Expand your content horizons with Headless CMS

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

Is it time to get your head around Headless CMS?

Look around you. Every day, we are exposed to and surrounded by dynamic editorial and advertising content, from apps and smartphones to AR and VR applications. This content is no longer just pushed out through traditional digital channels, but also omnichannel marketing and Internet-of-Things (IoT) systems. As a result, the platforms we have traditionally regarded as Content Management Systems (CMS) now need to evolve to manage a broader range of content, specifically, content beyond that normally found on a website.

Enter ‘Headless’ CMS. These technologies, such as those offered by DNN, Kentico, Oracle, ContentStack and Built.io take an ‘API-first’ approach to content management. This means that the content source and destination communicate by API (application programming interface), so you’re creating content that’s automatically optimised and displayed on a wide range of mobile devices and models, both now and in the future.

Headless CMS essentially separates code from content to allow greater flexibility in terms of building and updating content, allowing changes that would otherwise require web developer input when using traditional CMS to be undertaken easily by any trained staff member.

Ahead of the game

The benefits of utilising Headless CMS are numerous, particularly for commercial organisations. For example, offers, news and other content can be updated immediately, rather than being hardcoded in advance, allowing your content creators to be far more reactive to real-time events in the marketplace, including competitor activity.

There are also the efficiencies that arise from managing just one set of data - API-first CMS updates can be pushed through to almost any format, including web, mobile app, SMS and digital billboards. This obviously helps to ensure that your digital portfolio is future-ready and robust enough to manage and deliver content via emerging technologies.

Headless CMS also offers associated reductions in server costs and in manpower required to build and launch new content. Your marketing team don’t have to rely on IT for minor changes, meaning significant savings in developer hours, which can then be refocused on projects that drive business scale and growth. The leading Headless CMS platforms are also easily scalable, growing with the business, bringing together subdomains, apps and so on as the organisation’s web presence expands over time.

Headless CMS in Action

Prominent venture capitalist Sequoia, for example, utilises the Headless CMS platform Netlify. The company, which has invested in a raft of tech companies in the last 30 years, including Google, Apple, YouTube and LinkedIn, uses the platform to empower its workforce to update local site content easily, reducing the need for a developer to manage updates.

Likewise, companies including The Container Store, Google, Made.com, Ebay and Deliveroo have selected Headless CMS platform Prismic.io to help create inspirational editorial content and seasonal promotional pages that can be integrated to directly feature their products, as well as allowing for the preparation of bulk changes in advance, for special events like sales or holiday periods.

The way we consume content has changed forever and will continue to change in the future. As a result, businesses keen to future-proof their digital offering are getting their heads around Headless CMS.

Gavin Sherratt is managing director of Mashbo

Headless CMS is one of the subjects covered in the new report ‘Future-Proofing your Digital Offering’ from Mashbo, which can be downloaded for free.

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