Is Writing Still the Most Important Social Skill?

Social Pros Podcast with Ann Handley

Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, joins the Social Pros Podcast this week to discuss the essentials of writing in the visual media marketing world, key points of wisdom from her new book Everybody Writes, and the fact that honing your writing skills will make you a stronger digital marketer.

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Full Episode Details

Storytelling in a Visual Age

Visual storytelling has been getting a lot of chatter over the past few years: the rise of visual social media outlets like Pinterest and Instagram, the proliferation of tools for creating excellent visual content, etc. But Ann Handley’s new book Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content tells us that in this content-driven world, writing actually matters more, not less.

“The thing that connects all of those things – that connects video and infographics, and even the best Instagram feeds that I follow – they all have some story behind them.”

Ann’s new book is about empowering the communicator in all of us, regardless of the level of writer we are. Everyone is a writer, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is Hemingway. Some of us write content for blogs on a regular basis or write books, while others write emails and notes to their kids. Regardless, everybody writes. And that means that everybody could write better.

For MarketingProfs, Ann creates and oversees a lot of content, both B2B and B2C. Her biggest lesson for all the content writers out there is to let go of perfectionism. Sometimes she looks back at a blog post in a year or even just an hour and finds something wrong with it, but ultimately, “Done is better than perfect,” in the world of content writing. And agonizing all of those little details doesn’t get her any closer to hitting “publish.”

At the same time, many marketers still have not mastered the art/science combination of creating content. “There are a lot of people who are just still trying to make this as easy as possible,” Ann says. “How many boxes can we check, versus really reinventing the way that we market.”

Creating compelling visuals is great, but carefully honing your writing and storytelling abilities are essential for creating ridiculously good content.

Holy Social!

The #WhyIStayed hashtag has been popular recently in reaction to the Ray Rice saga. Men and women who have been victims of domestic violence are sharing their stories on social media, explaining why they stayed.

In the latest case of a real-time marketing, tone-deaf post, the active and irreverent DiGiorno Twitter handle tweeted, “#WhyIStayed You had pizza.”

The tweet was deleted “seconds later,” according to a press release, but not before people took screenshots to forever memorialize the accidental post.

But the interesting part about this Holy Social! was that DiGiorno not only posted a general apology and released a statement; they also responded to every tweet they received in response to the incident.

“Brands,” Jeff says, “have to start thinking about the cost/benefit analysis of trying to be real-time marketers on other people’s hashtags. Because inevitably these mistakes are going to happen.” While hopping on a hashtag will occasionally have massive rewards – like Oreo’s famous Dunk in the Dark tweet – for the most part, it’s a waste of time in terms of risk versus reward.

The lesson here is that hashtags are not an automatic route to social media success.

See you next week!

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