Blog

Ann Handley

November 19, 2014 by Speakers' Spotlight

How To Create Ridiculously Good Content

Cited in Forbes as the most influential woman in social media, and recognized by ForbesWoman as one of the “Top 20 Female Bloggers,” Ann Handley is a veteran of creating and managing digital content to build relationships for organizations and individuals. A monthly columnist for Entrepreneur, a member of the LinkedIn Influencer program, and the author of the new book Everybody Writes, Ann shows audiences how to create amazing content and marketing for businesses big and small. Below, Ann shares “7 ways to create better content” with Business2Community.com:

1. Be strategic and find your content marketing mission

As Ann comes from a journalism background, she brings up an industry best practice, maybe some of you know it? It’s called the “Five Ws”. They are as follows:

Who – Hone in on who you’re trying to reach.

What – What are your goals?

When and Where – What value can you deliver at any given stage of the buying cycle or journey?

Why – Why does it matter?

Answer these questions and one last important question: what do you want them (your customers, your prospects, etc.) to do next?

2. Think Thanksgiving not Spanish tapas

Ann borrows an example from Jason Miller of LinkedIn to depict how he thinks of content as a big Thanksgiving turkey. This helps us imagine our content strategy as a big hunk of meat that can be sliced and diced into different content types. Basically, your content is not just a one-off. Think of it as a whole.

3. Tell a different story

We hear this all the time: “We don’t have a story to tell”, especially from B2B companies. Ann challenges us to look at other parts of our life, think outside the box and be inspired by our lives, to bring the inspiration back into our content marketing development efforts.

4. Be useful!

Ann absolutely believes that utility is the cornerstone of effective marketing. Make the story about the customer, be ridiculously useful. Here’s some food for thought: if your content was gone, would people miss you?

5. Mind like water: content moments everywhere

Keep your mind open and follow this “mind like water” approach where water will always find its place in a crevice. So stay open to the idea. There’s always a story to write.

6. Hone your own skills, build your dream team

We need a broader tool set at our own disposal. As marketers, we need to be more in social. People who are active in social tend to be proficient in social and understands how it can work with content. Also, we need to get great at conent and writing, and have a basic grasp of SEO. We need to be good at analytics so that we are able to communicate back to team, especially with the C-suite.

7. Be a better writer: tell better stories

Becoming a better writer is becoming a better marketer. It’s all about better stories, and that starts with better writing. A lot of times, people think writing is an art where only a select few can do it well. Ann believes that writing is actually a habit, not an art. Writing is the heart of content marketing. And lastly, Ann leaves us with these wise words: “Words are your ambassador, don’t squander them.”

By Summer Lu/Business2Community/November, 2014