8 Writing Lessons from Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

By Ellen Gomes

As a marketer, you write—regardless of your specific role, or which company you work for.

I’m a writer right now, as I write this blog. I’m a writer when I create session descriptions for my presenters at conferences. I’m a writer when I communicate with my sales team. I was a writer when I created the slides for my webinar, 8 Biggest Mistakes Field Marketers Make. You get my point. All marketers are writers in some capacity.

So, when Ann Handley titled her book, Everybody Writes, she was SPOT ON. And I was intrigued. Sometimes it can take a while to motivate yourself to read a professional development book­—so my apologies for being a little late to the game with this report. But, the topic simply does not expire, so I hope you’ll still find value in the top 8 writing lessons I took away from Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes:

1. Writing Can Be Learned

I like to think that I’ve been a decent writer for most of my days. On the flip side, I’ve been drawn to dating those with less aptitude for the craft (to put it nicely). And it warms my heart to hear Ann say that this skill can be honed even without the “original gift.” The difference between good and bad is hard work—and trying extremely hard to improve.

2. Make The Beginning of Your Sentence MATTER

Drop the modifiers and qualifiers. Give your reader exactly what you want to say instead of coloring your sentence with phrases like:

– In my opinion…

– The purpose of this email is…

– I think that…

Be stronger and just say what you mean!

3. Reframe Your Writing Goals

Don’t set an arbitrary time metric for your dedicated writing. Instead, think about your goals around output (words). As Ann put it, “I’d rather produce 500 awesome words than 10,000 terrible ones.” Just like most things in marketing, it’s about quality, not quantity.

4. Don’t Be Lazy: Fact-check!

There is nothing more embarrassing for a writer than to have a simple misspelling of a company name or include a link that points to the wrong destination. Take the time to check that everything you’ve written is exactly how you intended it to be—FACTUAL. Avoid making these obvious mistakes. Like the one time I saw someone misspell their CEO’s name in a tweet…

5. Length Guidelines Exist for Most Content

Wondering how long your various pieces should be? This can vary based on your audience’s preferences but to get started, Ann includes a quick-and-dirty guide for 11 kinds of content:

  • Blogs (1,500 words)
  • Email subject lines (50 or fewer characters)
  • Website text line (12 words)
  • Paragraph (3-4 lines maximum)
  • YouTube video (3-3.5 minutes)
  • Podcast (22 minutes)
  • Title tag (55 characters)
  • Meta description (155 characters)
  • Facebook post (100-140 characters)
  • Tweet (120-130 characters)
  • Domain name (8 characters)

We shall see if I hit the coveted 1,500-word count on this blog!

6. Using “Free” Is Okay Again?

I put a question mark here because I’ll admit, I’m a little skeptical about this one. Ann points Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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