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You Don’t Just Need a CMS, You Need a Content Management Strategy

Posted @ 10:05 am by Robert Balmaseda | Category: CMS, Strategy | 0 Comments

This is part 2 of a three-part series on the keys to content strategy. First we looked at crafting a digital content strategy. In this post, we dive into executing that strategy and selecting the right CMS. Next, we’ll take a deeper dive into CMS selection, and provide a step-by-step guide to developing not just a content strategy, but a content management strategy.

CMS stands for Content Management System, but we like to think the “s” also stands for strategy. So often, companies will forget about content altogether when designing or redesigning a website (see our post on that here), but even the companies that do their due diligence and develop a great content strategy often forget to plan for the execution of that strategy. It’s important that websites are built with the tools and infrastructure that enable content to be updated and changed as needed, without the involvement of a development team every time.

How do you do that? There are four simple requirements to keep in mind. Any CMS that’s doing what it needs to do will deliver the following:

1. Easy content creation and updates

First and foremost, any CMS needs to enable easy content creation and updates. That’s the whole point. If IT needs to step in every time marketing wants to update copy, that’s a problem.

2. Modular structure

One of the real boons of some of the more modern CMS options is the way they turn content into modules—pieces and components that can be used across multiple platforms and/or multiple sites. Many enable the management of content for multiple sites from one place, which really delivers time and cost savings.

3. Systems integration

This is another key feature of some of today’s CMS options that is particularly useful for companies that sell a product or service. If a CMS can integrate with a company’s customer relationship management (CRM) software (Salesforce, for example), plus its e-commerce and back office software, that’s hugely helpful. Enabling companies to manage communication, relationships and operations from one place is extremely valuable. Companies do need to think, though, about how to handle these systems from a practical standpoint as well—how will the CMS handle security and permissions? Will the CMS enable the current organizational work flow or will it need to change?

The other part of the integration requirement is the ability of any CMS solution to integrate various communications channels. If a company produces a lot of video content, for example, it will want to make sure that its CMS can not only handle video well, but also help to push it out across various external channels, such as YouTube.

4.Easy syndication and social sharing

It’s hard to think of a company these days that wouldn’t want help syndicating and sharing content through its CMS, but companies need to think about the particulars, too. Do they want to pull feeds in from social channels? Do they want to enable a single sign-on so that users can easily share their content across social channels? Do they want to syndicate their content? We’ll get into the strategy behind sharing and syndicating content and how to do that well in our third and final post, but before even thinking about that, companies need to make sure that they’ve got the tools to make these things possible.

Once a company has figured out what exactly it needs from its CMS, the next step is to look at whether they can get those features from an off-the-shelf solution or if they need a custom solution. The answer to that is really a matter of scale. If a company has multiple sites and platforms, it will need a more robust solution. If a company has only one site and that site’s attendant social platforms, a lower-level CMS is probably fine.

A lot of smaller tech startups get into the trip of thinking, “hey, I’ve got a whole team of developers who are really smart, I’ll just have them build something.” And of course, they can, but why rebuild something that already exists? Creating your own solution is not always a good idea, plus it means taking resources away from developing the company’s product. There are companies out there that are writing their own JavaScript libraries, and that’s a waste of time and money in most cases.

The current array of CMS products exist for a reason and they allow you to do many things—the key is figuring out what exactly you need a CMS to do and then finding the option that best meets those needs.


Author: Robert Balmaseda, Senior Vice President at SolutionSet, leads strategic planning of digital projects with an emphasis on solving our clients marketing and communications challenges through integrated brand and technology solutions.

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