How to explain the concept of headless CMS to your team

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Being bold and innovative is almost a necessity for organizations today. As the digital landscape continues to evolve and new technologies become more widely available and used, the organizations that are the first to embrace them seem to be the ones rising to the top. As Forrester points out in How Innovation Can Make Your Firm More Resilient, “innovation leaders also tap new and emerging technologies and platforms more successfully than their peers.”

These innovation leaders have recognized that customers are demanding more from the brands that serve them each day. As a member of your team that understands the importance of embracing future-focused technologies, you know that your existing legacy systems aren’t cut out to meet these demands. 

You’ve done the research and have a strong understanding of what a headless CMS is and the benefits it can yield for your organization. The next step is communicating that value to key stakeholders in each department and getting them to buy into the idea.

Storyblok editing capabilities

Communicating the proof of concept with your team

Any significant change to how an organization does business should be accompanied by a formal internal communication plan. When change happens, it can create excitement for some and fear for others. 

As you consider testing a new CMS option, you must recognize that it will impact multiple roles, including sales, design, development, and operations, if formally adopted within your organization. 

In particular, if your organization is a newcomer to headless, you will need to invest some additional time explaining the concept of headless and how it brings advantages to your customers and the business itself. While knowing who to talk to and the benefits to focus on is an important step, you need a plan to secure buy-in and approach things the right way. 

Who should you talk to?

Investing in a new piece of software doesn’t come lightly for any organization, especially a headless CMS, which can sometimes be confused with traditional CMS platforms or be a challenging concept to grasp. As a result, you need to communicate the value and types of results you can achieve with a headless CMS to key members of your company. 

But who should you talk to? And what should you tell them?

C-Suite 

The C-Suite leadership should be the first stop when explaining the concept of a headless CMS platform. While expressing details about the ability to reach more customers through new digital channels or innovating much faster than before are good arguments, members of the C-Suite are likely to be concerned with how a headless CMS impacts the bottom line. 

Therefore, details such as the lower total cost of ownership and a decrease in unwanted marketing or technical infrastructure costs should be the focus. Also, highlight how a headless CMS can decrease the cost of scaling the organization to meet today’s ever-changing consumer demands. 

Marketers

For marketers, having the ability to publish content to multiple customer touchpoints is a priority, and a headless CMS can deliver on that promise. However, not to be forgotten is the ability to properly edit content using the same drag and drop and marketer-friendly tools that they may have become accustomed to with platforms like WordPress. Not every headless CMS can provide this type of user interface and has made it difficult for marketers to create and edit content without assistance. 

Explaining this distinction is necessary when describing how a headless CMS works. Not to mention how a headless CMS enables marketers to distribute omnichannel content to multiple channels. Plus, a platform like Storyblok includes a Visual Editor that provides marketers with the ability to launch and manage content for omnichannel campaigns without relying on developers.  

Content Editors & Product Designers

Content editors and designers frequently need to do cross-functional work to ensure that content production happens at the required volume to satisfy omnichannel campaigns. Having a defined content workflow like what’s available via a headless CMS provides cross-team transparency allowing everyone to identify who on the team has done what and what still needs to be done, ensuring that publishing speed can be maintained.

Sales

For marketing campaigns to be effective, they need to be personalized and appeal to customers on the channels they use. For the sales team, having access to personalized content assets that appeal to different customer segments is essential, and a headless CMS can help make that possible. With not only a content repository that stores content assets but the ability to integrate with a digital asset management (DAM) system, sales teams can locate all of the content they need quickly.  

Software developers & engineers

The developers on your team are likely to be the most excited about a headless CMS’ decoupled architecture and the way that it separates the backend content storage layer from the frontend presentation layer to provide added flexibility and easier access to more digital channels. Plus, the framework agnosticism of a headless CMS means that these developers can finally choose the languages and frameworks they’re most comfortable with, removing the restrictions of legacy CMS platforms. 

IT operations & security

Since headless CMS platforms rely on a decoupled architecture that connects to various touchpoints with APIs, IT operations and security leaders would be happy to know that this can provide improved security compared to a traditional CMS. 

Your Headless CMS communication roadmap

A headless CMS communication roadmap is your plan to get your stakeholders on board with adopting a new headless CMS. Here are the steps to follow if you want to get and keep everyone on the same page:

Provide an initial explanation of headless CMS for the entire team 

This should be a non-technical session setting out the key benefits for the organization and its customers. There should be an explanation of why a particular CMS platform has been selected as a solution provider for the proof of concept stage. At this point, you will also need to choose the project team for the proof of concept stage and explain why they have been chosen to lead the CMS concept testing phase. 

The basics of what a headless CMS is and how it differs from traditional platforms should be highlighted. You should also explain the general benefits for your non-technical and technical team members:

Non-technical personas: The ROI of investing in the platform, the ease of use, and the ability to reach customers on multiple channels. 

Technical personas: The flexibility to create digital experiences without restrictions. 

After that you can break down some of the additional benefits for each of the personas mentioned under ‘Who should you talk to?’.

Have a designer and developer breakout session

A more detailed session for designers and developers is necessary as it allows you to cover the technical elements of a CMS in greater depth. Such as outlining how the platform you choose can fit into your current tech stack, the work you will need to do to implement a solution. It also allows you to get any feedback about additional resources that may be required. 

Some additional resources that your designers and developers can read to get more out of a session like this include:

These types of tutorials not only allow your team to get an understanding of what they can do with a headless CMS, but they also enable them to get into the nitty-gritty of creating things themselves.

Provide regular updates

Implementing any new piece of software into your tech stack won’t happen overnight. Therefore as part of your communication plan, you will need to include times to provide regular team updates throughout the project, from the testing and demo phase, right up until a final decision is made on the platform of choice. 

Have a final debriefing

Include a complete project debrief after the proof of concept stage has been completed with a plan on how the solution will be fully onboarded on the team and when each department can begin to use the new platform. 

Storyblok: A Headless CMS for everyone

Explaining the concept of a headless CMS to key stakeholders within your organization can be a difficult task. However, by highlighting how each department can use a headless CMS and having a clear communication roadmap, it’s much easier to get everyone on board. It also helps if the platform you choose to implement can benefit everyone involved.

Storyblok is a headless CMS that works for both developers and business users. While some headless CMS platforms handicap marketers and other non-technical team members, Storyblok provides the visual editing tools and flexibility that enable marketers and developers to create better digital experiences. 

Content editors can create, edit and publish content with ease, and developers can rely on a component-based approach to ensure that content gets delivered to the right channels with the help of Storyblok’s APIs. 

Learn more about how Storyblok can keep everyone on your team in sync by reading these best practices for fostering cross-functional collaboration using a CMS.