Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great resource for anyone (or teams) involved in developing/managing a website(s), 15 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content (Voices That Matter) (Paperback)
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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