Content management survival guide 2021Vegard Ottervig on
What do you really need in the shifting world of content management? Look no further, we have gathered the essentials for your convenience.
Content management is all about having full control of what you offer, both externally and internally in the basic forms of text, images, videos, and sound clips.
There are about as many perspectives on content management as there are content managers, but here are what we think are the essentials for you to know in order to thrive and drive your organisation forward in 2021.
Future-proof your digital experiences:
Have a plan
Many industry professionals just plunge into new technologies and features in the world of web content management systems without any overall plan or direction. Simply because some tech or feature exist doesn’t mean you have to use them—even though “everybody else does.”
Think it through and devise a carefully orchestrated master plan. The plan might consist of a strategy (the whats, whys, whens, whos, and hows) and an alignment with the goals of your organisation (hint: they should be the same).
Know what you want
OK, so you have a purpose—an overall goal—and a plan to execute your actions. Now you need to dig even deeper, you have to move from strategy to tactics, and from purpose to the fulfilment of KPIs specific to your department or digital team.
Furthermore, ask yourself: What do you hope to accomplish with your content? What type of content fits your ideal consumers? What channels are most befit your ideal consumers?
In other words: Know your customers! If you haven’t crafted buyer personas yet, do it now. Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers, cooked down to one imaginative person of flesh and bone you are directing your content and marketing efforts towards.
Acquire the right CMS
A content management system (CMS), or web platform, is at the heart of your digital experiences. You know where you want to go, and the CMS is the car. You are the driver, but a lot depends on the vehicle—its qualities, advantages, and disadvantages. Is it a four-wheel drive? How far can it go on one tanking? How easy is it to handle? These are the kinds of questions that you have to metaphorically translate to your CMS of choice.
Is your present CMS like a rusty, old car? Then you should switch it out with a new, better, and safer alternative.
Know exactly what you want of your CMS, and remember that “more is less, less is more” when it comes to functionality. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by an enormous amount of features, so you should choose a web platform with a framework that can be expanded or reduced according to your needs.
This is a CMS where you can easily add or remove marketing tools like AI, predictive content, user review processes, marketing automation, A/B testing, chatbot, personalisation, multisite support, and social media integration. Also, bear in mind that the web platform should allow your developers to deliver prototypes fast, and that it should be user-friendly for the editors.
Establish routines for review and maintenance
You’ve probably noticed already, but the internet is flowing over with information and content. There is no shortage of blogs, landing pages, PDFs, news articles, commentaries, photos, pages, and sites on the web. There is a tremendous amount of stuff on the web, but what about the quality of it all?
Content, even well-written and well-researched content, might fade over time. New trends may have emerged, or new evidence or scientific findings may have surfaced in the months and years since the initial publication of your glorious content. Sometimes, old articles might not even reflect your organisation or tone of voice anymore. What to do then?
Introduce routines to review and maintain existing content. The existing content will not go away by itself and will contribute to the ever-growing expanse of content flooding the web. Establish a publication plan with an overview of all your contents, and initiate a semiannual or annual review where you and eventual stakeholders go through the list of published works.
Another alternative might be to do a review consecutively, with e.g. calendar reminders for each content to maintain on a given time in the future. Or this: Schedule your articles, either all or some that fills certain requirements, to be unpublished automatically after a certain time.
Keep an omnichannel presence
There is no magic behind the fancy word “omnichannel”. It is composed of “omni”, which means “all”, and “channel”. The key idea is that every business or organisation with a customer focus should be present on every channel their prospective and actual customers are on—and deliver a smooth, uniform and quality-minded experience no matter the channel. The point is to meet your customers at their own terms.
While most industries have websites, not everyone needs e.g. a service phone channel for callers. It all depends on the circumstances. In either case you should think about what omnichannel presence entails for you and your organisation, and which channels you need a presence in, and why. How are you going to solve your customers’ demand for presence in all relevant channels?
A hybrid CMS enables you to run your website as the main offering, while at the same time send selected content to other APIs, i.e. platforms, like smart devices, digital signage, apps, and so on. If you haven’t heard of it, be sure to read more about it. It might give you new and exciting ideas!
Get the right tools
Using the right tools to enhance your team and reaching your goals is closely aligned to, but not identical to having the right CMS. Some tools are not an integrated part of your CMS, but they are nonetheless important. Here are some of the most important tools for you as a digital team:
We have written more in-depth about the tools you need to run your digital experiences, be sure to check it out.
To summarise: Have an overall plan and purpose, know what both you want and what your customers want in terms of content and digital experiences, know what concrete steps you must undertake to achieve your content management goals, spend time on deliberating if your current web platform/CMS fulfils your stated goals, and assess what a new web platform should look like. Also, establish routines for managing your existing content, investigate your opportunities in having an omnichannel presence, and, finally, acquire the right tools for the job (beside your CMS).
When you have all of these elements under control, you have a digital strategy and are well equipped to meet 2021 head on. You have gained yourself an advantage in the arms race that is knowledge and skills in the world of digital experiences. Never stand still and keep on moving forward!
Frequently asked questions
What is content management?
A group of processes and technologies supporting the collection, management, and publishing of information in any medium.
Why is content management important?
Keeping information organised is a fundamental part of the nature of the human mind, and continuing this practice in the realm of digital is a rational extension.
What are the best practices of content management?
Examples of content management systems
WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Wix, Adobe Experience Manager, Kentico, Enonic XP, Episerver, Weebly, Sitecore, eZ Publishing.