Why your CMS doesn’t care about you – and what to do about it

I have some bad news for you. Your content management system (CMS) does not care about you.

It does not care if you have a plan for how to use it. It does not mind in the slightest if you haven’t thought through your process for assessing, planning, developing and maintaining the content that will flow through its veins. Your system will sleep soundly whether or not you know what you’re doing.

Your content management doesn’t care about any of this because:  This is not your content management system’s job – It’s yours.

A CMS is merely a tool – a hybrid of off-the shelf and custom functionality that helps you to achieve a desired business objective. It is powerless if you do not develop a plan for how to use it effectively.

Establishing a plan is not only important to managing your content post launch, it is a crucial step in choosing the best tool to wield in publishing and governing the evolution of that content over time.

Spending the time up front to answer strategic questions about how you will use a CMS – and who specifically will use it – will save your organization time and money, and will hopefully help you to avoid the dreaded CMS Death Spiral.

A few questions to consider:

Content

  • What types of content are you producing and for whom?
  • Why are you producing this content?
  • What is this content supposed to do?
  • On what channels will you distribute this content (website, mobile/portable, social, etc.)?

Personnel

  • Who is analyzing, developing, distributing and managing the content and the staff responsible for updating it?
  • How many people will be allowed to post content to your CMS?
  • How technically savvy are these people?
  • Do these people need specific permissions for updating specific content areas?

Taking the first step towards researching and answering these questions will help you to formulate a list of metrics by which you can measure the effectiveness of various CMS platforms in meeting your organization’s specific objectives.

In our next article, we’ll begin to explore some of the popular CMS platforms on the market, along with an overview of the types of content each is specifically adept at managing.

photo courtesy of flickr creative commons