A Content Book Apart

I’m writing a book. It’s going to be called The Elements of Content Strategy, and it will be published by A Book Apart in early 2011.

If A Book Apart hadn’t been interested in this project, it wouldn’t be happening. This isn’t “a content strategy book” slotted into their lineup; it’s a specific project conceived to take advantage of their ambition, editorial chops, and unswerving commitment to their readers.

Which is to say: I’m writing this book because I think we’re at an inflection point.

Yes, content strategy is a real thing that real clients and employers really need. But beyond that, we’re in the infancy of a ubiquitous internet—one fully integrated into our lives and environments. The publishing world has been bitten by a radioactive wombat, and we don’t know if journalism’s going to die or mutate into something speedy and awesome. Our brains are changing in ways we don’t understand. Content work matters—yes, now more than ever—and as this thing spins faster, we’re going to need every advantage we can find.

Some propositions:

  • Our practice revolves around a set of shared assumptions, grounding principles, and professional ethics. These are every bit as important as the tools and methods we use.
  • We don’t have time to reinvent everything, and we don’t have to. Our discipline is rooted in old-school, long-lasting professional fields that offer practices and approaches we need and can immediately use. This also means that people from these allied fields make great candidates for content strategy positions.
  • Just as porn built the internet, commerce has been the impetus behind the development of content strategy; we have to get commercial content right. We must also remember that our educational, cultural, and governmental institutions are increasingly dependent on the online world. These are not afterthoughts or fluff jobs for idealists, and they demand that we know how to be user advocates.
  • The economics of content is our problem, after all. Unless we understand resources and costs, we can’t build sustainable publishing processes, teams, and systems.

My aim is to produce a short, clear reference that deals with the roots, principles, core skills, and central processes of content strategy in ways that content people will find helpful, and that designers, information architects, and project managers will be able to use as they work with and around content.

This is where you come in. I’m finishing up the draft of the manuscript now. If there’s something you want to know about content work, but aren’t getting from your current resources, let me know. This is a short book, so I won’t be dealing with anything comprehensively, but I don’t want to miss whole areas of interest, especially for people who don’t do actually content work. So leave me a comment or find me on Twitter or send a note to erin@ this domain name, and I’ll do my best to give you something you can use.

16 thoughts on “A Content Book Apart

  1. I’m really looking forward to this.
    I’ve read Kristina’s “Content Strategy for the Web” and while I enjoyed it and learned a lot, I found a lot of the language difficult.

    To explain, I’m a freelance Web Designer that works on small business websites – I’m not involved in the corporate world. Although I understand the meaning of terms like ‘deliverables’ and ‘success metrics’ etc I found it harder and slower to read than I should have because it uses terminology that I don’t use every day (or ever if I’m honest).

    I’m in no way being detrimental to Kristina and her book, it’s a very useful resource and I’m on my second read. It’s my lack of familiarity with the terms that is hampering my easy digestion of the topic.

    I’m looking forward to the Book Apart style presentation – using simpler language and more ‘everyday’ examples to explain the concepts.

    Can we pre-order yet?

  2. I think this post just caused me to spontaneously heal.

    Additionally: It is my belief that holding this book in my hands will actually cause me to glow with a glorious, pulsating, golden light. Also, a heavenly choir will burst into song.

    I will likely do a better job of shilling this book than I do my own. Can’t. Wait.

  3. As a long-time Kissaniac who pushes your posts into clients’ faces constantly, this is such terrific news. Let me know if you need media contact for review in the Balto-Wash area.

  4. …we’re in the infancy of a ubiquitous internet—one fully integrated into our lives and environments.

    Amen to that. So many people just don’t get it.

    …and I, too, will be in line for your book.

  5. Yeah gods and small apples… am I looking forward to this book. My head is currently in melt down and I fear you book will be to late to save it but still to know it will come is good.

  6. Pingback: Now Out: The Elements of Content Strategy : Incisive.nu

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