Streamlining Collaboration Through Effective Content Management
When marketing your brand, you have to constantly feed your audience interesting and compelling content to stay above the noise of your competitors. The most effective content reflects input from multiple departments, including marketing, sales and customer service. So, collaboration among these teams should be streamlined and seamless. That’s where content management comes in.
As you create, store and manage your ideas, it’s easy to go into production mode and let content pile up on your platform. But over time, you’ll find yourself repeating topics or struggling to assign unique keywords. What’s more, it can be hard to get your content reviewed and approved by other team members or departments.
A robust content management system (CMS) can help you keep track of all your posts and materials. It maintains order in your storage system and allows collaboration among your team members. This is especially helpful for sales teams that are often in the field.
What Is Content Management?
Content management is the entire process of overseeing the lifecycle of your content. In short, it’s how you create, store, access, deliver and optimize digital content.
A content management system is an application or set of applications that help you create and manage digital content for your brand. WordPress, Wix and Shopify are popular examples. A CMS allows organizations to store every piece of content in its proper place. This makes it easier for everyone on your team to access the content any time and from anywhere.
In broader terms, a content management system doesn’t just allow users to create and publish content. It also lets content creators edit or update previous publications. The ability to correct errors or update information is an important feature of content management.
A CMS also enables users to modify its functionality for easier use. Users can install templates, extensions and other enhancements to provide better usability and more design choices. Collaboration features also allow multiple users to access and work on the same document.
The best part of the CMS is its usability. While creating and managing content in a CMS seems daunting, it actually requires a much less technical background. Users don’t need to know anything about programming or coding in order to produce content.
How Does a Content Management System Work?
Prior to the adoption of CMS as a content-creation standard, web-based creators and developers exclusively handled the job of creating and maintaining websites. Knowledge of HTML was a must, as was the ability to use cascading style sheets (CSS).
Creating a blog post, for example, meant having an article ready, then tweaking the page specifications to accurately display the text, layout and images in the correct manner. Editing a live web page meant downloading a copy of the entire web page file set, making changes and then uploading the new version.
Content management systems removed the coding aspects of page creation and gave users an easy-to-use interface that’s closer to a word processor. Adding images, linking sources and applying styles can now be done by pressing buttons and adding attributes. Instead of manually coding entries, interface controls enable users to easily add other design elements and effects. When making changes, they can simply open the page in “Edit” mode, make changes and publish.
How Have Content Management Systems Changed Content Creation?
The development of CMS led to an explosion of content creation possibilities for many users. Content management systems have also made it easier for social media users to post comments and submit original content.
For instance, they removed the need for coding experience, which is a major obstacle to content creation. Before, companies that insisted on a continuous web presence had to employ an army of web developers to keep their sites running. While anybody can learn to create and publish a web page, the learning curve was steep enough that it wasn’t a mainstream career choice.
During the early days of the internet, most web pages displayed static text that required little or no updates. But as the internet grew in popularity, everyone began depending on websites to provide real-time news and up-to-date information. The back-and-forth between back-end developers and front-end creators became too cumbersome.
Specifically, the complexity of early web publishing meant that actual content creators such as writers, videographers and podcasters faced a dilemma. They could either learn to code themselves or work with those who knew how to. When CMS made it easier to create and publish content, creators were freed from this problem and got busy producing more material.
What Are the Advantages of Using a Content Management System?
As you can see, a CMS is much easier to use. But it also brings several other advantages to your team:
Effective Sales Enablement
Sales enablement covers all the resources that sales teams need to close the deal. This includes sales and marketing materials, research papers, presentations, training documents and user-generated content. A content management system is the perfect vehicle to house sales enablement content. It gives salespeople access to the materials they need for prospecting, selling, training, coaching and closing deals.
What’s more, with the right CMS, sales managers can retrieve materials such as testimonials and product demonstrations to guide their sales reps to a successful sale. And when communicating with customers, a well-tuned CMS can serve as the primary way to deliver timely messages on various channels such as blogs, email and social media.
Easier Content Editing
With the internet now a major source of information for people worldwide, keeping your pages up-to-date is a major requirement in staying relevant. A CMS allows content creators to open a content page, edit it and republish instantly. An updated version of your post can be live as soon as you press the “Publish” button.
Automated Content Scheduling
Content scheduling is among the many features found in a CMS that make publication much easier. Based on analytics data, serious marketers know the best days and times to publish content. By having their material ready for publication on designated schedules, your team can optimize the chances of getting attention for their posts.
Total Team Collaboration
A CMS allows entire teams of users to collaborate on a single piece of content in order to create the best output. Instead of having to pass around a document to one person at a time, entire teams can work on the file simultaneously. In addition, cloud connectivity lets team members remotely access the same document to insert comments or modify elements.
Improved Content Optimization
Modern content management systems allow users to optimize their content. By assigning keywords that appear across the post numerous times, the page can get better positioning in search engine results pages (SERP). A CMS also helps improve your SERP position by recognizing certain best practices, such as optimized load times, meta descriptions and site linking.
Assigned User Access Levels
CMS platforms also help you manage and secure content by assigning different access levels to different users. While most users can create posts via the CMS, only authorized ones can publish, modify and delete pages. By implementing an access level hierarchy, the platform prevents everybody from accessing the entire library of content and making unauthorized changes.
Common Content Management Issues
Using content management systems isn’t a foolproof way to get all your content published the way you want it. There’s always a chance that you’ll create material that falls short of your audience’s expectations. In this case, it’s not just the creation process that’s problematic, but the management aspect as well.
User Silos and Lack of Coordination
As more members of your organization join and gain access to your content management system, information silos can develop overnight. Whether through lack of communication, misinformation or even apathy, materials end up somewhere else within the CMS and not where they’re supposed to be.
The presence of silos can result in users being unable to move forward due to a lack of resources. Even worse, multiple individuals can inadvertently end up producing different versions of the same needed content.
This lack of coordination can lead to wasted resources, missed schedules and plenty of animosity. Even if this problem may seem simple enough to fix, it often becomes complicated when different groups insist on doing things “their way” for lack of an agreed standard.
Producing content requires you to complete several specific steps, starting with planning and ending with going live. A proper workflow subjects all produced content to different validation, error detection and quality assurance processes.
Getting members to follow the workflow shouldn’t be a problem in small or medium-sized organizations. If you work in a large company, however, it can be difficult to get everybody on board. And if, by some miracle, everyone does sign off on the process, monitoring compliance remains a challenge. Getting different departments to follow submission schedules can also be equally frustrating.
For example, say an employee who’s tasked with reviewing a colleague’s content fails to accomplish it on schedule. They’ve just set off a chain reaction leading to delays. This can throw off the timing of carefully planned product campaign launches and cause your company to miss out on opportunities. Eventually, the entire team can suffer from low productivity, lackadaisical effort and an inability to adhere to schedules.
Missing Documents and Incompatible Files
Another casualty of poor content management is the lack of an established filing system. As your team produces more and more content, files accumulate in your library and tend to get overlooked. While a CMS can help organize and manage files, it only follows the system that your organization will set.
If you’re the type who gets lost own in your own filing system, don’t blame the CMS. Instead, revisit your file maps to see how your system flows. Better yet, sit down with your organizational leaders and plan a more comprehensive system that makes sense for users.
In addition, the lack of established file formats can derail content publication schedules. Users might insist on submitting content in various formats outside of the agreed-upon ones. For creators, it will take additional time to convert image, video or audio files into accepted formats. Sending non-raw or high-quality files can also lead to content output with noticeable degradation due to additional compression.
Security and Privacy Issues
Granting all-access levels to most users opens up the possibility of data theft or privacy violations. When too many users are running around the CMS with clearance to copy, save or delete files, potential problems can crop up. For instance, inexperienced users might accidentally overwrite files or delete documents. Similarly, version control issues over multiple users making individual copies can leave editors scrambling to find a single source of truth.
Unfettered access to the CMS—especially on cloud-based systems—can also leave it open to cyberattacks. Malicious hackers who penetrate a poorly defended CMS can insert a worm or malware that can corrupt all files.
More alarmingly, many criminal groups have resorted to ransomware. Upon accessing a system illegally, they change all passwords and lock users from further access. Then, they demand payment to restore access. Otherwise, these nefarious groups will delete all files or render them unusable. Poor password management and loosely guarded systems are often the culprits for these vulnerability issues.
Unclear Distribution Strategy
One of the biggest fears for content creators is a lack of appreciation for their output. Marketers will spend thousands of dollars on campaigns and still fail to get enough views, let alone conversions. This problem may be because there’s no clear distribution strategy, which means you won’t be able to focus on targeted channels that can generate maximum exposure.
Distribution challenges can also expose limitations of your current CMS. Older, traditional content management systems usually favor a single channel (blog) and require additional time and effort to convert applicable content to other social channels. This drawback prevents creators from effectively using popular social media channels in a timely manner.
Why Teams Should Streamline Content Management
Streamlining your content management system ensures that each piece of content receives its due attention and recognition. For marketers, nothing is worse than having an overabundance of material lying unused and idle, published in the wrong channel or ignored completely by an apathetic audience.
Conversely, getting your entire group aligned and involved in operating the CMS is integral to a streamlined operation. This goes beyond just coordinating tasks and schedules. Rather, aligning CMS operations will also require you to completely map out the content strategy and get everyone to buy into the workflow.
Better content means better engagement. Better engagement leads to improved trustworthiness and an enhanced reputation. Both attributes help increase the chance of getting customers to make that important purchase decision. Meanwhile, a better-informed sales team can utilize the resources found in the CMS to confidently pitch the right messages to clients.
Let’s look at some additional benefits for CMS-driven companies:
Improved Sales and Marketing Partnership
Don’t underestimate the power of a well-aligned sales and marketing alliance. LinkedIn reports that when these two departments are joined at the hip, they tend to produce 208% more revenue than their dysfunctional counterparts.
Utilizing a CMS can effectively tear down the sales and marketing silos and make both teams play better together. This means marketers can create sales materials that reflect the views and input of sales representatives. In return, sales teams can deposit a treasure trove of experience dealing with customers in the CMS, giving marketers the resources they need to create more accurate buyer personas.
Additionally, collective CMS ownership also means increased collaboration when working on a single campaign. A well-constructed content repository can encourage joint planning, regular feedback and updates and a synchronized execution.
Effective Content Application
While the content management system can serve as an accessible location for sales resources, users need to determine the best ways to use the content. By mapping out your content locations based on campaign needs, sales team members can access not just marketing materials but also related resources. Materials include white papers, research papers, customer testimonials and demonstrations that attest to the effectiveness of products. This additional context can help bolster current campaign materials by adding authenticity and relevance.
Within the sales group, the content management system can also host first-hand experiences from top salespersons. These insights can help rookies and other sales reps gain knowledge on how to effectively pitch their products. Along with expert coaching and training materials, struggling sales team members will get valuable strategies and advice to improve their performances.
Better Connections to Customers on Their Preferred Channels
It’s no secret that in today’s marketplace, buyers have the upper hand over sellers. Thanks to the internet, customers now have unfettered access to information that sellers once held exclusively. Instead of pining for the old ways, salespeople should embrace this new reality.
The best way to deal with this paradigm shift is to provide the information that will eventually turn up in customers’ research efforts. Controlling the flow of information and providing the needed resources can help herd consumers in your direction.
Aside from making your materials available for any interested parties, you should also be available to chat with customers on channels that they frequent. This means providing materials for the customer service staff handling product inquiries. It also means having your sales material available on the social channels your customers use.
By making these resources available for buyers—without them even asking—your chances of getting close to a deal can increase dramatically. Having these materials ready for deployment via your CMS is a great way to stay ready for anything.
Personalized Messaging for Specific Customer Segments
What’s worse than having no ready message for prospective customers? Sending a generic message that connects to nobody. Different buyer segments respond to different motivations, so it’s critical for sellers to make sure they’re sending the right messages to the right buyers. For instance, high-end clients won’t get excited over lower prices, while budget-conscious customers won’t care much for exclusive add-ons or upsell offers.
With the main marketing message stored securely in the CMS and readily accessible, sales reps can create personalized versions that target their specific customers. Plus, the accessibility and easy editing features of your CMS mean that sales reps can come out with tailored messages as quickly as possible.
Improved Insights and Feedback Through Analytics
Streamlining content management means listening to what your customers think and then applying the insights. Analytics is a great way to both measure customer sentiment and gauge your team’s sales performance.
- Are your messages going out in time for customers to appreciate them?
- More importantly, are you delivering the right messages to the right audience?
- Which messages are resonating well with buyers, and which ones are getting ignored?
By applying analytics and reading up on the generated insights, your team can be forewarned and forearmed for the next round of campaigns.
Analytics can also play a bigger role in providing better overall content. By tracking audience movement within your platforms or channels, your CMS can determine if customers are responding to your marketing campaigns by staying engaged longer. In addition, analytics can track whether customers eventually gravitate toward a purchase decision or if they disengage after getting the information they want. Applying the lessons learned can lead to improved content creation and better site management.
Content Management Tools That Help With Collaboration
Choosing the right content management system can get your organization over the hump in terms of timely content delivery. Conversely, getting saddled with a CMS that’s incompatible with your objectives and work processes can set your efforts back significantly. While conventional wisdom dictates that companies acquire the newest CMS with all the latest bells and whistles, you might end up paying for advanced features and add-ons that your team won’t ever need.
Content management systems fall into two distinct groups: traditional and headless. A traditional or monolithic CMS excels at creating content for a single kind of output: the static website. When websites were the only type of digital experience available, the traditional CMS handled the content creation job adequately.
Over the years, however, more and more channels have appeared outside of web pages. Social apps, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and even augment reality (AR) and audio-visual (AV) equipment all have their own content requirements. To cope with the demand, content management systems evolved into a headless variety. Simply put, the front-end system is separated from the back-end system. As a result, a headless CMS lets users reuse content and create multiple versions for these new channels and devices.
Traditional Content Management Systems
The early 2000s gave rise to monolithic, do-it-all content management systems. They freed users from the complexities of coding and added features such as search engine optimization (SEO). As the name implies, the traditional CMS also carries a lot of legacy features found in older systems. This includes:
A traditional CMS platform caters to a single-channel output: the website. The monolithic content management system sprouted during the days when the internet was all about web pages. It consists of tightly integrated front-end and back-end systems. This means that once a user publishes content, it stays in the CMS in its final and only version. To produce content for a different channel, authors must recreate the same content in a new format designed for the new channel.
But as mobile devices become more powerful and social apps became more prevalent, a problem has emerged. A traditional CMS can’t actually reuse that web-based content to create mobile and app versions. This prevents marketers from creating content in formats that were beginning to become popular. As a result, they can’t reach new audiences who gravitate to these new channels.
Template and Plug-In Reliance
As the traditional CMS focuses on web page output, it doesn’t really require much flexibility when creating web posts. So, developers must produce static templates and plug-ins that made it easier for content creators to publish dynamic content.
While templates and plug-ins are easy to install and use, they’re hard to modify for further personalization. Instead, businesses that need a new format will have to acquire a new template from providers or create one themselves.
Plug-ins allow for added functionality, but the CMS still remains a monolithic application that’s faithful to the website format. Considering that a legacy CMS consists of fixed hardware and software, plug-ins are mostly software workarounds that are tied to the content management system’s limitations.
A traditional CMS gives business users (marketers, sales reps, customer service) the opportunity to generate content themselves. Instead of having to contend with back-end web developers, they now have the freedom to create content and publish at will. The traditional CMS actually signaled the start of business user–produced content and the decline of back-end-produced pages.
A traditional CMS has a fixed architecture that limits what users can do. This also severely limits the tools, applications and even programming languages that users can utilize. With its limited architecture, developers have to stick with whatever program and language exists in the CMS to create customizations.
Even worse, switching platforms means learning an entirely new system. Different content management systems aren’t really compatible with one another.
What’s more, with the front and back ends intertwined, any problems on one end are also a problem for the other. This includes server crashes, downtimes and data loss.
Examples of Traditional Content Management Systems
Among the traditional CMS platforms, WordPress remains the most popular and is still widely used today. For content developers primarily engaged in producing web blogs and email marketing messages, the traditional content marketing system has the requisite tools and technology to get the job done.
One major reason WordPress continues to enjoy a large following is because it’s open-source software. While businesses pay between $30 to $3,000 per WordPress-powered website each year, individuals can use the services to build personal websites for free.
In addition, Shopify is both an eCommerce tool and a monolithic CMS that’s making waves because it works well with other systems. Note, however, that both examples are now offering headless versions: a headless Software Development Kit for Shopify and a headless plug-in for WordPress.
Headless Content Management Systems
The headless CMS evolved from the need to simplify the process of republishing the same content on multiple channels. Given the limitations of the traditional CMS architecture, creating an omnichannel experience meant developing completely new content every time.
Aside from omnichannel support, the other advantages of a headless CMS include expanded content management tools, improved editing features, application programming interface (API) support, enhanced security and future-proof content.
Expanded Content Management Tools and Improved Editing Features
With decoupled front and back ends, a headless CMS can now accommodate more content management tools and developer resources. When creating content, it supports rich text editing, adaptive modules, approval workflows, business rules, previews and automated tasks.
A headless CMS also improves the business user experience. Content creators now have an easier time editing content and uploading new versions. Plus, the seamless front and back ends make for a faster and better experience when modifying published content.
Instead of working with limited options, headless content management systems allow developers to use API tools to work with different technologies and recognize different data formats. This frees them to work with various programming formats and integrate the CMS with many popular software and applications.
The headless nature of a modern CMS means having only one access point: the API. This gives cybercriminals a smaller area to work within when launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and other disruptions. In contrast, a traditional CMS is database-driven, which means increased vulnerability to security breaches and data theft.
Even better, a headless CMS allows users to repurpose existing content for publication into different channels. Not only can it publish content for today’s various digital channels, but it can also accommodate new digital formats as soon as they become available. This means that your CMS won’t become obsolete as new technologies and platforms emerge. Instead, it will continuously adapt and deliver content to meet future demands.
Examples of Headless Content Management Systems
Headless CMS continues to gain ground on traditional, open-source CMS. For a non-eCommerce, headless CMS experience, Contentstack offers composable digital experiences. Other headless CMS options often take the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) route, including Contentful, Storyblok and Magnolia.
Ready to Collaborate and Manage Content With Ease?
Choosing the right collaboration tool such as a CMS entails more than just looking at the price tag and listing the features and benefits. What’s more important is to align your present requirements with what your targeted software can do.
You might also want to consider your budgetary requirements in relation to your business needs. In many cases, opting for a SaaS provider can help you achieve your objectives more efficiently than purchasing a platform outright. Many monolithic systems are open-source in nature and only charge minimal maintenance fees.
When considering a content management system for your sales and marketing requirements, what factors should go into play?
Ease of Use
Choosing the right CMS means getting the platform that makes your job easier. Considering that today’s digital market requires an omnichannel experience, a headless CMS should take precedence over a traditional one. This alone reduces the headache of having to repurpose existing content to fit the formats of other channels and devices.
Ease of use also translates into actual content creation. You should feel at ease working with the controls, so an intuitive interface is a must. Full editing options, including text formatting and preview, are great features to consider.
Search Engine Optimization
There’s no point in creating content if your audience won’t be able to find it. This is why it’s important to have powerful SEO and readability improvement features on standby.
These tools track your content and assign a score based on SEO and readability performance. The higher the score, the better for organic search results. Once your content creators develop the habit of achieving high SEO and readability scores, you’ll find your content hovering near the topmost pages of Google’s search engine results.
If your team is intent on publishing across multiple channels to get the widest coverage, API integration is vital. A headless CMS is also called an API-first CMS, so this type of content management system should take priority over traditional ones.
By opting for an API-first model, you get to separate your content from its eventual formatting. This allows you to always have your content on standby for output to any device or channel.
Some eCommerce platforms also double as a CMS to integrate content with online store management. If you operate online stores or list your products on popular retailer sites, you might want to check out which platforms work best for you in terms of cost and functionality.
With cybercrime activities projected to cost $10.5 trillion over the next five years, it pays to have your CMS secure from DDoS attacks and other attempts at data theft. Take stock of the security measures present in your planned CMS.
Open-source options carry additional risks due to their open nature. Anybody can download the software and search its inner workings to find vulnerabilities. In many cases, additional security plugins plus password safety practices (long alphanumeric passwords, no repeated instances, etc.) can help deter attacks.
SEO scores are also affected by a platform’s performance. Your choice of CMS can affect page loading times and other metrics that Google uses to measure SEO scores. So, be sure to utilize the latest versions of CMS platforms to avoid getting penalized for slower load speeds.
In addition, see if your chosen CMS is future-proof. New devices and even newer digital channels are always on the horizon, so having software that won’t soon be obsolete is a good idea. The ideal CMS should be ready to integrate with new technology and publish content to newer devices and channels without a hitch.
Tighten Collaboration Within Sales Teams Through Interactive Presentation Software
Your choice of CMS can significantly impact your digital sales and marketing efforts. Simply getting a content management system off the shelf and expecting a dramatic improvement in your campaigns is a little ambitious. As an organization, you’ll need to invest additional time and effort to learn the ins and outs of your CMS and make it work to your business advantage.
When creating content in the form of presentations, consider using interactive presentation software that’s also a great content management and collaboration tool. Ingage is cloud-based interactive presentation software that allows you to create highly engaging presentations anytime. For instance, you can add interactive elements throughout your presentation to tell a compelling story. Or make sections come alive by adding interactive buttons that present additional information when clicked.
With its cloud collaboration capabilities, Ingage lets entire teams work on the same presentation remotely. Once completed, you can send your target audience a link instead of file-heavy copies. Built-in analytics track the viewer’s screen time to identify sections that held the most interest. Ingage will also report on areas that held little interest for the viewer so that creators can make further improvements.
As the leading sales enablement presentation platform, Ingage can transform the way you sell your ideas. Learn why more than 100,000 presentations are created every month using Ingage. Let us help you add interactivity to your conversations. Sign up now for a free demo today!