Managing Your Content Management System

Monday, March 15, 2010
Alex Will – Spoonfed Media
Henry Erskine Crum – Spoonfed Media

An effective content management system is a must for any content-based web service. This technical session will discuss elements of designing and building a custom CMS that leverages technology and existing web data from sources such as Flickr and Wikipedia to automate research and increase time spent writing original content.

  • Most important factors when making a decision about a CMS: context of your content business and process of content production.
  • Tools to evaluate what CMS you need for your business
  • "A computer based system that allows one or more people to manage the online publication, storage and display of content."

Many CMS systems out there for many different types of content (from many sources). The focus of these will be mainly people-created editorial content.

The production process
This process is very important and often overlooked.

Data collection (going out and getting the raw data) >
Workflow management (assigning tasks and divvy up labor) >
Research (follow up with different sources) >
Write >
Review >

Why did we go down the custom CMS route?

  • Events are a moving target with a finite shelf-life
  • Incentive structure for UGC in events is small
  • Opinionated content for target market

What didn’t matter?

  • Amount of data (most CMSs can handle all amounts of data)
  • Size of web site
  • Complexity of idea

What did matter?

  • Data aggregation from multiple sources
  • Workflow management between editors
  • Reducing research time per event
  • Search Engine Optimization (made it really easy in the system)
  • Lead generation and contact management

Getting the raw data:

  • Automate and aggregate non-editorial elements (have it easy to access and it comes together somewhat automatically)
  • Create different processes for different parts of the information
  • Dealing with issues of quality and duplication (example: deciding what news stories to write real-time)

Workflow management

  • Dividing tasks, vertically segmenting, prioritizing and assigning responsibility
  • Incorporate automated steps into workflow process
  • Reduce or remove the time that is spent by humans prioritizing the information (bigger events need longer lead time)

Reducing research time: the golden ratio

  • Give editors research resources without leaving the page: wikipedia, flickr, and google news
  • Rise of real-time news as part of this process increases relevancy and quality
  • Re-purposing data

Thinking about SEO

  • Tools to aid editors in the production of content for SEO (keyword research)
  • Suggested linking (try to pull in other pages inside or outside similar links to make it as efficient as possible)
  • Major benefits if you’re not using off-the-shelf systems

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