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Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content (Voices That Matter)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 October 2011
At times this book is quite theoretical and heavy going, despite the numerous short paragraphs, big headings and copious white space. So readers looking for easy to follow lists of '10 top tips' and the like will be disappointed. But instead the book prompts more thoughtful reflection and more strategic planning for how to use content effectively online, how to produce the right content and how to evaluate it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2011
From trading on the financial markets and buying a house to attempting a marriage proposal there are plenty of things in life that require expert timing. Acting too soon or late could end up losing us money, the chance of another rung up the property ladder, or the possibility of a lifetime's happiness.

The same can be said for us who design for the web. There are now so many ways we can potentially reach the people interested in our services, products, or cause. What we really want above all else are results. So how do we begin to discover the approach that will most likely strike a chord with our different audiences and avoid that lingering temptation to scatter content in several different directions just to see what happens. Thankfully Colleen Jones, with all her years of experience in the field of interactive communication, is on hand to expertly guide us through the essential principles, techniques, and tools that can lead to long-term audience engagement.

Colleen teaches us how to examine our content and learn about our different audiences, as well as using our credibility, backing up our claims with evidence, and applying emotion to trigger positive reactions. Rarely has a book asked so many good questions of its reader and provided telling success stories - in this case of how influential online content has benefited some of the world's leading organisations.

There are few books I like to keep within an arm's reach but Clout has instantly taken its place among them. I believe it's another example of the increasing maturity of the web. To simply publish online content without a strategy and a purpose behind it just won't cut it anymore.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2012
This is an excellent book and a great resource for individuals and teams that work with web content. It's a general guide (although the focus and, therefore, the theme of the book is 'influence') and as such is written in an amiable and engaging style - it's easy to follow and read, with short, sharp and digestible chapters. Many similar books are written by condescending authors and their "holier than thou" academic style text. This is one of the few books that is not only a good read, but links web content, business goals AND user needs.

The books contains none of the usual marketing mumbo jumbo language I have found in the (many) similar books I have bought on this subject. If you're a fan of management bingo such as "paradigm shifts", "the new world of digital" and other such claptrap then you'll be disappointed. To avoid confusion, this book is aimed at people developing content for their websites - it doesn't really cover an integrated digital strategy, so there is not much on social networking, blogs etc. (just cursory mentions). If you're interested in a more holistic approach to digital strategies, then I'd recommend Digital Marketing: Strategies for Online Success and websites such as Mashable.

Early in Clout, the author stresses the importance of a content strategy - linking your website content to the goals/aims of your organization; assessing and evaluating what content will help achieve those goals; and the ROIs you can expect. It also discusses the importance of trust and building relationships with your customers through web content.

The middle of the book then covers some guiding principles on copy, website structure and content, and planning the development of your site. The book concludes with a discussion on evaluation and points readers in the direction of further reading.

There are no long lists of principles you need to follow when developing web content. I'm sick as the next person of having to remember lists such as '79 principles that will transform your digital strategy' - no such stuff in this book. It's short, sharp and to the point. Each section contains a healthy sprinkling of examples of sites that have successfully implemented a robust web content strategy and then tactically delivered that strategy to great effect. At the end of each chapter is a list of references, which comes in very handy.

Nothing in this book is rocket science - where the book excels is that it brings together many of the common sense steps required to develop and generate successful (i.e. influential) web content. It's practical, makes you asking searching questions as to what do you want to do with your website and why (correctly putting the onus back on the website owner), doesn't get bogged down in theory and would be of benefit to beginners and experienced practioners of web content. Highly recommended.
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I'm working my way through this well-presented short book. It is written in a style that would be accessible to pretty much anyone: you don't need to be technical or even well-educated to read it.
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on 21 May 2013
Overall a good introduction to the subject. It has a good practioner perspective and some good cases. A bit a lacking in depth for my taste but I learned some useful material
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