Digital content management is the process of collecting, delivering, extracting and managing information in any digital format. Learn more.
Digital content management is the process that organizations use to take their online content through its entire life cycle—from concept to publication. It is also a system for organizing and managing content that enables organizations to devise more effective marketing and sales strategies.
In order to reap the full benefits, you will need a process, a reliable content management system, as well as someone to oversee it all. In this post, we’ll cover all three aspects of a top-notch digital content management strategy and more.
What is Digital Content Management?
As a brand grows, the amount of digital content it creates or acquires grows as well. This is why a well-thought-out digital content management strategy is a must.
Digital content management (DCM) refers to the content life cycle and the processes and systems that an individual or organization uses to manage it. While DCM is often associated with content published on websites, it includes other digital marketing channels that brands use as well.
Examples of Digital Content
Digital content management focuses on the life cycle of publicly available content—like web page copy, brand imagery, social media ads and more.
These are the most common categories of digital content:
Text: The copy written for a brand’s digital channels—e.g., website text, social media posts, online ads, marketing emails, etc.
Media: The visual, audio and multimedia files used in a company’s branding and marketing strategy. Brands can use a wide variety of imagery, like photos, illustrations, vector graphics, logos, videos, GIFs, Lotties and more.
Licensed Assets: The files that have been purchased and licensed for use in a brand’s digital marketing content—like stock photography, royalty-free music, fonts, etc.
Metadata: SEO content—like meta descriptions, keywords and structured data—might not be visible to end users, but they’re just as important as the visual and readable content they encounter online. Metadata can also include publicly available details, like the ones that appear on ecommerce product pages (e.g., price, SKU, etc.).
Digital Content Management vs. Digital Asset Management
Digital asset management (DAM) refers to the process of storing and organizing internal files and data for a brand. Here are some examples of internal assets:
- Proprietary design files
- Web page copy drafts
- Untouched photography
- Raw video or audio files
- Style guides
- Licensing info for digital assets
While a company can store these types of files on a content management system, it’s not in their best interest to do so. Instead, a separate, highly secured and scalable digital asset management system is the better option.
Depending on the size of the organization, they might use a smaller file sharing platform like Dropbox or Google Docs to store digital assets. A more robust DAM will be needed, however, for organizations with huge volumes of assets and data to store, catalog, annotate and share.
How Does Digital Content Management Work?
In order for digital content management to be effective, one must use a content management system that provides an accessible, secure and scalable space for managing content. From this platform, the team members assigned to it can execute their process and manage the full life cycle of each piece of content.
Typically, the content management life cycle looks like this:
An idea is formed. It could be the concept for what’s to be designed, written or otherwise created. It could also be for a piece of content that needs to be procured. The content is then typically assigned a category or taxonomy for more effective organization and management.
The content is created. Depending on the type of content, it may be generated within the CMS (like a blog post) or it may be created using an external source (like an infographic).
3. Import and store
If the content isn’t initially created inside the CMS, it will be uploaded to it in this phase so that the team has ready access to the most recent version of it. This centralized storage area is important for keeping track of the different versions of the content as well.
The CMS doubles as a publication platform. So once the content is uploaded to the server and is finalized, it gets published to the web. Some types of content may be stored in the CMS, but aren’t published (like draft posts or alternative versions of the brand’s logo).
5. Distribution and promotion
Digital content rarely lives on a single platform. It’s shared across a brand’s other digital marketing channels—like the company newsletter and on social media. It can be promoted organically or via paid opportunities in this phase.
Content is created in order to accomplish a specific goal—e.g., to increase brand visibility, get more leads or drive more sales. To maximize these results, an organization must track and analyze the performance of content and update and optimize it as needed.
7. Archival or deletion
In some cases, digital content and assets live indefinitely in the CMS. In other cases, content needs to be archived when it becomes irrelevant, has been replaced or the organization has lost the rights to it.
What is a Content Management System?
A digital content management system (CMS) is a cloud-based software application. It is where digital content is stored, managed and directly published to the web.
A CMS is an important component of DCM as a secure, cloud-based platform is the best way to create a scalable omnichannel content strategy.
Because it’s in the cloud, a CMS allows for real-time collaboration within an organization. So the digital content manager, copywriter, editor, web designer and other team members can work together simultaneously to create and refine their content.
In addition to having a CMS for a website or app, organizations should use more specialized ones as well for social media platforms like Facebook, search engines like Google, as well as email marketing. The digital content management tools used to create, publish and optimize content on these channels are a vital part of a brand’s overall DCM strategy.
Examples of Digital Content Management Systems
There are different types of CMS—like marketing content management systems and sales content management systems. That said, the term most commonly applies to systems used to manage and publish content to websites and apps. As such, the most popular CMS are web content management systems.
Let’s take a look at three different examples:
Although Progress Sitefinity is a content and experience management system that lies at the heart of Progress’ Digital Experience Platform.
Sitefinity is a powerful, scalable platform that combines content management with digital asset management. It’s designed to empower every member of your team—be it the marketer that wants to create amazing content for every channel or the developer who wants to build the perfect interface and experience on all devices.
Personalization and optimization are also core features in this CMS. While Sitefinity makes it easy for digital teams to create, organize and publish content, there are also built-in tools that enable them to extend the life cycle and value of that content over time.
- Centralize all websites and multisites in one place
- AI-driven digital asset management
- Content versioning
- Built-in user insights and experience optimization tools
- Real-time collaboration and handoff between teams
- User management and permissions
- Approval workflows
Progress Sitefinity is a platform for content and experience management that makes it easy for digital teams to create engaging digital products. A lot of this is due to the analytics and optimization features built into the platform.
Unlike other CMS that have to integrate with external apps to gain those sorts of insights and tools, Sitefinity has them built right in. This is why Sitefinity can’t just be called a web content management system. It makes the entire life cycle of your product and your content a priority.
WordPress is a web content management system. However, when it was first launched, it was a blog content management system.
Users can build a single website or they can build a network of websites (called a multisite) within WordPress. Unlike many other CMS, they cannot build different websites, apps or other digital products within a single installation of WordPress.
Despite how long WordPress has been around and its long-standing popularity as a website builder, the platform today looks a lot like it did when it first launched. Because of this, a lot of its power comes from the system of plugins that the WordPress community develops for the CMS.
- Web page and blog post authoring
- Draft, scheduling and version control
- Multimedia uploads and library
- Content categorization
- User roles and access management
- Real-time collaboration
- Comment approval process and rules
Out of the box, WordPress is little more than a blogging CMS. However, the WordPress repository currently holds 60,000+ plugins. With the right ones installed, users can transform this platform into any type of CMS they want.
For instance, plugins can enable users to do the following inside of WordPress:
- Add an editorial calendar and management system.
- Automatically share newly published blog posts or articles to other platforms.
- Create newsletters to promote new product releases, company news, etc.
So even though WordPress itself is a limited web CMS, it can easily be transformed with the right toolset.
Adobe Experience Manager
Adobe is a well-known force in the design software space. Adobe Experience Manager is its entry into the CMS world.
AEM is a web content management system and digital asset manager. You can build different types of digital products within the platform—from single landing pages to entire websites. Not only is there a visual drag-and-drop builder like most modern CMS, but all the assets created by the design and marketing teams in other Adobe apps are accessible from this CMS.
AEM is also powered by AI. This particular tool comes in handy when it comes to reusing and sharing content and assets to other platforms. Rather than spend time resizing featured images, for instance, the AI can help.
- CMS + DAM
- Organization tools for projects, sites, assets, stores and more
- No limits on file types
- AI assistant for scalable marketing
- Direct integration with other Adobe design products
- Real-time collaboration
Adobe Experience Manager is an interesting entry into the ecosystem of CMS because it’s clearly a design-driven product.
That doesn’t mean that other team members and content creators can’t use it. It’s just that the streamlining of the design process, the integration of an AI assistant, and the robust management of visual assets are some of its most valuable features.
Agencies with large design and marketing teams churning out loads of content would benefit from this setup.
The Benefits of Digital Content Management Systems
A digital content management system is beneficial for everyone. From the solo freelancer trying to keep their website and marketing channels in order to the enterprise churning out content on a daily basis, a CMS and a well-thought-out process will make all their lives easier while helping them get more from their efforts.
Here are some of the top benefits:
1. Keep Content Organized
A digital content management system isn’t simply a place to upload a bunch of assets. If you use it right, it will allow you to categorize and organize all of your content. Think of it as a digital library.
For example, let’s say you’ve added a blog to your website.
If you had used an external blogging platform to write this content (like Medium or Substack, for instance), you might be able to add some tags or topics to the individual posts. However, these are nothing more than labels that tell readers what the content is about.
With a CMS, you have the ability to create a complete taxonomy for all of your content. These categories and tags aren’t random labels that readers encounter when reading your content either. You can incorporate them into your navigation, sidebar links or filtering system to improve the user experience in searching and finding relevant topics.
CMS have all sorts of ways to help you organize and manage your content—not just the written content either. For instance, some allow you to upload different versions of your graphics for web vs. mobile, and even for WebP-compatible browsers vs. non-compatible ones.
Versioning is another valuable organizational tool in CMS. Rather than have to refer back to the raw files or earlier versions of your content, the CMS can keep track of each version. Not only that, it makes it easy to preview older versions and restore them, if needed.
2. Remove the Obstacles from Collaboration
As the amount of content grows, you’re going to need a larger team to contribute to and manage it all. Unfortunately, with more cooks in the kitchen, it’s easy for things to become disorganized. They’re also likely to get stressed when they can’t find the content they need or to make mistakes when they don’t have the right version of it.
This is why a cloud-based CMS is a must.
For starters, your CMS will always have the latest version of your content. There will be no need to track down the original writer or designer to find the latest version of what you’re looking for.
A CMS also allows for more effective real-time collaboration. Everyone can submit, edit and work on various pieces of content simultaneously. What’s more, if more than one person tries to edit a piece of content at the same time, the system won’t allow the conflict to take place.
Some CMS also come with built-in management tools that the content manager can use to usher content through the process. This way, it’s 100% clear who is responsible for what and it helps keep things on track with your organization’s marketing timeline and strategy.
3. Streamline Omnichannel Marketing
When a piece of content is published to a website, it typically doesn’t sit there, waiting for someone to discover it online. The digital content manager and marketing teams work together to share that content across the organization’s other channels.
With consumers interacting with brands through a multitude of digital channels, this can become quite a time-consuming process.
However, the top content management systems have a solution for this. By integrating directly with other platforms, marketing has become much more streamlined.
For starters, if the CMS integration ensures that the correct version of your content gets shared out to other platforms. You won’t need to worry about someone using an outdated product image or incorrect URL as the information and assets come directly from the source.
What’s more, the sharing of content can be set up ahead of time and automated. This leaves marketers more time for tracking and analyzing content performance across the web. Plus, they can spend more time on engagement and relationship building.
4. Strengthen the Digital Experience
A lot of the focus on digital content management systems is on what they can do to increase efficiency and accuracy for your organization. But a CMS also positively impacts the digital experience of your users.
For example, a content management system makes it possible for even the largest of marketing and sales teams to have access to the latest version of your content and assets. So when branded content and messaging goes out—regardless of who publishes it—it looks and sounds the same every time.
Brand consistency is a critical component in digital marketing. Without it, users will struggle to recognize your brand when they encounter your content. It’ll also make trust-building quite difficult.
There’s also the strategy component to consider. A CMS keeps everything well-organized. And if you take advantage of its automation capabilities, you could publish great-looking, well-written and perfectly-timed content every single time.
Built-in analytics and A/B testing tools take things up a notch as well. Because not only are you able to monitor content performance, you’re able to improve it based on real input from users.
What Does a Digital Content Manager Do?
While it’s important to have technology to streamline and optimize the digital content management strategy, there needs to be someone who oversees it. This is the digital content manager.
The digital content manager isn’t always the person who initially comes up with the strategy. However, they’re the one who ensures that the processes are carried out accordingly. They’re also involved in executing the key tasks that take place throughout the product life cycle.
Here are some of the things that a digital content manager does:
- Post new content to the organization’s digital channels (e.g., website, app, social media, etc.).
- Evaluate existing content and identify new or missed opportunities.
- Collaborate with writers and designers in order to update content when it needs a refresh.
- Implement updates.
- Review the analytics and evaluate the performance of the content as part of the whole strategy as well as individually.
- Keep the CMS software updated.
- Manage content and assets within the CMS and archive or delete as needed.
- Update the content workflow and governance strategy.
Because the digital content manager does hands-on work with content, they should have experience as a writer and/or as a designer. They also need to be savvy in research and analysis in order to determine the efficacy of content and make recommendations for improvements. Lastly, they should have a good understanding of how content impacts the marketing and sales departments so that their recommendations serve the entire organization well.
by Asya Ivanova