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Headless CMS for marketers - the must knows

Siw Grinaker on

Go beyond the hype of headless CMS and discover the advantages for marketing.

As a web editor or a marketer, you have most likely experienced more than once that your content management system has worked against you, instead of supporting you.

While the technological developments of the past few years promise to make your digital tools faster than ever before, this isn’t necessarily true. Bigger often means more bloated, not faster. And the advanced digital experience platforms (DXPs) are certainly bigger than ever before.

But then the extremely lightweight headless CMS came along to address the increasingly fragmented world of digital experiences. What can you expect of headless CMS in regards to marketing?

Get used to a new reality

Your tasks in a CMS may include producing content, building landing pages, distributing and sharing content, building SEO structure, analysing performance, maintaining ads, and generating leads and engagement.

Now prepare to think anew. A headless CMS is nothing like a traditional CMS you have become so used to. For instance, in pure headless solutions, there are no visuals, no previews, no technical SEO, no landing page setup, and not even a site hierarchy.

A headless CMS instead works with content through form-based inputs. The content in these forms, whether it is a header, a snippet, an image field, or your body text, will then be sent to different channels (desktop, mobile, wearable, IoT, signage)—where the developers are responsible for the presentation.

The headless approach thus fosters closer collaboration between marketers and developers, as marketers now depend wholly on the developer to do great work on the presentation.

Same content, different channels

As mentioned above, the present world of digital experiences and the foreseeable future will be characterised by a digital omnipresence. In the past, the digital world consisted of stationary computers. Then came laptops, but the format essentially stayed the same for a long time.

But as both the years and technology progressed, we saw an increase in the variety of digital devices and channels. The PDA, the smartphone, the tablet, the smartwatch, the wearables, the Internet of Things, as well as digital signage, microservices, and even functions within websites.

Learn more: The history of CMS – what has happened?

Now how does a traditional, desktop-first CMS with a tight-knit connection between content and presentation relate to all these widely different channels? It must employ the headless approach, as several DXPs have demonstrated already.

Headless makes it easy to reuse content across channels and devices, as it really just is a database with form-based content, presented in your chosen channels through APIs. A headless CMS is a content hub enabling your content to be more consistent across the board—if your developers have done things correctly.

Save time and effort

So a headless CMS is nothing like the traditional CMS you have become familiar with, but it does make it much easier to deliver the same content to the fragmentary world of digital experiences. The latter point, of course, opens for you saving time and effort.

Web editors and marketers no longer need to work with design as in building landing pages and content blocks. Instead, you can focus even more on the content itself—and make it the best you possibly can. No more struggling with design elements or page setup, it’s only the content that matters for you now.

Developers will be responsible to present the content in one way or another. For instance, in a native app, your content will be presented as a title and a text fragment, while on a website the same piece of content will feature all the titles and paragraphs.

Read also: How to manage content for single-page apps »

More than web

It should be fairly obvious by now, but headless takes into account that not every channel is a website. Not every channel has ample space for beautifully rendered images or a smart, multi-column layout.

Mobile apps, smartwatches, and wristbands are unmistakable examples of smaller screen sizes—and in the latter case, hardly a screen at all. But with headless, you can have them covered.

Headless even takes into account the other side of the scale: jumbotrons and digital signage larger than life. Videos, images, headings, or other interactive elements can be sent to a giant surface like these, while the body text—not having a natural place in such an environment—can snuggle up to smaller formats.

Being aware of new digital touchpoints in your customer journey can enable your marketing department to completely rethink their marketing efforts—to be smarter and make use of hitherto unused channels to drive new business.

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Frequently asked questions

What is a headless CMS?

A headless CMS separates the content layer from the presentation layer, allowing editors to create content to be sent to multiple channels via APIs.

How does a headless CMS work?

An editor adds content in forms to a database, which then uses APIs to deliver the content to a limitless range of digital channels.

What is the difference between headless and traditional CMS?

A traditional CMS keeps a close link between content and presentation, while headless cuts this tie.

What are the use cases of a headless CMS?

Omnichannel presence in websites, apps, wearables, etc. require content to be free of locked presentation/design.

Topics: 
headless cms
cms
digital experiences