Not more content, better content

Not more content, better content

A recap of Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes webinar presented on 11/13


ReadyTalk, Marketo, and several other sponsors were fortunate enough to host content marketing expert, Ann Handley, for a one-hour webinar. Ann’s freshly written a new book called Everybody Writes, a guide focused on attracting customers through good content.

In her webinar, Ann takes attendees through seven tips to help them along their journey for creating better content – focusing on how we need better content, not more of it. I’ve summarized each step below with my key takeaways from Ann’s presentation:

  1. Be strategic
    Like me, Ann studied Journalism. So she triggered some college flashbacks when she brought up the 5 W’s of journalism (Who? What? When? Where? Why?). These related to her number one rule of being strategic. Ann also made a good point, asking us as writers to consider, “Would your audience miss would miss your content if you stopped creating it?” It’s important to try and create content your customers will thank you for.
  2. Thanksgiving, not tapas
    Ann’s second point was illustrated with some help from LinkedIn’s Jason Miller. Instead of creating little content “bites” (tapas), you should give your audience the entire Thanksgiving spread. Content should be reimagined instead of recycled. Ann used an example, showing us how LinkedIn took one idea and used it to create many different pieces of content.

    (taken from Ann Handley’s presentation)

  3. Tell a different story 
    Next, Ann told us to be more innovative when it comes to content. It’s important to look at what’s working in other businesses, even unrelated ones. Once you’ve identified those successes, try to apply them to your own business. She pointed out a great example about a nonprofit creating a movie trailer to garner interest for their 2014 benchmarks study.
  4. Be useful
    For our content to be better, we must also make it useful. Ann used the website from an apartment community in Seattle to demonstrate her point. Their website catered to the end user, a potential renter, and included useful information like the apartments walking score and nearby photos of popular restaurants and bars. All of this content gave the reader context, allowing them to better imagine what it would be like to actually live in those apartments.
  5. Mind like water
    “There’s always a story to write, even if it’s not the one you expected to tell.” Content ideas are everywhere. Try to leverage Ann’s other tips to create something that’s useful, innovative, comprehensive, imaginative, and strategic. 
  6. Hone your skills
    Do you have the right skills in place to create better content? Ann clarifies the significance of focusing on the right skillsets in order to fulfil your content needs. She suggests we need to think less like Flat Stanley (one skilled) and more like Edward Scissorhands (many skills) – whereby we are good at many things, specifically social, content and writing, SEO, and analytics. 
  7. Be a better writer 
    Lastly, it’s important to focus on the actual task at hand – be a better writer! After all, better writers are better marketers. And writing is the heart of content marketing. It’s important to define your brand voice and create your culture through content. 


In conclusion 

Content really is king. But it’s not about creating more content just for the sake of it. It’s important to make content that is meaningful and offers a benefit to the end user. Ann’s webinar was packed full of great information to get you well on your way to creating better content. One of the main points that continues to resonate with me after listening to her presentation is, “Will people miss your content when you’re gone?” The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing. So make sure you’re leaving your readers with content gifts, information they’ll be grateful you’ve shared with them.

If you missed the live webinar, don’t worry. Watch the on-demand version now.


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