Prelude:

A content management system (CMS) manages the creation & manipulation of digitized pieces of content. A CMS supports multiple users in a collaborative environment. The features of CMS vary widely. They can be widely used for either enterprise content management or web content management. Most of them include Web-based publishing, format management, history editing & version control, indexing, search functionalities & retrieval.

A web content management system (WCM or WCMS) supports the management of pieces of content being displayed on the web pages. They are most popular of all the CMSs & include text & embedded graphics, photographs, audios, videos & program codes that either display content or interact with the users.  Two major components of WCM are:

  1. A Content Management Application (CMA):  This is a front-end user interface that facilities a user, even with limited technical knowledge, to add, modify or removes pieces of content from a website without the intervention of a webmaster. 
  2. A Content Delivery Application (CDA): This application complies the changes made to the pieces of content & updates the website

Digital Asset Management Systems are another type of CMS that manages content with the precisely defined author or ownership. These include documents, movies, phone numbers, scientific data, etc. 

B2B companies also employ CMSs to store, control, revise & publish documentation. 

Component content management systems (CCMS) mange the pieces of content at a modular level rather than pages or articles. They are often used in technical communication where the same pieces of content are re-used by different publishers.

According to a report published by codeinwp.com WordPress alone accounts for 50-60% of the total share of the global CMS market. 

With 35% of the entire internet being run by WordPress, it has been the most popular CMS for 7 years in a row. WordPress can also be used as Headless CMS using Rest (Representational State Transfer) API (Application Program Interface).  Joomla & Drupal are the other popular CMSs. 

A headless content management system, or headless CMS, is a CMS built exclusively for the back-end. It is often built up as a content repository that makes content accessible via RESTful API, to be displayed on any device. The term headless was coined as the head (or the front end i.e. the website) has been copped out of such CMSs and just the body (or the back end i.e. the content repository) is left.  

The headless CMS helps businesses keep abreast with the dynamic digital era, wherein marketers need to optimize the users’ experiences (UX) by delivering personalized pieces of content via multiple channels, throughout the buying cycles of the customers. As there is no presentation layer attached to the headless CMS, it is considered “pure” & just one instance of it can be used for display on any devise, website, mobile, tablets or several other devise platforms. A true headless CMS shouldn’t be confused with decoupled or hybrid CMS systems & has to be essentially built from the ground up to the API-first.

Cloud-first headless CMSs are built with a multitenant cloud model at their core & their vendors promote Software as a service (SaaS). These CMSs have high availability, scalability & full management of security, upgrades or hotfixes, etc. 

Traditional vs. Headless CMS: 

A traditional CMS typically combines the content & the presentation layers of a website whereas a headless CMS is just the content component & focuses entirely on the administrative interface for content creators, for the facilitation of content workflows & collaboration & for the orchestration of pieces of content into taxonomies. The pieces of content are stored in pure format & there is access to other components e.g. delivery front ends analytical tools etc.) over stateless or loosely coupled APIs. Headless CMSs have no connection what-so-ever with presentation layers, templates, site structure, or design. 

Headless CMS is favorable for customization of content integration, is more secure than a traditional CMS & performs better when deploying information to the end-user. Headless CMS works best for omnichannel content management that needs to be translated into any format. Customization improves the path of digital experience. Headless CMS delivers best results when incorporated in omnichannel marketing, customization, integration & security. There is more room for the designed to be customized instead of sticking to a template. With a headless CMS, developers have more scope to create & design website infrastructure. 

Common features of headless CMSs include the following:

  • RESTful API
  • Microservices architecture
  • Editor Interface
  • Multi-channel publishing
  • Workflows
  • Versioning
  • Content Modelling
  • Asset library
  • Content types & taxonomy
  • Localization
  • Visitor Segmentation & 
  • Personalization 

Headless CMS can create confusion for people used to simple formatted options as it requires a technical background. If there is a requirement for in-depth tailored development, headless CMS might aid that.

Advantages of Headless CMS software:

The B2B marketers need to scrutinize which of the CMS systems available in the market are the best so that the experiences of their customers & prospects can be optimized. There are multiple vendors in the market. Some of the vendors have re-configured technology to offer headless content management, employing an API-driven approach for content management & delivery.

Some of the advantages of the headless CMS software have been enlisted below:

1. It enables the readiness for Omnichannel selling

The pieces of content created in a headless CMS are pure & can easily be repurposed & distributed across multiple channels including websites, mobile apps, digital assistant, virtual reality, etc. This allows the marketers to deliver hyper-personalized content at any time to the prospects, throughout their buying journeys.

2. It enables the low cost of operation:

Headless CMSs are cheaper than their counterparts as they have been built on a cloud model where multi-tenant options keep the running costs low. Furthermore, these are cheaper to install & run.

3. Facilitates Real-Time marketing:

A headless CMS promotes the agile methodology of operation. As content creators & developers can work simultaneously & in real-time; the projects get finished faster. Also, the insights gathered from the market in real-time can be incorporated into the business.

4. Ease of Use: 

Headless CMSs are meant for content management & are simpler to be used by those who possess a bit of technical knowledge. The user experience can be managed from the back end.

Comparatively, traditional CMSs tend to be complex, troublesome & complex. Venders try to offer every available feature in a box & hence traditional CMSs are a bit complicated to understand. 

5. They Provide Flexibility:

With headless CMSs, the content editors have the liberty to select from multiple options. The developers can architect any type of front end using their preferred languages such as Ruby, PHP, Java, or Swift. Thereafter, they can just simply integrate the front end with the language via APIs (such as JSON or XML), leveraging RESTful communication. 

This allows for polyglot programming wherein multiple programing paradigms can be assimilated to deliver the pieces of content to multiple channels. Thus, a company can benefit from the latest developments in language frameworks. This sets the stage up for the promotion of microservices architecture. 

6. Scope for Cloud Scalability: 

The stateless APIs of headless CMS & content purity assure high scalability. Headless CMSs are fully dependent on the elasticity of a cloud platform.

Headless CMSs can scale & additionally avoid database constraints that one is likely to encounter while using a traditional CMS. As most headless CMSs offer cloud-based solutions, so it is possible to automatically adjust one’s cloud infrastructure as per the demand.

An important technology for being able to deliver the pieces of content fast is the Content Delivery Network (CDN). Having CDN-enables headless CMS improves the delivery of content around the globe. 

7. System Security

The deliverability of the content is ensured through high-performance Content Delivery Network (rather than directly from the databases), hence the risk of distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDOS) is reduced. 

Most of the headless CMS offerings fall in the Content as a Service (CaaS) category (service is centralized & hosted via the cloud). The use of a good headless CMS minimizes security risks & ensures safe & secure websites. 

8. Strengthens Marketing:

As developers do a major portion of the job such as the creation of landing pages with custom layout, marketing holistically benefits from the delivery of customized & personalized users’ experiences.  

9. Integrates well with Content Hub Architecture:

A content hub framework assists with omnichannel content delivery. Additionally, using a content hub also gives marketers more freedom for integration. Following the architecture of a content hub, using a headless CMS allows marketers to choose from the best of existing tools or services. These include marketing automation tools, a personalization engine, translation services, video delivery services, e-commerce platform & AI extensions. 

Integrations between a headless CMS & a content hub architecture assure that agility is easier to be adopted which allows easy switching between new tools & services for better content delivery from time to time for optimizing users’ experiences by faster & cheaper collection of data & by processing customer data better, to target & convert the sales leads.

10. It optimizes Personalization:  

Personalization lies at the heart of building an effective platform for optimizing the digital experiences of the users across multiple channels. Personalization means tailoring the pieces of content as per visitors’ interests & addressing their pain-points.

The American Author Patricia Fripp decoded the importance of personalization in the following quotation:

“You don’t close a sale, you open a relationship if you want to build a long-term, successful enterprise.”

Personalization is an important marketing activity. The personal data, with the help of headless CMS, is made available via APIs, web services, and open data standards, so that one is not tied down by data stored in a pre-built system. 

Tools such as Optimizely, Monetate, One Spot, Evergage, Salesforce Commerce Cloud & Abode Target help track visitor’s behavior, location, profile, & other attributes to create dynamically personalized & highly relevant experience for the users. By creating a more meaningful experience for your visitors, one can generate better business results.  

11. Allows integrating Content Hub with AI & Machine Learning tools & services:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML) have significantly impacted content management

In July 2018 at a Town Hall meeting in San Francisco, Google CEO Sundar Pichai stated artificial intelligence “one of the most important things that humanity is working on,” adding that it is “more profound than electricity or fire.” 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are shepherding us towards an era of digital transformation.

Personalization engines use AI for hyper-personalizing users’ experiences (UX) by delivering them with highly tailored pieces of content. Precognitive marketing using AI & machine learning drive better sales conversions. Examples of tools facilitating content management with AI & machine language services include SEO optimization with CanIRank, MarketBrew, & BrightEdge; content creation & text analysis with MonkeyLearn, Acrolinx, Automated Insights, & Narrative Science; and translation services with KantanMT, & SYSTRAN.  

12. Enhances the Digital Experience Platforms

According to Gartner, a digital experience platform (DXP) has an integrated set of technologies, which are based on a common platform. This allows a consistent, secure & personalized access to information for multiple applications across the diverse digital-touch points. 

Besides, web content management the DXPs create rich & engaging experiences for audiences coming from diverse referral channels. 

Furthermore, deploying the headless CMS, the content hub architecture can be integrated with diverse channels for the delivery of hyper-personalized pieces of content.

As the content over the web evolved so did the content management systems. Today, the market is studded with a wide range of CMS solutions. Some of the popular ones include Butter CMS, Contentstack, Contentful, dotCMS, Mura, Cloud CMS, Cockpit CMS, Core DNS, Craft CMS, Zesty.io, Directus, Storyblok, GraphQL CMS, Genetics Mesh, Cosmic JS, Kentico Cloud, Prismic.io, Quintype, Sanity, Scrivito, Sqidex, DNN Evoq Content, Strapi & Superdesk. 

The technology being provided will differ from one vendor to the next. The biggest difference one feels remains the level of service & support that vendors provide during deployment. B2B brands can choose from the list of vendors who have a history of giving hands-on assistance & supportive expertise. 

Managing multiple channels can be challenging & the knowledge base of a team should cover them all. Pure headless CMSs don’t deal with the presentation layer. Developers might need to create some functionality such as website navigation, themselves.

Furthermore, content editors too must be prepared for organizing content in its purest form. As headless CMSs don’t provide the concept of pages & sitemaps content editors need to be prepared for the changes.

Bringing It All Together: 

The paradigm shift to omnichannel marketing from the traditional ways of employing mono-channel or few-channeled marketing created the need for ceaseless delivery of content to omnichannel. Thus, headless CMSs & decoupled CMSs were developed which allowed the marketers to adjust & manipulate their strategies for content delivery to multiple channels, as & when required. 

HubSpot describes omnichannel marketing as, “the ability to deliver a seamless and consistent experience across channels while factoring in the different devices that consumers are using to interact with your business.

The content hub architecture lies to the very core of implementing a successful headless CMS strategy. Opting for a content-centric approach accelerates & simplifies content management & allows developers to use the best of tools to create excellent digital experience platforms (DXP), with omnichannel content delivery.

Creating personalized customers’ journeys & providing the personas with exemplary digital experiences as they move gradually down their sales cycles; not only helps in expediting sales through omnichannel targeting; but also helps the marketers to optimize their business revenues. 

With the constant evolution of the digitized landscape in marketing, new technologies will continue to disrupt & modify the showground for the CMSs to play. AI and Machine Learning are all set to play major roles than ever before in shaping the architecture of content management. 

A headless CMS is most likely to be the longest-lasting solution in the history of content management as it allows marketers to integrate with new technologies & embrace new & evolving applications in real-time, without making much change to their core methodologies of content delivery.

Goran Paunovic, the Creative Director of ArtVersion Interactive, quotes the importance of incorporating headless CMS to the omnichannel sales strategy as follows:

Choosing between headless or traditional CMS is not just a matter of using the most innovative or newest technology available. It is important to consider and evaluate not only the content type, but most importantly, internal staff, agency involvement, and whoever will be maintaining the web property, delivery methods and long-term maintenance.”  

The headless CMSs might not have a defined presentation environment; however, with bit of preparation & by having a dedicated team of developers in place, headless CMSs not only increase the flexibility & security of the pieces of content being delivered but also effectively separate content production, management & storage from the ways they have been traditionally distributed & displayed.

We, at Valasys Media, provide our clients with content syndication services that resolve the queries of their personas & help them to optimize their sales revenues. Besides, we also have lead generation, appointment setting, business intelligence, event promotion, account-based marketing, CRM services, lead nurturing services, list building services & contact discovery services, all of which are tailored to best suit the requirements of our clients & help them achieve their universal core bottom-line goals such as optimized sales revenues, improved return on investments (ROIs), better customers’ experience (CX), to name a few.
For deciphering the wealth of knowledge being used by the trailblazers at Valasys & to employ them to architect perennially healthy B2B sales pipelines, feel free to get in touch with us.

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