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Published on June 6th, 2011 | by Rahel Bailie


The Content Strategy Bookshself

If you were to look at your library of books related to content strategy – directly or indirectly – what would be on that shelf? Here’s what is on mine. Some have been with me for a longer time; others are brand new. Also, I’ve excluded a lot of books on web design and user experience that I didn’t feel ¬†were really right for this list of books. I’m not saying that this list forms any sort of corpus; they’re just books from which I have gleaned information, from a little nugget here or there to the books marked with so many post-it notes, the spine is bent out of shape.

This list is organized arbitrarily by broad category. Hey, my blog, my rules. And what you can do, gentle reader, is add your favourite books to the comments section. More reading, more knowledge!

Planning and Design

Harnessing Complexity (Robert Axelrod and Michael Cohen)

Managing Enterprise Content (Ann Rockley)

Content Management Bible (Bob Boiko)

Document Engineering (Robert J Glushko, Tim McGrath)

Content and Complexity (Michael J Alberts, Beth Maxur, eds)

Designing e-Learning (Saul Carliner)

Information Design (Robert Jacobson, ed)

User Experience

Understanding Your Users (Catherine Courage, Kathy Baxter)

The User is Always Right (Steve Mulder and Ziv Yaar)

Paper Prototyping (Carolyn Snyder)

Why Software Sucks (David Platt)

Handbook of Usability Testing (Jerry Rubin, Dana Chisnell, Jared Spool)

Storytelling for User Experience (Whitney Quesenbery, Kevin Brooks)

Observing the User Experience (Mike Kuniavsky)

Subject to Change (Peter Merholz, Brandon Schauer)

Rocket Science Made Easy (Steve Krug)

Simple and Usable (Giles Colborne)

Do Good Design (David B Berman)

Built for Use (Karen Donoghue)

Mental Models (Indi Young)

The Inmates are Running the Asylum (Alan Cooper)

Practitioner Guides

The Web Content Strategist’s Bible (Richard Sheffield)

Elements of Content Strategy (Erin Kissane)

Letting Go of the Words (Ginny Redish)

Content Strategy for the Web (Kristina Halvorson)

Creating the Perfect Design Brief (Peter L Phillips)

Business Process Mapping (Jacka Keller)

Request for Proposal (Bud Porter-Roth)

Managing Knowledge (Wayne Applehans, Alden Globe, Greg Laugero)

Managing Your Documentation Products (JoAnn Hackos)

Techniques for Technical Communicators (Carol Barnum, Saul Carliner)

Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog (Kitty Burns Florey)

The Accidental Taxonomist (Heather Hedden)

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (Edward Tufte)

Envisioning Information (Edward Tufte)

Wordsmithing for Effect

Clout (Colleen Jones)

Neuro Web Design (Susan M Weinschenk, PhD)

Content Rules (CC Chapman and Ann Handley)

Get Content, Get Customers (Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett)

Content Nation (John Blossom)

Curation Nation (Steven Rosenbaum)

Predictably Irrational (Dan Ariely)

Delivering Happiness (Tony Hsieh)

Branded Nation (James B Twitchell)

Call to Action (Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg)

Intercultural Communication (James W Neuliep)

A Practical Guide to Localization (Bert Esselink)

International Technical Communication (Nancy L Hoft)

Metadata and Delivery

Audience, Relevance, and Search (James Mathewson, Frank Donatone, and Synthia Fishel)

Search Engine Visibility (Shari Thurow)

Metadata Solutions (Adrienne Tennenbaum)

Killer Web Content (Gerry McGovern)

Wiki (Alan Porter)

Introduction to DITA (Jennifer Linton, Kylene Bruski)

User Engagement

Conversation and Community (Anne Gentle)

Here Comes Everybody (Clay Shirky)

SocialCorp (Joel Postman)

Sway (Ori and Rom Brafman)

The Thank You Economy (Gary Vaynerchuk)

Radically Transparent (Andy Beal, Dr. Judy Strauss)

Crowdsourcing (Jeff Howe)

Participating in Explanatory Dialogues (Johanna D Moore)


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About the Author

Rahel Anne Bailie is a synthesizer of content strategy, requirements analysis, information architecture, and content management to increase the ROI of content. She has consulted for clients in a range of industries, and on several continents, whose aim is to better leverage their content as business assets. Founder of Intentional Design, she is now the Chief Knowledge Officer of London-based Scroll. She is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, she has worked in the content business for over two decades. She is co-author of Content Strategy: Connecting the dots between business, brand, and benefits, and co-editor of The Language of Content Strategy, and is working on her third content strategy book,

6 Responses to The Content Strategy Bookshself

  1. Hi Rahel!

    This is quite a collection of smart books. Thanks for another handy contribution to the repository of content knowledge.

    I’m curious about your category of “Wordsmithing for Effect,” which is where Clout falls. Clout doesn’t talk about wordsmithing or even that much about writing. Neither do many other books in that category, such as Neuro Web Design and Content Rules.

    I’d say Clout is more of a practitioner guide or planning book for influencing change through content. It covers principles and process, with plenty of examples along the way. So, could you share more about what you mean by “Wordsmithing for Effect?” Enquiring minds want to know!


  2. Rahel Bailie says:

    So glad you asked that question, Colleen! I thought about how to categorize those books that dealt with crafting content to market, persuade, trigger emotions, and so. These books were very different from the technical aspects or UX aspects of many of the other books. When I looked at what they had in common, it was the art/craft of writing – creating an intentional message. (Side note: that’s where Intentional Design comes from, the design of content.) I suppose I could have called it “the UX of content” or one of many other titles, but that’s what I came up with on that day. A wordsmith is an expert on words, and to me, it means knowing the power of language and how to use it, particularly in the phrase “…for effect”. It’s one thing to have a technically correct sentence; it’s quite another to derive a desired reaction by putting together content in a specific way. Hope that answers your question!

  3. Hi Rahel,
    I attended your meetup this summer, and now I am reading up on content strategy. My background is in English and Journalism studies. Can you suggest a few books to start with? I am considering content strategy as a career.


  4. Rahel Bailie says:

    To start, I’d recommend the first four books under the Practitioner Guides heading. They provide core information for those wanting to transition into this area.

  5. Maria says:

    Thanks Rahel,

    That will keep me busy for September at the least.

  6. Pingback: Content Management Bible – Top Apprentice Blog

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