UIE Book Club: Kristina Halvorson’s Content Strategy

Jared Spool

July 15th, 2010

Announcing the first UIE Book Club: Kristina Halvorson’s Content Strategy

Kristina Halvorson's Content Strategy

UIE Book Club: Kristina Halvorson’s Content Strategy
August 3, 2010 August 17, 2010
2pm ET / 1pm CT / 11am PT
Interested? Sign up here so we get a sense as to how many are joining us.
Note: Due to a conflict from an already planned engagement involving heavy narcotics, we had to change the date to 8/17/10. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been the type of person to learn new things from reading books. I’ve read hundreds of programming books, management books, and design books. It’s a great way to expand my ideas and thinking.

Right now, I’m reading Kristina Halvorson’s new Content Strategy book. It’s a fabulously detailed look at what a content strategy is all about and what we need to do to make it happen in our own organization. She’s got a fun writing style and it’s clear from her writing that she’s wicked smart.

As happens when I read a book like this, questions pop into my head. What’s the right size project to start a content strategy with? How would I convince the powers-that-be to let me do an audit? Who else should be part of the audit? What jobs to I assign them?

I’m only about a one-third of the way into the book and all these questions are floating around my brain. So, I thought, what if I called Kristina and asked her my questions? (Fortunately, she’s one of the experts speaking at our upcoming UI15 conference and also a friend, so I could get away with just bending her ear for an hour.)

The funny & talented Kristina Halvorson

My Eureka! Moment

But then a better thought occurred to me: What if we had a discussion with you too? I mean, if you were to read her book (or maybe you already have), you probably have great questions too. What if you joined my call with Kristina and we all talked about it.

That’s when I had my eureka! moment. We should host a talk show.

I called my friend Dan Benjamin who runs the 5by5 network. He’s got all these fancy gizmos that let us have a live, online talk show. Kristina and I will be live, with video. You can call in on Dan’s fancy phone system and we can all talk about the book.

The UIE Book Club: Kristina Halvorson’s Content Strategy

How cool does that sound? Awesomely cool is what I’m thinking. So, here’s how it’ll work.

Step #1: You need to get a copy of Kristina’s Content Strategy book. (Amazon has it for a great price. That’s where I got my copy.)

Step #2: You need read the book. (It’s an easy, fun read.) Write down questions as they occur to you.

Step #3: Join us on August 3 August 17 at 2pm ET / 1pm CT / 11am PT at 5by5.tv. (Watch this blog for instructions, sign up here, or follow me on the twitters at @jmspool.)

Step #4: Ask Kristina some brilliant questions. (She’s wicked smart and funny. It would be awesome to see if you could stump her. That would be a moment to treasure for a long time.)

That’s it!

How much does this cost? Other than buying the book and your time, NOTHING. It’s completely free.

This is a complete crazy experiment that we’re trying. (The UI15 conference is underwriting some of the costs and we’re looking for others to help sponsor it. Interested? Contact me.)

Mostly, I’m good with meeting deadlines and knowing that I have to read Kristina’s book by August 3 will push me to get it done. (Does that happen to you?) So, this is all a trick to make a hard-and-fast gotta be done book deadline.

So, mark your calendar:

UIE Book Club: Kristina Halvorson’s Content Strategy
August 3, 2010 August 17, 2010
2pm ET / 1pm CT / 11am PT
Interested? Sign up here so we get a sense as to how many are joining us.

See you there.

13 Responses to “UIE Book Club: Kristina Halvorson’s Content Strategy

  1. Janet Swisher Says:

    I must be psychic. I ordered the book from Amazon just before I saw your tweet about this.

  2. Mike Pifalo Says:

    Excellent idea. So simple it’s brilliant. Because of this event I’ve ordered the book (I hope you get a kick-back – or at least a free lunch!).

  3. Anthony L. Says:

    Great idea: I ordered the book earlier this week. The date is not good for me however (middle of my vacation), but I would appreciate a chance to hear a podcast or read a transcript of the show … I often learn as much or more from other peoples questions than I do from my own.

  4. Kaleem Says:

    Jared, we’ve been doing this at UX Book Club Toronto (http://bit.ly/uxbcto) from day one and it’s a great experience. I’ve been overwhelmed with how generous our Who’s Who of authors have been with their time when they join us in person or via videoconference.

    We had some discussion over the last couple of years of extending our open meetings with a live videostream but have decided against it for now. One of the core elements of our book club is creating an opportunity for the local community to learn from one another by meeting in person in a social setting, moving conversations out of the digital sphere. Toronto is fortunate to have a large, active UX community that makes this possible but other places do not and I think that’s where the UIE Book Club becomes invaluable.

    I hope that the UIE Book Club is at least as successful as Toronto’s has been! I know that it will be an excellent experience given the book choice and author. Best wishes for the first webcast.


  5. Putting people first » Content Strategy questions and answers Says:

    […] some people who have read the book are launching the idea of a joined question time, the UIE Book Club, starting with this book on 3 August. All can join […]

  6. Steve Says:

    You may want to update Step 3 to have the proper date. 🙂

  7. Elise | Vertical Measures Says:

    Fantastic idea! I’ll be there for sure! August 17th, not 3rd right?

  8. Daniel L Weinreb Says:

    Jared: What is a “content strategy”? — Dan

  9. Quevin Says:

    I’m really looking forward to this! Since picking up the book at AEASF 2010, I’ve been inspired. Now it’s just a matter of inspiring clients to make content strategy a priority during any and every project, large or small.

  10. Jared Spool Says:

    August 17 for sure!

  11. Cliff Tyllick Says:

    Jared, I’ll be re-reading Kristina’s book for this event, but I am very glad that you scheduled it because I had the same experience. It’s easy to follow and makes great sense, but then there are those questions — where to start? how much to start with? how best to organize a content hierarchy? and so on. (This time, I will jot the questions themselves down rather than try to work through them.)

    Dan, as I understand it, a “content strategy” is an approach to Web development where you focus on the information the customer needs to successfully achieve the various tasks they must (or may) do with you. Here’s a quick example of a site that was designed without a content approach, taken from a site I reviewed at the webmaster’s request for World Usability Day last year: The governmental agency that produced this website had an Office of Outreach or some such. Anyway, “outreach” was prominent in the links to the page and the page’s title. “Great!” I thought. “This is where groups they serve can tap into programs that reach out to them — or perhaps they can get resources they themselves can use to reach out to their own audiences.”

    Wrong! Instead I was taken to a page that said, basically, “Our Office of Outreach is highly effective in reaching out to local governments and nonprofits with its many outreach programs. In fact, we are one of the most outreachingest agencies you will find. If you need us to reach out to you, you will find that our Office of Outreach is the place to contact to get the outreach you need. In the past year, we have reached out to eleventy-seven programs in communities across the nation.”

    And so on.

    Not a design based on a content strategy.

    Under a content strategy, they would have identified all of the materials and other information that people who could benefit from the services of their office might need, and then they would have developed a set of pages that featured those items.

    And their website would have reached out to me so well that I wouldn’t need them to tell me how effective their outreach programs are.

    Kristina’s book presents the steps to take in pursuing a content strategy. Read it for a more complete understanding of what content strategy is and how it works.If you read her book, you will have a greater understanding of the field.

    I hope to see you in the book club August 17!


  12. Melissa W Says:

    How great is this. I got the book and am ready to roll. Look forward to this meeting of the minds

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