A fan of Ann? Or just want to get a handle on Handley? Then you're in the right place.
Digital marketing and content expert. Writer and bestselling author. Keynote speaker and world's first Chief Content Officer. #Queen, according to a Content Marketing World audience member.
Plus, she's our top speaker at AntiConLX DialUp. Can't forget that.
At the core, Ann speaks and writes about how marketers can rethink the way their business markets. And she's got the credentials to do it.
Cited in Forbes as the most influential woman in Social Media, and recognised by ForbesWoman as one of their top 20 female bloggers, she's shaping modern marketing. And wearing a bunch of cool suits at the same time.
Previously finding success with her previous company ClickZ, she developed the business to be one of the first sources of digital marketing news and commentary.
MarketingProfs, a marketing training and education company, has now reached more than 600,000 subscribers. Plus, the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum is the premier global marketing event for marketers in that field.
Oh, and there's more. She's a bestselling author, too. Her works include: Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, and Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business.
So, if you didn't realise it was about words, at least the length of the title would give you a hint.
She's also an E.B White fan, a dog mom, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel enthusiast, and a novice tap dancer. Plus, in a Tom Hanks twist, she's got a pretty cool vintage typewriter collection.
And recently, she's launched a creator coin. In partnership with Rally.io and Jeremiah Owyang, Ann delved into the space to create a shared symbol of community, as a way to extend the feeling of comradery between a content creator and their content consumers.
This is on top of her successful newsletter. Started in January 2018, the aim of the work was to establish a connection and community (there's that word again), in a one-to-one way. Not the "one-to-many" way of social media, but direct and personal.
This approach has seen her newsletter grow 2150% in 3 years, from 2,000 readers to 45,026.
But how did she get into content writing?
Well, when she was 8 years old, she wrote in her diary that she wanted to be a 'writer'. But that diary wasn't getting the audience she wanted. She needed eyes on the page, viewers for her work. She wanted community.
"As a kid in the Boston suburbs, my ability to build an audience was limited. So I created a neighbourhood newsletter, which I delivered on my bike to my neighbour’s mailboxes."
After that, she wrote to pen pal after pen pal, and invented new lives and storylines for this captive audience.
"I researched places I’d never been and things I’d never seen. I wrote about the life I didn’t have. It was entertaining. It was content. Even if none of it was true. "
So, providing value to her readers is something Ann is passionate about. Writing needs to be something that benefits an audience, not something filled with empty buzzwords and clichés. For this, you've got to know your customer, their hopes, dreams, and problems.
Embracing communication with an audience, in an intimate and immediate environment, is something Ann has used as a business tool, and a way to educate. It's all about conversation; having your voice heard, as well as hearing voices talk back.
Good writing is the heart and soul of good content – and it’s also the liver, lungs and central nervous system. When I say “writer,” by the way, I’m talking about the ability to express yourself with brevity, clarity and style. Those are things valued in almost any professional, but especially in marketing and communications.
All of this is about providing benefits for your customers. It's about telling people how your company, services, and products, help them.
But the most important thing of all, according to Ann?
Marketing is fun. If you let it be!