Once upon time, back in the years before 2010, the CMS was an instrumento to create, organize, manage and publish content on a specific web property, website or blog.
Photo credit: CMS concept by Shutterstock
This classic CMS was characterized by its ability to:
- support our content editing and formatting activities
- categorize our content articles according to categories and
- post them to a specific web site.
In the last few years the needs and requirements of the typical independent web publisher have changed significantly requiring him to add to its content marketing and distribution mix, not just RSS and email newsletters, but also the ability to scan and curate news and resources, and to distribute them across multiple social media channels.
Also the evolving role of the web publisher now includes the need to re-package valuable existing content into anthologies, collections or ebooks and to publish and distribute it in a different format than the original, or the one to personalize original content for different audiences, in ways that can match their expectations and needs.
But, while these needs do represent the extended set of skills that an online publisher must have, these are not matched by a specific feature set as the traditional CMSs were not originally conceived with these applications in mind.
A new breed of CMSs addressing these very needs is starting to appear, benefiting both those in need to manage and create content more effectively as well as those that having little technical skills want to focus more on the creative phase of the web publishing process.
Here's what I have discovered.
The New CMS - Traits and CharacteristicsThe new breed of CMS systems now emerging, provides features and solutions specifically designed to address the above-listed issues and is characterized by the following traits:
1) Write once and post anywhereIn more detail:
Publish to multiple web destinations including blogs, web sites and social media channels. 2) Personalization Differentiate and personalize your content and message for different audiences / output destinations and for different date and times. 3) Automation Schedule the execution of specific tasks such as publishing specific content under pre-determined conditions. 4) Calendarization Plan, organize and manage all content to be published via an editorial calendar. 5) Curation Search, collect, gather, filter, aggregate relevant content from the web as well as from your own archives. 6) Re-purposing Easily re-use, re-purpose, re-mix and re-package existing, already published content. 7) Multimedia integration Utilize a greater variety of customizable pre-defined content types such as maps, video, sound clips, forms, image sliders, and many more. 8) Monetization Integrate features that allow monetization of your content via for example the selling of private subscriptions and premium access memberships. 9) Collaboration Facilitate newsroom collaboration, sharing of tasks and contributions from external authors. 10) Analytics Measure the results of what is being published to continuously improve the quality of the content being produced.
1) Write Once and Post AnywhereThis feature is designed to provide the ability to authors to write their content in one go and then to publish it and personalize it for publishing to multiple web destinations, including:
There's no need to separate the creation and management of content for your site, blog or portal and the one for your social media channels. There's better editorial coordination and significant time savings by creating and managing all content from one central place rather than having to use multiple tools and services to publish all of your content in different formats and for different audiences.
- blogs, web sites, other CMS - publishing systems (such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Ghost and others)
- email newsletters (directly or via email distribution services like Mailchimp or Aweber)
- RSS feeds and
- multiple social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, Google+, etc.)
- PDF / ebooks
- content marketplaces (Amazon, Apple, Google, etc.)
2) PersonalizationThe personalization aspect is critical when serving different audiences with different languages, expectations or needs, and it allows the author to differentiate and customize its core message for each one of them. The new CMS offers the ability to edit, rewrite, personalize and format contents for each target audience, before distributing and publishing it.
3) AutomationIf you manage a web site and one or more social media channels you should have found out by now, that together with your live presence and contribution online there are some publishing needs that can be automated without taking away from the quality and genuineness of your work. Some of these may include the automated posting of:
Automation does not have to be synonymous with artificial or low-quality publishing. Automated publishing features can help a great deal in providing support to those tasks that really do not require a human to be executed. Thus, you can keep the highest quality standards in your copy and headlines, but pre-determine when messages of a promotion campaign need to be posted or how to differentiate titles reminding your readers of specific job opportunities. The existing tools that allow for posting to multiple web destinations and social networks (e.g.: Hootsuite, Buffer) have felt so far like additions and patches to an existing publishing framework rather than tools that can replace the existing ones. By reducing the number of tools and procedures one has to go through to create, edit and prepare content for publication, one has also more mental space to focus on quality content creation without being distracted by all the other small related activities required to publish across multiple media channels.
- Reminders and promotions for upcoming events, courses, etc.
- Questionsand requests from your fans as they arrive
- Breaking newsfrom selected partners and authorized contributors
- "Social flags"and other types of "institutional content" to promote your brand
- Callsor posts relating to job offers or request for contributions
4) CalendarizationIn situations where there is a lot of content to be published, where there are multiple contributors and a rich variety of content types that need to be published, having an editorial calendar, which allows you to visually map and coordinate what gets published, where and when, can be of extraordinary aid. Such a tool should work as intuitively as possible, by offering the ability to easily drag and drop content from one date to another or to edit and personalize it on the fly. Having a CMS that is a central repository for my content sources, archives and yet-to-be-posted content allows me to see my publishing calendar as a whole, providing me with greater ability to plan, organize and orchestrate a strategic editorial calendar, rather than posting and publishing on the spur of the moment.
5) Content CurationThe specific ability to "subscribe" to content coming from any other site, to import RSS feeds, OPML files, and to aggregate and filter fresh and relevant content social media channels will likely become indispensable for any web publisher needing to be a reference point for others on a specific topic. Thus the new CMS will likely have an backend area where to manage, view, browse and select from all such incoming content. The way this area is visually organized, how easy is to access it, and to scan the content there collected, will not play a secondary role. That is: it is not enough to have the ability to gather and aggregate content coming from elsewhere if there are no adequate facilities to navigate, scan and manage efficiently this ongoing flow. The new CMS will have to be flexible enough to incorporate any possible piece of content found online in an easy and intuitive fashion, by providing a dedicated bookmarklet or browser extension, that allows the user to collect and prepare for publication any text passage, image, video, quote or combination of these, with maximum simplicity. Not only. The new CMS will need to offer dedicated features that facilitate the task of finding and grouping together relevant content from the existing content archives, according not just to the date, but also to the theme/topic, and to people, locations or issues mentioned.
6) Re-purposingIf the new CMS makes it easy to find and surface relevant content from the archives, then it becomes indispensable to have the facilities that can help easily repurpose such content by providing specific tools to reformat it, adapt it and remix it in ways that can make it even more valuable and useful to future users (integration of an index, search functions, more relevant images and additional links to complementary resources). This may include also having dedicated tools to transform and republish existing content in different formats. See for example gui.de that allows you to transform an article into a video, or Soundgecko which easily converts your written content into a downloadable mp3.
7) Multimedia IntegrationThe new CMS is also characterized by a different approach to integrating multimedia content. Why does one need to go to YouTube to find a video, click various buttons to get its embed code to integrate inside a content article when all of this can easily be done from within the CMS? Why can't I just have an optional sidebar, as the Google Research facility inside Google Drive, that allows me to easily search, find, drag and drop and automatically credit and attribute the content that I want to integrate, edit or curate? The need is also for providing authors with a broader variety of tools to integrate not just quotes, images and clips but to extend this facilities to integrate rapidly any other type of content such as timelines, maps, forms, subscription and download boxes, content galleries and collections and many more content types.
8) MonetizationSmall and large independent publishers do need to survive and if the tools they are provided with to create and publish their content offer little or no ways to facilitate its monetization, we do have a serious problem. The opportunities to offer sponsorship, custom contextual relevant ad opportunities, subscriptions to paid premium offerings or to sell courses, toolkits, content collections or ebooks, are all available but they are all scattered outside the typical CMS and need to be manually integrated into the web publishing workflow. The new breed of CMS integrates some of these options, making it much easier for publishers originating high quality content to more easily test and try alternative monetization options.
9) CollaborationAs the number of tasks to be carried out in such a publishing workflow are so many and varied, collaborating with other team members in the gathering, selection, editing and formatting of quality content has also become a much requested feature. The new CMS provides ample support for collaborating with other newsroom editors and external contributors, by providing the publisher with easy-to-manage facilities for granting appropriate editing and publishing rights to each one of them.
10) AnalyticsThere can be no company growth if you do not work around your stats. Having identified those that really count, the key goal of any web publisher is to Ã¬ncrease visibility, subscriptions and sharing of the content produced. For these reasons the new CMSs will always integrate an analytics engine or hooks to connect to existing ones, so that a publisher can see, in detail, also the results of the work being published, and act upon the results in an endless process of continuous refinement.
ToolsHere below is a short list of some the tools that, in my eyes, represent this new breed of CMSs. Take them as early prototypes of a much larger number of tools and services that will become available in the next few years.
- Shareist Integrates news discovery and aggregation, full content creation and editing and an editable editorial calendar where to plan your content publishing schedule. Can publish anywhere.
- OpenTopic Social and news curation, plus the ability to post to all social media, to newsletter and to blogs and web sites. It offers also auto-publishing rules and automation.
- B2BContentEngine Can gather, curate, originate and post to all social media, newsletter and to any blog or topic site.
- Scoop.it Full featured news curation platform Scoop.it can also be used as a CMS to gather and curate or to originate new content. It connects and outputs to all social media as well as to your favorite newsletter, blog, WordPress site and RSS feed.
- Co-schedule WordPress-based scheduling and editorial calendaring platform.
- Hootsuite The king tool for social media monitoring, management and publishing, allows to gather, edit and publish to almost any destination.
- Postcard for iOS iPhone app to write one and post everywhere, including your WordPress website.
ConclusionsThe world of CMSs, the software platforms that make it possible to edit, format and publish contents online, are rapidly changing and new tools and services are emerging to fill those needs left unsatisfied by existing players. Popular CMSs like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla keep getting more powerful and capable of doing most anything you want them to, but they remain too complex and difficult to install, configure and setup for non-technical users. A new breed of content management systems is now emerging, and it is characterized by traits and characteristics that make it very different from the publishing systems we have been used to. The key characterizing trait of the new CMS is the fact that it separates the legacy bond existing between the CMS itself and the final publishing outlet. This new breed of CMS allows you to find, create and curate content independently of where you are going to publish it, allowing publishers to write content once and to publish it, even in personalized fashion, to multiple and diverse outlets and formats. This new breed of CMS welcomes non-technical users and eliminates most of the complexity of publishing online, by providing simple tools that work out of the box in an easy, intuitive fashion. In addition to this, the new CMS is characterized by re-defining itself as a hub for content discovery, research and gathering as much as for editing and formatting, and for cross-publishing to multiple output channels and display formats. The new CMS is indeed a content gathering, editing and distribution hub. For the independent web publisher this is good news, as there fewer technical hurdles to be overcome and greater focus can be placed in actually creating great, memorable, high-value content.
Originally written and curated by Robin Good and first published on MasterNewMedia on Tuesday March 4th 2014 as The New CMS.
Photo credits: Traits and Characteristics - Navigation toolbar from Shareist Write Once and Post Anywhere - Electric extension by Shutterstock Personalization - Woman tailor by Shutterstock Automation - Brain work by Shutterstock Calendarization - Calendar page by Shutterstock Curation - Photo art gallery bu Shutterstock Re-purposing - Recycle symbol by Shutterstock Multimedia Integration - Communication business by Shutterstock Monetization - Finance concept by Shutterstock Collaboration - Hand of boss by Shutterstock Analytics - Businessman hand working by Shutterstock