Review of Kristina Halvorson, Content Strategy for the Web

Content Strategy for the Web (Voices That Matter)Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The most important thing I realized, when I read this book is:
You are on the web => You are a publisher.

You are on the web => You are a publisher.

Well, Halvorson said that if you or your organisation has a website, then you are a publisher but I guess my claim could also hold in this web 2.0 times (or are we already 3.0?). One other thing to keep in mind is that this is not a book about web writing. It’s about content strategy – for the web.

Content strategy consists of: + creation, + delivery, + governance.
This book more specifically deals with:

  1. how to plan the content strategy;
  2. how to create content but don’t expect to learn how to write for your website;
  3. governing the content.

The whole book is written with the presumption that you/your organisation is already on the web or has a website. Which seems like a must today for everybody. So if we follow the most important thing to remember from this book, about being a publisher, this means that everybody today already is a publisher. I guess that’s not far away from the facts. And if you are a publisher and want to be a successful publisher, you need a content strategy. This book definitely helped me to rethink my own blog and my company’s web content.

If I already talk about a website, to me it was interesting to realize, that a mid-sized website was one that has 200 to 1.200 pages. And inside such a website for example it is pretty straightforward clear that you should develop your linking strategy. Or will you use an automated linking service like Zemanta, for example?

When delivering content, we have options to choose between: + original content, + aggregated content, + co-created content, + licensed content, + user-generated content.

And I was impressed to realise how many people’s profiles could actually be engaged in content creation. The list of profiles is: + content requesters, + content providers, + content creators, + content reviewers, + content approvers, + content publisher.

And if that is not enough, once your website is live you could need profiles like:
+ web editor-in-chief, + web editor, + web writer, + search engine optimization strategist, + reviewers and approvers.

From the numerous profiles above it is clear that copy is not content. In content creation, there are numerous profiles involved. And Halvorson goes further in claiming that user experience (UX) design is not the answer to a successful website but the collaboration across disciplines. That, in my opinion, is the reason why this is not such an easy task, actually.

Content strategy vs. brand strategy?

Content strategy is not about the talk. Because content strategy is about how you walk the talk. Make no mistake, messages from your brand strategy are not content.

For some professionals, be that marketing, communications, or others it might be interesting to realise where content strategy stands when compared to brand strategy. Well, content strategy is not about the talk. It’s about how you walk the talk. And messages from your brand strategy are not your content.

Start thinking “life-cycle”

Take your social media efforts like a commitment not like a campaign. So, stop thinking “launch”. Start thinking “life-cycle”.

There is one other piece of news to have in mind when you have a website. Your content is never really finished. Sorry, says the author of this book, Kristina Halvorson. And one other piece of advice. Take your social media efforts like a commitment not like a campaign. So, stop thinking “launch”. Start thinking “life-cycle”. I couldn’t agree more.

And for almost a gig like me, it was interesting to see two diagrams. One is: How to measure content effectiveness? Diagram was developed at the Content Delivery & Analysis Ltd.


Continuous improvement of your web content

Content is not a feature. It should be noticed that content needs ongoing care and feeding. Web content is never actually really finished.

At the end of this review only one remark from the author. If you are some kind of web professional, you probably saw a diagram of the Elements of user experience. Well, I didn’t. And the author recommends not to think of content as a feature as maybe it could be said from this diagram below, originally developed by Jesse James Garrett.

About the Kristina Halvorson’s book Content Strategy for the Web - the Elements of user experience

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