CMS resources
Marketing insights
Back to Marketing insights

Unlocking synergy: How CMS integrations propel marketing success across platforms

illustration depicting best cms integrations for marketing teams

With more and more businesses leveraging content management systems (CMS) to create and manage content, connecting the CMS to other systems in the business ecosystem has become paramount. And with good reason—these integrations can drive big gains in efficiency and productivity if done correctly. Let’s take a look at the importance of CMS integrations, as well as some strategies for how to tackle them successfully. When done well, this interoperability between systems can create a smooth flow of data and communication, uniting different departments and enhancing the user experience for your customers.

Introduction: The importance of CMS integration

Think of “integrations” as the process of connecting different systems. To put it simply, integrations create a link between two systems, allowing them to communicate. When it comes to your CMS, likely integrations include analytics, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, social media, SEO and so on.

By Nancy Mann Jackson
December 12, 2022
Whatever your goals are, there’s probably a CMS that can help you meet them. Here’s a quick look at six different types of content management systems to help you discover which type you need.
3 Min Read

Establishing connections between your CMS and these systems can have a variety of benefits to your business, including:

  • Increased efficiency: Integrations should automate simple, repetitive tasks, therefore reducing errors and freeing up your team to focus on more strategic priorities.
  • Consistent messaging: When the CMS acts as the “source of truth” for content, and the integrated systems are consumers of that content, you can rest assured that content is being presented and delivered as it should be across all your marketing campaigns.
  • Better user experience: Certain integrations can improve the experience of using your website for visitors. For example, an A/B testing solution can help determine the best layout for landing pages or the best language, say, between a series of headlines.

The benefits, then, come down to efficiency, consistency and a better user experience. So how do you integrate your CMS with other critical systems?

Step-by-step guide to integrating CMS with CRM

Let’s say you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get started with integrating your CMS and CRM. Here’s how we’d recommend tackling this project:
Stack icon
Step 1: Make sure the systems are compatible
First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure your CMS and CRM are compatible. A review of each platform’s website and API documentation should tell you what you need to know—look for a robust set of APIs and case studies of prior successful integrations.
puzzle piece icon
Step 2: Evaluate your needs
Next, identify your specific business goals and requirements. What do you hope to achieve with this integration? Then, be sure to understand what data points will need to be synchronized between the two systems. For example, in our CMS-to-CRM integration, we’ll want metadata attributes on content to be sent from the CMS to the CRM when a lead views content or fills out a form.
Workflow icon
Step 3: Determine your integration approach
In this step, we’ll investigate whether a pre-built integration will meet your needs, or whether a custom integration is required.

Many CMSs offer pre-built integrations, commonly called connectors or plug-ins. (Brightspot, for example, offers a complete library of out-of-the-box plugins to popular digital systems like Google Analytics, Mailchimp, Marketo, Shopify and many others). Take a look at the functionality of any pre-built offerings from your CMS; it’s possible your requirements will be met by an existing connector.

If your requirements are particularly unique—or if you need an integration with a highly specialized system unique to your industry—you will need to pursue building a custom integration, either leveraging your own engineering team or resources within your CMS vendor’s organization.
Queue icon
Step 4: Map out your requirements
This step is critical—here, you’ll identify which data specifically needs to be shared between the two systems. For example, when a lead is converted via a landing page, the CMS should pass the metadata attributes of that page onto the CRM—but which attributes, exactly? Is the headline enough for users of the CRM to recognize the content, or do you need the categories, tags and URLs passed along from the CMS as well? You’ll want to interview users of both systems to understand their workflows and needs.

This is also a good time to think about data synchronization needs—i.e., how often the two systems will exchange information. Should this exchange happen in real time, or is daily sufficient?

Finally, don’t forget about security. You’ll want to define user roles and permissions specific to the integrated data—should your editors have access to your customers’ email addresses (probably not!), as well as any authentication methods (such as OAuth) that may come into play.
Code icon
Step 5: Configure, build and test
Depending on the integration approach taken in Step 3, you should now be ready to either configure the pre-built connector, or to begin development on a custom integration.

Once development is complete, validation is critical. To validate, work in a development or staging environment, and ensure that 1) all data flows correctly, 2) no information is lost. This validation can take time—depending on your synchronization requirements—so be sure to build time for it in your project plan.
Rocket icon
Step 6: Launch, monitor and maintain
Once your integration has passed validation, it’s time to train your teams on how to use the newly integrated systems. Finally, don’t forget to include regular monitoring of the integration for any issues or errors—and be sure to keep both systems up to date to avoid any compatibility or security issues.

Leveraging CMS for effective social media management

By Nancy Mann Jackson
November 10, 2023
As digital content expands and customer demands change, organizations are forced to learn and adapt new structures of content management to effectively maintain their brand resilience.
4 Min Read

Another integration not to overlook is the one between your CMS and your social media accounts—establishing a link between these can add a lot of firepower to your marketing campaigns and social efforts.

A CMS can connect to your social account (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and so on), and post content to those platforms as it’s published to your website. Again, when your web and social content spring from the same CMS well, you can rest assured that your branding and language is always consistent.

Consistency isn’t the only benefit—by pooling your efforts in the CMS, you eliminate the hassle of separately logging into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and so on. Your team can schedule posts and track engagement from a single dashboard within the CMS. Even better, many CMSs allow for customization of messaging specific to social channels—so you can be short and silly on Twitter, and use rich visuals on Instagram, all from the CMS.

Depending on your industry, there are additional social integrations worth considering. These include social widgets that display your organization’s latest posts on your website, social authentication to power community engagement features like commenting and forums, and social sharing buttons on content, which let users do the work of amplifying your content for you.

All that said: There are many CMS and social media integration avenues you can travel down—don’t bypass this one.

Case Studies: Successful CMS integration examples

To illustrate the effectiveness of CMS integrations across disparate industries, let’s take a look at a few successful integration examples.
When the storied newspaper needed to replatform, integrations were top of mind. Critical to the publisher’s business were integrations with advertising systems, wire services like the Associated Press and content syndication, including social media, push notifications and Apple News.
With Brightspot, The Chronicle of Higher Education shifted from print-based to a fully digital-first approach. Tools to drive growth and revenue for the business include paywall metering, subscription entitlements and online account access and management. And, with the ability to manage all its online subscriptions and paywall processes effectively using Brightspot's prebuilt and custom integrations, The Chronicle of Higher Education has streamlined its third-party vendor dependencies and prevented duplication, resulting in huge value for the brand.
The much-loved Boston-based broadcaster needed to deliver high-quality, personalized content but designed for video and audio consumption across desktop and mobile devices. Leveraging Brightspot’s out-of-the-box segmentation and personalization capabilities—not to mention, audio and video integration—WGBH audiences received targeted content based on their preferences, along with access to a rich library of PBS videos and other content.

Conclusion: Streamlining business processes with CMS integration

As you can see, embracing CMS integrations offers a sea of benefits to your business—with efficiency and consistency at the top of the list. That said, CMS integrations are about more than convenience. This interoperability of systems is of strategic importance as businesses look to innovate, collaborate and navigate an increasingly complex digital landscape.


Related resources

Let us give you a demo
Hear how Brightspot can turn your digital strategy goals into a reality and see how the lives of your content creators and developers will be changed using our platform.

Request Demo