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Content operations and the choice of CMS

What features does your CMS need to have to really shine at ContentOps?

One of the most important tools for excelling at content operations is your digital platform—most notably your content management system. In order to get your ContentOps smooth and running, you need a CMS to handle the necessary editing, refinement, and management of your content before distributing it.

See other aspects you should consider:

Checklist: How to choose the right CMS

The most important features of your CMS in regard to ContentOps include:


A central tenet of the ContentOps principle is people—working to create great content both alone and together. Your chosen CMS should offer robust cooperation capabilities, enabling your team to deliver content efficiently and painlessly.

This involves the possibilities for having a workflow—an editorial process with editing, greenlighting, expert inputs, and a visual way of seeing what content is ready for review and publishing.

Cooperation features also include issues management and real time editing. The former letting content creators easily set up issues or notifications in the CMS, directing it towards editors, subject matter experts, bug-fixing developers, or the like. The latter feature makes it easy to see what other authors are doing on a given piece of content in real time.

Learn more: Which features make a great CMS?

Flexible content types

Content isn’t just content. An image isn’t a text, a blog post isn’t a person profile, and a case study isn’t a portfolio. Websites and apps consist of several content types with different structures and logic—many interacting with each other in one way or another.

For example, the content type blog post consists of several fields, some of which may contain the content types author, tags, and image. And a landing page consists of sections which can contain virtually any type of content, from testimonials and services to partners and sound files.

A smooth ContentOps would benefit tremendously from a CMS that has ample room to create and maintain flexible content types. Content types makes it easy to reuse content across your digital experiences, letting you focus on the thing that matters most: content creation.

See also: Page-oriented vs. content-oriented CMS »

Design system integration

Working on content in terms of brand compliance and asset management can be a tedious chore, but it doesn’t have to be like that. A design system can make your job of ensuring brand stability and compliance on digital experiences much easier, letting you once again to focus on creating excellent content.

A design system may include a sketch library, style guide, pattern library, organisation principles, best practices, templates, and more—allowing you for example to have an assortment of buttons, icons, accordions, and other design elements readily available for any author and editor.

This presupposes that your CMS can be integrated with a design system, so make sure to investigate whether or not this can be achieved.

Read more: Best practices for building a design system »


And last, but not least, your CMS should be generally smooth and intuitive. It should be easy to navigate your content structure—preferably through a content tree, and it should be easy to create, move, duplicate, delete, and edit different pieces of content, images included.

Your CMS should also be responsive and mobile-friendly—allowing you to work as easily from the palm of your hand as from a large screen on your desktop. Logical and familiar keyboard shortcuts are also a must to ensure speedy creation and management, as is a fast and faceted search engine—making it easy to find what you’re looking for in the blink of an eye.

And, finally, user roles and what actions and permissions one has access to should be easy to manage—making it clear to your teammates what roles they have in the system and what they are supposed to do: whether it is authoring, editing, or publishing.

Checklist: How to choose the right CMS

content operations
content types
design system