Empowering the next wave of digital content creators

One of the common themes in the The Forrester Wave™: Agile Content Management Systems (CMSes), Q1 2021 report was improved collaboration between digital content editors and developers. It’s not surprising that headless content management systems received accolades in this report. And I certainly wasn’t surprised that Contentful was named a Strong Performer in The Forrester Wave™: Agile Content Management Systems (CMSes), Q1 2021.

The benefits of MACH principles 

The beauty of following the MACH principles (microservices-based, API first, cloud-native SaaS and headless) is that you can build next-generation architecture that clears the path to innovate and launch new experiences swiftly and seamlessly. Additionally, when combined with agile principles, the composable nature of the MACH stack makes every enterprise component scalable, replaceable and ready for improvement to meet the demands of customers and the ever-growing market without being confined by your technology.

Working with structured or atomic content, as opposed to traditional content modeling techniques, has transformed the way content moves within the ecosystem. By giving content authors the power to do what they do best and letting the developers grab an extra cup of coffee or focus on building something new or better, agile CMS platforms are redefining the ways we work.

The Covid-19 era has drastically influenced these new workflows, and user content interaction behaviors continue to shift. Customers now expect relevant, personalized content and engaging omnichannel experiences throughout the purchasing journey. So, digital content editors and marketers must find a way to efficiently deliver these experiences at scale. 

Some of the key themes that drive better engagements include:

  • Building flexible content strategies to address the audience’s needs and their preferred channels 

  • Introducing human connections

  • Measuring consumption and feedback data instead of likes, impressions, shares, etc.

  • Delivering experiences rather than just content

  • Reprioritizing audiences and a customer-first approach

Having a content strategy, as well as the right content solution, is vital to execute your plan with precision. As I said earlier, the beauty of any agile CMS is its ability to abstract a content creator’s work from a developer’s. For example, in an agile CMS, a digital content creator can write, edit or publish a new article without worrying about how it will look on a mobile device, a laptop or an Apple Watch.

This level of abstraction empowers content creators to focus on consolidating the right content without worrying about the look and feel. It also helps deliver the omnichannel experience every customer and end user craves today.

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But let’s focus on the content editor’s role for now. Some of the key functionalities a content editor should expect in an agile CMS to achieve their goals are:

  • A single source of truth for all content, both new and reusable

  • An intuitive and user-friendly interface to keep processes seamless and smooth

  • Built-in tools to enable collaboration and planning with cross-functional and global teams

  • Prebuilt and customizable workflows to ensure quality, brand standards and governance are always met

  • Powerful language translation features and integrations to serve global markets

  • The ability to use published content across multiple channels to deliver truly omnichannel experiences at scale

  • The ability to quickly pull down live content if needed and republish it once any issues are fixed

According to The Forrester Wave™: Agile Content Management Systems (CMSes), Q1 2021, Contentful has a “well-articulated vision for helping companies become digital-first, plus the capabilities to help them get there.” Additionally, the report finds that Contentful “is one of the most commonly referenced headless-first CMS platforms among Forrester clients, and the firm has been aggressively recruiting digital agencies and tech partners to expand its reach.”

The fact that Contentful improves collaboration between content editors and developers is fantastic as well. Contentful’s characteristics, such as its decoupled front end, free up the marketing and commercial teams and, at the same time, de-risk any changes to the backend in the future. These changes are to thank for Contentful’s quick rise to a leading CMS solution.

Further innovation: Compose + Launch

Things have gotten even more interesting with the release of two new Contentful apps that enhance the content creation and delivery experience: Compose + Launch. So, what are these two new apps and who should use them? 

The Compose and Launch apps are simple, yet powerful. They are made for content practitioners who work with structured content. Since these apps are built using Contentful’s App Framework, you can expect them to be just as extensible as the web app very soon.

Compose is built specifically for non-technical users who prefer a lightning-fast, effortless way to generate content, from creating the first draft of copy to getting it fully vetted by brand, legal and any other concerned teams before going live. It features a page-based interface that enables content writers and editors to work faster than ever by presenting structured content in an intuitive, flattened interface that is much more familiar. 

Users can also manage existing content, SEO settings and set locales alongside working content. The intention is to isolate any unnecessary noise or features that don't interest end users. Therefore, you’re able to build large, content-heavy projects in a more agile, accelerated and effective way. 

Launch enables users to group the content from various teams and content creators into one location, then schedule and publish it as a single entity. Once a team completes their work, they can add it into the release and move on. When everything is ready, the project or program manager can schedule publication. 

Launch also makes it simple to handle any project disruption — releases can be rescheduled in seconds, giving teams the flexibility to easily handle any unexpected incidents. They can also be quickly validated so all required fields are filled in and nothing stops the scheduled publication. This makes it much easier to schedule releases for low-traffic times while making sure project managers get a full night’s sleep.

Starting your journey of empowerment

Content teams have long been frustrated by restrictive technology that stops them from innovating, experimenting and moving quickly. The result is a poor customer experience. MACH-enabled technology and platforms empower content authors, editors and publishers to break these barriers instead of worrying about the technology nitty gritty. Going API-first and giving the content owners free will to do what they do best is the key to unlocking great customer experiences and then their carts. 

Insightful and meaningful content is the only way to increase the cart size and reduce the churn, and it is in the hands of content owners to do this. Various teams must come together and play their part in the value chain. Giving content creators access to the developer community when needed with a collaboration platform will lead to an extremely well-managed ecosystem that, in turn, will benefit the business both operationally and financially. 

Contentful is not going to solve all your problems alone. You need the platform to work seamlessly with all other components and applications in your ecosystem, and that calls for a strong consulting and technology partner like EPAM. At EPAM, we have a dedicated team of Contentful experts that can build you a custom CMS solution that empowers your digital content creators.

If you’d like to contact the EPAM team that focuses on the Contentful platform, you can reach out via email at wfbmach@epam.com.

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