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Cashing In with Content, by David Meerman Scott

I first came across David Meerman Scott in the blogosphere and when I saw the title of his book, Cashing In with Content, I couldn’t resist buying it. After starting it a few weeks ago I finally carved out enough time to finish reading it last night.

David has a great writing style and this book is a must read for anyone looking to add value to their website. Don’t just think of content in the traditional sense. David has a lot of great case studies that show how product facts and figures are part of the content world and how that information can and should be used to enhance the user experience.

My favorite section of this book is the first part where he dives into seven different e-commerce sites/solutions: Crutchfield, Alloy, Design Within Reach, mediabistro, Esurance, Aerosmith (yes, Aerosmith!) and The Wall Street Journal. If you’re running an e-commerce site there’s something to be learned from each of these chapters.

The next two parts of the book cover B2B and the combination of Nonprofit, Education, Healthcare and Politics, all with the same case study approach. (Again, David’s writing style is very conversational, so don’t be scared off by the “case study” format.). The last part gets into best practices and lessons learned, a nice summary for all the earlier chapters.

Of the 12 best practices he cites towards the end, my favorites are “When launching a new site, start with a comprehensive needs analysis” and “Include interactive content and opportunities for user feedback.” The first one seems ridiculously obvious, but be honest: Can you really say you did a thorough needs analysis (from your customers’ point of view) when you build and launched your last site?

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