Book Review: Everybody Writes by Ann Handley
by Holly Ripley, on 21 September, 2020
Ann Handley, best-selling author of ‘Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content’ has gifted us with the ultimate content marketer’s bible packed with the process and strategy behind great content creation.
In this day and age does anyone really write anymore? I mean really write – not tweet or text or type the odd caption on your latest selfie.
The answer according to Handley – YES!
And writing means more now than ever. Despite the digital age birthing an abundance of abbreviations and the apocalyptic emerge of the emoji, Handley emphasises the almighty power of words when looking to convert your target audience online. Obvs. 💁🏻
In this book, we’re not only taught how to be better writers, but how to win customers with our words. Whether you’re a small business owner, a content marketer or just looking to work on your craft, Handley takes us through a step-by-step guide on how to choose the right words and write them well. Anyone can be a writer if they dedicate the time and follow a simple set of rules.
Here are our Top 3 Takeaways:
1. Your First Draft Will be Ugly
Embrace the horror of the first draft. The hardest part of writing is first putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard). The reason so many of us suffer from the dreaded writer’s block is because we expect too much of ourselves too soon. Remember, writing is a process – don’t be afraid to begin with something rough and re-visit to polish. Jot down notes and leave gaps as you go, they can be re-visited when you approach the editing stage.
2. To Keep the Reader – Grab Them Early
Never judge a book by its cover – but always judge a paragraph by its first sentence. The most important part of your content is how it starts. Place the most striking words and ideas at the start of each sentence to entice your audience to read on. You should aim to place the reader at the centre of the story – and do it quickly. While background info can be useful, if you use it to pad out the start of a long paragraph, your reader might not make it to the end. So get the point.
3. Crafting the Relationship with the Reader
Getting to know your audience is key before you start the conversation with them. If you’re looking to boost sales via social media, make sure you utilise the demographic insights provided by platforms such as Facebook. Things like gender, job role, ethnicity, and even behavioural insights such as their comments and likes can enable you to know your audience and effectively tailor the messaging towards them.
Start the conversation when it’s convenient for the audience rather than yourself. Utilise the data at hand to examine the certain times of the day that your audience are most likely to be on social media and publish your content then. For most people, this is often evenings and weekends and will give your content the best chance to be seen and engaged with.
So the good news is – even you, yes YOU can be a writer too. The bad news is, you’ve not no more excuses - so get writing.
“This book inspires you to become a stronger writer. And it does so with style.” - Nancy Duarte