The Elements of Content Strategy
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The Elements of Content Strategy (A Book Apart #3)

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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  656 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Content strategy is the web’s hottest new thing. But where did it come from? And why does it matter? And what does the content renaissance mean for you? This brief guide explores content strategy’s roots, and quickly and expertly demonstrates not only how it’s done, but how you can do it well. A compelling read for both experienced content strategists and those making the...more
Paperback, 88 pages
Published January 2011 by A Book Apart
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Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina HalvorsonHTML5 For Web Designers by Jeremy KeithDesigning with Web Standards by Jeffrey ZeldmanWeb Form Design by Luke WroblewskiBulletproof Web Design by Dan Cederholm
An Event Apart
8th out of 44 books — 25 voters
Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina HalvorsonThe Elements of Content Strategy by Erin KissaneManaging Enterprise Content by Ann RockleyLetting Go of the Words by Janice G. RedishClout by Colleen Jones
Confab 2011
2nd out of 15 books — 6 voters


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Jonathan Elliman
I've read all the other books in the series with relish, but I found this one to be a bit dry and lacking in substance.

It's probably because I don't work in this area but I think that touches on what's wrong with the book; this book doesn't know whether it's a guide to content strategy or it's an overview to those who may want to employ or work with a content strategist.

On the plus side the author outlines some great ideas for managing web content and it can be read in a couple of hours.
Corey Vilhauer
"This book is dense. It took me two hours to read. It’s packed with “HOW.” Enough “HOW” that it really will get a special spot next to my computer, much like how Strunk and White used to sit just within my reach.

You don’t START with this book. You start with Halvorson. Then you read Kissane. And then, if you can handle the excitement, you turn to the most important part of the book: the appendix, where Erin talks about all of the other great resources, and then you get your boss to order all of
...more
Chad Warner
This short book is a good overview of content strategy. It presents the concepts and includes many references for deeper reading. I’m a web designer who creates websites for small businesses, and those sites are too small to warrant a sophisticated content strategy, but this book was still worth reading for the fundamentals such as making content useful, concise, and supported.

I liked the quote from Kristina Halvorson in Content Strategy for the Web:
"...online, you don't have a captive audience.
...more
Graham Herrli
This book is painfully dry. Yet it's moderately well written for the abstract subject matter it covers. Its main benefit was thus showing me that I definitely do not want to work in content strategy full time.

There's something highly ironic about trying to write a book about clear, useful communication when your own communication is not particularly clear nor particularly useful.

Much of the writing's just not well thought out: "humans, being mammals, need [a list of things including] wheelchair...more
Darrin
First chapter is excellent. The question of what is "quality content" is nailed down quite well in a very satisfying way.

Second chapter is ok, but doesn't really bring the material together that well. You get a bunch of ideas that don't coalesce as well as they should.

Third chapter is the weakest - it feels the most uncertain about it's content, probably because this part of the process (the actual process and methodologies) doesn't have hard and fast answers. Some areas like ongoing content ass...more
Donovan Richards
Now More than Ever, College Is the Best Time in Life

Have you seen the job statistics lately? More to the point, have you seen the employment rates for recent college graduates? What about liberal arts majors in particular? A study of 2009 college graduates finds 25.2% of liberal arts majors unemployed after graduation. Those humanities majors employed often found their jobs low paying and college degrees unnecessary.

For years, the general assumption was: get a degree; get a job. Well the curren...more
Nate Klaiber

Websites come in many shapes and sizes and serve many different purposes. For many websites, supplying content for the visitor is the primary purpose. A restaurant providing contact information, hours, and a menu. A product-focused company providing information on their product, their pricing, and contact information. A service-focused company providing information on their services, pricing, examples, and contact information. These are just a few examples. Content is everywhere. However, having

...more
Ciprian Rusen
This book is not for people working in this field for more than a year or so. For them, there's really nothing new to learn. This book is mostly for those thinking that they need to publish content. If you want to learn what it is required to publish meaningful content on the web, in terms of people involved, resources, etc, then this is an OK read.

Also, there's almost nothing included on HOW to create a good content strategy, no real life examples, etc. It's mostly about the kinds of people tha...more
Tore
Ironically, I found this primer on content strategy, The Elements of Content Strategy by Erin Kissane, lacking in both content and strategy. Moreover, what made it hard to get through even such a short book was the dry prose. Even for someone who is very interested in content – online and otherwise – this was just too boring, I am sorry to say. It is a short book, but it took me months to get through - I kept having other, more interesting fare on my Kindle!

Basically, most, if not all, of the de...more
Loren
In 74 pages, Erin Kissane squeezed in enough information about content strategy to make this book worth a read if you're in the web development industry. This book was written as a brief introduction to content strategy related work, and the author was upfront with what the book was and wasn't in the introduction.

I happen to work in a small shop where I wear many hats and was a bit disappointed that Erin focused mainly on content strategists who work with a wide range of other team members. The...more
Timothy Meaney
The 'A Book Apart' series is shaping up to be filled with must-reads; just assume you should get them when they publish.

The third installment, by Erin Kissane, delivers. Erin is one of the leaders of this emerging field, so it's great to get her perspective on the subject. The book served as a motivation for me to revisit the overall strategy for communications for my own product. It's just not good enough to, at times, let content be an after-thought.

I read an advanced copy, so I've been plann...more
Josue Manriquez
Welp... I was directed to this book to learn more about content strategy for potential freelance work. About 50% of it made sense, and the other 50% didn't (mostly because of vocabulary and other web-talk that I know nothing about, such as "wireframes" etc.).

Aside from my ignorance, it is a well-written book (with fun humor) that has given me a better appreciation for this line of work.
Caitlin
While I did find this book to be interesting and helpful as regards my own content-based client work, large parts of it feel a lot more like a career guide to content strategy. I understand that it's not like a tech book which can give you specific strategies and code examples, but I personally would have preferred more space allotted to things like content audits - the more hands-on sections - than the focus on what content strategy is and how it fits into the general scheme of things. Other th...more
Joe Miller
This is a must-read for anyone who works in, on, or around the web. Period.

It does it exactly what it says: Kissane shows you what content strategy is all about and why you should care about it. No, you're not going to read this book and walk away a content strategist. But if you're going to be a content strategist, you are going to walk away knowing what you need to go learn. And if you're not going to be a content strategist, you're going to walk away knowing why you need to go find one.

I've g...more
Morgane
I don't doubt that content strategy is important, and while Kissane strongly emphasized staying away from fluff, this whole book was fluffy. Even the term "content strategist" sounds like some super PC job title to make people feel good about themselves. So ultimately it was hard to take this seriously, which seems like a huge failure for a book on content strategy. I think it should have either been a snappy article about why content strategy matters, or a much longer book with in-depth chapter...more
Corey Dutson
I always have trouble with these sorts of books. They bore me, and it's not their fault.

It's a solid primer for anyone getting into the content strategy, or for those who are already in the field. It's a straight forward read that doesn't try to sell anything, and doesn't claim to do anything that it doesn't. If anything, they way it's written directly reflects many of the core principles that it is trying to exude.

If you're in the arena or want to get a better understanding of those who operat...more
Stringy
A great little introduction to content strategy. It has 3 sections: what good content is, what a content strategist does, and the tools you can use to create a content strategy for your website and/or cross-channel publications.

I liked Kissane's breezy style and enthusiastic recommendations for further reading on the subject and on tangential topics too.

This little book couldn't possibly cover the whole of this emerging discipline, but it's a great starting point and I'd recommend it to anyone...more
Matt
Good basic, practical overview.
Erin
Feb 08, 2013 Erin rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Writers, copywriters, digital media professionals
Shelves: 2012
This overview of content strategy is a must for anyone about to tackle the job of writing for the web. I can see that, if web writing weren't your immediate objective, the writing might be a little dry. But it is an effective starting point for those who find themselves overwhelmed with organizing a large amount of content, especially for the first time or with a fast turnaround. This book, and Erin Kissane, introduced me to content strategy and allowed me to dig deeper into effective ways of le...more
Kat
May 11, 2012 Kat rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: UX, marketing, editing and tech comm professionals
Recommended to Kat by: Adam
Shelves: 2012
I honestly can't recall the last time I read such a *useful* book. The paperback copy that I borrowed from Adam is simply covered in sticky note flags that I must now transfer to the ebook he gave me. And, like all the best books, it's given me a whole list of other things to read and dig into.

I must say though, that I don't recommend reading it like I did, a couple pages at a time as I could find a minute here and there. It's a tiny 88 pages long. Take an hour or two on a weekend and read it al...more
Denise
I love Erin's humor and straightforward style. But the title (The Elements of Content Strategy) led me to expect more "elements" and less "history of." The perspective was helpful, grounding, but I would have liked a deeper dive into tools & techniques, which I think Kissane might have done without tipping over into a how-to.

Still, I plan to use the book to help new content strategists on-board and to do some level-setting (and exploration) in terms of my team's identity within the company a...more
Annie
Having read the two previous books from the collection, HTML5 For Web Designers and CSS3 for Web Designers, I was expecting something quite as awesome as those two.
Well, I was wrong.

I understood nothing and I can't even remember anything that I've read. It's too dry and tiresome considering its size.
Maybe it's because it's not meant for people who are new to the subject of content strategy.

Nevertheless, the rest of the collection should be fine. Responsive Design here I come!
Erik Mallinson
This book gave me a great overview of what I was missing in my site planning skills, planning content and working with it structurally, as well as from a marketing perspective. I found some of the book hard to get through - I think the second chapter - and almost gave it up. I think part of it is I was expecting a lighter book - the other two A Book Apart books have pictures, video, code, and examples. The Elements of Content Strategy is about the same length but packed full of text.
Dave Emmett
This was a great quick primer of the field of content strategy.

It's interesting to me how similar content strategy and information architecture really are. They use almost the same research techniques, with just a slightly different focus, and different (though not always) deliverables. I've been wanting to bring some content strategy to some of the work I've done, so this will be a great reference for ways I can do that in future projects.
Grant
Feb 18, 2013 Grant rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
What a fantastic little book. This is a great primer in content strategy, talking about not only the process but also the output of a content strategist. There are definitely more in-depth works about content strategy out there (most of which Kissane references and recommends), but this is a great jumping-off point for a new content strategist, or in my case a validation of accidental content strategy work I'd been doing already!
Loucaspapa
Like the title suggests, this book is about the Elements of Content Strategy and as such it's pretty basic.
As a UXer myself, I follow Erin's posts regularly in AListApart or The Pastry Box Project. I really like her writing and her insights; she's great!
Hence, if you follow Erin's posts, don't buy this book, it doesn't add much. If not, then get this book and get introduced to the elementary of Content Strategy.
James deBoer
I bought this book on a whim -- the title sounded interesting. But the title overpromised and I was left fairly disappointed. Instead of pointing the reader towards good content strategy, The Elements of Content Strategy wanders through the ill-defined job of "content strategist".

I finished the book wondering who the audience was supposed to be and I really didn't find anything that resonated with me.
Eric
I thought this book was okay, but not quite what I was looking for. It felt like an overview of the industry of content strategy. It would speak well to someone considering a career in this field. For those of us interested in defining a content strategy or improving our content strategy, this book was too short on details. It spoke with hand waves while I was hoping for something more tactical.
Ellen Chisa
Reading this gave me a much better framework to think about how copy plays into my work.

I also took away a sort of way of thinking about content:
content strategy : writing
product management: software

Nice, quick read too. I'll probably keep it around for reference when trying to think about content related issues.
Michelle
This is a decent introduction to the concepts of content strategy, but I don't think you absolutely need it if you've read any of the other texts on the subject.

Also, the "Tools and techniques" section seems more geared toward consultants who want to do content strategy work, so those who are doing the work in-house will have to do adapt the information to their particular context.
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4490762
I’m a content strategist, editor, and writer. I help people plan for, design, make, publish, and maintain really good content online. I live in NYC and work for Brain Traffic, a fantastico content strategy consultancy in Minneapolis. Before joining Brain Traffic, I was an indie content specialist, the editorial director of Happy Cog Studios, and a freelance writer and editor. One of my desks is at...more
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