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The Elements of Content Strategy

(A Book Apart #3)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  1,561 ratings  ·  98 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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Jonathan Elliman
Aug 30, 2011 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
Mar 29, 2011 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
Ciprian Rusen
May 02, 2013 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
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“The fact that anyone reads anything at all online is a demonstration of an extraordinary hunger for content.”

Great, readable primer of the essentials of content strategy. I particularly jived with this book because Kissane also comes from an editorial background (with a shared weakness for the Chicago Manual of Style).
Graham Herrli
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: design-related
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
Jan 22, 2013 rated it liked it
This short book is a good overview of content strategy. It presents the concepts and includes many references for deeper reading. This book was 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:
", you don't have a captive audience. You have a multi-tasking, distracted, ready-to-leave-your-site-at-any-time audience who has very specific goals in mind. If your content doesn't m
Jun 17, 2014 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
Aug 16, 2020 rated it liked it
I read the entire book online here for free: http://elements-of-content-strategy.a....

This concise little guide has just three chapters that deal with the principles of good content strategy, the foundation of the content strategy field (by comparing with four other more established vocations), and some tools and processes of the field. I've always been curious about the field, so the book served as a decent intro. The most fascinating fact I garnered was that content strategy is a lot like "cur
Jun 02, 2015 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. ...more
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, e-book
As an Information Architect, I've dabbled in the more IA-like parts of Content Strategy for a number of years... but without necessarily knowing that's what I was doing. CS has been a thing that the Documentation/Writing/Marketing teams did, not something that directly affected me. On the other hand, when I've worked with Content Strategists, we've produced better projects than I could dream of doing on my own.

Erin Kissane's book, as a primer on content strategy, will provide you with a short h
Renato Alves
Jun 28, 2021 rated it liked it
If you are someone looking for pratical and useful things related to content strategy, this book is not for you.

You won't find:

- tips to better write or organize your content
- if your current content strategy is on the right track
- or what you could do to improve
- how to measure it

This book was written in such an abstract way and I can only think it was targeted at people that works with content strategy but needs the why from a more philosofical glance.

The methodology section is basically: writ
Nathan Snelgrove
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was able to read this book in the sum total of three hours or so, and it only took that long because I was furiously taking notes and creating project templates for my web design work. For me, the book felt essential. I'm a designer first and a content strategist second (or maybe third or fourth), and I found Kissane's writing clear, compelling, and useful. But for those who have been in the field for some time, this may not be of much use to them. ...more
Grant Baker
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of Erin Kissane ever since her landmark Zombie Content article on A List Apart. This book is approachable, but short examination about how to get started doing content strategy. ...more
anna b
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Useful for managing content projects.
Danny de Vries
Oct 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: aba
Seeing the importance of this field but I'm not in it. ...more
Erin Simoni
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Perfect for someone starting out in content strategy
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: design-and-ux
Great basic introduction to a now fairly robust field.
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic overview and introduction to content management. I want to give a copy to all my clients doing a web redesign.
Cari Mayhew
Wasn't useful to me ...more
Apr 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Excellent overview of content strategy and a most adequate book for readers who would rather discover the how's if they were told all the right what's and why's from the start. ...more
Donovan Richards
Apr 11, 2012 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
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although I am not a content strategist / creator / curator (but rather an electrical engineer & software developer), this book broadened my perspective and helped me understand this important discipline better. It was also super fun to unexpectedly see one of my former co-workers listed in the acknowledgements; shout-out to Clinton!
Jeff Wayman
Dec 23, 2015 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"
May 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: work
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
Mar 23, 2012 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
Timothy Meaney
Apr 11, 2011 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
Daniel Aguilar
May 05, 2014 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
Nov 06, 2011 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
Corey Dutson
Mar 30, 2012 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
Joe Miller
Sep 25, 2012 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
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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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