7 top features B2B publishers need in a CMS

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As a B2B publisher, regardless of your industry, your job is to provide value to executives and other professionals through engaging digital experiences, print media, newsletters, events and more—and you’re always under constant pressure to do this effectively while edging out the competitors. Organizations that have embraced digital have done so by adopting a powerful, B2B publishing CMS. What are 7 things to look for in such a CMS?

A superior publishing experience

Though it may sometimes get lost in conversations about revenue, B2B publishers are, at their core, content businesses. The editorial publishing experience is extremely important to B2B publishers. Editors therefore must be involved in conversations about which solution you choose to support your operations.

When you invest in a solution that only has a content management aspect to it, but instead focuses more on marketing technologies or continuous resource management, for example, your editorial teams are suddenly less able to easily create good content, and if your content isn’t good, you lose your audience.

It is crucial to recognize how important your content is to your business and its cornerstone role in the customer journey ecosystem, which is why it makes sense to house your large array of publishing operations in a powerful, highly extensible CMS.


The wrong CMS can cause tech stacks to become bulky and awkward, with processes becoming riddled with lengthy workarounds instead of the seamless experience that everyone wants. The problem only gets worse over time as more integrations get layered on, and as different stakeholders come and go, they perhaps leave many of these workarounds add-ons redundant or orphaned.As a B2B publisher, decision-making on your tech stack is different than that for tech stack for a consumer publisher. Since you have many revenue-generating avenues that consumer publishers do not, streamlining and transforming your digital operations is paramount. You don’t just want an efficient publishing experience, but also one that includes crucial integrations, all while fitting neatly within your tech stack.Integration-ready CMSs:

  • Are built to integrate, extend and enhance all your relevant important enterprise information and systems, reducing context switching and driving down implementation costs
  • Integrate services directly into your workflow to increase speed
  • Include tools that your content teams rely on, from monetization to authentication to analytics
  • Include auto-generated UI for controlled management of third-party data in the publishing experience
  • Include integrations of new and emerging technologies in machine learning and artificial intelligence that streamline content creation
  • Include a two-way sync for published and integrated data sources

Digital-to-print publishing

Print publishing continues to be a significant part of the workflow for newsrooms across the world, but balancing print and digital workflows has been challenging for many. Failing to find the balance is costly, inefficient, and forces you make frequent and timely revisions.A good CMS will seamlessly integrate with print production systems, enabling more efficient coordination between platforms. It will also allow for bi-directional syncing and will integrate print into the content creation workflows you have.

Deep personalization

Personalization is one of the most important aspects of B2B publishing, and as with everything else, brings a set of challenges. You may have information about paying customers, but how do you reach new site visitors and convert them into subscribers?

Omnichannel personalization is crucially important. This is where customers’ behavior across various platforms is tracked and used to best reach users, no matter which device they use to access your content. If you’re only capturing what behavior a user has on your website, you’re not capturing all of their interests in your newsletters, in print magazines or at events. By gathering data on a users’ behavior across all channels, you can make more educated and accurate decisions about how to best convert site visitors into subscribers.

You can then specifically track the activity that you control, which can be passed to a data warehouse, like a customer data platform (CDP), which unifies all of your customer data across the variety of touchpoints and interactions. CDPs can provide a holistic view of a user’s behavior, which can be used to better personalize content for that user.

CDPs are very important to B2B publishers since they enable you to make informed and even predictive decisions about how to best engage your users, as well as how to best personalize your content so that it resonates.

Strong multisite and microsite capabilities

If you have multiple publications, it often makes sense to create a digital experience for each of them to better engage each of your audiences; however, this isn’t always easy for B2B publishers as you try to maintain an efficient publishing process and have brand control over all of the sites.

This is made even more complicated when you might want to create a new microsite to promote an event or an e-learning opportunity, which in itself can require significant development resources to launch. Not only that, but you may divide up your online presence and create more management overhead.

A good CMS will streamline these processes for you, allowing you to put more time into the planning and execution rather than the implementation. With tight deadlines, B2B publishers cannot afford to go with a solution that provides anything other than a fast, efficient experience when it comes to launching new sites or microsites.

Affinity behaviors

These days, many B2B publishers have to compete with social media for advertising dollars. One way to combat this is to make your web experiences more akin to a social media experience. This can be achieved by finding a CMS that supports affinity behaviors, like following, favoriting and liking content.

Driving deeper engagement with content at the individual asset level is key for B2B publishers since it helps users become more engaged with your content. Affinity behaviors, like bookmarking a piece of content for easy access later, give site visitors reasons to return to your site again.

Other affinity features, like commenting, allow site visitors to engage one another. No longer are they simple readers of the content—they are now participants in it.

Finding a CMS that enables these capabilities is a great engagement tool, and if advertisers see an active user base, you’re more likely to take back some of those advertising dollars from social media websites.

Leveraging paywalls

With live events on pause at the moment as a result of the pandemic, many B2B publishers are focused on revenue they can bring in from subscriptions, making paywall services even more important than before. You will need to find the right paywall model that best fits your goals.

The most basic paywalls simply gate the entirety of a piece of content behind a paywall, and the user must pay in order to access it.

Metered paywalls give users access to a certain number of full pieces of content before they must pay to subscribe and view all of your content. There is also a version of a metered paywall that allows users to view the first paragraph or few paragraphs of an article, but requires that they must pay to see the rest of it.

Then there’s the dynamic paywall, which you can turn on and off at different times. Maybe content is gated from Monday to Friday and free on the weekends, for example. Or, in a more complex scenario, you may know that a user is coming to your site for various reasons through cookies, and you may be able to identify that they fall into one of your segments, and this person has visited your site three different times. Because of this, and because they align with a customer segment of yours, you think the person could be converted into a paying customer; therefore, with a dynamic paywall, you can set up a customized paywall that allows the user to become a paying subscriber at a lower cost than the general rate in order to entice the user and make the conversion.

Finding a CMS that can easily adapt to whichever kind of paywall service you want to implement is important so that you can continue to be profitable while other revenue streams, like live events, are being impacted by world events.

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