Imagine a world where every piece of content you produce not only resonates with your audience but also drives actionable results.

Sounds like a marketer's dream, right? Well, Ann Handley, the chief content officer of MarketingProfs, gives us a road map to that utopia in this episode of the Marketing Smarts Live Show—your "go-to guide to creating ridiculously good content."

Ann breaks down the parts of "ridiculously good content": content that your audience finds invaluable; content that's inspired by data, creativity, or a blend of both.

Mindset: The Value-First Approach

The first step to creating ridiculously good content is adopting a value-first mindset: prioritizing what your audience wants to know, solve, or achieve over what you want to tell them. In short: iit's not about you; it's about them.

Action item: Conduct audience research to understand their pain points, questions, and aspirations. Use that data to help build your content strategy.

Best-Practices: The Two Pillars of Inspired Content

1. Data-Driven Content

Use analytics, customer feedback, and market research to understand what topics and formats resonate with your audience.

Action item: Regularly review your analytics to identify high-performing content and replicate its success.

2. Creatively Inspired Content

Don't just stick to the facts; tell a story. Make your content engaging by adding elements of storytelling, humor, and personality.

Action item: Experiment with content formats— videos, podcasts, interactive articles—to keep your audience engaged.

Why Should You Care?

In the B2B marketing landscape, content is more than just words on a page. It's a powerful tool that can drive engagement, build relationships, and turn prospects into customers, Ann says.

When your content is both valuable and inspired, it resonates more deeply with your audience, making your marketing efforts exponentially more effective.

Mindset: The Long Game

Content marketing is not a sprint; it's a marathon. Adopting a long-term mindset allows you to build a content library that not only addresses immediate concerns but also nurtures prospects through the buyer's journey.

Action item: Create a content calendar that aligns with your sales cycle and customer journey, filling in gaps with valuable, inspired content.

Best-Practices: Consistency and Quality Over Quantity

1. Consistency

Maintain a consistent posting schedule to keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.

Action item: Use automation tools to schedule your posts in advance.

2. Quality Over Quantity

It's better to produce one excellent piece of content than five mediocre ones.

Action item: Invest in thorough research, expert interviews, and high-quality production to elevate your content.

* * *

Use the insights and action items highlighted in this Marketing Smarts live show video to elevate your content game:

Make sure you don't miss any future episodes: Subscribe to the Marketing Smarts Live Show on YouTube. And to catch up on all previous episodes, check out the full playlist on YouTube.

Episode Details, Guest Information, and Referenced Links

Episode No. 30

Guest's social media profiles:

MarketingProfs resources referenced in the show:

"In B2B News" article referenced in the show:

"From the #mpb2b Community" links referenced in the show:

Transcript: A Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content With Ann Handley

In the words of MarketingProfs' own CCO Ann Handley, "Ridiculously good content is content that your audience values in one way or another. Secondly, it is inspired in one way or another. It is inspired by data or creatively inspired, or both."

Value, data, and creativity are pretty basic to business, so B2B should be full of ridiculously good content. Right? Well, not quite.

"Content is increasingly a commodity for so many businesses," says Ann. "We check the box and we think, Content, yeah, we're doing that.... I think there is so much room for us to do it better."

Enter the second edition of Everybody Writes, an overhaul of Ann's first book that updates and expands on the art of content creation.

And that's what today's Marketing Smarts Live show is about folks.

Hello to all my Marketing Smarts Live viewers today. I'm super excited to bring you EPISODE 30 of the Marketing Smarts Live show.

This week's topic is all about A Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content. So, if you're ready to get your learn on, buckle up and let's get ready to rock and roll.

Hey, I'm your boy George B. Thomas speaker, trainer, catalyst, and host of this hear show, the Marketing Smarts Live show as well as the Marketing Smarts podcast found on your favorite podcast app.

Our guest clips today are brought to you by none other than Ann Handley.

Ann Handley, a Wall Street Journal-bestselling author who speaks worldwide about how businesses can escape marketing mediocrity and ignite tangible results.

IBM named her one of the seven people shaping modern marketing. She is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, a LinkedIn influencer, a keynote speaker, mom, dog person, and writer.

Now, remember, the clips of Ann Handley today are pulled from the full marketing smarts podcast episode and, if you want to listen to the full interview with Ann Handley and myself, make sure to tune into the Marketing Smarts podcast, link to the full show will be in the description below after the live show ends.

Now, in this episode, again, I'm talking with Ann Handley about A Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content.

So today we are talking about content creation and more important, ridiculously good content creation so, I wanted to start off with what might be the most important question and that is...

What is it and how can B2B (maybe even all marketers) create ridiculously good content?

Here's what Ann had to say.

Ann: Ridiculously good content is content that your audience values in one way or another. Secondly, it is inspired in one way or another. It is inspired by data or creatively inspired, or both.

Ultimately, ridiculously good content thinks of everything through the eyes of the reader, the person who is on the other end of whatever content you are producing. By that I mean when they look at something that you have written, something that you have produced, do they think to themselves or do they say to their team members, "That was good. That was great."

That is where I want to see us move as an industry, as marketers. Do our readers, do our audience members, do the people who we care most about attracting look at what we're doing, read what we're doing, watch what we're doing, and think it's just fantastic and think it could only come from us? That, to me, is the Holy Grail. That's what ridiculously good content ultimately is.

By the way, I know that a lot of us here today do not maybe identify as writers, and maybe we think that ridiculously good is too high of a bar, but when you asked what keeps me up at night, the other thing that keeps me up at night is making sure that I empower every single marketer, every single person who is listening to this conversation today, to really embrace their own power as a creator, as a writer.

If we are in marketing, we are all writers, so you need to dissuade yourself of this notion that you are not a writer. I think the more that we do that, the more that we can understand our ability to create ridiculously good content and the more that it fuels us as creators.

Did you hear that?

Do you focus on adding value.

Do they the reader think to themselves that is great!

Does it feel like it could have only come from you!

Are you embracing your power! Your power of a writer?

Embracing your power, adding value, and being authentic to yourself sure seems like a great starting point to creating ridiculously good content.

I have a question for you. Are you a writer?

Put the answer to that in the chat pane or, let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #mpb2b and of course, tag me using @georgebthomas.

We'll get back to Ann Handley and her thoughts on Creating Ridiculously Good Content But first, I have to ask...

Are you part of the MarketingProfs community? If not, become part of the MarketingProfs community by heading over to - That's

Now, it's time for one of my favorite sections …

In The B2B News - Where we talk about breaking B2B news or really important tips we find on the google news tab related to you and your B2B business. This week, the title is...

3 ways to rethink content's role in your B2B GTM strategy

ChatGPT and generative AI's increasing capabilities are putting a spotlight on content. Such attention benefits your go-to-market strategy across sales, marketing, brand, digital, product and more.

We can use this moment to improve the value of content while it is top of mind for all stakeholders. It's also a great time to demonstrate how our audience's content consumption evolves. Here are three ways marketing leaders can leverage the AI-generated content craze to bolster content marketing's impact.

To read this article, check out the link below when the live show is over.

So let's get back to Ann Handley and his Marketing Smarts podcast episode.

So I wanted to figure our what might get in your way as you try to create ridiculously good content. So, I asked Ann the question...

What have you seen historically that has stopped B2B marketers from creating ridiculously good content?

Listen in because I really like what she had to share here.

Ann: I think this is changing, but I think one of those potholes, impediments, hurdles, whatever analogy you want to use, is that we think there is a certain way that we need to write, especially in B2B. I think this is so true especially pre-COVID. B2B marketing generally has been much more arm's length. When we're creating content, we don't tend to use words like "you," we don't tend to use contractions, or start a sentence with a conjunction—like and, or, but—some basic things. The overall effect of that is that our content is a lot less conversational; it feels more hands-off and impenetrable in some ways, and it doesn't feel as warm and friendly.

I think one of the things that I have noticed, and that definitely is true more in the second edition than in the first edition, is that in a post-COVID world I think that many B2B marketers are thinking to themselves, are giving themselves permission, or maybe our bosses are giving us permission, maybe the C-suite is seeing what some competition is doing and saying we have to get in on that, but what we're doing is increasingly dropping that façade.

It's a cliché to say that B2B marketers are humans marketing to humans, but I think if there is anything I've seen in the past couple of years from a B2B content perspective, it's that we absolutely are embracing that opportunity to speak directly to people we care about and to let the voices of the people on our team to let the creators show their personality a little bit because that is very often in B2B what will make us stand out.

We think of voice and we think of point of view and personality in B2B as being hard, and I don't think it's hard. I think it's really a matter of thinking about the people who are creating content on behalf of our brand and giving them just some guidelines, but also a lot of freedom to create on behalf of the brand and let themselves shine their own voices, let themselves speak out. We should all be speaking out.

Are you giving yourself permission to drop the mask and be human in your marketing? Are you being human in your writing?

Are you letting the voice of the creators in your organizations show?

I sure hope the answers to those questions were yes!

Because like Ann said, I believe we all should be speaking out!

We will get back to Ann Handley in a few minutes but first it's time for some...

Dope B2B Learnings From The Vault of MarketingProfs Articles

That's right, It's time to dig into the treasure trove of valuable information and pull out two pieces of gold to help you be a better B2B marketer.

Article one this week is: 29 Must-Read Content Marketing Articles of 2014 by Larry Kim

This is a resource of timeless hits that if you are trying to did into content marketing and creating great content marketing will be great resources as you move forward.

Article two this week is: Five Serious Content Marketing Mistakes You Need to Avoid by Swati Saini

Done well, content marketing helps businesses build brand awareness, increase visibility, and generate more leads—ultimately driving sales and growth. Yet, many businesses struggle with their content marketing.

It takes a ton of effort to create great content that provides value to audiences and delivers on your KPIs. And although you may be focused on creating quality content, inevitably some critical mistakes end up diminishing the impact you want to have.

To harness the full power of your B2B content marketing, here are the five biggest mistakes you need to avoid.

Want to keep learning more? If so, check the links in the description below after the live show to get access to both amazing MarketingProfs articles.

OK, back to Ann Handley … Let's dive back into this conversation of A Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content.

So, I wanted to ask Ann why a second version of the book. What had changed in the past eight years. Of course you and I both know a ton has changed! But, was there something else?

Let's see what Ann had to say.

Ann: The second edition was borne out of, I would say a need, but it was really a want to make Everybody Writes accessible and feel relevant to a new age of marketers. The book came out eight years ago, as we've talked about, a hundred million moons ago, and there's a whole new crop of marketers that are now entering B2B marketing, who are now becoming content creators, who are now going to conferences, and I meet them all the time. I wanted to make sure that this book felt fresh and updated and that it spoke to them as well. That was my first goal.

I opened it up and I started going through it, thinking honestly that it was going to be a pretty easy update. I thought I'll just freshen some of the examples in here, freshen up the data, there was some dated data in there. I thought I would update it and just kind of run a vacuum over it, essentially, spray some Febreze around it, and call it a day, like so fresh, so clean, we're done, fantastic, let's go to the pool. But when I opened it up and started reading it, I realized pretty quickly that there's a few things in here that really need more updating.

So, rather than just dusting and running the vacuum and spraying the Febreze, I stripped this entire book down to the studs. I rebuilt it completely, I re-ran the wiring, I added a new roof, I installed a bouncy house in the backyard because I wanted it to be more fun to read, fun to access. There's a whole lot of updating that went into this. This was not just a refresh.

There's this mantra in publishing that to call a book a second edition, you need to update at least 20% of it. I had a conversation with my publisher about six months ago, and she said, "How's it going?" I said, "You know that 20% thing? I think really what we're doing is we're maybe leaving about 10% and we're rewriting and redoing 90%." She said, "You're crazy." I said, "Thank you. I know." But I felt like I had to do it, I wanted to do it.

This book is important not only to me, but I want it to be important to marketers. I think it's an important perspective at a time when many new content creators are coming into the industry, but also, as you alluded to, our world is changing. The way we communicate in a post-COVID world is changing. Our reliance on content is changing. AI writing tools are increasingly part of the conversation, and I believe will be an even more increasing part of the conversation.

We talk about things in marketing that we didn't use to talk about. We talk about mental health challenges, we talk about political issues sometimes, we talk about social movements. There's a whole lot more that falls under the purview of marketing these days that didn't use to.

Even the tasks that we have as marketers have only expanded in the past eight years, it has not constricted at all. In the first edition, I talked about 13 things that marketers write. In the new edition, I identified 20 things that marketers are frequently tasked with creating.

All that to say, there's a whole lot of new stuff that I felt like I wanted to address that wasn't in the first edition, so that's why I metaphorically stripped it down to the studs, rebuilt it, installed a super sweet chandelier in the dining room, it's just gorgeous. I'm very proud of this book. I think it's so much better than the first, and the first was not bad. That's no flex, I'm just acknowledging that it wasn't like it needed it, it was more that our world has changed, so we have moved on and we need a different kind of guide for content marketing in 2022.

Not only did the book need updated but, did you hear what Ann said?

There are a new set of content marketers showing up to the scene.

I also love that Ann shares that about 90% of the book was rewritten to show how all of the things are changing and have changed over the past eight years.

No usually, I say at this point "We're going to get some words of wisdom from Ann Handley here in a few minutes." But! Not today.

I had another question I wanted to ask Ann before I let her go. Now don't worry, in the original podcast episode, I still got her words of wisdom but for this episode, we have a bit of a different closing question coming up.

But right now, it's time to turn the spotlight on you, the MarketingProfs community. Yep, time for...

From The #MPB2B Community

We searched far and wide in the #MPB2B universe to find amazing information and conversation to bring to the masses.

So, first, make sure you are using the hashtag, and second, make sure you have fun and add value to the community.

Then, we'll spotlight you or your crew on the show. This week, it's...

Jason Lorentz or @LorentzJason on Twitter.

His post went a little something like this...

Your average B2B buyer consumes 13 pieces of your content before buying from you


That's why EFFECTIVE CONTENT is KEY to winning trust & business

Here's a checklist for effective content marketing to increase your traffic, leads, & sales:


But, you need to check out the description and click that link to check out the post and read or learn more!

Marketing Smarts viewer, I have to ask... are you going to be next to get the spotlight?

Remember community, use the hashtag #mpb2b on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter and get the light shined on your awesomeness in the next episode or a future episode of the Marketing Smarts Live show!

Pro tip, it won't hurt if you tag me into your post as well I'm @georgebthomas on LinkedIn and Twitter.

OK, let's kick it back to Ann Handley and the final question around this topic of A Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content.

What beliefs do we need to have to be a better writer and what does the second edition of the book help unlock in us as B2B marketers who need and want to create ridiculously great content and become better writers along the way?

Here is what Ann Handley wanted to share us with...

Ann: I've heard from a lot of people since the first edition came out who have told me that the first edition of this book really helped them become a better writer. Fundamentally, I think that this new edition will also help you become a better writer. I guess that's a belief and that's just kind of a level set mindset, but it doesn't happen on its own. You cannot become a better writer by just wanting to become one or wishing to become one.

In this second edition, one of the things that I talked about is developing a daily writing habit. I guess you could call it journaling. Although, I hate that word because it feels like a noun that has been forced into servitude as a verb. I just don't like the word, I think it sounds too precious and literary.

Really a daily writing habit is sit down every day, whatever time of day is best for you. For me, it's first thing in the morning when I'm freshest and before everything else crowds into my day and hijacks it. Maybe for you, it's at night or maybe it's lunchtime. It doesn't matter. Find a time of the day in which you can sit down and write something. My preference is longhand because I think it slows down your brain and keeps you connected to the words differently. Write something. You have to stay in it, stay in the practice.

I think the only way to become a better writer is to shift your mindset to, "I am a writer," number one, but secondly to create something every single day. The only way you're going to build muscle is to work the muscle. So, work it every single day, that's your action item.

So good! So, So Good!

I hope this episode of the Marketing Smarts Live show helps you create amazing content and more importantly helps you start your journey to your own belief of being a fantastic writer!

Have you enjoyed today's journey? Let us know, use that hashtag #mpb2b on whatever platform you are joining us on.

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image of George B. Thomas

George B. Thomas is a marketer, video Jedi, and HubSpot certified trainer with 25+ years of sales and marketing experience. George is owner and HubSpot Helper at He has a record-breaking 38 HubSpot sales, marketing, service, CRM, and CMS certifications. George harnesses his expertise in graphic design, Web development, video editing, social media marketing, and inbound marketing to partner with, teach, and develop solutions for companies looking to develop their businesses and increase their revenue.

LinkedIn: George B. Thomas

Twitter: @GeorgeBThomas