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The Content Strategy Toolkit: Methods, Guidelines, and Templates for Getting Content Right (Voices That Matter) Paperback – 18 Jun 2015
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“Quality content increases value. Poor-quality content destroys value. It’s as simple as that. Meghan’s book has specific, practical, and immediately actionable ideas that will help you increase the quality of your content.”
—Gerry McGovern, CEO, Customer Carewords
“You will thank Meghan for her no-nonsense approach to forming and executing content strategy. If you apply the techniques and tips in this book, you will advance not only your content but also your career.”
—Colleen Jones, CEO of Content Science and author of Clout: The Art + Science of Influential Web Content
“Ever wondered what to include in your content audit? Struggled to sell your boss on content strategy? This book is for you. Packed with activities, diagrams, and sample documents, The Content Strategy Toolkit is a supremely practical guide you’ll turn to again and again. Best of all, Meghan Casey doesn’t just explain the tools—she helps you figure out which ones you need, when.”
— Sara Wachter-Boettcher, content strategy consultant and author of Content Everywhere
“This book is a must read for people who truly value customer experience. Organizations can’t say they have consumer-centric sites without having a firm handle on their content and the tasks their users are trying to complete. The practical advice you’ll gain will help you ensure your site has a solid foundation.”
— Jane Keairns, Assistant Director of Digital Strategy—Corporate Marketing, Principal Financial Group
“Practical, relevant, and realistic: Those are the qualities that describe content strategy, and those are the qualities Meghan Casey brings to every chapter in this book. We’ve long suffered projects that are the stuff of fantasy and lofty castles in the sky. Content strategy puts a foundation under those fantasies so you can communicate consistently, effectively, and sustainably. Arm yourself with this book and gain tools, techniques, and tips to bring to every project.”
— Margot Bloomstein, author of Content Strategy at Work: Real-world Stories to Strengthen Every Interactive Project and Principal at Appropriate, Inc.
“The Content Strategy Toolkit is a great resource for helping you to align stakeholders and take control of your content. If you’re a seasoned professional or just getting started, Meghan’s experience guides you through complex, challenging projects. Business goals? Check. User needs? Check. You with a satisfied smile from a job well done? Check.”
— Andrew Crow, Head of Design, Uber
“Ms. Casey has written the essential guide for anyone involved in the creation and care of online content. She provides clear direction and scalable methods, explaining why they are important along the way. And, she’s included tips on how to talk about content strategy in the language of business and budgets. It’s easy-to-read, it’s actionable, and it’s certain to find a spot on every content strategists’ bookshelf.”
— Clinton Forry, Vice President, Content Strategy at Weber Shandwick.
Today businesses are competing for attention with thousands of content providers. And they’re not who your CEO imagines. They’re BuzzFeed, Instagram, Hulu, Bloomberg … and the list goes on. You can bet they have a content strategy. Meghan Casey gives you the inside story on how to build a business case for content strategy, apply cold-eyed analysis to all the content you’ve got lying around, and reshape it into marketing gold.
— Anne Condon, senior marketing professional in the healthcare industry
About the Author
Meghan Casey is the lead content strategist at Brain Traffic, the world’s leading agency devoted exclusively to content. She helps a wide variety of clients–startups, nonprofits, colleges and universities, Fortune 50 companies, and everything inbetween–solve the messy content problems most organizations encounter every day. She has also helped The Nerdery, a software development shop, build content strategy into their User Experience practice. Meghan is a regular trainer and speaker on content strategy topics and once inspired workshop participants to do the wave. Yep, that really happened. She has been working with content and communications since 1996.
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Coming up with a few social ideas
But a much wider approach that takes a systems approach to content. What it is, where should it be and how it should be refreshed. With this in in mind I can thoroughly recommend The Content Strategy Toolkit: Methods, Guidelines, and Templates for Getting Content Right by Meghan Casey.
Meghan also provides a set of downloadable template to make your life even easier. I found the book relatively easy to digest but still have it about as a reference book on my current project.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Meghan Casey's book is exactly what I needed. She explains each process step concisely but thoroughly. She suggests variations based on available time, budget, and resources. She then says "now download and use Tool X at [URL]." Where appropriate, she sometimes recommends that the same or slightly altered version of a tool be used again in a later step.
I enjoyed Meaghan's conversational tone. Reading this book is like having a coach. Even if you have a zillion books on content strategy, I recommend that you add The Content Strategy Toolkit to your library.
Casey packs her book with a workshop full of well-crafted and useful content strategy tools, including a stakeholder matrix, project kick-off email, project team matrix, session plan and even a sample agenda.
In addition to these many tools, Casey offers clear directions for mapping out stakeholders processes, artifacts and deliverables; project management guidance, including timeline, material, reporting and rhythms and a strong overview of the content inventory, auditing, and mapping process.
Casey also pays close attention to the stakeholder interview process, including questions and documentation review process notes. These notes culminate in building a discovery inside workbook incorporating best practices from UX design, market research, and general business consulting.
While this may seem like an overwhelming amount of material to keep under control, Casey does a good job of aligning all the parts into a strategic framework that ties everything together, from the beginning of the process through the resulting outputs and actions.
Casey offers a nod to Sara Wachter-Boettcher’s book Content Everywhere in her overview of structured content and entering content into the CMS.
Her content types and components tend to be large, chunky, and high-level -- so it's at this level a high level introduction to modelling.
The book does have a tendency to focus on personal and in-person outputs and processes involving sticky notes and whiteboards best suited for traditional and co-located teams, and not much guidance is offered on how to apply the same processes in distributed environments. It may be that content strategy is a full-contact sport, but the nature of business is increasingly distributed, and content strategists should be prepared to embrace various kinds of collaboration.
As a content engineer, I also would have appreciated seeing more about content modeling. Casey does reference Rachel Lovinger’s article on the A List Apart website, but largely breezes over structured content and content modeling. Content strategists should embrace and understand content modeling as a core competency, even though content engineers should ultimately own and maintain the content model in collaboration with IT and development stakeholders. The content strategists who are equipped to natively understand and be able to contribute to content models will do their clients great service by contributing to content reuse structure.
Casey wraps up her book with a very helpful outline of content governance, editorial management, and other content maintenance topics. She also provides a list of all the tools used in the book, though I wish she had also included additional references to third-party materials and resources for students.
All in all, I give The Content Strategy Toolkit: Methods, Guidelines, and Templates for Getting Content Right five stars, because I believe it to be a practical, essential part of a content strategy bookshelf, and a strong orientation to anybody getting into the field. For other content strategy tools and templates, you might also check out the freely available tools from the Content Strategy Alliance. Those tools are helpful, but the context provided by Meghan Casey’s book is invaluable for any student of content strategy.