14 Digital Technology & CMS Concepts Every Marketer Should Know
The digital era has massively changed how anyone in a marketing-related function does their job. For marketers involved in CMS projects, they often rely heavily on their technical counterparts for guidance in the selecting, implementing and managing the CMS. But because marketing has become more technical, it is becoming more valuable for nontechnical professionals to understand what can make or break a CMS…besides bad code! And not only that! Understanding the concepts and terms below help you build a better relationship with your technical team. This is just a short list on CMS and web design concepts that can help marketers understand how to get more out of their digital properties.
Especially in this digital age of multi-channels, engagement and a high user experience expectations, development of your Information Architecture is critical. The Information Architect (IA) develops the structure and organization of your website so that users can find information quickly. Their job is to uncover how your visitors will likely search and navigate your site and to create navigation that makes sense from different devices. Developing effective Information Architecture when fixing a site and CMS involves evaluating existing content and identifying new content required to fill gaps. The IA also plays a critical role in organizing the structure of your CMS user interface to be the foundation of a good author experience.
A content inventory is needed to identify the content on hand, establish its value and to create a plan for content migration. Typically companies keep the Content Inventory in a spreadsheet with headings such as; Page Titles, URLs, Document type, Author/Owner, and Last Updated. The Content Inventory will allow you to give ROT Scores (Redundant, Outdated ,Tired) to content and identify content that is missing. The Content Inventory will help improve the quality of your content, create a content migration plan and estimate the amount of time it will take to perform the content migration.
Moving content from your old to new platform can be complicated and time-consuming – especially when it hasn’t been properly planned. Using a Content Inventory, content can be mapped to a new site. If this isn’t done properly, once your content is migrated, you will have content that doesn’t display properly, missing content and probably a lot of content that no longer delivers much value. The complexity of Content Migration has led to the development of platforms designed to automate this process. Depending on your content migration needs, you could be better off relying on professional migration services that combine time-saving software with the expertise of Information architects to ensure content is programmatically mapped to the new destination without errors or exceptions.
Having a process in place to monitor the development of content and campaigns is necessary in most organizations to efficiently maintain high quality content. Understanding workflow design is essential to developing processes that aid – not hinder – the publishing of content and deployment of campaigns. Designing workflows involves identifying roles, levels of access, and notification processes. Well design workflow is particularly crucial in organizations dealing with high volumes of content and campaigns being deployed to multi-channels, multi-regions and multi-languages. Developed correctly, workflows allow you to give greater control to marketers and editors as their experience level develops.
Multilingual / Translation process / Localization
Unfortunately in the early days of digital there was a tendency for different regions to use separate CMS. There’s really no need to as the CMS can be built to easily handle multiple regions and language and serve localized content. Companies with high volumes of content can benefit from translation services that enable content needing translation to be selected in the CMS, pushed directly to the translation service provider and delivered directly back into the CMS.
Content Editor Interface UX
Your Content Editor Interface can be customized to meet the needs of your users. This way, they see only what they need to perform their function, reducing the amount of time to perform their work and reducing errors. OOTB CMS implementation often displays enormously more fields than required causing confusion and ultimately errors. Sometimes the field names and buttons should be configured to reflect the lingo used by your company (Field Name versus Artist Name). If you have other integrations into your CMS, they need to be integrated seamlessly into the Content Editor Interface so the experience is intuitive.
Marketing Automation and Personalization
These days most of the leading CMS have some form of Marketing Automation or personalization capabilities. If used ineffectively Marketing Automation can seem like a glorified email campaign manager. Used effectively, it can create engagement by marketing in a personalized way via multiple channels (email, social media, website) at just the right time with the right messaging. If you have already invested in Marketing Automation or plan to, consider investing in professional services to plan and configure. It will likely pay off in the long run.
For some companies website Governance is crucial to meeting industry, legal and usability requirements. The constant challenge of Governance standards not being maintained may cause some to blame the CMS. It’s true that the CMS may be poorly configured to enforce Governance standards but in some cases the additional of 3rd party software configured with the CMS can actually provide a more robust solution that will reduce the amount of time required to maintain Governance standards.
Support and Maintenance
Once a CMS is deployed it will still need regular maintenance. Lacking regular updates and fixes can lead to much bigger problems down the road such as poor site performance and an unstable authoring environment rife with software errors and crashes which prevent CMS users from executing their work. When you launch your CMS you need to have either internal developers who have been trained to manage development of your CMS or you need to budget for an external agency. Whatever maintenance options you choose your users and support team need to be clear on what the support process is and who to contact for questions, trainings or to report faults. There is nothing more frustrating to a digital marketer than logging in to do their work, only to find that something is not working and they have no immediate support available.
Search and Tagging
People expect to quickly find the information they are looking for. If your navigation or on-page information doesn’t help your visitor locate what they’re looking for, they’ll often search. Many companies spend more time focused on off-site SEO than they do on constructing effective onsite search and tagging. There are many tools today to help your visitors find what they are looking for by using tools like autocomplete search and faceted search. Understanding how people look for content on your site or how they go about looking for information can help you better design your site and have the right CMS and possibly an enterprise search platform to help you classify content and improve findability for visitors.
Marketers need analytics to measure effectiveness, drive optimization and as a tool for collaboration with other departments. Depending on your businesses goals, you’ll need different analytics to measure success and find ways to optimize. While your CMS and 3rd party tools can be integrated to build up a wealth of data you need to make sure the data can be interpreted to generate actionable insights.
Growing in popularity, and loved by visitors, personalization allows you to create unique digital experiences designed around context. Personalization can be both based on visitors’ actions (explicit) and behavioral data (implicit). Personalization works by obtaining data about your visitors to deliver more relevant information or experiences across channels. Analyzing your personalization needs and the resources you will need to deliver will help guide you during your technology selection. Personalization can range from very simple to very complex; having the right amount of personalization technology in your CMS is essential to achieving your goals. Planning personalization before implementation of the CMS will also ensure your marketers are empowered instead of overwhelming – sometimes personalization technology is better rolled out in phases.
Delivering great customer experiences requires optimizing content to the device your visitor is using. You need make sure that your CMS, new or fixed, will allow you to optimize to devices so that your content can be targeted to the device size whether an iWatch, smartphone or laptop.
Customized CMS Training
Vendor training usually builds an understanding of general principles and basic best practices which amount to a useful introduction to the CMS. However, many CMS implementations are not OOTB, meaning that users benefit greatly from customized training that teaches exactly how to use the specific configuration of your CMS while also giving them the opportunity to ask about their specific needs. Shortcutting training is often a predecessor to a broken CMS.