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

Book Description

Finally a go-to guide to creating and publishing the kind of content that will make your business thrive.

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

If you have a web site, 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.

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 currency; 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 means you've got to choose words well, and write with economy and the style and honest empathy for your customers. 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. 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...

And so being able to communicate well in writing isn't just nice; it's necessity. And it's also the oft-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 actionable how-to advice designed to get results.

These 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 strategy and delivers 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.

Sections include:

  • How to write better. (Or, for "adult-onset writers": How to hate writing less.)

  • Easy 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.)

  • Giving your audience the gift of your true story, told well. Empathy and humanity and inspiration are key here, so the book covers that, too.

  • Best practices for creating credible, trustworthy content steeped in some time-honored rules of solid journalism. Because publishing content and talking directly to your customers is, at its heart, a privilege.

  • "Things Marketers Write": The fundamentals of 17 specific kinds of content that marketers are often tasked with crafting.

  • Content Tools: The sharpest tools you need to get the job done.

  • Traditional marketing techniques are no longer enough. Everybody Writes is a field guide for the smartest businesses who know that great content is the key to thriving in this digital world.

    Table of Contents

    1. Cover
    2. Praise for Everybody Writes
    3. Title Page
    4. Copyright
    5. Dedication
    6. Foreword
    7. Acknowledgments
    8. Introduction
    9. Part I: Writing Rules: How to Write Better (and How to Hate Writing Less)
      1. Chapter 1: Everybody Writes
      2. Chapter 2: Writing Is a Habit, Not an Art
      3. Chapter 3: Shed High School Rules
      4. Chapter 4: Regard Publishing as a Privilege
      5. Chapter 5: Place the Most Important Words (and Ideas) at the Beginning of Each Sentence
      6. Chapter 6: Follow a Writing GPS
      7. Chapter 7: The More the Think, the Easier the Ink
      8. Chapter 8: Organize. Relax, You've Got This
      9. Chapter 9: Embrace The Ugly First Draft
      10. Chapter 10: Swap Places with Your Reader
      11. Chapter 11: Humor Comes on the Rewrite
      12. Chapter 12: Develop Pathological Empathy
      13. Chapter 13: ‘Cross Out the Wrong Words’
      14. Chapter 14: Start with Dear Mom . . .
      15. Chapter 15: If You Take a Running Start, Cover Your Tracks
      16. Chapter 16: Notice Where Words Appear in Relation to Others around Them
      17. Chapter 17: ‘A Good Lede Invites You to the Party and a Good Kicker Makes You Wish You Could Stay Longer’
      18. Chapter 18: Show, Don't Tell
      19. Chapter 19: Use Familiar Yet Surprising Analogies
      20. Chapter 20: Approach Writing Like Teaching
      21. Chapter 21: Keep It Simple—but Not Simplistic
      22. Chapter 22: Find a Writing Buddy
      23. Chapter 23: Avoid Writing by Committee
      24. Chapter 24: Hire a Great Editor
      25. Chapter 25: Be Rabid about Readability
      26. Chapter 26: End on an I-Can't-Wait-to-Get-Back-to-It Note
      27. Chapter 27: Set a Goal Based on Word Count (Not Time)
      28. Chapter 28: Deadlines Are the WD-40 of Writing
    10. Part II: Writing Rules: Grammar and Usage
      1. Chapter 29: Use Real Words
      2. Chapter 30: Avoid Frankenwords, Obese Words, and Words Pretending to Be Something They're Not
      3. Chapter 31: Don't Use Weblish (Words You Wouldn't Whisper to Your Sweetheart in the Dark)
      4. Chapter 32: Know the Difference between Active and Passive Voice
      5. Chapter 33: Ditch Weakling Verbs
      6. Chapter 34: Ditch Adverbs, Except When They Adjust the Meaning
      7. Chapter 35: Use Clichés Only Once in a Blue Moon
      8. Chapter 36: Avoid These Mistakes Marketers Make
      9. Chapter 37: Break Some Grammar Rules (At Least These Five)
      10. Chapter 38: Learn Words You're Probably Misusing or Confusing with Other Words
        1. Similar or Seemingly Interchangeable Words
        2. Usage Confusion
      11. Chapter 39: Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy
      12. Chapter 40: Limit Moralizing
    11. Part III: Story Rules
      1. Chapter 41: Tell How You'll Change the World
      2. Chapter 42: Tell the Story Only You Can Tell
      3. Chapter 43: Voice and Tone
      4. Chapter 44: Look to Analogy instead of Example
    12. Part IV: Publishing Rules
      1. Chapter 45: Wait. What's Brand Journalism?
        1. But Is It Really Journalism?
        2. How Brand Journalism Works
      2. Chapter 46: Tell the Truth
      3. Chapter 47: See Content Moments Everywhere
      4. Chapter 48: Post News That's Really News
      5. Chapter 49: Biased and Balanced
      6. Chapter 50: Nonobvious Interview Tips
      7. Chapter 51: Fact-Check
      8. Chapter 52: Approach Content with ‘Mind Like Water’
      9. Chapter 53: Seek Out the Best Sources
      10. Chapter 54: Be Aware of Hidden Agendas
      11. Chapter 55: Cite as You Write
      12. Chapter 56: Curate Ethically
      13. Chapter 57: Seek Permission, Not Forgiveness
      14. Chapter 58: Understand the Basics of Copyright, Fair Use, and For Attribution
        1. Can I Just Link?
        2. What about Images?
        3. How about Logos and Screenshots?
        4. One Final Point
      15. Chapter 59: Ground Content in Data
    13. Part V: 13 Things Marketers Write
      1. Chapter 60: The Ideal Length for Blog Posts, Podcast, Facebook Posts, Tweets, and Other Marketing Content
        1. How Long Should a Blog Post Be?
      2. Chapter 61: Writing for Twitter
      3. Chapter 62: Writing with Hashtags
      4. Chapter 63: Writing Social Media with Humor
      5. Chapter 64: Writing for Facebook
      6. Chapter 65: Writing for LinkedIn
      7. Chapter 66: Writing Your LinkedIn Profile
      8. Chapter 67: Writing for Email
      9. Chapter 68: Writing Landing Pages
      10. Chapter 69: Writing Headlines
      11. Chapter 70: Writing a Home Page
      12. Chapter 71: Writing the About Us Page
      13. Chapter 72: Writing Infographics That Won't Make People Mock Infographics
      14. Chapter 73: Writing Better Blog Posts
      15. Chapter 74: Writing Annual Reports (or Annual Wrap-Ups)
    14. Part VI: Content Tools
      1. Research and Knowledge Management Tools
      2. Writing Tools
      3. Productivity Tools
      4. Editing Tools
      5. A Few Great Style Guides
      6. Non-Text Writing Tools
      7. Blog Idea Generators
      8. Google Authorship
      9. Image Sources (Or, Stock That Doesn't Stink)
    15. Acknowledgments for Tools
    16. Epilogue
    17. Index
    18. End User License Agreement