Google loves content — that’s a fact. Customers are used to searching before buying and having the right content makes it easier for companies to convert visitors into buyers. Yet, there’s a staggering number of companies who still rely on ad-hoc solutions to manage their digital assets. In fact, research conducted by W3 Techs reveals that 39% of the top 10 million websites are not using any of the content management systems (CMS) they monitor, which means that they are either not using a CMS or using a homemade solution. For simple hobby blogs this can be effective, but for a B2B company, not using a CMS can create communication silos and reduce the effectiveness of the company’s messaging, especially for omnichannel and cross-channel campaigns.
Since CMSs have become such a fundamental part of modern marketing, we’ve asked the experts about their opinions on how content management can make or break a digital experience.
For many marketers and business owners, the greatest issue of adopting a content management system is finding one that ties all the tools in their tech stack together. For instance, Serge Huber, CTO at Jahia, cited integrability as one of the main challenges for companies planning to adopt a CMS. He says, “It should be easy to set up and intuitive for our writers and editors to use. We also look for customization options and SEO-optimization features.”
Another roadblock is the fact that some CMS, especially headless ones, are too technical for marketers to use, which makes full adoption difficult or reduces the quality of the digital experiences marketers create using the CMS. Nevertheless, businesses need to remain adaptive and be willing to bend themselves to make use of new technologies, said John Hazard, co-founder at Lighthouse Creative. “You need to connect the new CMS to the vital databases and apps required to run your business. But rather than bend it to your old tools and patterns, a business will find advantages in bending itself to fit the new opportunities and efficiencies of the new CMS.”
Stay Flexible and in Control
One of the main selling points of most CMS in the market is flexibility. A CMS allows content editors and marketers to keep content fresh and updated without relying on IT teams to keep the website running. An inflexible CMS can create silos, which reduces the reach and the effectiveness of every experience you make. “One great way to reduce silos is to work with truly open solutions, where both the access to the data but also to the source code is easy and facilitated — this guarantees, over time, full control of the integration. Of course, the solution’s flexibility is important as well, as are large collections of connectors to get started quickly,” said Huber
Similarly, another important issue that tends to break the effectiveness of digital experiences is the often poor integration between content and design teams as well as thinking of the design first and the content second. "To create the best digital experiences be sure to establish a flow, a direction in which the work is to be completed. This way the ones creating the strategy can accurately depict to the ones creating the physical visuals what the plan is in its entirety, so they can create with the full picture in mind,” said Slavy Darozhkin, COO at Hashtag Liliac.
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Avoiding Data Silos With an API-First Content Repository
API-first CMS and content repositories show great promise when it comes to avoiding or reducing data silos because they serve marketers and developers structured data that is ready to be presented using the framework and language of their choosing.
According to Joel Varty, president at Agility CMS, API-first content repositories are the cure to data silos. “Since all the content that’s important to a company is available via APIs, an API-first content repository breaks the idea of content silos and enables content editors to build effective digital experiences. The API-first approach turns content into an asset that can be presented wherever it needs to be, also turning it into a tool that makes marketers and developers in their roles.”
It seems that API-first content management shows great promise because it liberates content creators from creating content with a specific output in mind, be it a mobile website, an email, or an app. API-first repositories enable editors to simply create content, focusing on creating something that will resonate with their audience instead of an isolated piece of content.
Yet, for API-first to finally grab a hold in the minds of marketers, they need to think beyond the outputs and disrupt themselves to think in terms of experiences.