Book Review — Content Strategy for the Web

Someone published a book on content strategy and the book is red, so that means EMERGENCY and STOP, so it must be very important! — An excerpt from the book

Vrinda Bhagat
4 min readMay 18, 2020

I wasn’t aware of this book on content strategy until recently when a good friend of mine gave it to me sensing my excitement for content. Since then I have come across many articles, e-lessons and posts mentioning one or the other insight from this book.

Book level — beginners/intermediate

My favorite part of this book is the content quad which mentions the role and significance of each and every person in the organization who has some influence over content. It not only talks about people who are responsible for producing content but also people who decide on the business aspect of content, the people who enable it through technology and the ones who should be responsible for it.

Content Quad

There is a good attempt at humorous anecdotes and not so subtle plug-ins of how can readers promote the book. But if I had to pick 4 key take away from this book it would be the following:

Research is an invaluable asset for content

After reading this book, I feel like research and writing is like Calvin and Hobbes. They need each other to guide each other. A well written content is always backed by research. An audit of existing content, analysis of user needs or simply evaluating the competitive landscape, any or every form of this research comes in handy to empower the written word.

Project management is an indispensable tool in content life-cycle

The book talks in great detail about ‘behind the scenes’ tasks that a content strategist spends time on during the entire life-cycle. Who needs the content, who writes it, when and where does it show up and when does it retire, content planning demands a whole lot of aligning.

Designers work more efficiently if content is produced before design

A design based on Lorem Ipsum content is bound to have flaws. Real words provide a real picture of how the final piece would look like. Content and design are not mutually independent and work better when produced in sync.

Content is an ongoing business process

Content Strategy is not a straight line road and so aren’t the roles associated with it. There are overlaps in responsibilities, skill sets and deliverables. An Information Architect and UX Designer works with SMEs and SEO specialists under the content umbrella. This is great news because this means content always remains an ongoing project and always relevant for the business.

A major part of the book also emphasizes on persuasion. To know and show the importance of content strategy, it requires a dialogue at all levels of hierarchy in the organization. While most businesses today are already convinced with the value proposition that content strategists bring to the table, persuasiveness can add more perspective and variety in content.

This book is a keeper for:

Someone who is fresh out of school and is exploring the field of content — it deep dives into roles and responsibilities of content strategists.

Someone who is already involved in producing content but trying to up their practice within organizations — this book can help you with pointers on who and how to approach for content budgets, role plays within teams, governance, policies and procedures that supports the content mission.

The best thing about the book is that it is written in plain language, talks with a purpose and to the point. However, one thing that I felt the book lacks is the real life examples and case studies where content practice has evolved over time and the efforts that showcase the strategy.

Coming from a content focused agency, the writers have worked on interesting and challenging projects. A better version of content planner, how are audit tools put to practice and what kind of content needs them the most, a day in the life of content strategists are just some of the examples that I would have liked to see with specific case in sight.

Overall the book provides an excellent generic overview of content strategy and its significance in any organization. I am now looking for another book that focuses on establishing content strategy for small and home based businesses. Suggestions are welcome.