How to Be Your Brand’s Editor in Chief with Ann Handley

October 31, 2016

“The value of an editor cannot be understated. The editor is the proxy for the audience.” As the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs and the best-selling author of Everybody Writes and Content Rules, Ann Handley knows a thing or two about writing and editing. Most marketers have staffed up for content creation but what about editing? How do you know if you’re creating what’s best for your audience and brand. We discussed all of this with Ann on this week’s episode of the On Brand podcast.

Enjoy This Episode Now

About Ann Handley

Ann Handley is a Wall Street Journal best-selling author, keynote speaker, and the world’s first Chief Content Officer. Ann speaks and writes about how you can rethink the way your business markets. Cited in Forbes as the most influential woman in Social Media and recognized by ForbesWoman as one of the top 20 women bloggers, Ann Handley is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, a training and education company with the largest community of marketers in its category.

She was a long time monthly columnist for Entrepreneur magazine, is a member of the LinkedIn Influencer program , and the co-author of the best-selling book on content marketing, Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business (Wiley, originally published 2011. Paperback 2012.) The book has been translated into nine languages, including Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Portuguese. Her most recent book, Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content (Wiley, 2014) is a Wall Street Journal bestseller.

She currently has more than 350,000 followers on Twitter and writes about content, marketing, and life at the highly entertaining A pioneer in digital marketing, Ann is the co-founder of, which was one of the first sources of interactive marketing news and commentary. She started her career as a business journalist and editor.

Episode Highlights

“Most writers are not great editors.” Many of us have staffed up for content creation but what kind of quality control do we have in place? “The value of the editor cannot be understated. The editor is the proxy for the audience.”

How can brands up their editing game? “Peer editing is a great start. There’s also the Hemingway app and Grammarly.” As it turns out, more brands and bloggers are turning to editors — with one in four having a formal process in place for editing. This doubles what was reported last year. Keep an eye on Orbit Media for the latest blogging research.


What about your brand’s tone of voice? Branding is often squishy to many. Brand voice is something that’s harder still for businesses to get their arms around. But a deeper focus on brand voice can yield stronger content. “I always ask, if your logo or label was masked, would your customers’ know it’s your content and not your competition’s?”

Looking for a great example of a brand style guide? Ann points to UberFlip. The best part? Their online style guide is public! Everyone can be involved. Ann also reminded us that a good style guide should be like “bumpers on a bowling alley.” It should help you stay in the lanes.

In praise of slow marketing. At Content Marketing World, Ann spoke about slow marketing. “Today we want more funnel, more pipeline, more credit. Conventional wisdom tells you that if you slow down you’re road kill.” In many cases “you have to slow down before you can speed up.”

What brand has made Ann smile recently? Freaker USA. The beverage insulation category is decidedly unsexy but not for her friends at Freaker. Ann loves getting their fun emails.

To learn more, follow Ann on Twitter, check out MarketingProfs, and her website.

As We Wrap …

Before we go, I want to flip the microphone around to our community … Recently Anna Yunker who gave us both a shout out Twitter with copies of both Get Scrappy and Everybody Writes in her reading stack. Thanks for the shelfie!

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.