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‘Ann’ Event for the Books

Courtney Beasley

This week we hosted our third annual Just a Book (book club for marketers) event and were thrilled to have Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer for MarketingProfs and author of the WSJ best-seller, “Everybody Writes”. Throughout September and October we shared around 100 copies of the book with marketers across Chicago and came together with colleagues, clients and friends for the closing event.


This year’s book focused on why writing is an essential tool in every marketer's toolbox and gave tips and tricks for fulfilling your writing potential. We broke down the content in her book each week by the philosophy of writing, grammar rules and story guidelines, publishing and writing for marketing, ending the series with Ann at the American Writers Museum.

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Ann was such a pleasure to collaborate with and we are still reeling over what a privilege it was to share the room with her. Through our Q&A, she talked about her ideas from the book and then some. Here are a few of our top takeaways from the event:

  • Use your voice. As a marketer speaking and writing for a brand, it’s easy to get caught up in style guidelines and blindly slip into sounding like a robot; however, this doesn’t have to happen! According to Ann, “writing in a brand voice doesn’t mean you lose who you are.” You can still tell your brand story and adjust your own voice and style to do it.
  • Keep jargon to a minimum. Jargon, it’s the catch-22 of marketing talk. Despite denying ourselves from using agile andscalable for the umpteenth time, Ann believes there is a time and a place for it. If the jargon and words you’re using mean something to your audience then use them! But if it feels like fluff, drop them. This generally works best when speaking to a niche group of people.
  • Technology makes you a better writer. There is no denying that social media has not only revolutionized the way we communicate peer-to-peer, it’s changed the way we approach marketing. Why not use it as a tool to be a better writer? In Ann’s own busy life, she uses Instagram as an outlet for writing. She’s thoughtful about every word she types, and treats her account as a microblog for maintaining her brand (And we totally recommend following her, @AnnHandley).

Thanks again to everyone who joined us for this memorable event. Check out photos here! It was an honor getting to fill the room for Ann with Chicago’s brightest marketing brains. Missed us this year? RSVP here to be included in upcoming events.