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Everybody writes, but can everybody write well?

writing

Laptop image courtesy of mockingbird, Morguefile.

Writing seems to be easy, but it isn’t always like that. Depending upon what you want to communicate and what you want to say about yourself or a company, the words must be painstakingly selected and tweaked to give the right impression to the reader.

If you need help with writing for a market, or you just want to become a better writer or blogger overall, I recommend reading Ann Handley’s book: Everybody Writes: Your Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content. Ann Handley is a top expert in content marketing, speaker and writer, and when I got the chance to read this book lately, I leaped at it. I’d been hearing about her and this book for ages, and I couldn’t resist seeing what a fellow writer had to say.

The book has good tips on writing and editing, and it’s useful if you’re writing for the Web, which I do quite often. Writing for the Web is markedly different from other types of writing — people are more apt to skim, so they’re looking for shorter paragraphs, subheaders and shorter sentences, according to Ann.

Her section on interviewing subject matter experts is intriguing, and I can see those tips being particularly useful for journalists. In the course of my work, I interview SMEs at times, so I’m going to try out her tips.

She recommends quite a few websites to visit, so that’s going to occupy my weekends for a while. Some of the websites Ann Handley mentions are google.com/trends to keep up with current trends and copyhackers.com.

There’s also tips for how to communicate on social media sites, landing pages, email and other forms of communication. I loved the tip about hiding an surprise in an About page — check out wistia.com for a fun surprise. Scroll down on the page, click on the music note at the bottom that says “Partytime”, and enjoy.

There’s a whole section devoted to blogs, which is helpful reading. So when you get time, check out this book. There’s something in there that every writer will find handy information to know.

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