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CMS Selection Guide

9 must-have CMS features for media companies

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Media companies today are essentially digital publishers that produce and distribute all types of online content, not only on their own websites but across multiple social media platforms and other syndication channels. As such, having a robust content management system (CMS) can allow media companies to operate efficiently and deploy their content strategy. When it comes to choosing a CMS as a media company, you’ll want to be sure that certain key features are included. More so than a personal blog or even a small business webpage, a media company’s success is fully dependent on producing content that is both discoverable and engaging. To help, here are nine must-have CMS features that media companies need to create, publish, distribute and optimize their content.

Page-formatting tools

Whether you’re producing a news bulletin, a daily blog post, a quiz or a slideshow, look for a CMS that will let your creators format each content asset without having to worry about bringing in design or technology support. A good CMS will let you select from pre-built templates and themes so that users can produce customized content quickly in a deadline-driven industry.

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Lots of editorial options

First things first: You want your writers to be able to write, edit and produce using the publishing tools with which they are most familiar. So whether that's in Microsoft Word, Google Docs or directly in a CMS rich-text editor, certain editing and formatting features these days are table stakes. When it comes to the CMS experience, meanwhile, an editor or writer needs to be able to copy and paste text from Microsoft Word or Google Docs without having to worry about reformatting. From there, the best CMSs for media companies should offer all of the standard formatting buttons (like italics, bulleted lists, font size and color, etc.), as well as advanced options like embedding tools for images and video, being able to see tracked changes, leaving comments and spelling/grammar checkers.

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Simple publishing tools

Besides the content on a webpage, there are other elements that are important behind the scenes of a media company’s CMS. This includes putting pages into categories for easy navigation, creating URLs, tagging and more. Make sure the CMS you select offers the ability to automate these tasks, or at least makes them as easy as drag-and-drop or choosing from a menu.

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Analytics and metrics

Media companies don’t just want to put their stories out into the world and forget about them. They need to know if audiences are engaging with them. That’s why it’s crucial for media company content decision-makers to choose a CMS that displays analytics. Some have their own built-in dashboard, while others allow easy integration with third-party analytics software. Having access to various content performance metrics will help your team recognize trends and help inform and improve your strategy moving forward.

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Collaborative and intuitive workflows

Most media companies have multiple people working together to produce various types of content. Whether an asset involves just a writer and an editor or it moves through a complex team with varying levels of approval, a CMS should be able to facilitate the entire content life cycle. From assignment to submission to editorial review to revision to publishing, make sure you have a CMS that can track deliverables as well as assign and manage roles and responsibilities.

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Multisite management

Because many media companies have more than one website, ideally, your CMS should be able to seamlessly switch between each of your properties. Look for features that let you get a snapshot of your entire suite of websites at once and drill down into the specifics of each one.

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Content search

The bigger your content library gets, the more vital it will be for your CMS to have strong search functionality. Not only should you be able to filter through content using keywords, categories, tags and by date and user, but consider a CMS that lets you search for images and videos from external sources like Getty or YouTube as well.

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Social support

Media companies house content on their sites, but they are also typically active on social media. Content promotion across social platforms is a great way to get clicks and drive engagement, so find out if a CMS you are considering lets you schedule social posts and add share icons to your stories. This will save time, since you won’t have to separately log into your profiles to post individual updates.

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SEO tools

To ensure that your pages end up in search-engine results, creating keyword-rich page titles, meta descriptions, body copy and alt tags is key. SEO tools should be part of your CMS since they help ensure that each page is built in a way that makes it discoverable.

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To help your modern media company run efficiently and develop a loyal following, look for a CMS with all of these features—and more.

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