From content ideation to publication: Demystifying the content management workflow

How do you transform content ideas into valuable marketing assets? And how can a headless CMS optimize your workflow? You’ll get the full picture here.

Lucie Simonova

Published on Dec 1, 2023

Content is king, and we’ll tell you why.

You see, most modern businesses understand the vital role strategic, compelling, and optimized content plays in generating leads and revenue. Forward-looking organizations also recognize that successful projects require a structured content management workflow to enable seamless and consistent output.

This workflow is the streamlined process that facilitates the conversion of content ideas into actual publications. It includes everything from keyword research and drafting to proofreading and publishing.

Content management systems (CMSs) support this workflow by equipping users with the tools necessary for creating, managing, editing, and archiving content on a website. These software platforms have seen modifications that have improved the content management workflow.

Over time, these software platforms have undergone significant modifications, such as enhanced collaboration features and improved integration capabilities. These changes have played a crucial role in optimizing the content management workflow, making it more efficient and user-friendly.

The rise of headless CMS marks a significant shift in the content management landscape, offering a flexible and agile approach to content delivery. Unlike traditional CMSs, headless CMS separates the content creation and management from the presentation layer, enabling content to be seamlessly distributed across various channels and platforms.

Let’s find out other ways that headless CMS makes content management workflows more efficient than ever.

The full picture: Definition and stages involved in the content management workflow

What is a content management workflow?

Content management workflow is the spine of every effective content marketing strategy. It refers to the systematic process of producing and distributing marketing content. Moreover, it involves a series of equally instrumental stages that control the transformation of content from creation till it reaches the target audience. 

Think of the content management workflow as a plan. If the content were a dance, the workflow would be the choreography that brings it together, guiding it from ideation to the final publication.

The stages of content management workflow typically include:

  • Creation
  • Review
  • Approval
  • Publication

The process begins with content creation, which includes conceptualization and drafting, and then flows to the content review involving collaborative editing to assess the work quality. Finally, the project is approved by stakeholders and published on the intended digital platform.

You should understand that content management workflow does not just revolve around the content to be delivered. It also concerns the application of technology in organizing processes as well as input from contributors, including writers, editors, managers, designers, and SEO specialists—each playing a pivotal role.

As such, the workflow is also designed to manage the teams and coordinate tasks by defining roles and responsibilities to deliver engaging and innovative content successfully.

Why is content management workflow important?

You already know that a robust content management workflow is the recipe for a successful content marketing strategy. But have you wondered why? Why is it crucial to organize and coordinate the tools, people, and content involved in the content production process?

Well, we have some answers.

1. Ensuring content quality and consistency

Having a well-structured content management workflow is necessary to ensure that the published content has excellent quality that resonates with the audience. Content quality is not a factor businesses should compromise on to make conversions. Consistency is just as important when it comes to the style and tone of your content because it reinforces brand identity and, consequently, trust. 

The best way to achieve this is by establishing clear content standards by creating a style guide and implementing a rigorous and bulletproof review system to enforce these standards. 

2. Facilitating efficient team collaboration 

Everybody has heard the saying, “Teamwork makes the dream work.” In this context, content creation often requires a collaborative effort from team members, including writers, editors, designers, and managers. Each unit contributes unique and vital skills to the project, creating a diverse skillset essential for producing quality content.

An effective content management workflow with coordinated tasks, clearly defined responsibilities, regular communication, and well-managed human resources will facilitate a vibrant work environment with high output levels.

3. Tracking content progress and accountability

When working with large teams of people, it might be easy to lose track of deliverables. Fortunately, your content management workflow will enable you to allocate tasks, track content progress, ensure deadlines are met, and stay accountable. Content management software is an excellent tool that aids this core tenet as you can set timelines, create a content calendar, and measure performance.

Generally, the purpose and importance of a content management workflow is to foster efficiency, accountability, consistency, and quality in the production, management, and distribution of content. These are instrumental to an effective content marketing strategy and will help your brand stay relevant to the target audience and drive revenue.

The evolution of content management systems: Enter the headless era

Content management workflows vary in complexity, depending on the type and scale of content produced. More technical content may require further technical grades of review before approval. To account for the challenges arising from these complexities, content management systems are useful tools for simplifying and automating content management workflows.

These software platforms provide a non-technical centralized user interface that allows for the seamless creation, editing, coordination, and distribution of content on digital channels. To use CMS, users do not need specialized technical expertise or coding knowledge because the interface is typically user-friendly.

Furthermore, CMSs are useful if businesses manage platforms such as websites and blogs with content that needs to be regularly updated. Beyond content creation and editing, CMS provides a structure for the hierarchical organization of content using tags, categories, and pages.

In addition, these platforms typically have management features that help track progress and changes made to the content, provide and withhold authorization, and set publication dates. On top of that, many CMS platforms include SEO-centric features that improve the content’s search engine rankings and are usually integrated with additional extensions or plugins.

Apart from the traditional CMSs, technological developments have given rise to the emergence of a new era of content management solutions – headless CMS. What does it have to offer? How do you know which to choose for your content management? Let’s dive into a comprehensive comparison to find out.

Traditional CMS vs. Headless CMS

Find the key differences of traditional and headless CMSs in the table below:


Traditional CMSHeadless CMS
ArchitectureMonolithic architecture that couples the back end and front endDecoupled architecture that separates the back end and front end
Content presentationTightly integrated with predefined templatesContent presentation is independent of content creation
Flexibility for developersLimited flexibility due to the predefined and coupled structure Offers high flexibility and versatility, allowing the choice of technology frameworks and development approaches
Content distributionPrimarily designed for standard web-based content distributionIdeal for multi-channel and cross-platform content distribution
User-friendlinessUser-friendly for non-technical users with a lower learning curve.Requires more technical knowledge, especially for frontend development
ScalabilityMay encounter issues scaling for diverse platformsHighly scalable and suitable for projects with complex content distribution requirements
Speed of implementationFaster implementation for standard websitesLonger implementation time due to the need for separate frontend development
API supportLimited API supportEmphasizes API-first architecture and supports versatile API integrations

The core difference between the traditional CMS and the headless CMS is architecture. Traditional CMSs operate on a coupled architecture that integrates the back end (code and content storage) with the front end (user interface and layout). What this means is that modifications cannot be made to the front end without modifying the back end and vice versa.

On the other hand, headless CMS marks a transformative shift in architecture where the back end and front end have been decoupled. Back-end processes like content creation and storage are completely removed from the front end (content presentation). This separation allows the front end and back end to operate independently, providing the software with flexibility and versatility.

A win for developers

Speaking of flexibility, developers tend to opt for the headless CMS for this reason. They have the liberty to use whatever frameworks suit their back-end project best without considering the frameworks used in the front end, which enhances scalability.

In addition, headless CMS is ideal for projects that need to be delivered across multiple channels and devices. Why? Developers can count on the headless CMS to adapt to the special requirements of each platform or device.

What’s more, developers appreciate the API-centric approach that the headless CMS operates on. This approach supports and simplifies integrations with other applications and platforms, making the system very extensible and adaptable.

Finally, the decoupling has also paved the way for the simultaneous development of front-end and back-end processes. While the developers work on the back end, the content teams can work on producing content.

It all depends on your project

The CMS you choose depends heavily on the specific needs of the project and your level of technical expertise. For example, traditional CMSs offer templates that might help with a more straightforward implementation for standard websites. However, as projects become more complex or start to be in need of unconventional functionalities, the adaptability and freedom offered by headless CMS solutions become increasingly appealing.

So, if your project requires a tightly integrated front end and back end, and doesn’t demand the advanced features decoupled architecture offers, then a traditional CMS would work great. However, if your project needs flexibility and scalability, you need a CMS that is capable of growing with the needs of your organization – in this case, you’re better off switching to a headless CMS.

Benefits of using a Headless CMS like Kontent.ai

Flexibility is the greatest gift a headless CMS will give you. It is the umbrella term covering many benefits that attract users to it. Using Kontent.ai as the perfect example, let’s take a look at the major benefits of using a headless solution.

1. Content distribution across multiple platforms and devices

In today’s era, your target audience doesn’t rely only on computers anymore. On a daily basis, they use their mobile phones, smart TVs, smartwatches, or VR/AR. What does this mean for you and your organization’s content? You must ensure that your content reaches your audience on whatever platform or device they use.

Headless CMSs like Kontent.ai empower you with omnichannel delivery that will allow you to meet your audience wherever they are at any given moment. With the capacity to create once and publish everywhere, you can seamlessly repurpose the same content, optimize it, and distribute it to different platforms and channels, including websites, mobile apps, and other digital touchpoints.

Omnichannel delivery
Omnichannel delivery will allow you to meet your audience wherever they are at any given moment.

2. Enhanced scalability without the front-end constraints 

Due to the compact coupling of the back end to the front end, traditional CMSs usually run into issues when attempting to scale up. Alternatively, the decoupled nature of headless CMSs allows the back end to scale effectively without being limited by the front end. You can develop and distribute your content output to many platforms without compromising quality and performance.

3. Streamlined content operations due to API-first architecture

Headless CMSs like Kontent.ai adopt the API-first approach that facilitates seamless integration with third-party applications, services, extensions, or plugins. APIs allow developers to automate tasks and program efficient content management workflows. This approach contributes to a more versatile and adaptable system.

Overall, utilizing a headless CMS like Kontent.ai comes with tangible benefits, such as omnichannel delivery, improved scalability, and streamlined content operations. These benefits align with the demands of modern digital marketing ecosystems where content versatility, innovation, and adaptability yield better results.

Optimizing workflows in Kontent.ai

1. Role-based permissions

In Kontent.ai, users can be assigned roles with special privileges covering different aspects of the platform, such as managing or viewing content. Clearly defining users’ roles in content creation is essential to avoid overlapping responsibilities, duplicated work, and overall wasted time.

Roles come with specific sets of permissions that are assigned to the contributors and stakeholders in a project. They are used to determine people’s responsibilities and limitations in regard to carrying out certain actions for the project. 

The responsibilities that typically require permissions are either administrative or content-focused. Intuitively, these permissions are necessary for the configuration and maintenance of the project.

Administration permissions are typically reserved for administrators and developers, including project managers. Only those assigned to change core properties of the project should be given these roles, as these users have full permissions over the subscription containing the project. Content permissions are left for the members of the content-related team, and they usually need to be allowed to take nearly all actions.

Designing roles for the content model, with clearly defined responsibilities, will help to clarify what each role entails and coordinate tasks for each role-player. These roles can either be named based on your position in your organization or their role permissions.

After designing the roles, creating and configuring the roles into Kontent.ai is the next step. To simplify it, set up the roles with the positive and negative responsibilities in tabular form. Content groups can also be used, which makes it easier for users to work on content and also prevents them from working beyond their limitations.

2. Content collaboration and review features

The nature of content creation is collaborative, involving all the contributors in the content management workflow. Having recognized this, Kontent.ai has come fully prepared. With review features such as inline commenting, content versioning, and other tools, collaborating is exceedingly convenient in Kontent.ai.

Comments and suggestions

As an editor or reviewer, you can use inline commenting by adding comments and making suggestions directly to the author’s work. To minimize conflicts arising from simultaneous editing, Kontent.ai locks the elements a user works on at a particular time.

Kontent.ai locks the elements a user works on at a particular time.

Once an author is done working on an element, it’s unlocked so that others can edit that element. You should also keep subject matter experts in the loop at this point to fact-check and approve content so that it’s accurate, consistent, and up-to-date.

Versioning

Content versioning is another collaborative feature that saves all the existing versions of content, allowing users to revert to a previous version when needed. With versioning, you don’t need to worry about having your content accidentally overwritten or deleted anymore.

Task delegation

In addition, task delegation cannot be understated. Using tasks helps delegate work to the relevant people and keep track of the work to be done. Reviewers use the tasks tab to assign these tasks, and the assignees can view all tasks and their due dates in the content details sidebar.

Using tasks helps delegate work to the relevant people.

3. Automation and integrations

Kontent.ai’s headless nature allows seamless integration with third-party tools and platforms, including marketing automation tools. These tools can be utilized for, for example, managing emails, browser notifications, and mobile push notifications.

Sophisticated marketing automation tools include recommendation engines, allowing the delivery of personalized emails tailored to your customers’ online behavior. With accurately crafted taxonomies, the headless CMS simplifies the process of suggesting relevant articles and other content in your newsletters and email communications.

Utilizing Kontent.ai, we can seamlessly transmit the collected data to the marketing automation tool, facilitating the aggregation of user segments and personas. The content editor designates the intended persona for each article, enabling the marketing automation tool to automatically display content that is most relevant to the visitor at every stage of the customer journey.

Overall, the ability to seamlessly integrate with external tools and automate tasks not only streamlines operations and reduces manual intervention but also enhances the overall agility and adaptability of the content creation and distribution process.

Best practices for setting up workflows in a headless CMS

1. Mapping out the content journey

Before content reaches the target audience, it has to pass through some essential stages—referred to as the content lifecycle. Understanding how content evolves from the moment it is thought of to the moment it is published is crucial to setting up a seamless headless CMS workflow.

The process of defining and understanding the content lifecycle could be the determining factor of how functional your workflow will be. The content lifecycle aims to clearly outline the details of every step in the creation process, from brainstorming to publishing and eventually repurposing or retiring the content.

The first major stage in the content lifecycle is planning. What kind of content do you want to put out, and who is the content for? Asking yourself if your content is trendy or evergreen or looking at what your competitors are doing is crucial before creating any content.

Strategic planning lets you keep track of each piece of content as it moves through its lifecycle. In the workflow process, it is important that every little detail, from underlying technologies and services to the instructions and calendars that guide the content creators, is monitored and accounted for to optimize the content creation process.

Another big part is content creation, where a headless CMS comes in and simplifies the job by allowing you to post your content to meet your audiences wherever they are. In addition, it also future-proofs your content for any future digital touchpoints to come!

In the creation stage, teams should define who is responsible for what in terms of developing content in each stage. Kontent.ai’s workflows definitely come in handy as they provide a structured path for communication and collaboration, making sure that all team members are on the same page and are able to contribute their expertise at the appropriate stage.

With workflows, you can take advantage of collaborating in one place without the need to leave Kontent.ai’s platform. With proper permissions in your workflows in place, you can make sure errors will never slip by your team unnoticed.

By having the option of multiple workflows based on different types of content and changing workflows anytime to improve efficiency, you can rest assured you’ll always stay flexible in your setup.

Kontent.ai

The headless CMS is designed in such a way that it is adaptable and scalable to a variety of content needs. This ensures that the content development pipeline for varying content production systems is lean and dynamic to facilitate swift content delivery.

The flexibility of a headless CMS opens up numerous possibilities, empowering users, teams, and businesses to focus on what they can achieve. This results in teams enhancing their productivity and concentrating on accomplishing tasks in the most effective ways.

2. Regularly reviewing and refining workflow processes

The dynamic nature of the ever-evolving demands of digital content requires an agile approach to workflow processes. Best practices recommend regularly reviewing and refining these processes to account for change. Adapting to changing content needs and team dynamics ensures that workflows remain aligned with organizational goals.

By instituting periodic reviews, teams can identify bottlenecks, streamline operations, and incorporate emerging best practices, enhancing the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the content management workflow.

In the content creation process, the goal is to establish a comprehensive guideline. This ensures that everyone involved in content development can easily access the content management plan, providing a centralized resource containing all necessary information to navigate the steps seamlessly from research to publishing. This is where the level of maneuverability and conciseness of the workflow is determined, and proper documentation and regular review of the process are necessary to ensure it remains as efficient as possible.

Establishing the right number of workflow approvals is also essential to encourage flexibility, as too many approvals can cause delays. Delays can also happen if there are any changes to team members or if they are absent for a long time. In that case, workflow adaptability allows the content creation process to remain fluid and effective regardless of any drawbacks that may occur within the process or among the workforce. Luckily, headless CMS is designed to aid such flexibility and adaptability. 

3. Training and onboarding

Ensuring the seamless functioning of a content management workflow within a headless CMS requires a dedicated focus on training and onboarding. To optimize content management, teams have to be well-versed in the tools and processes.

This includes training team members on the intricacies of the headless CMS and providing insights about role-specific functionalities, collaboration tools, and the overall workflow structure. Effective training and onboarding empower team members and contribute to a cohesive and proficient content management team.

As organizations embrace the versatility of a headless CMS, incorporating these best practices becomes crucial. Mapping out the content journey, regularly reviewing and refining workflows, and prioritizing training and onboarding are all integral steps toward creating a robust and adaptable content management framework.

These practices not only optimize current processes but also lay the groundwork for navigating the evolving landscape of digital content management.

What the future holds

To successfully navigate today’s digital landscape, a strategic approach to content management is needed. Looking ahead, the future of content management will likely continue to be shaped by technological advancements and shifting consumer behaviors.

As artificial intelligence continues to mature, content management systems are poised to become more intelligent and adaptive. Personalization will take center stage, with AI algorithms analyzing user behavior to deliver tailor-made content experiences. 

Although technology continuously advances, one thing will remain the same—the need for seamless distribution of engaging content across multiple digital platforms and devices.

As a headless CMS, Kontent.ai presents a lasting solution to this requirement. What’s more – it extends beyond the scope of content distribution. It supports and facilitates the vision for an adaptable and scalable content management ecosystem by empowering developers and marketers with tools that shape their efficient and flexible workflows.

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