Every day brings great reads in the content strategy and content marketing worlds. The past few weeks have been especially chock-full of great stuff. Here are five of my favorites.

Content and Design Are Inseparable Work Partners (User Interface Engineering)
Why you should read it: Using several examples from user studies, Jared Spool demonstrates why separating content and design functions within an organization inevitably leads to inferior experiences.
In their words: “We need to shift our definition of content to be what the user needs right now. It has nothing to do with how it’s produced or where it lives on the server. If the user needs it, it’s content.”

Your Google Algorithm Cheat Sheet: Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird (Moz Blog)
Why you should read it: A lengthy-but-helpful overview of recent algorithm changes and what they mean for content creators. It’s accessible yet detailed.
In their words: “It is hopefully a good reference that you can point your clients to if you want to explain an algorithm change and not overwhelm them with technical details about 301s, canonicals, crawl errors, and other confusing SEO terminologies.”

Avoid Format-Based Primary Navigation (Nielsen Norman Group)
Why you should read it: NN/g provides a well-supported case for why format-based approaches (such as “Videos”) are ineffective as primary navigation.
In their words: “Users interested in a specific topic usually don’t care in what format the information will be delivered to them; they are focused solely on finding answers that will address the question they had in mind. For this reason, for sites where the majority of the tasks are topic driven, format-based navigation does not work well at top levels of the information architecture.”

Kick Off Successful Content Marketing with a Pilot Program: 10 Steps (Content Marketing Institute)
Why you should read it: Joe Pulizzi offers a useful strategic platform for approaching your next content initiative as a pilot program.
In their words: “One senior marketer at a large manufacturing firm recently told me that their progressive content marketing approach can be credited to one thing: launching the program as a pilot (including referring to it as such).”

How to Plug the Holes in Your Content Funnel That Are Costing You Money(Copyblogger)
Why you should read it: Mike King shows how personas, journey mapping and qualitative content auditing can reveal gaps and opportunities in your content marketing plan.
In their words: “Journey mapping is an art and a science that requires identifying user needs and developing them into stages — some of which align directly with business transactional touch points, and some that can only align with content.”

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