[Sažetak] Everybody Writes – Ann Handley

Knjigu s ovoliko praktičnih i primjenjivih tehnika dugo nisam pročitao. Everybody Writes knjiga me natjerala da dobro razmislim što će biti u sažetku jer sadrži toliko toga… Cijela knjiga je jedan fantastičan sažetak dugogodišnjeg rada Ann Handley u svijetu pisanja.

Ne samo da preporučam da pročitate cijelu knjigu već da nabavite fizičku kopiju jer ćete se često vraćati na određene dijelove knjige u trenutcima kada ćete bilo što pisati: članak, blog, knjigu, whitepaper, About Us/Me, LinkedIn post, you name it.

Knjiga je dosta orijentirana na marketing i corporate journalism, i cijelo jedno poglavlje praktički nije primjenjivo ako netko piše na hrvatskom jeziku. Međutim, i dalje je prepuna vrlo korisnih savjeta i tips-and-tricks! Sve preporuke svima koji žele početi pisati i/ili pisati bolje!

Everybody Writes


“The truth is this: writing well is part habit, part knowledge of some fundamental rules, and part giving a damn. We are all capable of producing good writing”

“Think of your content, then, as any medium through which you communicate with the people who might use your product or services”

Part I – Writing Rules: How to Write Better (and how to hate writing less)

“I want to tell you that the key to taking your writing muscles from puny to brawny is to write every day. The writing is a habit, not an art”

“If you want to be a writer you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot, Stephen King writes in his book On Writing

“Write like crap if you have to. But write every day. Keep the streak alive, said Beth Dunn”

“There is no one way to write – just as there is no one way to parent a child or roast a turkey”

“The challenge is to keep it tight, as Tim Washer, who produces videos for Cisco, espouses. That means clarity, brevity, and utility”

“The notion of brevity has more to do with cutting fat, bloat, and things that indulge the writer and don’t respect reader’s time. Keep it tight”

“Make it clear. Don’t make the reader work hard to understand you”

“But in writing, process is necessary, because you need a road map to get you to where you need to be”

“What follows is the 12-step process for any new, longer texts you might produce – blog posts, e-books, white papers, site content, and the like:

  1. Goal. What’s your business goal? What are you trying to achieve?
  2. Reframe. Put you reader into it. Reframe the idea to relate it to your readers
  3. Seek out the data and examples. What credible sources supports your main idea?
  4. Organize. What structure helps communicate your point?
  5. Write to one person. Imagine the one person you’re helping with this piece of writing
  6. Produce The Ugly First Draft. Producing The Ugly First Draft is basically where you show up and throw up. Write badly. Write as if no one will ever read it
  7. Walk away. Walking away is self-explanatory
  8. Rewrite. Shape that mess into something that a reader wants to read
  9. Give it a great headline or title
  10. Have someone edit
  11. One final look for readability. Does your piece look inviting, alluring, easy to scan?
  12. Publish, but not without answering one more reader question: what now?”

“Much of writing paralysis is the result of expecting too much of ourselves the first time”

“Good writing servers the reader, not the writer. It isn’t self-indulgent. Good writing anticipates the questions that readers might have as they’re reading a piece, and it answers them”

“And more broadly: the best way to keep readers reading is to talk about them, not you”

“There are two approaches to self-editing:

  1. Development editing – here’s where you look at the big picture
  2. Line editing – here’s where you look at paragraph and sentence flow, word choice, usage, and so on”

“Give special love to the first and last sentences of your piece – the opening and closing, or the lede (lead) and kicker – in traditional journalism terms”

“A good lead, then, sets the tone for your writing and hooks the reader into wanting to know more. Here are some options:

  • Put the reader into the story
  • Describe a problem your reader can relate to
  • Set a stage
  • Ask a question
  • Quote a craze or controversial bit of data
  • Tell a story or relay a personal anecdote”

“I’d put closings, or kickers, as a close second in importance to the lead, Finish strong, with a call to action (if appropriate) ans a sense of completion, rather then merely trailing off as if you ran out of steam”

“Instead you might try these techniques [for kickers]:

  • Recast the biggest takeaway of the piece
  • Add an element of tonal surprise
  • Let others have the last word”

“Think of an analogy as a kind of gift to your readers that helps explain a complex process or concept with familiar, relatable specifics”

“Ground your data in your text in the familiar yet surprising, taking it out of theoretical and into the real and visceral”

“Another gem from my journalism professors: Assume the reader knows nothing. But don’t assume the reader is stupid”

“In general, the best web writing isn’t necessarily short, but it is simple with…

  • shorter paragraphs with no more than three sentences or six lines
  • shorter sentences with no more than 25 words in a sentence
  • straightforward words – in other words, avoid cliches, jargon and buzzwords”

Part II – Writing Rules: Grammar and Usage

“…, write for real people, using real words”

“Better writing comes from that place of goodness. It means using the right words, choosing real words, and avoiding temptation of buzzwords”

“Weblish words sprouted from technology, and they have no business being applied to people”

“Generally you want to use active voice, or active writing, instead of passive voice”

“Use expressive verbs when you can – when you are describing actions people take or events that occur – because they paint a vivid picture in the reader’s mind”

“Avoid cliches… like the plague, advices Toastmasters, a worldwide group that works to improve communication skills”

“Avoid beginning sentences with words that you’d hear from a pulpit, your parent, or a professor. Lose the excessively prescriptive and the moralizing, as it can come off as condescending”

Part III – Story Rules

“Rather, it’s [storytelling] about how your business (or it’s products and services) exist in the real world: who you are and what you do for the benefit of others, and how you add value to people’s lives, ease their troubles, help shoulder their burdens, and meet their needs”

“Start by grokking a few characteristics of a compelling story:

  1. It’s true. Make truth the cornerstone of anything you create
  2. It’s human. Even if you are a company that sells to other companies, focus on how your products or services touch the lives of actual people
  3. It’s original. Your story should offer a new, fresh, perspective
  4. It serves the customer. Your story might be about you, but it should always be told in the context of your customer’s life
  5. It tells a bigger story that’s aligned with a long-term business strategy”

Part IV – Publishing Rules

“In an e-book he created for HubSpot, Dan Igous points not that GE’s approach is one of four that are common in brand journalism today:

  1. Generating brand awareness
  2. Producing industry news
  3. Creating and sponsoring
  4. Generating leads”

“Crating content on behalf of your brands requires you to be scrupulously trustworthy. You need to be honest with your readers”

“Are you blogging about a new technology? Talk to the guy who developed it, not the PR or marketing person promoting it”

“But really, it’s [fact-checking] at the root of your credibility. You want your readers to trust your content, and (importantly) to share it with confidence that what you say it’s true”

“Proper citation is rooted in respect for other people’s work and it allows your readers to refer to the original source of your information if they want”

“Seek out primary, not secondary sources”

“In other words, in matters of copyright, seek permission, not forgiveness”

“Data puts your content in context and gives you credibility. Ground your content in facts: data, research, fact checking, and curating”

Part V – Things Marketeers Write

“Length guidelines for 11 kinds of content:

  1. Blog post. The ideal length for a search-optimized blog post is 1.500 words
  2. Email subject lines. The ideal email subject line has 50 or fewer characters
  3. Website text line. The ideal length for a line of text on a website is 12 words
  4. Paragraph. The ideal length for a paragraph is between 3 and 4 lines, maximum
  5. YouTube video. The ideal length for a YouTube video is between 3 and 3.5 minutes
  6. Podcast. The ideal length for a podcast is 22 minutes
  7. Title tag. The ideal length for a title tag is 55 characters
  8. Meta description. The ideal length for a meta description is 155 characters
  9. Facebook post. The ideal length for a Facebook post is between 100 and 140 characters
  10. Tweet. The ideal length for a tweet is between 120 and 130 characters
  11. Domain name. The ideal length for a domain name is 8 characters”

“The key is this: spend as much time on the headline as you do on the writing itself. Respect the headline”

“Keep in mind the following prescriptive when writing you headlines:

  • Create a curiosity gap – but with moderation
  • Promise what you are going to deliver
  • Place your reader directly into headline
  • Be economical, and test
  • Use numbers
  • Use lively words”

“All good content puts the reader first, and that’s no different on your About Us page. In other words, About Us gives you a chance to talk about yourself, but always in the context of what you can do for your customers”

“But here are som tactical suggestions that have more to do with structuring a [blog] post than with writing itself:

  • Keep headlines tight
  • Add blog bling. Every post should have a large graphic or embedded video
  • Time is well. Usually the best time for publication is between 8 and 10 A.M, weekdays
  • Use bullets and numbered lists
  • Provide sharing and subscriber options
  • Keep them short. Ish.
  • Use an interesting approach
  • Show up. Half of the blogging is consistency, or just showing up on a regular basis
  • Build scale. To establish yourself, write for your audience’s audience
  • Experiment. Innovate. Do something unexpected”

Part VI – Content Tools

“These tools allow you to save research and organize notes and sync them between devices: Evernote, Diigo, OneNote, SimpleNote, Workflowy, Pocket, Wridea, Google Keep

“Nonetheless here are som popular online writing tools: Scrivener, yWriter, Ulysses, Mellel, Pages, Draft

“The editing tools that follow can help you with word choice or with readability of your prose: Grammarly, Hemingway, ProWritingAid, Autocrit, SmartEdit, Word Counter, Cliche Finder, Plagium, Visual Thesarus, Word Hippo, Readable, Readability Formulas

“These aren’t writing tools per se, but they can help spark some writing ideas based on topics you wan’t to write about: Portent’s Content Idea Generator, Blog About, UberSuggest, TweakYourBiz Title Generator

“Here are some sources for quality images that are cleared for use on any content you create – on your sire, blog post, social media, and so on: Creative Commons (Openverse), Dreamstime, Free images, MorgueFile, Public Domain Pictures, Fotolia (now Adobe Stock), Ancestry Images




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