The Content Strategist’s Reading List

Break out your reading lists, content strategists. You’re going to want to add these titles to your to-read pile.

I recently asked Twitter, “What books should be on a content strategist’s bookshelf?” My notifications BLEW UP. It was exciting … and overwhelming. My solution was to make a big list, then sleep with it under my pillow in the hopes that I would magically osmose all the knowledge without having to buy everything.

But, who are we kidding—I already own a lot of these, and my Amazon cart was soon sagging under the weight of the rest of them. Books are good.

I’m so grateful to everyone who contributed—folks had terrific suggestions that included content strategy classics, hot-off-the-presses works, and a solid set of inspiring works that have shaped perspectives and purpose.

And so, presented here in alphabetical order, is this crowd-sourced list of books every content strategist should have on their bookshelves—or Kindle—or phone—or whatever. Living in the future is complicated.

This is by no means a complete list, but it’s a good start. Please feel free to include more suggestions in the comments. You can print a version of this list, too. Enjoy!

The content strategist’s reading list

Accessibility for Everyone by Laura Kalbag

Audience, Relevance, and Search: Targeting Web Audiences with Relevant Content by James Mathewson, Frank Donatone, and Cynthia Fishel

Content Audits and Inventories: A Handbook by Paula Ladenburg Land

Content Critical: Gaining Competitive Advantage Through High-Quality Web Content by Gerry McGovern and Rob Norton

Content Design by Sarah Richards

Content Everywhere: Strategy and Structure for Future-Ready Content by Sara Wachter-Boettcher

Content Management Bible by Bob Boiko

Content Strategy at Work: Real-World Stories to Strengthen Every Interactive Project by Margot Bloomstein

Content Strategy for Mobile by Karen McGrane

Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach

Content Strategy: Connecting the Dots Between Business, Brand, and Benefits by Rahel Anne Bailie and Noz Urbina

Conversational Design by Erika Hall

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

Designing Connected Content: Plan and Model Digital Products for Today and Tomorrow by Mike Atherton and Carrie Hane

Designing for the Digital Age: How to Create Human-Centered Products and Services by Kim Goodwin

Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug

Enterprise Content Strategy: A Project Guide by Kevin Nichols

Every Page is Page One: Topic-Based Writing for Technical Communication and the Web by Mark Baker

Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley

Global Content Strategy: A Primer by Val Swisher

How to Make Sense of Any Mess: Information Architecture for Everybody by Abby Covert

Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Websites by Peter Morville and Louis Rosenfeld

Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights by Steve Portigal

Just Enough Research by Erika Hall

Killer Web Content: Make the Sale, Deliver the Service, Build the Brand by Gerry McGovern

Learning Everywhere: How Mobile Content Strategies are Transforming Training by Chad Udell

Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content That Works by Janice (Ginny) Redish

Liminal Thinking: Create the Change You Want by Changing the Way You Think by Dave Gray

Managing Chaos: Digital Governance by Design by Lisa Welchman

Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy by Ann Rockley

Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior by Indi Young

Metadata Basics for Web Content: The Unification of Structured Data and Content by Michael C. Andrews

Nicely Said: Writing for the Web with Style and Purpose by Nicole Fenton and Kate Kiefer Lee

On Change Management (HBR’s 10 Must Reads series) by Harvard Business Review, John P. Kotter, W. Chan Kim, and Renée A. Mauborgne

On Strategy (HBR’s 10 Must Reads series) by Harvard Business Review, Michael E. Porter, W. Chan Kim, and Renée A. Mauborgne

Outside-In Marketing: Using Big Data to Guide Your Content Marketing by James Mathewson and Mike Moran

Planning for Everything: The Design of Paths and Goals by Peter Morville

Show and Tell: How Everybody Can Make Extraordinary Presentations by Dan Roam

Simple and Usable Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design by Giles Colborne

Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting Stories for Better Design by Whitney Quesenbery and Kevin Brooks

Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech by Sara Wachter-Boettcher

The Accidental Taxonomist by Heather Hedden

The Content Strategy Toolkit: Methods, Guidelines, and Templates for Getting Content Right by Meghan Casey

The Content Trap: A Strategist’s Guide to Digital Change by Bharat Anand

The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

The Digital Crown: Winning at Content on the Web by Ahava Leibtag

The Elements of Content Strategy by Erin Kissane

The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White

The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond by Jesse James Garrett

The Language of Content Strategy by Scott Abel and Rahel Anne Bailie

The Stranger’s Long Neck: How to Deliver What Your Customers Really Want Online by Gerry McGovern

The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide by Leah Buley

The User’s Journey: Storymapping Products That People Love by Donna Lichaw and Eva-Lotta Lamm (Illustrator)

This Means This, That Means That: A User’s Guide to Semiotics by Sean Hall

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud

Understanding Context: Environment, Language, and Information Architecture by Andrew Hinton

Web Content Management: Systems, Features, and Best Practices by Deane Barker

Kristina Halvorson is CEO of Brain Traffic, founder of Confab Events, coauthor of Content Strategy for the Web, and host of The Content Strategy Podcast.

The Content Strategy Podcast

Want more good content strategy stuff? Listen to The Content Strategy Podcast with Kristina Halvorson. New episodes (almost) every other week. Transcripts available too!

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