The Language of Content Strategy by Scott Abel and Rahel Anne Bailie
is a handy reference for anyone wanting to know about content strategy. The book has over fifty contributors, most of them experts in their subject and experienced and trained in technical writing and communication. In my opinion, the book is in an unorthodox form. There is very little text here, and the use of words is limited. But whatever there is, is gold.
This is the first time I am reviewing a book on the blog. Non-fiction or ‘serious’ books as I call them are generally Prasanna’s forte. I am more happy reading the latest Jeffrey Archer or Clive Cussler thriller. I am surrounded by a veritable treasure trove of books on technical communication, but I have always wanted something that can get me up to speed in an instant, at least as far as the lingo or terminology is concerned.
The Language of Content Strategy appealed to me because it is to the point.
Authors: Scott Abel, Rahel Anne Bailie
Publisher: XML Press
ISBN 10: 1-937434-35-4
Book Available at: O’Reilly,
The book has 52 chapters, and each chapter is actually a concept or keyword related to content strategy. The book has been split into different sections like Core Concepts, Core Deliverables, Technical Concepts, Extended Deliverables and Global Content. Each chapter gives the definition of the term and then tells us why a content strategist should understand that term. Then there is some information about the contributor or author of that chapter.
Some chapters like Search Engine Optimization, Metadata, XML or Requirements Matrix seem generic enough to someone familiar with software development or any project life cycle. But their inclusion seems valuable for someone who has a non-technical background. Other chapters like Single Sourcing, Wireframe, Style Guide or Information Architecture will be familiar to technical writers but are a quick and much needed introduction to first time content strategists.
If you have followed a structured methodology in your organization, and follow guidelines of PMI (Project Management Institute) or Scrum or RUP (yes, that one from long ago), the whole book and its concepts can seem like a natural extension of something that you have been doing for years. For example, content life-cycle is like a product or project life cycle, content quality assurance is like software quality assurance but for content instead of a software product, content audit is like a quality audit or any audit really that will reveal gaps, etc. Having said that, it is also not that simple.
The Language of Content Strategy will be the go-to guide for people to understand terms related to content strategy. It can serve to standardize the meaning of oft used terms so that everyone means the same thing when they use these words. Who knows, as more and more organizations start realizing the importance of content management, the book will pave the way for a well defined process or methodology that will formalize the ‘content’ function.
What I think of The Language of Content Strategy
The book can appear to be superficial at first glance. Although the Table of Contents is content or keyword rich, the chapters themselves aren’t! I would have loved to see more. The whole book is actually a lot like a teaser ad, and I feel that the real thing is yet to come. The different terms just make you realize how much you don’t know, or should know, about content strategy. Each of these chapters has the potential to be the topic of a book. And each of the chapter authors are gurus on the mentioned topic.
Want to learn the latest on content strategy, technical writing and related topics? Just follow these 52 authors and you will have access to the best information on the subject.
I have gone ahead and made a Twitter list of these authors. You can subscribe to the list, and also follow each of these content strategy experts, if you aren’t already doing so.
Summing up, The Language of Content Strategy is poised to be a well thumbed reference book for anyone who wants to make a mark in the field, or anyone who is remotely associated with the content strategy, content management or content marketing function and everything it entails.