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

  • ID: 2827279
  • Book
  • November 2014
  • Region: Global
  • 320 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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“Throw the others away because this is the only guide you need to elevate your content to the level of awesomeness! 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. Even though I’ve written 10 books, I still learned a great deal in these pages and now I’m eager to flex my newfound content creation muscles.”
—David Meerman Scott, best–selling 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. We’re all publishers now, and the better writers connect, persuade, and win. Be one of them with this book.”
—Brian Clark, Founder and CEO, Copyblogger Media

“All your shiny new channels, properties, and platforms are a waste of space without smart, useful content. 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

“Let’s face it, writing is not optional for today’s marketer. Ann’s witty take on what works and what doesn’t will help you master business writing and—more importantly—have fun while you’re doing it!”
—Ardath Albee, B2B Marketing Strategist and Author, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale and Digital Relevance (coming in 2015)

“Useful to the extreme, Everybody Writes is the first must–read book on the subject since Stephen King’s On Writing. Bursting with ways to improve your short and long–form content, it’s too good to be skimmed. This book should be included with every keyboard sold, like a combo pack of communication clarity. You’ll be a better writer by page 15. By the end of this book, you’re thinking about giving Steinbeck a run for his money. I passionately recommend Everybody Writes.”
—Jay Baer, President, Convince & Convert, and Author, Youtility

“Finally, a sensible writing guide for a digital age! Everybody Writes is a unique blend of how–to–write rules and what–to–write revelations. Whether you are overhauling your everyday communication or sitting down to write a book, Ann Handley’s irreverent style and inspirational wisdom will transform the way you write. Move over Strunk & White, Everybody Writes is the creative resource for a new generation.”
—Andrew M. Davis, Author, Brandscaping

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Foreword Nancy Duarte xvii

Acknowledgments xix

Introduction 1


1 Everybody Writes 15

2 Writing Is a Habit, Not an Art 17

3 Shed High School Rules 20

4 Regard Publishing as a Privilege 23

5 Place the Most Important Words (and Ideas) at the Beginning of Each Sentence 25

6 Follow a Writing GPS 27

7 The More the Think, the Easier the Ink 33

8 Organize. Relax, You’ve Got This 36

9 Embrace The Ugly First Draft 41

10 Swap Places with Your Reader 44

11 Humor Comes on the Rewrite 46

12 Develop Pathological Empathy 47

13 ‘Cross Out the Wrong Words’ 51

14 Start with Dear Mom . . . 54

15 If You Take a Running Start, Cover Your Tracks 56

16 Notice Where Words Appear in Relation to Others around Them 59

17 ‘A Good Lede Invites You to the Party and a Good Kicker Makes You Wish You Could Stay Longer’ 61

18 Show, Don’t Tell 65

19 Use Familiar Yet Surprising Analogies 69

20 Approach Writing Like Teaching 71

21 Keep It Simple—but Not Simplistic 72

22 Find a Writing Buddy 74

23 Avoid Writing by Committee 76

24 Hire a Great Editor 77

25 Be Rabid about Readability 79

26 End on an I–Can’t–Wait–to–Get–Back–to–It Note 84

27 Set a Goal Based on Word Count (Not Time) 85

28 Deadlines Are the WD–40 of Writing 87


29 Use Real Words 91

30 Avoid Frankenwords, Obese Words, and Words Pretending to Be Something They’re Not 93

31 Don’t Use Weblish (Words You Wouldn’t Whisper to Your Sweetheart in the Dark) 95

32 Know the Difference between Active and Passive Voice 96

33 Ditch Weakling Verbs 97

34 Ditch Adverbs, Except When They Adjust the Meaning 98

35 Use Clichés Only Once in a Blue Moon 101

36 Avoid These Mistakes Marketers Make 103

37 Break Some Grammar Rules (At Least These Five) 107

38 Learn Words You’re Probably Misusing or Confusing with Other Words 109

39 Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy 117

40 Limit Moralizing 119


41 Tell How You’ll Change the World 123

42 Tell the Story Only You Can Tell 128

43 Voice and Tone 130

44 Look to Analogy instead of Example 135


45 Wait. What’s Brand Journalism? 141

46 Tell the Truth 145

47 See Content Moments Everywhere 146

48 Post News That’s Really News 149

49 Biased and Balanced 150

50 Nonobvious Interview Tips 152

51 Fact–Check 156

52 Approach Content with ‘Mind Like Water’ 158

53 Seek Out the Best Sources 160

54 Be Aware of Hidden Agendas 161

55 Cite as You Write 162

56 Curate Ethically 166

57 Seek Permission, Not Forgiveness 170

58 Understand the Basics of Copyright, Fair Use, and For Attribution 174

59 Ground Content in Data 178


60 The Ideal Length for Blog Posts, Podcast, Facebook Posts, Tweets, and Other Marketing Content 183

61 Writing for Twitter 188

62 Writing with Hashtags 196

63 Writing Social Media with Humor 202

64 Writing for Facebook 206

65 Writing for LinkedIn 210

66 Writing Your LinkedIn Profile 215

67 Writing for Email 219

68 Writing Landing Pages 225

69 Writing Headlines 234

70 Writing a Home Page 238

71 Writing the About Us Page 244

72 Writing Infographics That Won’t Make People Mock Infographics 249

73 Writing Better Blog Posts 254

74 Writing Annual Reports (or Annual Wrap–Ups) 257


Research and Knowledge Management Tools 264

Writing Tools 265

Productivity Tools 266

Editing Tools 268

A Few Great Style Guides 269

Non–Text Writing Tools 271

Blog Idea Generators 271

Google Authorship 272

Image Sources (Or, Stock That Doesn’t Stink) 273

Acknowledgments for Tools 277

Epilogue 279

Notes 280

Index 291

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Ann Handley
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