Book review: ‘Everybody Writes’ by Ann Handley
Everybody Writes is your go-to guide to creating ridiculously good content that attracts and retains customers. Because in today’s content-driven world, writing is most important things to success online.
About The Author of Everybody Writes – Ann Handley
She created the history in the world & became a very first person in the world to have the title of Chief Content Officer, Ann Handley is a veteran of constitute and managing digital content. Ann Handley is a Wall Street Journal best-selling author. She is the author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content and co-author of the best-selling Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business (Wiley 2011). She is also a co-founder of ClickZ and a former reporter for the Boston Globe and other publications.
Ann speaks to audiences worldwide about how to grow your business by using content, social media and other digital tools. Her fun, engaging, accessible presentations manage to deliver equal measures of practical tips and inspiration.
Ann speaks and writes about how you can rethink the way your business markets. Cited in Forbes as the most influential woman in Social Media and recognized by ForbesWoman as one of the top 20 women bloggers, Ann Handley is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, a training, and education company with the largest community of marketers in its category. She currently has more than 350,000 followers on Twitter and writes about content, marketing, and life at the highly entertaining AnnHandley.com
A Role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. That’s what Ann Handley tried to do in her book – Everybody Writes is a go-to guide to magnetize and retaining customers through stellar online communication, because in our content-driven world, every one of us is, in fact, a writer.
Today world is being 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 pompous and ordinary?
Our writing can make the difference we can look smart or it can make us look stupid. It may make us seem fun, or warm, or competent, or trustworthy. But it could also make us seem humdrum or discombobulated or flat-out boring.
That means you’ve to be choosy for words and write with economy and the style and honest empathy for your customers & readers. And it means you put a new value on an often-overlooked skill in content marketing: How to write, and how to tell a true story really, really well.
And so being able to communicate well in writing isn’t just nice; it’s a necessity. And it’s also the oft-overlooked foundation of nearly all our content marketing.
The lessons and rules apply across all of your online assets like web pages, home page, landing pages, blogs, email, marketing offers, and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media. Ann deconstructs the scenario and brings a practical approach to create ridiculously compelling and competent content. It’s designed to be the go-to guide for anyone creating or publishing any kind of online content whether you’re a big brand or you’re small and solo.
The book consists of five parts:
- How to Write Better (or How to Hate Writing Less, for the recovering or “adult onset” writer) offers some handy scaffolding and blueprints for better thinking and writing.
- Writing Rules offers clear grammar and usage rules tailored for business in a fun, memorable way. (Enough to keep you looking sharp, but not too much to overwhelm you.)
- Story Rules (Part 3) and Publishing Rules (Part 4) give some guidelines on elements that infuse your content with heart and soul and integrity and flip it with a warm blanket of trust. There’s a lot to attain here from the ground rules of journalism and publishing, so those are covered too.
- Things Marketers Write gives you a super-tactical look at typical marketing tasks.
- And, finally, Content Tools delivers a reference list of resources and paraphernalia to help you produce your best work.
ANN HANDLEY IDEA OF CONTENT
Ann Handley proclaims that quality content is a combination of utility (it’s helpful,) inspiration (it’s uniquely you,) and empathy (its focus is on the content’s consumer.) You must have all three.
Everybody Writes book covers:
Every word in this book is useful. These books are a match, meant to light the fire, but with no action items, no next steps, the reader is left to provide their own kindling.
Ann analyzes writing, grammar, story, and publishing with a tone and voice for those that lust writing. Each lesson of the book is divided into easily digestible, so let’s just call them lessons. At the end of the book, Ann has pragmatic advice for writing very specific things, like Twitter, LinkedIn, email, landing pages, and more. There’s also a robust section on content tools.
Everybody Writes is written with a level of polish and personality that in itself is encouraging. You don’t usually see this kind of personality in writing these days.
Ann Handley’s style and humor shine in this book. The content is rooted in data, research, experience, and anecdotes from other writers. It’s not rabbited out of the hat stuff.
This is a book for people who wrestle with writing – either you love it, or you hate it, or you love to hate it. Either it’s something you have to do, in an “it’s your calling” sense, or something you have to do because it’s an act of your job.
Ann does a great job writing directly to humans because after all, to write is human.
One could learn a lot about the importance of the “ugly first draft,” and how publishing is a privilege.
If you need more substance to get a sense of what’s in this book – here are some lesson titles that you may enjoy, and they speak for themselves:
- Shed high shool rules
- Place the most important words (and ideas) at the beginning of each sentence
- Follow a Writing GPS
- Embrace the ugly first draft
- Cross out the wrong words
- Don’t use web list (words you wouldn’t whisper to your sweetheart in the dark)
- Ditch adverbs, except when they adjust meaning
- Use cliches only once in a blue moon
- Nonobvious interview tips
- How long should a blog post be?
- Writing better blog posts
Praise and Reviews from Media:
“With wisdom and an infective wittiness, Ann shows you how to take your writing from awkward or awful to electric or elegant. She’s your favorite teacher, cracking you up while her tough love gets you to do the work to improve.”—DAVID MEERMAN SCOTT, BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE NEW RULES OF MARKETING AND PR
“The alternate click-bait title of Ann’s great new book could have been 73 Ways to Improve Your Writing and Conquer the World! …and it would have been an understatement.”—BRIAN CLARK, FOUNDER, AND CEO, COPYBLOGGER MEDIA
“Ann Handley’s new book helps make every bit of content count—for your customers and your bottom line.”—KRISTINA HALVORSON, PRESIDENT, BRAIN TRAFFIC
“I just glanced at the table of contents and I’m already a better writer. Ann Handley might just single-handedly save the world from content mediocrity. Really, really ridiculously good-looking content just got an owner’s manual.”—JASON MILLER, SENIOR CONTENT MARKETING MANAGER, LINKEDIN
“This book should be included with every keyboard sold, like a combo pack of communication clarity.”—JAY BAER, PRESIDENT, CONVINCE & CONVERT, AND AUTHOR, YOUTILITY
“Ann Handley does the impossible: she teaches you (and me) not only how to tell better stories but also how to get those stories to connect with an audience.”—MITCH JOEL, PRESIDENT, TWIST IMAGE, AND AUTHOR, SIX PIXELS OF SEPARATION AND CTRL ALT DELETE
“Everybody Writes gives you all the tools you need to make writing a core part of your life (and it needs to be).”—JOE PULIZZI, FOUNDER, CONTENT MARKETING INSTITUTE, AND AUTHOR, EPIC CONTENT MARKETING“A fun, fast read that makes you want to run to your keyboard and tap out a masterpiece. But it’s not just for writers, it’s for anyone who commissions, edits, or works with writers.”—DOUG KESSLER, CO-FOUNDER AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR, VELOCITY UK
CONCLUSION: Everybody Writes covers it all, from grammar and spelling, storytelling, content marketing, structure, proofreading, plus a lot of up-to-the-minute lists and tips such as lists of useful apps for writing, editing, and publishing. It’s a must-read for anyone who writes.