Any business book that uses “grok” successfully more than once is worth a read! But Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley is worth the read for so much more than that.
A few weeks ago I published a Content Marketing Benchmark Study that outlined the biggest obstacle to garnering value from content strategies is motivating and training content contributors. Yet, content marketing can only be sustained and optimized when you offer a wide range of content. And unless you are the master of time and space, we can’t clone our content masters. The only solution is to uplift everyone in your organization to become better writers.
Everybody Writes is your text-book for doing just that. From a list of grammar rules we can break – trust me, they are worth the read – to practical tips for creating your optimal writing process, Everybody Writes is truly a lesson plan everyone should read over an over again. Knowing I can end a sentence with a preposition is completely freeing! (Yes, I tried to be clever and end that sentence with a preposition, but I froze. Maybe next time.)
Filled with tons of great writing examples and written with Ann’s charming sense of humor you’ll be tempted to read it cover to cover in one sitting. Do it! But then go back again and again to test your writing process against best practices. Accomplished and novice writers alike will gain something with each read.
Once you’ve had a chance to review the book I hope you are motivated to use it as part of your content contributor recruitment efforts. Here’s one approach you should consider.
- First, convince potential contributors they are in fact already a writer. One of the biggest insights Ann offers readers is that everybody truly does write, although most people don’t consider themselves writers. When seeking volunteers there will be some natural writers that already publish. Mix more passive writers in with this group by having one to one discussions with potential writers – remind them of the writing they do on a daily basis.
- Start a mini-book club. Provide copies of Everybody Writes to those most likely to provide content. This could be selecting a department or function, or it can be a cross-section of people from across the business.
- Everybody Writes is broken down into six sections. Set up a recurring lunch & learn book club meeting weekly for six weeks. Each week cover one section of the book. During each session assign one person to lead a discussion on what was read. Have team mates bring samples from their work to share and discuss the related lessons so they can be applied in real-time to your work environment. Samples can be anything from an internal memo, to client emails, blog posts or even tweets.
- Lastly, don’t forget to monitor content growth over time. Encourage everyone in the book club to set personal content goals. Praise those who are hitting milestones, and give some extra support to those who are falling behind.
Write on, readers. Write on!