Struggled to connect related content without excessive copying and pasting
Lacked an easy-to-update, single source of truth for medical information
Media assets had to be hardcoded onto pages, stalling publishing
Structured content enables referencing and consistency in updates
Easy-to-integrate apps streamline collaborative workflows
Localization features indicate areas where the translation is needed
UI customizations improve the editorial experience
“When someone searches for information about their treatment, that process should be easy. When resources on the same topic aren’t connected, it makes for a poor experience and a risk that the person won't get every detail they need. Being able to integrate resources across pages is important.”
“As a content manager, having the option to change content once and have the update populate in the ten or 20 other places it's referenced is a huge benefit. I have peace of mind that there aren’t any lingering inaccuracies.”
"A big benefit we've seen so far is the speed with which we can build engaging pages. In the past, we did a lot of coding by hand to render engaging content, like images and podcasts. In Contentful, we can add those things, and any other multimedia elements much more quickly and without HTML.”
It’s rare to find someone who hasn’t been directly or indirectly impacted by cancer — specifically, breast cancer. With more cases reported annually than any other type, those receiving a breast cancer diagnosis enter a vast community of hopeful fighters, resilient survivors, and loyal caregivers. Still, the complexities of each diagnosis and personal questions like, “What treatment is right for me?” and, “How can I best care for my loved ones?” are often followed by individual research and reflection. Since 2020, Breastcancer.org has been a well-trusted online resource, generating, curating, and managing content to inform and inspire those affected by breast cancer. The nonprofit’s goal isn’t to sell a product or service but to be a credible online resource during a time of great need — which rests largely on proper content management and high-performing technology.
While the custom-built content management system Breastcancer.org previously relied on had no problem storing assets, the content was unstructured. With content coupled to page layout, reusing content across pages was nearly impossible, updates were labor-intensive, translation workflows were disjointed, and adding multimedia required significant coding. As Breastcancer.org began breaking ground on a website redesign, team members with their hands in content angled for the nonprofit to consider alternative CMSes. Aware of the flexibility and scalability that a headless solution would provide, Breastcancer.org soon committed to a re-platform with Contentful.
Finding a treatment plan: Structured content and a platform that’s mission-oriented
Contentful was a solid option for Breastcancer.org from a specs perspective. It offered a decoupled architecture, which satisfied the organization’s request for something headless. It also supported structured content which, with proper configuration, would enable the nonprofit to break its content assets into small chunks for easier reuse, referencing, and updating. Plus, Contentful offered a pro bono plan. Breastcancer.org could join an ecosystem of 200+ global nonprofits and would have the opportunity to reallocate resources ordinarily spent on technology for mission-specific efforts. This was something that resonated with Breastcancer.org because, as Director of Communication Ella Chick shared, “Everything Breastcancer.org does, every decision made, goes back to patient care being the priority.”
Seeking support: Solution partners to fast-track implementation
Breastcancer.org’s site redesign coupled with the planned content migration quickly became a large, development-demanding job — one the nonprofit’s three dozen team members likely couldn’t carry out alone. To avoid pumping the brakes on other projects in flight and ensure the new site and platform were set up successfully, Breastcancer.org onboarded two solution partners for the project. Software implementation consultancy Shift Interactive worked exclusively on the back end. Its developers focused on migrating content and setting up hosting on the cloud through AWS. Work & Co, a technology, strategy, and design company, tended to the front end, redesigning and configuring APIs to connect the front and back end.
Seeing positive outcomes: Efficient updates and consistent content
Upon implementing Contentful’s content platform, Breastcancer.org’s content team saw immediate value. Content production is now rapid and editorial workflows are smooth. More specifically, team members can efficiently sift through content and make updates quickly across their digital footprint. With medication recalls, changes in physician credentials, and shifts among hospital systems occurring regularly — and with the potential to affect a site visitor's health outcome — the importance of being able to make updates at pace and have them populate universally across the site couldn’t be overstated enough, and Contentful has put Chick’s mind at ease.
That ease can be attributed to Contentful’s intuitive content search capabilities and structured content, which allows teams to reference and reuse an original content entry in other areas of the space without completely recreating it. When it’s time to update a piece of content that’s referenced in multiple places across BreastCancer.org’s digital properties — like a physician’s hospital affiliations — Chick and her team need only update the original content entry. Anywhere that physician information lives, whether it be as a byline on the blog or a speaker bio for a webinar, the content will be updated immediately.
Such references and search capabilities make managing the nonprofit’s vast multimedia and content library — which includes podcasts, videos, and 1,300+ research articles — a far more feasible task. In referencing much of their content, Breastcancer.org is expecting to see search engine rankings improve over time. Site crawlers won’t read referenced content as duplicative but rather as a single entry, hopefully keeping the organization’s site in better standing than it was previously.
Translating the findings: Tools to speak diverse patient languages, in near real-time
In addition to helping Breastcancer.org provide consistently up-to-date information, Contentful is helping the nonprofit get closer to its goal of maintaining a one-to-one experience for Spanish visitors. Before Contentful, having a piece of content translated meant storing a mountain of documents and sending them back and forth between external translators. “Between sending out original content, receiving translations, importing the translation, and rendering on the site, getting the Spanish version of an asset published was a five-week process,” shared Caroline Durham, Director of Content.
Now, submitting, tracking, reviewing, and publishing translated content is done directly within Contentful with Translations by Acclaro, one of several translation apps available in Contentful’s App Marketplace. With this app, and the option to configure locales — which lets content authors easily see where Spanish content is missing so they can make translation requests accordingly, a process that once took more than a month is cut in half and it takes Breastcancer.org just two clicks to do so — one to send the entry to the agency and one to publish the translated content.
In addition to supporting inclusivity through translated content, Breatcancer.org has been using the platform to provide its audiences with multimedia content to increase accessibility and simplify complex scientific findings. “People learn differently. A text-heavy page might not be ideal for some. Maybe some visuals — an image, diagram, chart, or video — or a podcast are better to consume when learning about diagnosis or treatment options. With Contentful, we can upload those assets as separate entries, edit them a bit, and then reuse them across various articles,” Sarah Layng, Breastcancer.org’s Project Manager, pointed out. Few content solutions offer such freedom with so little extra development.
Staying proactive: A future with enhanced functionalities
Layng sees two areas where the nonprofit can extend its capabilities: webhooks and the editorial interface. The organization is already using webhooks to trigger content changes for videos in JW Player and podcasts in Megaphone. According to Layng, the organization’s use of webhooks will only grow as the nonprofit explores new and novel ways to present information digitally.
To support more seamless content creation, Layng also plans to amp up the help text in the web apps UI. This change will enable creatives to quickly determine what type of content is needed and how to format it so it's digestible for customers and search engine crawlers. Together, webhooks and help text are helping Breastcancer.org to continue publishing the clearest, most up-to-date resources to support patients and their care team.