MAY 7, 2015

CityU Library Reviews “Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content”

Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

Review by Theresa Gehrig, Librarian

Theresa Gehrig, Librarian
Theresa Gehrig reviews “Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content”

If you used Handely’s guide only to improve your emails, the impact would be significant. Most business professionals (you!) spend 13 hours a week managing writing or responding to emails. With a background in journalism and marketing, Handley is committed to helping you write all your content – whatever form that takes. This book is intended to be visited again and again. She offers short punchy chapters you can dip in for one tip or focus on more completely.

You don’t think of your occupation as Writer. But Ann Handley wants you to see your emails, tweets, reports, and Blackboard posts qualify you as a Writer. Every Submit, Post, Send is publishing! But more important, each Submit, Post, Send is an opportunity to influence, sell, or serve your reader, student or customer.

Handley advises first and often: Develop pathological empathy for your “reader” (aka customer, student, colleague, audience…). Her “more think, less ink” encourages you to invest time getting to know your “reader”. What are the reader’s experiences, habitat, needs, challenges, pains? What can you do for your reader? What burdens or problems can you solve for the reader? What motivates the reader? Does the reader see you as a real person they can trust? Even the “About Us” of a website is not about ‘us’, it is about the reader’s needs and wants. Once you have a clear understanding of your reader, write out of this empathy.

Handley follows her own rules of simple, direct writing with keen empathy for you. Here are chapter titles or guides to inspire you to delve deeper:

Handley helps you recognize a squandered opportunity to write for your reader. This leads to the last rule I’ll share: Publishing is a privilege, not a right. This is a hard concept to embrace when it is so easy to write and publish anytime, anywhere. And we are all so busy we hit Send or Post in a panic to get on to the next task! Consider the risks of not “swapping places with our readers”. Do you write as if your students are mind readers? You know what you mean, but can they read it?

Everybody writes:  Your go-to guide to creating ridiculously good content. Handley, Ann. 2014. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. 298 pages. Check WorldCat.org or your local public library to find a copy.

Curriculum Connections

Any and all programs would benefit from reading this book in part or in full.

Related Resources

Please note: Resources listed with [Login Required] are available to CityU students, faculty and staff, and may be available to other readers through their local libraries.


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