Ann Handley Explains The Need For “Personable Content”

Content Marketing is on the rise. But there are still plenty of questions about what kind of brand-sponsored content is most compelling and effective.

To address some of these questions, Patricia Redsicker of Business 2 Community recently spoke to Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs and co-author of Content Rules about a variety of content marketing topics, including how to use personal stories in content marketing.

I’m a big believer in using stories to engage, but I also make the distinction between personal and personable content.

On a personal blog, you can bare your soul and “tell all” like I do on my blog, Annarchy. But with corporations and content marketing, it’s about delivering personable content. It’s about giving your products or services a pulse and talking about the stuff that makes your product real to people so that they can relate to it.

That’s a great explanation. Because content marketing is about breathing life into a company’s products or services, the executions need not be laden with benefit-driven copy (like you might find in a direct mailer). The persuasive arch in content marketing is much larger because “the conversation” can be extended for days, and in some cases, forever.

Digital — where so much content marketing takes place — is a campfire. And content is the fuel. Run out of fuel and the fire goes out. Of course, you won’t run out of fuel when you properly tap your customers, prospects and staff for their stories, then task the agency with working these various sources, along with the brand’s own contributions, into the fire.

Photo Credit: Flickr user, Mack Collier


  1. Ann Handley says:

    Thanks for the shout, and for picking up this quote. It’s probably the one I feel most strongly about in the whole piece Patricia did, because I think the distinction is an important one (and it’s easily confused). BTW – I love the personality of your tag line, above: “Guide Service and Bait Shop.” LOVE it.

  2. Emma says:

    “Digital — where so much content marketing takes place — is a campfire. And content is the fuel. Run out of fuel and the fire goes out.”

    What a fantastic visual you’ve drawn here. I wish I knew why so many people continued to underestimate the impact that well-crafted content can have on a business. I suspect it’s a mindset that goes hand-in-hand with the notion that anyone who can talk can also write – which, obviously, just isn’t the case.

  3. David Burn says:

    Thanks for your comment, Emma. Not every business is in a place to “get it” just yet, but the good news is the field is growing and fast maturing. And as more brands invest in content, the more we’ll all point to it, discuss it and assess its ROI. All of which will lead to greater demand for brand-building content delivered on a consistent basis by talented people who can write, shoot and edit video, etc.

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