Meet the Skyword Content Editor: Anne Handley-Fierce
Storytelling Communications

Meet the Skyword Content Editor: Anne Handley-Fierce

If you’ve ever submitted content to Skyword, you know what happens: it’s reviewed by an editorial team, you make revisions (if requested), and then it’s published. These editors—of which I’m one—come from diverse career backgrounds such as traditional journalism, educational publishing, trade publishing, magazines, and more. We copy edit, work with contributors to refine content, and ensure our brand partners are as satisfied as possible with the words that appear on their blogs and websites.

Anne Handley-FierceOne content editor here has truly seen it all—her promotions to three different rungs of the Skyword editorial ladder (all within a year) attest to that. Anne Handley-Fierce attended college at Loyola New Orleans and studied English with a concentration in writing, plus minors in French, film, and medieval studies, then earned her MA in children’s literature and MFA in writing for children from Simmons College in Boston.

After seven years in educational publishing, she decided to move on. She says she applied to Skyword because “it seemed like a good balance between skills I already had and never having to think about the Common Core standards again.” As a fellow educational-publishing expatriate, I get that.

Being a Skywordian

Anne started as a copy editor at the end of 2013, when Skyword’s copy editors were first brought in-house. “That was an interesting period, because all the editorial teams were learning how to work together to be efficient and get the best work done,” she says. She became an editorial manager shortly thereafter, in March 2014. “The biggest change,” she continues, “was that I saw a lot more contact with our clients and had more of a voice in what we proposed for topics. There’s also more ownership of the accounts and more responsibility to ensure that the best content possible gets to the client.” Anne was promoted again to associate editorial director this month, and she looks forward to managing a team: “I love being surrounded by other people who are happy to talk about the placement of a comma in a sentence.”

To her, being a content editor is the same thing as being a marketer. “Because all editing is done with a purpose or in a certain style, editing for content marketing is just another facet of that. Of course, there are times when I may make a case for a certain editorial decision but the client decides to go a different way. All editors who work for clients, or bosses, or companies (i.e., pretty much everybody) know that there’s always going to be a balance between what you want and what’s best for the project,” she says. In short, we’re all marketers here.

One of her favorite projects since starting at Skyword has been helping a major health care provider launch its blog from the ground up. In addition to learning about such a technical subject (one of her favorite things about being a content editor is “the ability to take on a new subject and dig really deep into it”) and helping the brand shape its approach, she worked on “a series of short videos. The videos were especially fun because I got to add ‘voice-over direction’ to my list of skills.”

Looking Beyond Editing

Photo illustration of childIs there really such a place? It can be hard to imagine when, like us, you’re in the thick of editorial day in and day out, but Anne is working on two children’s literature projects—one fiction, one nonfiction. Her love for the medium shows in her written work, such as “The Original Content Marketing: An Unlikely Source,” where she explores content marketing in children’s book Anne of the Island. “Maybe that’s what lead me to this field after all,” she writes.

She’s a frequent contributor to the Content Standard, where she’s penned tips for freelance writers regarding social media, networking, setting rates, and so much more. Her sound advice for responding to negative criticism online was even quoted by CNET last April.

Anne is an avid baker (“especially cakes that can be decorated”) and is getting into sewing, saying, “There have been a few things that I’ve worn to the office that I’ve made . . . I hope to really up my fashion game.” She’s very competitive at Scrabble and loves the St. Louis Cardinals.

“I’m also taking the piano back up,” she says. “I used to play, but I’m long out of practice. It’s starting to come back to me. Slowly. I’d really like to get better at that and to learn how to do more than pluck very simple tunes on my banjo.”

I learned that her favorite. . .

. . . books are The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Catch-22, Momo, and Alice in Wonderland.

. . . podcast is NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!

. . . public figures to follow on social media are Mallory Ortberg and Maureen Johnson, because “they’re both smart and absurdly funny.”

We talk a lot about defining content marketing goals here at the Content Standard, and Anne has a couple of resolutions too—but they’re not related to editing or marketing. She says she wants to “stop saying ‘sorry’ unless [she’s] actually apologizing for something” and “write 2015 as the year instead of 2014.” (My life could use a little of both those goals as well, to be honest.) She’s also resolved to push herself in her new role and make the most of this content editor opportunity.

How about you? What are your content creation goals for 2015? Reach for them by joining Skyword’s network of content contributors.

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