It's taken me years and a lot of hard work to learn what Rockley and Cooper have so conveniently provided in in this great update of a content management classic, Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy (2nd Edition) (Voices That Matter). Written by Rockley Group founder and president, Ann Rockley, and Group vice president Charles Cooper (with a foreword by Kristina Halvorson), the book covers all you need to know about creating a comprehensive content process.
At 365 pages, the update might seem hefty, but it's chunked nicely into logical chapters that are short and very easy to absorb. The book is a nice carry-around size, and it sports a new cover and interior design, which is, quite frankly, gorgeous. Updated typefaces, sharp illustrations sprinkled throughout, and restful shading strategically placed in headings and on some pages makes the reading easy on the eyes. Kudos to Peachpit book designer Mimi Heft, who did a fantastic job.
Comprehensive enough for a beginner, but written in language that doesn't talk down to hard-core process people, Rockley and Cooper start with the all-important definition of content (which they call the "lifeblood of an organization"). From there, they cover basic information such as where content comes from, how organizational silos cause content chaos, and then they delve into the many aspects of content strategy as it relates to real-world processes in the context of delivery on today's multiple platforms.
By the second chapter, they get to the heart of the matter: the strategy and tasks needed to develop a content strategy that works. Some of the topics covered include content models and content reuse; process discovery and design; workflow, metadata and taxonomy; the roles you need in place to make it all happen and much more.
Additional information about methodologies and tools [including an introduction to Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) and XML] and a smattering of suggested authoring tools and content management systems are very helpful. The Resources chapter (including a glossary, and my favorite -- a section full of checklists) is a great ending for a very useful book. The checklists alone make the book worth buying. They are guideposts to success for any content management team aiming to design and embed content process into their workplace. Case studies are also included, if you are like me, and need examples to solidify your understanding.
I wish the book had arrived last month, when I was part of the team revamping the content management process for a large high-tech company that I consult with. The detailed theory, conceptional information, and concrete how-to steps would have saved me a lot of explaining to those unfamiliar with business process improvement.
Note that The Rockley Group has other offerings for content management and strategy, including conferences, blog postings, and consulting as well the excellent primer on content management.
Give it a read, and you won't be sorry. I give this book 5 stars. And I am taking it to work with me tomorrow to share in the latest process design meeting.