Ann Handley: Enjoying Tweet Success at MarketingProfs

by Gil Zeimer on August 12, 2011
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Most people know Ann Handley much better as @MarketingProfs. At least, that’s her Twitter handle for over 100,000 followers.

She’s a prolific tweeter, blogger, promoter, webinar host, and the co-author of Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) that Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business, a book she co-authored with C.C. Chapman, the founder of Digital Dads.

We asked Handley, the Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, an online resource for marketing professionals, about how she’s amassed a combined 500,000 subscribers to her website and Twitter account, what she writes about, and how she found success online.

ISBB: What’s unique about MarketingProfs?

Handley: We’re discerning. There’s a lot of information out there — it’s overwhelming. We pay attention to the trends in marketing and keep on top of everything shiny, new, and bright for you… so you don’t have to. Isn’t that a relief? And much of it is available for free. For example, today we’re having a free virtual conference on Content Marketing, one of our monthly free virtual events. In other words, you can attend in your jammies, if you wish. No travel required.

How kinds of resources do you offer?

Is “kajillion” a number? We offer various kinds of resources for our members, because we’ve found that our members like to process information differently – just like the rest of the world! So we have articles and blog posts and newsletters, but also online webinars, bite-sized mini-webinars, videos, slides shows, virtual seminars, live events, and so on. Our goal is to be a resource to our members in any way, any time, through the site, newsletter, and our mobile app, for example.

Do you have tips for other marketing pros looking to build an audience?

Writing a book like Content Rules is certainly a nice way to connect with an audience. But it’s hard to start there. The best approach to building an audience is to consistently produce valuable, quality, enjoyable content that your audience or prospects will love, and that will attract them to you. Be personable. Be human. Create content that tells your story – what makes you unique.

How did you attain your success on Twitter?

Probably because I truly enjoy interacting on Twitter. There’s nothing forced or fake about it for me… and I like talking to our readers there, and listening to them, and keeping an ear to the ground generally for trends and other story ideas. I like to hear: What are people talking about? What’s resonating today? I find a lot of value in that for me personally, as well as for MarketingProfs. Also, I tweet like a person with a soul. Not a bot without one. That said, I’m personable… but not personal. There’s a huge difference.

How long did it take you to accrue 100,000 Twitter followers?

That’s a good question. I just had to look that up. I joined Twitter on September 1, 2007. I wasn’t an active user ‘til probably 6 or 8 months later, though. So I’d say it took about 3 years.

How often you tweet?

Weekdays? Probably a few times an hour, on average.

What you tweet about?

All kinds of things. It’s a little like asking, “What do you talk about at the water cooler?” Or, “What do you talk about at lunch? Or the bar after work?” In short: Work. Life. Everything. Responding, retweeting, listening, and seeing what’s going on with everything else. I share MarketingProfs headlines and new programs, certainly. I talk about when we get a great new keynote at one of our events, or when we launch something new, like this video marketing bootcamp last week. But I also shared when my dog died. And I get a sense of what others are working on or sharing, too.

For more about Ann Handley of Marketing Profs, follow her on Twitter or purchase her book, Content Rules.

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