With the steady rise in digital technologies, combining traditional marketing practices with modern technology has given rise to digital marketing. Digital marketing has come about as a comprehensive marketing strategy that not only focuses on marketing on social media but also takes other forms of online communications such as blogs, online forums, and discussions.

Content management systems or CMS has become common terminology in the online space. It has numerous advantages from the point of digital marketing and operating a website. While there is no rigid definition if CMS, there are certain common guidelines and patterns which can be played around with depending on the kind of online content that one wishes to publish and the nature of the business. Other relevant terms which fall under this category include ECM or enterprise content management and WCM or web content management.

The various definitions of content management system

A content management system is application software that allows multiple users with varying levels of access to manage content, data and different kinds of kinds of information and media that are published on the website. Some of the various activities involved with content management include the creation and editing of content, archiving, collaborating and publishing, reporting and distribution of website content and collecting data and information from traffic interactions. A typical CMS platform provides an easy-to-use dashboard feature that allows administrative control and overall website management activities. One can edit web pages, articles, and blogs published, archived press releases, edit calendar events, add photos, videos, product specifications and other information, view traffic statistics and moderate access of various members.

Another definition of a content management system that is close to WMS is providing similar webpage modifying and adding capabilities without requiring the knowledge of HTML. These software platforms contain simple drag and drop and other such intuitive document and webpage modifying tools that. ECM or ECMS refers to enterprise content management systems. There are three types of content management tools that fall under this category.

  • CMS that is specifically designed to handle large-scale enterprises and their online activities. These systems usually have a long history of verifiable track record.
  • Customised CMS that has been modified to suit the unique needs of the business or capture a niche market. Full-scale CMS systems are modified and customised according to the organisation’s requirements.
  • Content management tools that are used for the internal management content without the network of an organisation such as relevant newsletters, employee-related information, and other documents.

The primary objective of any content management software is to allow multiple users to modify the same web portal and provide various kinds of access rights to each user.

Misconceptions about content management systems

Employing the services of a content management system does not automatically ensure the success or popularity of a website. Added to this, a company must thoroughly introspect about the information and services that it wishes to provide to the consumer and what the website's final goals are. Mentioned below are some common misconceptions that people carry regarding content management systems.

  • Content management software does not add any quality or aesthetic value to the website. It is a tool that is designed to make the life of website administrators easier by establishing a common platform for seamlessly managing and adding content. While it CMS has nothing to do with the nature of the content, it has an impact on the quality of services offered and marketing.
  • A content management system is not a replacement for web developers. It only comes into the picture once the website and proper platform for posting content have been established. One cannot hope to create a fully-functional website with customised design features using a content management system.
  • CMS systems are never ready for use. Most of this software is bloated with excessive applications, all of which are never used by businesses. Additionally, a web programmer is usually necessary for editing and modifying such CMS tools to suit the needs of the industry. Most small and medium companies never use all the features of CMS portals, and they often need to invest in hiring software engineers who can modify and maintain websites based on such CMS tools
  • One of the main parameters that determine the online success of a business is the organisation’s brand value. CMS software is written for general purpose application and does not boost brand value in any form. They also do not have many facilities for modifying the overall design of the webpage which requires a web developer.

Features of content management systems

Different kinds of CMS platforms offer various features. The core features of any content management software are indexing, search, and retrieval, format management, revision management and publishing. An overview of the various elements of content management software is mentioned below.

  • Most CMS are equipped with intuitive indexing, search and retrieval features that provides easy access to date and categorises them according to relevant datasets such as dates, themes, authors, tags and keywords.
  • The format management feature allows for paper documents and various kinds of reports to be uploaded directly onto web pages, either in the form of PDF or HTML documents.
  • The revision ability allows website managers to update and improve the published content and also allows them to keep track of the various changes that have been made to the website.
  • The publishing feature allows authors and managers to utilise various templates and other easy-to-use tools to design and upload relevant content.

A lot of CMS platforms offer tools for one-to-one marketing. One-to-one marketing is the method of tailoring or customising the contents of a website according to the customer’s preferences and online behaviour. A widespread example of this is dynamic advertisements, which directly take inputs from the search queries of the users on various search engines and provides advertisements relevant to those searches. Some of the other features of typical CMS that are popularly used include – SEO friendly links and content, establishing discussion boards and online help panels, permission and access systems based on credentials and groups, a wide array of templates which can be customized according to the post, a streamlined admin dashboard with multiple language support, low requirements on server, various kinds of database management systems and file managers, audit logs for changes made.

Choosing the right CMS

Selecting the right CMS is crucial in realising high ROIs. The webpage management team needs to feel empowered due to the application of the new CMS. Investing in the wrong kind of CMS can complicate the process of website management and will not fulfil the actual objectives of the organisation. Any company should consider four major factors before adopting any CMS tool.

  • Support- This includes updates and software patches that are provided by the CMS service provider. The CMS provider must be able to cater to the various needs of the business and must be able to provide timely support during significant changes and scaling. Mentoring, consultancy for web development and design and strategic guidance for content, all fall under giving support.
  • Vision- This refers to the alignment of the customer's expectations and what the business provides. Website developers and designers must be able to gauge the expectations of the customers and design a website centred on it. Before applying any CMS platform, the design of the website should be optimised to meet all the needs of the consumer and have attention-grabbing content. In effect, the designers must have a clear vision about what they are trying to accomplish with the website.
  • Community- This refers to the existing consumer that the business has. The attitude and inclinations of the various consumers must be taken into account while managing content on the website. Certain kinds of businesses might have a majority of its customers on a particular social media platform which might call for tailored content management software. 
  • Stability and focus- CMS platforms should not be used to continuously pump content without any clear goal or focus on a theme. Such unplanned growth of content leads to lack of stability.  Moreover, consumers will not be able to pinpoint the exact nature of the website and will find it difficult to find the content that they are interested in. It is always advised to keep the product or services at the core of any content management solution.

Before companies begin using their content management systems, they need to think about the various usage scenarios which make for great stories which can be published online. Usage scenarios are short stories that illustrate the interactions between customers and services and products offered by businesses. Businesses must figure out all possible usage scenarios of their CMS systems and tailor the software accordingly. One cannot overemphasise the importance of identifying various situations before selecting a CMS. Added to this, companies must choose a budget and identify different business functionalities and partners that would be handled by such CMS platforms.