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

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3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,101 Ratings  ·  86 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 — 27 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,522)
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Jonathan Elliman
Aug 30, 2011 Jonathan Elliman rated it it was ok
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
Jan 16, 2015 Corey Vilhauer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: work
"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
Ciprian Rusen
May 04, 2013 Ciprian Rusen rated it it was ok
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
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
pri
Jun 02, 2015 pri rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
While crafting my latest job title, I was looking for some ways to articulate what it is we *do* and to uncover more ways to broaden my career. Kissane's book is an excellent quick read that covers the subject fully and highlights the unique value of the of the content strategist.
D
Jun 17, 2014 D rated it really liked it
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
Morgane
Oct 02, 2014 Morgane rated it it was ok
Shelves: design
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
Jeff Wayman
Jan 05, 2016 Jeff Wayman rated it liked it
This is ultimately a little tough. It's better than most books I've read on the subject, but it also suffers the same fate.

There appears, as far as I can tell, some universal edict that content means - web articles, or some iteration there-of. I feel this is a great misstep in the way many fall into the trap of equating user experience to user interface.

Content ultimately represents every word people will engage with. This does include web copy, blogs, videos, white papers and especially "help"
...more
Christine Esoldo
Apr 11, 2015 Christine Esoldo rated it it was amazing
If you want to know what content strategy is and if you think it has anything to do with copywriting (other getting content ready for a copywriter or other content producer), please read this book! This is hands down, the best book I've read on defining what content strategy is (and isn't) and the deliverables you will (and won't) get by hiring a content strategist. And if you have a product or a company with a website or application, you need a content strategist. If you read this book, you'll ...more
Donovan Richards
May 07, 2012 Donovan Richards rated it really liked it
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
Jul 24, 2012 Nate Klaiber rated it really liked it

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
amy
Mar 14, 2016 amy rated it liked it
Extremely quick read, concise outline of how content strategy connects and borrows from adjacent disciplines like information architecture and publishing. Kissane's hope that the book will serve as a touchstone seems appropriate: Come back to it as you need it. I don't see ever poring over it, and don't know how much it'll actually reward repeat reading, but revisiting with a specific project in mind could dredge all kinds of useful information out of the same small volume.
Tore
Oct 15, 2011 Tore rated it it was ok
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
Nov 21, 2012 Loren rated it liked it
Shelves: web-design
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
Daniel Aguilar
Sep 28, 2014 Daniel Aguilar rated it really liked it
Nice intro to Content Strategy, as seen from different angles (those of Marketing, User Experience, Editing, Curating, or Business Strategy). It doesn't really get into the details, but the global coverage provides a quite clear view of what it is all about. I specially liked the emphasis on being attentive to the user/reader/consumer. It may sound obvious, but it's something one misses quite too often. Here it becomes the center piece. It also provides a glimpse on the usual methodologies and d ...more
Kim
Nov 04, 2015 Kim rated it it was ok
Oy. I didn't like this book. I read it after reading another book in the series that I loved (You're My Favorite Client). I don't know who this book is written for, but it's not written for me. I feel like it's a book for other content strategists to read and pat themselves on the back over. It's not helpful or insightful, and it doesn't connect to other fields. Meh.
Eric
Dec 22, 2014 Eric rated it liked it
Shelves: dead-tree
This may be useful for someone working, or wanting to work, as a content strategy consultant. Like much CS writing, it spends most of the time arguing for its existence. I'd hoped for more practical help for those of us not in a consultancy, not just a y'all-can-do-it-too afterthought. Wasn't bad, just not as helpful as I'd hoped.
Timothy Meaney
Apr 11, 2011 Timothy Meaney rated it really liked it
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
Jan 27, 2014 Josue Manriquez rated it liked it
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.
Richard Le
Jun 18, 2015 Richard Le rated it really liked it
This left me a very good impression of the A Book Apart series. Very concise, clear, and helpful. But perhaps a narrative arc would have helped to tie everything together— since people love stories right?
Caitlin
Nov 14, 2011 Caitlin rated it liked it
Shelves: web, writing
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
Sep 25, 2012 Joe Miller rated it it was amazing
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
Laura
Aug 07, 2014 Laura rated it liked it
Like many books in this genre, it seems to be written more for people who already do this work than for people looking to learn how to do the work. It's well written and engaging, but some points are vague and a little mystifying.
Marc Dupuy
Une approche généraliste de la stratégie de contenu qui est à lire pour ceux qui s'intéresse à faire de l'édition... mais pas que : le métier est à la croisée de plusieurs compétences !
Piotr Słowik
Feb 23, 2015 Piotr Słowik rated it it was ok
This book is only for beginners. If you have any background on any of content fields (ie. journalism) - choose another book.
Corey Dutson
Mar 30, 2012 Corey Dutson rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle
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
sillypunk
Jan 13, 2015 sillypunk rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The weirdest thing about this book was how much I already knew. Amazing reaffirmation of good principles though!
Tom
Dec 14, 2015 Tom rated it really liked it
A good primer on content strategy, what it entails and how to get into it.
Stringy
May 07, 2011 Stringy rated it really liked it
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
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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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