A Must Read: Content Strategy for the Web

As promised in my last post, here'a quick post on why I highly recommend Content Strategy For the Web (Second Edition) by Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach (of @BrainTraffic) to fellow CMS consultants and customers alike.

CMS Analyst/Author/Strategist Robert Rose admits being a @BrainTraffic Fanboy as well.

As a CMS consultant, I see customers face and take on the same challenges and situations described in Content Strategy. I often see deep functional or technical designs focusing on non-critical parts of a CMS implementation (rather than the parts that have a business impact). So we have lots of tactical pieces in content management systems, SEO, analytics, information architecture, and more, but we forget to step back and look at the entire context.

I cringed knowing I've been guilty of the "It's go time!" email that starts of with:
"Hey, you! [Project manager] here. We're finally ready to have you start cracking on your share of the content. You should find all the information you need in the attachments..."
The book makes excellent points that "content is not a commodity" and that content is political.

Top Five Reasons I love and recommend this book.
  1. It reaffirms I wasn't crazy when I first got involved with content management systems.
  2. It describes both content and people parts of content strategy.
  3. It acknowledges the context that surrounds content.
  4. Examples. Specifics (content sampling size based on quantity). Practical examples.
  5. Permission to jump in and enjoy this type of work.
I gladly join The Order of People Who Have Read Content Strategy for the Web. In my more recent projects, I've invoked a little content strategy; against my previous and typical "yes-my-product-will-do-it-all-for-you" stance, I asked customers to consider the business impact more websites, more links, or more content might have.

The great news is that more-and-more of my customers are reading about and following content strategy. My latest project includes topics on creating an editorial governance board of sorts. +1 to centers of excellence, regardless if it's for projects, content projects, or a specific CMS.

A content strategy helps you decide what you'll do before you're faced with the tactical reality of content opportunities and challenges. Make this practical by starting with a good Content Strategy book.

1 comment:

  1. Another good book is "Inbound marketing" by the guys that run Hubspot. It gives a lot of practical, no-BS advice for boosting relevance of a website. Combine what you learn there with what Halvorson says and you can help the client form and correct lots of decisions they otherwise wouldn't be able to do.


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