Big Insights from a Tiny House: Risk, Time, and Listening in Great Business Writing

Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, joins the Business of Story Podcast to share her long writing process, the rewards of taking risks, and why one should always put the audience first.

In This Episode:

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Full Episode Details

Ann Handley_InstagramGo for It!

Do you love great content? Do you know what makes certain content better than others? Are you a content creator? Are you pushing yourself to create content quickly? Do you understand how powerful and compelling a human narrative can be?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, Ann Handley is your new BFF. She is truly the First Lady of Content Marketing and is the first Chief Content Officer known in the business world. She now works at MarketingProfs and is a best-selling author, a beloved public speaker, and blogger. Her book titles include, “Everybody Writes: You Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content,” and “Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, eBooks, Webinars, and More That Engage Your Customers and Ignite Your Business.”

Ann speaks to us today from her “tiny-house-turned-office” about why it takes her a long time to write, how it pays to push through fears, and the most important reasons to keep your audience in mind as you create from their point of view.

As Ann says, “I am always trying to conjure up more of an image in the reader’s mind. I am always trying to tell more of a story.”

In This Episode

  • Why it’s okay to take your time when creating content
  • How to overcome fears to become a better writer
  • Why self editing is essential and not doing it is disrespectful
  • How to take bigger risks after careful study of your goals
  • Why you must think about the audience’s point of view when creating  
  • How to merge compelling storytelling with business writing


Quotes From This Episode

“What I feel that I can offer marketers, or what I value most, is giving them that sort of mindset of really helping them to think about the content that they’re producing and the stories they’re telling from a customer’s point of view.” —@annhandley

“Think of the audience first.” —@annhandley

“Content makes everybody happy.”  —@annhandley

“You have to talk about why it matters to the people you’re trying to reach. It’s about putting your products and your services—what you do and who you are—in the context that people will care about.” —@annhandley

“I think [in the business-to-business world] that’s where you see a lot of the fear. I have friends who are content producers for these global companies, and they are still hitting a lot of resistance internally to actually use story and content as a cornerstone of their marketing. They’re scared, they just want to do things the way that they’ve always done them. And so organizations move at a glacial pace, they move very, very slowly. Five years from now, I think we’re going to see a very different world, I hope. But there is a sort of learning curve here.” —@annhandley

“Writing can be uncomfortable, even for people like me who love to publish. I still don’t particularly love writing.” —@annhandley

“You don’t have to hit readers, viewers, or listeners over the head with selling them something, because they’re already here in your ecosystem.” —@annhandley


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