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Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content

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Overview

If you have a website, you are a publisher. If you are on social media, you are in marketing. And that means that we are all relying on our words to carry our marketing messages. We are all writers.

Everybody Writes is your go-to guide to attracting and retaining customers through stellar online communication, because in our content-driven world, every one of us is a writer.

Yeah, but who cares about writing anymore? In a time-challenged world ...

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Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content

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Overview

If you have a website, you are a publisher. If you are on social media, you are in marketing. And that means that we are all relying on our words to carry our marketing messages. We are all writers.

Everybody Writes is your go-to guide to attracting and retaining customers through stellar online communication, because in our content-driven world, every one of us is a writer.

Yeah, but who cares about writing anymore? In a time-challenged world dominated by short and snappy, by click-bait headlines and Twitter streams and Instagram feeds and gifs and video and Snapchat and YOLO and LOL and #tbt … does the idea of focusing on writing seem pedantic and ordinary?

Actually, writing matters more now, not less. Our online words are our emissaries; they tell our customers who we are.

Our writing can make us look smart or it can make us look stupid. It can make us seem fun, or warm, or competent, or trustworthy. But it can also make us seem humdrum or discombobulated or flat-out boring. That’s true whether you’re writing a listicle or the words on a SlideShare deck or the words you’re reading right here, right now…

So you’ve got to choose words well—and write with economy and style and honest empathy for your customers. And that means you have to put a higher value on an often overlooked skill in content marketing: how to write, and how to tell a true story really, really well.

Being able to communicate well in writing isn’t just nice; it’s necessary. And it’s also the often overlooked cornerstone of nearly all our content marketing.

In Everybody Writes, top marketing veteran Ann Handley gives expert guidance and insight into the process and strategy of content creation, production, and publishing with practical how-to advice designed to get results.

These lessons and rules she lays out apply to all of your online content—your Web pages, home pages, landing pages, blogs, emails, marketing offers, and to your posts and updates on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media.

Everybody Writes is designed to be your go-to guide for creating or publishing any kind of online content—whether you’re working for a big brand or a small business… or yourself.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118905555
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/15/2014
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 16,970
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

ANN HANDLEY is a veteran of creating and managing content. She is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, a training and education company with the largest community of marketers in its category. Ann is a monthly columnist for Entrepreneur magazine, a member of the LinkedIn Influencer program, and the coauthor of the best-selling book on content marketing, Content Rules. She is also a keynote speaker, mom, and writer at AnnHandley.com.

Connect with her on Twitter via @annhandley.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Nancy Duarte xvii

Acknowledgments xix

Introduction 1

PART I WRITING RULES: HOW TO WRITE BETTER (AND HOW TO HATE WRITING LESS) 11

1 Everybody Writes 15

2 Writing Is a Habit, Not an Art 17

3 Shed High School Rules 20

4 Regard Publishing as a Privilege 23

5 Place the Most Important Words (and Ideas) at the Beginning of Each Sentence 25

6 Follow a Writing GPS 27

7 The More the Think, the Easier the Ink 33

8 Organize. Relax, You’ve Got This 36

9 Embrace The Ugly First Draft 41

10 Swap Places with Your Reader 44

11 Humor Comes on the Rewrite 46

12 Develop Pathological Empathy 47

13 ‘Cross Out the Wrong Words’ 51

14 Start with Dear Mom . . . 54

15 If You Take a Running Start, Cover Your Tracks 56

16 Notice Where Words Appear in Relation to Others around Them 59

17 ‘A Good Lede Invites You to the Party and a Good Kicker Makes You Wish You Could Stay Longer’ 61

18 Show, Don’t Tell 65

19 Use Familiar Yet Surprising Analogies 69

20 Approach Writing Like Teaching 71

21 Keep It Simple—but Not Simplistic 72

22 Find a Writing Buddy 74

23 Avoid Writing by Committee 76

24 Hire a Great Editor 77

25 Be Rabid about Readability 79

26 End on an I-Can’t-Wait-to-Get-Back-to-It Note 84

27 Set a Goal Based on Word Count (Not Time) 85

28 Deadlines Are the WD-40 of Writing 87

PART II WRITING RULES: GRAMMAR AND USAGE 89

29 Use Real Words 91

30 Avoid Frankenwords, Obese Words, and Words Pretending to Be Something They’re Not 93

31 Don’t Use Weblish (Words You Wouldn’t Whisper to Your Sweetheart in the Dark) 95

32 Know the Difference between Active and Passive Voice 96

33 Ditch Weakling Verbs 97

34 Ditch Adverbs, Except When They Adjust the Meaning 98

35 Use Clichés Only Once in a Blue Moon 101

36 Avoid These Mistakes Marketers Make 103

37 Break Some Grammar Rules (At Least These Five) 107

38 Learn Words You’re Probably Misusing or Confusing with Other Words 109

39 Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy 117

40 Limit Moralizing 119

PART III STORY RULES 121

41 Tell How You’ll Change the World 123

42 Tell the Story Only You Can Tell 128

43 Voice and Tone 130

44 Look to Analogy instead of Example 135

PART IV PUBLISHING RULES 139

45 Wait. What’s Brand Journalism? 141

46 Tell the Truth 145

47 See Content Moments Everywhere 146

48 Post News That’s Really News 149

49 Biased and Balanced 150

50 Nonobvious Interview Tips 152

51 Fact-Check 156

52 Approach Content with ‘Mind Like Water’ 158

53 Seek Out the Best Sources 160

54 Be Aware of Hidden Agendas 161

55 Cite as You Write 162

56 Curate Ethically 166

57 Seek Permission, Not Forgiveness 170

58 Understand the Basics of Copyright, Fair Use, and For Attribution 174

59 Ground Content in Data 178

PART V 13 THINGS MARKETERS WRITE 181

60 The Ideal Length for Blog Posts, Podcast, Facebook Posts, Tweets, and Other Marketing Content 183

61 Writing for Twitter 188

62 Writing with Hashtags 196

63 Writing Social Media with Humor 202

64 Writing for Facebook 206

65 Writing for LinkedIn 210

66 Writing Your LinkedIn Profile 215

67 Writing for Email 219

68 Writing Landing Pages 225

69 Writing Headlines 234

70 Writing a Home Page 238

71 Writing the About Us Page 244

72 Writing Infographics That Won’t Make People Mock Infographics 249

73 Writing Better Blog Posts 254

74 Writing Annual Reports (or Annual Wrap-Ups) 257

PART VI CONTENT TOOLS 263

Research and Knowledge Management Tools 264

Writing Tools 265

Productivity Tools 266

Editing Tools 268

A Few Great Style Guides 269

Non-Text Writing Tools 271

Blog Idea Generators 271

Google Authorship 272

Image Sources (Or, Stock That Doesn’t Stink) 273

Acknowledgments for Tools 277

Epilogue 279

Notes 280

Index 291

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