by Alan Millar
A List Apart has begun codifying its knowledge in a strangely familiar form. Yes, the iconic web design digizine is now utilising paper to get its point across. In this recently archaic format, words are first printed onto paper, which is then cut up into pages, which are then assembled into something called books! *Mindblowing!
The first four books in the already classic A Book Apart collection seem destined for blockbuster status if only because each is intelligently written, informative, appropriately witty, and best of all – brief!
The Elements of Content Strategy
The award for brevity aptly goes to Erin Kissane for her title The Elements of Content Strategy, weighing in at a concise yet somehow comprehensive eighty-three pages. Admittedly, it starts out on the scary side with words like delay, derail, desperate, and discipline piling up in the first few paragraphs.
Not to worry though, you won’t need a crash helmet as Erin efficiently escorts you through her aptly named chapters: Basic Principles, the Craft of Content Strategy and Tools and Techniques. The Craft chapter is my favorite wherein Erin humanizes this complex, creative beast by shining her explanatory light on the influence that editors, curators, marketers and information scientists are having on the practice of content strategy.
Also in the mix are relevant links, predictions, a few invites, even a bonus track on how one gets into this business of content strategy. You may also expect well-curated referrals to more extensive treatises like Clout by Colleen Jones and Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson.
With this straightfoward lead-in Erin begins to zero in on exactly what a content strategist does:
To do content strategy, defined as the planning and leadership of content projects and online publishing endeavors, is to run point.
This book is for you if you:
- Are an interaction designer or information architect and want to expand your niche a bit
- Are involved in building a content framework (company website, online help, app store) and the content plan is “that guy in the warehouse is going to scan all our stuff onto the internet” (true story)
- Need to make a case at work for a real content strategy and all that arm-waving is not working
For those into the raw numbers, here are the page count breakdowns:
Book 1 - HTML5 for Web Designers, 89 pgs
Book 2 - CSS3 for Web Designers, 125 pgs
Book 3 - The Elements of Content Strategy, 83 pgs
Book 4 - Responsive Web Design, 150 pgs
Pow! You can blow through any these while driving to work in the morning. But you won’t have to. With so few precisely chosen words, you’ll prefer to linger and learn.
*No longer embracing this recently archaic delivery mode? NP. The exact same knowledge is also available as electrons conveniently formatted as .epub, .mobi and .pdf. Whew!