There’s one critical tool every blogger, content creator and online marketer uses, but that we rarely talk about. It’s the Content Management System, or CMS. From WordPress to Drupal to our own Summit Evergreen, content management systems are the secret portals that transport our content to the world.
The CMS never seems to get the spotlight it deserves, which is why we love this inside look at the New York Times’ own CMS, Scoop. Not surprisingly, Scoop is a complex beast of a system. It includes tools for story and budget planning, tracking changes and comments, multiple drafts, streamlined workflow, real-time collaboration, content tagging, photo and multimedia editing…and that’s just part of the list.
So why does the NYT Times spend the time and resources to develop Scoop over a customized off-the shelf CMS? Because in the digital world, your CMS defines not only what you can do with your content, but also what values are important to your business.
Sure, NYT could have used Word or Google Docs to do tracking, and then imported them into a custom plugin for Drupal or something similar — but at that point the technology is not an enabler to their success, but rather a hurdle preventing it.
You don’t go to the supermarket for great sushi (even in Japan!) and you don’t use a generic system for something that is core to your business. Use the tool that’s best suited for the job — so that the technology you rely on disappears into the background.
As NYT becomes even more focused on their digital presence, there are big changes for Scoop on the horizon. Integrated metrics, different interfaces based on reporters’ needs and independent mobile optimization are a few improvements in store.
The most heartening change in the works is “Digital First”:
“Perhaps the biggest change has been the reversal of our publishing process… Today, instead of writing articles in CCI [MS Word-based print system] and then sending them to Scoop, our journalists can create articles in Scoop and publish to web and mobile first before sending them to CCI for the print newspaper. We call this change ‘Digital First’ — a multiyear project that will make Scoop the primary CMS for both print and digital by 2015.”
Kudos to NYT for changing their technological tune. So many of us underestimate the power of a great CMS, and how the process of writing and managing content helps create a fantastic experience for the end user. That’s why the Summit Evergreen CMS is optimized for simplicity in building online courses. It makes content creation a breeze for you, and content consumption a joy for your students. Why bother with a system that you have to fight against when you have one that makes your life easier?