What is a Headless CMS, and Should You Consider One?
The marketing technology stack has come a long way in recent years. At the heart of it, lies a new breed of powerful, integrated technologies that make it possible to deliver seamless, omni-channel content experiences.
Headless content management systems (CMS) give marketing teams complete control over where, how and what gets published, and in what format. The benefits of moving to a Headless CMS are many, and include consolidated content management, improved workflows, collaboration, and easy content syndication.
Here, we look at what a headless CMS actually is, its key benefits, and what you should consider when selecting the right one for you.
What is a Headless CMS?
Traditionally, the end platform has dictated how and where content is created. For example, web copy lives in WordPress, email content in Mailchimp, Facebook ads in Facebook, and so on. Even though content might be similar across these channels, it has typically needed to be purpose-built and formatted inside each system, resulting in marketers and developers trying to collaborate across multiple sites, frameworks and operating systems.
A headless CMS decouples content creation, management, and publishing. This enables marketing teams to push new content at any time and IT teams to make new technology updates without one relying on the other for dependency tasks. Application programming interface (API) technology enables content modules to be quickly optimised and published on websites, apps, smart billboards, kiosks, knowledge bases, social media sites, and every other cutting-edge consumer channel that comes to fruition.
Think of it like this - each publishing site or system as a unique head – a place where content lives or is published to. In a headless CMS the above process is flipped, so the content (aka the body) comes first. It is created centrally, inside the CMS, before being pushed out to each head. No constant reformatting or juggling feedback and approvals offline. No logging into multiple systems to publish one campaign or interpreting multiple reports to determine campaign efficacy. In a Headless CMS, this is all managed under one roof.
Remember the marketing catchphrase of the early 2000’s ‘Content is King’? Well, here we are many years later still singing that same tune, with a headless CMS essentially bringing this concept to technical life.
Top 4 Benefits of Moving to a Headless CMS
1. Consolidated Content Management & Collaboration
By bringing multiple key functions under one roof, you can control the entire content lifecycle. In doing so, this will streamline processes while improving collaboration and accountability. Headless systems also provide more in-depth reporting, giving you richer insights to optimise campaigns and content strategy.
2. Easy Content Syndication
The sheer volume of content required to deliver an omni-channel strategy today requires a never-ending cycle of content production and re-creation. With a Headless CMS, repurposing becomes a thing of the past, as content for different frameworks and operating systems is produced in the correct format from the outset, and easily distributed via APIs. Publish an article to your website, email database, online store, app and Facebook page in one seamless workflow.
3. Faster Publishing & Optimisation
The greatest impact of the above two factors is speed. Faster time to market with campaigns means quicker reporting and the ability to optimise in real-time. These benefits reduce unnecessary lag time, which means your marketing machine is always working and always improving in real time.
4. Scalable Solution Costs
With less technical involvement required in a headless CMS, it’s a lot quicker for your teams to create new functionality once the initial system has been configured. Marketing teams can easily login to the CMS and create what they need without having to wait for development resources to create custom templates, page types or content blocks. This removes the need for ongoing development costs which can be a burden to businesses.
You also have the option to start small and scale your way up as needed and as your business grows too, rather than taking on one large CMS project with significant implementations costs associated at the outset. Headless CMS solutions have a productised approach where you can add additional services and content head integrations as you need them over time. As an added bonus, the Headless CMS provider also hosts the back-end solution which will likely decrease your annual infrastructure costs (and we all know how significant this CapEx line item can be!).
Is a Headless CMS Right for You?
At Revium, we take an agnostic solution approach and therefore work with several industry leaders in the Headless CMS space. Selecting the right headless solution requires an assessment of your immediate business needs and potential future-state requirements, as there are many valuable headless solutions in market depending on the outcomes sought.
So how do you determine if a Headless CMS is potentially right for you. Do you:
Have projects that sometimes require custom design that can’t be accomplished with template-bound website platforms?
Have a content strategy and regularly create and update your website content, articles, products etc?
Manually rewrite, reformat, and publish content into multiple platforms and channels?
Experience bottlenecks waiting for your development resources to make content changes or support design updates?
Struggle under the weight of managing multiple CMS solutions or content publishing sites?
If the answer is yes to any of these, a Headless CMS may be the right fit for you.
What are Your Headless CMS Options?
So, you’ve established that a Headless CMS might be a good fit and want to look at which solutions you could use. What’s next?
From here, it’s important you engage with a trusted advisor and get solid advice. There are many Headless CMS solutions in market right now and choosing the right platform that’s both fit-for-purpose and fit-for-people requires careful consideration of a range of influencing factors.
Should you engage Revium, we partner with enterprise solutions such as Kentico Kontent and Acoustic Marketing Cloud, which are great for businesses wanting a long-term, future-proof solution that has additional products and services that can be integrated at any time as your business grows. We also have relationships with a variety of elementary solutions such as Umbraco Heartcore, DatoCMS, and StoryBlok, which are great for businesses wanting a more agile and streamlined approach with fewer digital experience requirements.
For marketers, one of the key decision factors in selecting the right Headless CMS platform also lies within potential consolidation of your martech stack. Elementary solutions require integration with your existing third-party platforms like Mailchimp, meaning the solution becomes a microservices environment (an ecosystem of platforms integrated together). You still have a centralised content management and publishing tool, but will need to connect your existing martech solutions to it. With enterprise solutions, some support a microservice position whereas others replace elements of your martech stack and have native tools for services such as email, personalisation and marketing automation.
The ability to deliver seamless content experiences is the future of digital marketing. Moving to a Headless CMS can simplify this effort, helping you to deliver the most appropriate message to the right people, at the right time, via the right medium – all while analysing their behaviour, reactions and optimising the message they see next. The challenge for modern organisations lies in selecting the right one, so don’t make the decision alone, engage a partner who can help you through it.
Want to know more about Headless CMS solutions or find out which one could be right for you? Reach out to our expert team.