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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delivers what it promises
A number of negative reviews seem to be intent on punishing Kristina Halvorson for not writing the book they wanted to read rather than the book she has actually written. This is not a book about writing copy for the web or for improving your writing technique to make more sales or land more leads. It is a book about content strategy and that is what the author...
Published on 20 Aug 2010 by G. D. Stewart

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Over promises and delivers very little
For the sake of brevity and to avoid repeating some of the comments of others who have found this book disappointing: they are right.

As someone who manages a number of websites, I'm constantly looking for new ideas and best practices that will help me develop my websites, from content strategy through tactical delivery to measurement and analysis. The author...
Published on 17 Mar 2012 by G Marwaha


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delivers what it promises, 20 Aug 2010
By 
G. D. Stewart (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Content Strategy for the Web (Voices That Matter) (Paperback)
A number of negative reviews seem to be intent on punishing Kristina Halvorson for not writing the book they wanted to read rather than the book she has actually written. This is not a book about writing copy for the web or for improving your writing technique to make more sales or land more leads. It is a book about content strategy and that is what the author successfully delivers.

Anyone involved in creating business websites knows the struggle associated with specifying, creating, collecting, and updating content. This book sets out a straightforward and practical process for managing that struggle. More than that, it gives you the tools to help convince those involved in the website who are focused primarily on sales or design or databases or usability of the fundamental importance of getting the content right. Not from the point of view of wonderful copy but right in terms of fitting the business objectives.

This book is deceptively simple and the author's style and tone make it a quick and easy read. I suspect that it will reward subsequent readings by triggering greater insights. The chapters on Audit and Workflow are alone probably worth the price of the book.

Sneering at the idea of 'content strategist' as a specialist function is easy. But whatever you call it, there needs to be a role for someone to oversee the content on a site and on the distributed outposts in which it may also appear. Consistency of message and tone, accuracy of data, regularity of output: none of these happen in an organisation by default. This book is a great template for making sure that someone is on top of the work.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent primer and manifesto for Content Strategy, 16 Oct 2009
By 
K. Yau "logorrhoea" (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Content Strategy for the Web (Voices That Matter) (Paperback)
`Content Strategy for the Web' is a much-needed book that helps to push forward the emerging discipline of content strategy.

It gives enough useful information about how to go about defining a content strategy to make it an essential addition to the bookshelf of anyone who works in or around online content. Just as importantly, it presents the case for content strategy articulately so that the book can be used as a tool to persuade decision-makers and colleagues about the importance of content strategy. Kristina Halvorson's writing style is, as you would hope and expect, very readable for what could have been an incredibly dry subject.

The book describes a three-step process for defining a content strategy - audit, analysis, and strategy - and prompts you on the things you need to think about at each stage. What you don't get, and this is a good thing, is a `for dummies' approach that gives you blank templates to fill in or a step-by-step account of how to complete each stage. So, for example, there's a chapter on measurement that tells you a bit about analytics, how to think about what to measure and what to do with your figures, but it doesn't tell you what analytics package to use and how to set up the software.

Content Strategy for the Web's strength is that it focuses on provoking thoughts without being prescriptive on what the outcome of your thought process should be. Every project is different and what you get here is a thorough description of the framework that you can adapt to your own projects.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good sense, simply written, 10 Feb 2010
This review is from: Content Strategy for the Web (Voices That Matter) (Paperback)
Kristina Halvorsen's book is not only a great introduction to content strategy, it's invaluable in clearly demonstrating to others why content strategy is so important. I enjoyed the occasionally irreverent tone, peppered with real life experience in dealing with clients and highlighting the pitfalls around this nascent field. It's clearly written, and follows a natural trajectory of content audit through to development. Highly recommended.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Over promises and delivers very little, 17 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Content Strategy for the Web (Voices That Matter) (Paperback)
For the sake of brevity and to avoid repeating some of the comments of others who have found this book disappointing: they are right.

As someone who manages a number of websites, I'm constantly looking for new ideas and best practices that will help me develop my websites, from content strategy through tactical delivery to measurement and analysis. The author claims from the outset that the book is "an introduction to the emerging practice of content strategy" and that it "provides a high-level overview of the benefits, roles, activities, and deliverables associated with content strategy". Sounded great.

Unfortunately, the book fails to deliver on any of these promises. What is presented is a collection of headings followed by series after series of bullet points. But these aren't bullet points providing you with information, best practices, procedures/processes, blueprints, or any sort of content strategy enlightenment - they are simply lists of questions. Do you do this? Does your organization do that? And so on, an on and on - page after page after page. A handful of reasons for having a content strategy are presented in the first couple of chapters (although these are tenuous at best). After that, the author just rambles and waffles about, well, actually very little. No original ideas are presented - whenever the author says "the following process will help do X or Y" there's always a little footnote disclaimer that the process in question was provided by someone else. To the author's credit, the topic of auditing a site is introduced - but then she simply says make a list of your webpages on an excel sheet - she's clearly forgotten that sitemaps are available.

There's a few examples - of basically some really crap and obscure websites. Thus, the author can say "these aren't a good examples of managing content". No analysis is presented of why they are crap and what could be done to improve them.

It's never a good sign when you get frustrated with a book - but after the first couple of chapters I actually began to pity the author. I would recommend Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content (Voices That Matter), which is exactly the publication this book tried to be. It's a good book on developing and managing content strategy. I'd also recommend The Copywriting Sourcebook: How to Write Better Copy, Faster - For Everything from Ads to Websites and Write To Sell: The Ultimate Guide to Great Copywriting for the copywriting side of things.

After that, all you need is a bit of common sense - avoid this book. It's as dire as the content presented in it. Ironic really.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Content Strategy for the web, 15 Sep 2011
This review is from: Content Strategy for the Web (Voices That Matter) (Paperback)
Great read for anyone interested in Content Strategy, written by one of the gurus in the industry. You might not know what Content Strategy is but if you are an e-commerce business this is essential reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A real eye opener to the bits everyone forgets, 11 Jun 2011
By 
Richard Stowey "Senior Project Manager" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Content Strategy for the Web (Voices That Matter) (Paperback)
I found this book an exceptional eye opener to the parts of website design and development which most people always overlook.

Where I have been working, the content strategy often comes from the outset of the project, from the top of the chain. The project is then passed through the chain of bodies who are involved including content and copy writers.

Content Strategy for the Web describes many of the elements which require someone who can control, manage and understand each of the content components which come together as the entire content strategy.

As a digital project manager this has definitely given me the tools to ensure that each of these elements are looked after, understood and the most important part - they are there at the end of the project when you are ready to launch!

Content is the most important part of a website - this book describes every content element and how to get a hold of it.

Brilliant, well thought out, and definitely what a lot of people need!
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33 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful, 26 Mar 2010
By 
jakeone (Cambridge) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Content Strategy for the Web (Voices That Matter) (Paperback)
I am a busy Web developer who runs three different online businesses, two of which are content-intensive. I'm always looking for ways to improve what I do and I'm not averse to being told what I'm doing is wrong because of X, Y and Z. So when I found this book I thought, at last, someone who will show me how I can improve. How wrong I was.

I hammer home to my colleagues that good Web content needs to do one or more of the following: (1) acquire new customers; (2) retain and maintain existing customers; (3) get existing customers to use more of our service or product and (4) to educate prospective customers about what we are offering. Every word, every page we create in our businesses must achieve at least one of these things.

The author has lost sight of all these things. Indeed, I wonder if she even knows about these criteria. Instead, it seems she is trying to carve out a non-existent niche to justify what she does for a living. We are told she "helped curate the first Content Strategy Consortium to facilitate national dialogue about this emerging discipline..." Well, if this is the best the Content Strategy Consortium can do, it should call it a day.

How ironic - the content of a book called Content Strategy - fails to deliver on all levels. At no point does she define the blueprint of good content. I'm sorry, saying, "Oh, this book isn't about *how* to produce content, it's not a dummies guide" is a complete fudge. It's like someone who says, "You're doing X badly. I know how to do X well, but I'm not going to show you because it's beneath me. Here's a rabbit for you to look at instead."

We are subjected to the author's patronising tone/tome about "Content is really important - and you're doing it wrong - but here are absolutely no ideas about how to improve it". Maybe that's being unfair, after all, she does say what you need is an "audit". Audit all the content coming in and out of your business and then... erm... Sorry, she doesn't really say. Just audit the information and remember to measure it, OK? That's this book - page after page telling you how important content is and how you must audit and measure it - and nothing telling you how to produce good content in the first place.

The examples in the book are dire. She has chosen what I find to be some of the most grating examples of content out there: examples of chatty "corporate chumminess" that reminds me of a Sarah Palin speech. I know it's in vogue but I can't stand corporations pretending to be my friend, trying to be casual and easy-going. Yet the author thinks this is the way forward. Here are examples of what she praises as good content: "More than good writing. Way more" and "Everyone at Brain Traffic loves content. A lot". Am I talking to Buffy? Is Hannah Montana giving out content advice? Sites that adopt a style like, "Hey, Jake, how's it going?" and "Chill, Jake, we've got you covered..." are, we're supposed to believe, examples of doing content correctly? Would you give your custom to a business that adopted that style? I'm not talking about grammar per se - I'm talking about quality and substance.

How this book got such high rating baffles me. It's an example of the Emperor's New Clothes and a triumph of style over substance. If you're serious about content, i.e. your trying to build a business or make a living from it, steer clear of this book like syphilis. Instead, try "Get Content, Get Customers" (which has in a single page more useful advice than this entire book) by Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett. Try anything but this.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Total disappointment, 6 April 2010
By 
Ruben (Barcelona, Spain) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Content Strategy for the Web (Voices That Matter) (Paperback)
Save your money. This book goes nowhere. The author spends most of the 160 pages justifying the need for content strategy. She makes her point in the first three chapters and then keeps on babling and getting nowhere. She raises thousands of questions that anyone who is minimally interested in the topic can think of, and then fails to answer any of them. Not a single example of how to illustrate how to create or evaluate good quality content.

Make yourself a favour, don't waste your time or your money.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Promises but never delivers, 21 July 2010
This review is from: Content Strategy for the Web (Voices That Matter) (Paperback)
This book promises a lot but never actually delivers anything hugely useful.

To be fair, it does act as a checklist of things you will need to think about, such as tone of voice, sources etc but offers no real advice on how to take this and turn it into a strategy you can sell to others (or how this should be communicated to others apart from saying "add this to your strategy document" after every section).

If I were to write a similar book on building houses it would read:

"To build a house you need bricks and cement. Once you have these you can build a house and once building is complete you can live in it"

Essentially although correct it doesn't really help.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 12 Dec 2009
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This review is from: Content Strategy for the Web (Voices That Matter) (Paperback)
Excellent advice on content strategy whether starting from scratch or already experienced in this area. Full of practical advice on how to approach content development, step-by-step. Highly recommend this for anyone wondering how to take content on their site to the next level.
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Content Strategy for the Web (Voices That Matter)
Content Strategy for the Web (Voices That Matter) by Kristina Halvorson (Paperback - 12 Aug 2009)
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