For the author of the book Everybody Writes, Content Marketing is a way to show Leads and customers that your company matters
Anyone who studies or works with Content Marketing has certainly heard of the American author Ann Handley. A pioneer in the subject, she gives practical, inspiring and fun tips on how to market in a way that attracts consumers, through books, lectures and also on social networks. Want to know more about the author of the book Everybody Writes? So keep reading the article!
Who is Ann Handley?
Ann Handley was born in the United States and graduated in English Language and Literature and in Journalism from Simmons University, an educational institution located in Boston, Massachusetts.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the writer worked in publishing, first as an editor at a newspaper focused on the real estate industry and then as a correspondent for the Boston Globe. Then, he worked in magazines aimed at the B2B audience.
In 1997, the internet was still in its infancy. But there were already those who thought about how to do Digital Marketing on the network. Ann Handley was one of those people. It was in that year that she created ClickZ, a pioneering digital marketing portal that still exists today, offering articles, podcasts, webinars and other information on the subject.
She then founded MarketingProfs, the company of which she is Chief Content Officer. MarketingProfs is focused on online marketing training, workshops, webinars and other formats, with the objective of teaching people, teams and companies to make marketing campaigns that work.
The company also has a daily newsletter with more than 600,000 subscribers and organizes an annual event, the B2B Marketing Forum.
Ann Handley Books
Ann Handley is best known in her native country and beyond for her books. The first one, Content Rules, was launched in 2010 and teaches how to create blog posts, podcasts, videos, ebooks, webinars and other formats, all in order to engage the audience. In the work, Ann Handley teaches companies how to find a voice, write in a way that communicates the characteristics of the product or service and improve their online presence.
Later, in 2014, she released the book considered her biggest success so far: Everybody Writes, which purports to be a guide to creating good content. With easy-to-apply suggestions, the book teaches you how to write better, offers grammar tips, and shows you best practices for creating content.
Both titles were considered bestsellers by the Wall Street Journal. According to the author’s website, her works have already been translated into 19 languages.
Ann Handley’s lectures
Ann Handley is also successful on stage. As a speaker, she brings tips from her 25-year career as a writer, entrepreneur, author and marketer, inspiring the audience to tell good stories in the best way possible.
She has even come to Brazil to participate in two editions of the RD Summit, our Digital Marketing and Sales event, in 2017 and 2019. In addition, he was also present at Hostel by RD Summit, an online edition of the event held in 2020.
Ann Handley’s Tips for Writing Good Content
Now that you know a little about the author’s trajectory, how about getting to know some of her writing tips?
In her talk at RD Summit 2017, Ann Handley brought valuable insights to produce content that stands out from the sea of internet publications. The author said that we don’t need more volume of content, but relevant content. “It’s more about brains than budgeting,” he said.
The author brought three characteristics that she believes are essential for quality Content Marketing:
Think in a broader context
Remember your market before focusing only on the product or service you offer. By posting inspiring, broader stories, you put your business in context, and you can use it to convert more people to your point of view.
Ann Handley brought up a bad example: Pizza Hut, which placed the phrase “we sell pizza” below the logo on a sign. It is redundant information for the store, which already has pizza in its name.
Instead, focus on inspiring stories that people want to see and value. A good example is that of a coffee brand that produced content to educate customers about the best coffee, its different aromas and compositions.
For Ann Handley, who even became a customer of the brand, it is an opportunity to make customers more intelligent, including so that they see value in your product or service.
If you always produce your content the same way, why not change the narrative a little?
A good starting point is your company data. Spreadsheets full of numbers can be interesting for running a business, but not for the consumer. So you can use your numbers to tell more human stories.
The example used by the author is that of the American law firm Levenfeld Pearlstein. Despite operating in a market known for its jargon incomprehensible to most people and for its seriousness, the company decided to hire a video crew to go to the office and do a different interview with lawyers, with questions like “what would you like to be when grow up?”.
It was a way to tell an interesting story and to humanize the brand.
To be bold in your strategy, reflect: does your strategy tell a different story, from a particular point of view? Or are you marketing like everyone else?
Have a well-defined tone of voice
To produce good content, tell your stories from a stronger perspective. The idea is to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary, which can be done through the tone of voice, for example.
A tip from Ann Handley for impactful content is to use the video format. For this, she cited the example of BBC Earth, which spoke in an original way about the reproduction of sloth animals, using British humor.
To know if you’re telling your stories from a memorable perspective, think about it: If you took your product off the label, would your customers recognize it?
According to Ann Handley, to produce good content there is no ready-made diagnosis. But a first step, common to all companies, is to think about the customer experience instead of producing more and more content.
“The key is pathological empathy, we need to be under the client’s skin, reaching their heart,” he concluded.
More about Ann Handley
To learn more about the author, a good tip is to follow her on social media. Ann Handley lives in Boston with her kids and dogs and shares a bit of her daily life on Instagram. You can also follow the writer on Twitter and LinkedIn, a platform on which she accumulates more than 400,000 followers.