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Everybody Writes, So Learn From the Pros: Part 3

Our content team wrapped up Ann Handley’s critically acclaimed book, “Everybody Writes,” just before Thanksgiving. The first two sections of the book offer plenty of tips to be thankful for, from advice on how to write more effectively to a deep dive on grammar and word usage.

Handley goes on to talk about a whole host of topics in the remaining pages, including rules on publishing, writing for social media and tools that can take your writing to the next level.

Here are some of the lessons the content team found particularly helpful:

1. Cite as you write

It has never been easier to research a topic you want to write about. With just a few clicks, you can gain instant access to millions of online sources that cover almost everything under the sun. But with convenience comes the responsibility to credit others for their work. Handley recommends citing any source that helps you along the creative process.

Expert tip: Be sure to find primary, not secondary sources. Writers too often link to a secondary source instead of the original. As Handley puts it, “The credibility you gain is worth the extra click or two to track down the primary source.”

2. Pay attention to length 

Marketers routinely write different types of content, whether it’s drafting a blog post or coming up with a tweet. To help make the most of your efforts, Handley offers a few guidelines for blog posts, podcasts, Facebook posts and more.

When it comes to Twitter, for example, aim for tweets in the 120 to 130 character range. While Twitter allows for 140 characters, Handley’s ideal length is shorter to ensure others have room to manually retweet.

Thinking about recording a YouTube video? Try to keep it between three and three-and-a-half minutes. YouTube takes into account the percentage of viewers who stick around for the entire video, so you want to make sure your videos don’t last too long.

3. Add to your toolbox 

The last section of Handley’s book covers a wide range of tools that can improve your writing, boost productivity and streamline the editing process. One particular tool that grabbed our attention was Hemingway. The free app flags long sentences, adverbs and passive voice, making your writing clear and concise.

If you’re having trouble staying focused, Handley suggests trying StayFocused. This free Google Chrome extension is designed to limit the amount of time you spend on distracting websites and can give you the peace and quiet needed to churn out great content.

We're always looking for new ways to provide clients with bigger and better pieces of content. From useful grammar tips to guidelines on practically every type of content out there, Handley’s book helps us move one step closer toward that goal.

While we may have finished reading, we know one thing’s for sure – this book won’t gather dust anytime soon. Pick up a copy to see how “Everybody Writes” can take your writing to the next level every day.