Looking for a good and inspiring read for the holidays to kick start 2013 before it even starts?
I’ve got the perfect book for you, my higher ed friend: Content Everywhere by Sara Wachter-Boettcher.
I’ve had the pleasure to work with Sara last June for the Higher Ed Responsive Web Design Summit. She talked about future-friendly, adaptive, responsive and responsible web content during the presentation she gave at that time.
Last month, I was lucky enough to get my eyes on an advanced electronic copy of her book, Content Everywhere. Published by Rosenfeld Media and available starting today at Amazon and elsewhere, Sara’s book is definitely one of the best books I’ve read in 2012 (and I read my share of books even if I only blog about my favorites ;-).
This book has actually made a concrete difference in the work I’ve done content-wise on our program pages at Higher Ed Experts, work that will become more and more visible as we release new features on our website in the future.
Sara is the real deal – and I’m actually not the only one to think it, as you will be able to see in the Foreword written by Kristina Halvorson.
So, here’s is my 1-1-1 Express Book Review of Content Everywhere by Sara Wachter-Boettcher.
- 1 thing I liked
Sara didn’t write this book for higher education. Yet, she used many great higher ed examples: Arizona State University Online division, WVU, University of Notre Dame and Columbia University. So, when you try to convince your boss to move in the right direction following Sara’s advice, you won’t hear the traditional “it doesn’t apply to us in higher education.” It does, and the book makes it very clear with all these higher ed examples.
- 1 thing I didn’t like too much
I love everything in this book, but the 1-1-1 book review calls for a balanced view of my reading experience. So, here is what I didn’t like as much as the rest: the first part of the book – making the case for structured content strategy – felt a bit long to me (although it’s only 30 pages). I’ve been sold on the idea for some time now, so this is probably why I couldn’t wait to get to the newest part. But, I understand this section is targeted to people who might need more convincing.
- 1 big take-away from the book
The part on content modeling was the big take-away for me. With this book, I learned why it is important to structure content, but also how to do it through a proper analysis and by defining content types and content elements that make sense for my audience needs, my goals and my content.
Sara provides you with a clear road map and walk you through – every step of the way – which I really liked. For the Higher Ed Experts project, it led to the creation of several content types (courses, testimonials, faculty and institutions) that are called upon throughout the website depending on the audience needs. When your content is properly structured, it can be more powerful and flexible at the same time. So, this is definitely a great foundation for the future.
UPDATE Dec 13, 2012: Uxmas published a book excerpt on content modeling.
BONUS: Favorite quote from the book
I love the last sentence of the book on page 211, because it explains so eloquently what’s really happening with content:
“The choice is yours, the content isn’t.
It belongs to your users.
It’s time you give it back to them, everywhere they want it.”
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