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. 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 meet those goals, and quickly, they will leave.”
I liked Kissane’s advice to “Act as user advocates…reduce distractions in sidebars, fight ads that obstruct content, and give readers the equivalent of good light and a quiet room.” He also makes a good point that content strategists must turn soft, aspirational goals into specific, measurable success criteria.
“Good Content is Useful”
“Define a clear, specific purpose for each piece of content; evaluate content against this purpose.”
“Good Content is Concise”
- “Omit needless content.”
- Why is too much content bad? It makes everything more difficult to find, and results in lower quality content.
- Common needless content: mission statements, press releases, long feature lists, rambling video and audio.
“Good Content is Supported”
- “Publish no content without a support plan.”
- “Information published online is a live green plant.” Content must be posted, updated, and removed as appropriate.
- The inverted pyramid: order information from most to least important to the reader.
- 5 Ws and an H: what, who, when, where, why, how.
- Show, don’t tell: demonstrate, don’t describe.
Persuade and sell with rhetoric
- Rational argument (logos)
- Emotional appeal (pathos)
- Appeal to reputation or character (ethos)