Writing with Ann Handley
Our very own intelligent and charming CEO Kate Bradley (also an incredible writer in her own right) hosted a webinar about writing with the renowned and hilarious Ann Handley, who’s the author of several remarkable books about marketing and social media. Together, they work through tips to find your writing voice, handling feedback, editing and improving.
Sound Like You
Kate and Ann’s authenticity is evident when you hear them speak. It remains in their writing. That is Tip No. 1.
When you’re writing for your company, imagine that instead of writing your Tinder bio, you’re writing in your journal. There’s no need to lie and say you love hiking and are 6’3”. Assuming you like video games and boxed Mac N Cheese is what’s going to show people that you’re authentic, confident, and similar to them. When you’re trying to make your voice and your brand stand out from your pesky competitors, the last thing you should do is try to blend in. You’re a unique human being, and no competitor can steal that from you. (No matter how much they try, Carol.)
Let this be an opportunity to play around with what works for you. Ann recommends breaking the rules of grammar (Kate cheers, the crowd goes wild!), and using words out of context. Unkemptness is back in. In the beautiful words of Ann Handley, “If you cover up your logo, do you recognize you?”
Edit, Edit, Edit
Finding your voice is only part of the writing process. After finishing a piece, Ann edits relentlessly. Once, twice, three or four times. Have someone read it back to you, cringe reflexively, and edit again. Edit first with a chainsaw, chopping off chunks of lousy writing and awkwardness. Then edit with a scalpel, changing the words “bad” and “awkwardness” to “God awful” and “ungainliness.”
Sometimes, just taking time away from your writing can help. “Writing is an unripe avocado” Ann informs us. Write, let it sit on your kitchen counter, and with time and perspective, something delicious can happen.
Even after all that, Kate and Ann have learned that there will always be critics to their writing. The choice is to either let those negative reviews ruin your day and your confidence, or have it be a learning lesson. But, Ann adds, most 1-Star reviews have “no value.”
Take it from Kate and Ann, being perfect takes time and practice. Ann gave a few last-minute pieces of advice: surround yourself with people who give honest feedback, hone your voice, edit, and, lastly, write! Write every day, even if it’s just a scathing review of that awful restaurant you went to last week. Write for an hour, for fifteen minutes, for five minutes. Keep a journal for your thoughts. Have your restaurant review go viral, and segue smoothly into your new career of being a food critic. And when you’re thinking about slacking, just remember: Ann Handley told you to do all this, and so now you have to.
Watch the Replay
To watch the tip-filled and funny webinar, sign up for the Lately marketing newsletter on this page and you’ll receive instant access.