 pts

JGoldsborough DanGordon Yay, one of the best takeaways! Dan - ANOTHER reason why you rock. :)
JT - thank you so much for this great summary. I really don't think I am anywhere near as wise as Ann and Kelly, but if I was able to even come close - then my job was done. Hats off to all of you, especially donna schwartze for an amazing event.

JGoldsborough 247 pts

Shonali DanGordon donna schwartze You all were awesome. Great takeaways for everyone in attendance. I lost some of my notes, so couldn't include quote annwylie shared about everything sounding good until it gets in a newspaper. And I wa very intrigued by case study kelly mcbride shared on Rachel Maddow app and how some TV shows starting to cater to millenials propensity to multitask.

EricMorgenstern 7 pts

Top-notch summary, Justin...thanks for the recap. BCS rocked; kudos to you, Donna, Dan and the entire KC / IABC team!

JGoldsborough 247 pts

EricMorgenstern Thanks, Eric. Heard awesome things about your session and we appreciate your support of the chapter as always. I lost my e-mail with notes from Ann's and Kelly's sessions and had to go from memory. So I'm sure I missed a few things, but they obviously had enough solid points to stick in my head :).


  1. [...] the event I was speaking at - the Business Communicators Summit, organized by KC/IABC (see this lovely write-up by Justin Goldsborough), was held at the National World War I Museum at Liberty [...]