by Matthew Johnson
The last decade has been a time of radical change in content ecosystem. Users used to primarily consumed branded content thru one or few of “on-domain” channels like somecompany.com. This hub and spoke ecosystem focused on how to lure as many potential or current users to on-domain properties to consume content that conveys the company’s value proposition. Companies presented online users with emails, micro-sites, and advertising with the goal of getting as many users to click thru into their “walled garden” (large .com sites). Within these large walled gardens companies could leverage web content management tools to share/distribute large blocks of html and metadata across organizational silos. However, times have changed, the advent of web 2.0 and social media changed how content is being consumed. Walled gardens that follow traditional on-domain methodologies are being torn down and in its place are social media, open networks, new aggregators, API frameworks, and widgets. A critical success factor is no longer based on getting people click thru to on-domain content but how well content has spread virally across the Internet using a channel most relevant to a user.
However, many CMS solutions unintentionally bind content to specific channels of consumption, aka blabla.com. Content Types created in Interwoven, Drupal, Alfresco, SiteCore, and other products need to be strategically created to anticipate and plan for new and developing channels of content distribution. Content types needs to house semantic and simple content to alleviate distribution across news sites, facebook, mobile apps/mobile web, and emerging channels like XBoxes, Digital Signage, Set top boxes, podcasts, etc.. I see the issue over and over again, companies create a global content types to meet a current or generalized need and then start up the content production line using dreamweaver or WYSIWYG editors. Content which looks like it can be reused, cannot be reused because the content types do not provide the metadata, guidelines, governance, structure to give the content agility. Content should always try to be agnostic of channel. Content should be so semantic that is can be easily dropped and restyled using CSS or XML transformations. I can say it over and over again, its all about the content types and their hierarchies. CMS projects should not always jump straight into technical integration and performance testing. True performance is how you expand the reach of your content across the web, not drive to a specific site.