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Storytelling and the role of a modern CMS

Christel Forey
Try Storyblok

Storyblok is the first headless CMS that works for developers & marketers alike.

When we think about a modern CMS, odds point to the rise and adoption of a headless CMS. A headless CMS is a back-end only content management system (CMS) consisting of structured content storage, an administration interface for content creators, and an API that allows different systems to consume the content. Simply put, a headless CMS stores content in a way that then allows it to be displayed through any medium and device, where different types of content can be presented in different formats to any customers and brands that are creating and making use of those pieces of content.


Want to learn more about what is a headless CMS? Find out here!

A circular graph showing how Storyblok works with other devices and supports other technologies

It allows omnichannel storytelling to take place using the same content, from one single depository with flexible publishing. With people continuously consuming content across multiple mediums and devices, your brand’s ability to tell your stories relies on the versatility that a modern and headless CMS is able to give. The question, to what extent can a modern and headless CMS and actual brand storytelling come together?

To understand this, let’s go back to the basics in understanding what storytelling actually is.

Section titled What is storytelling? What is storytelling?

Storytelling is not just the mere telling of stories through word-of-mouth anymore, but a common strategy amongst marketers and content creators - creating a piece of content and information that evokes an emotion, experience, and/or memory. The key to good storytelling is to make it memorable amongst passersby and consumers, adding value to the message you want to portray and tell, creating a meaningful and memorable experience. Storytelling has become liquid, moving with consumers, and becoming a part of their user experience and customer journeys, allowing a story to be created with the intent of building a relationship between the brand or product to the consumer, becoming experiential.

The lifespan of a story online, however, is usually short, usually targeting a specific audience group or persona type, distributed through usually 1 - 2 main channels such as a landing page and social media platform, quickly being replaced by newly generated content.

Section titled How do headless CMS and storytelling come together? How do headless CMS and storytelling come together?

Like two peas in a pod, headless CMS not only supports brand storytelling but to an extent, optimizes and empowers it. Adopting a headless CMS platform, such as that of Storyblok, allows your marketing team to create and manage content, without the fuss and frills of relying on IT development, allowing you to launch and publish quickly and deliver optimized SEO-ready of your content to any channel or device.

An illustration of a person using Storyblok to then move their content storytelling to multiple channels and devices

Section titled The benefits of headless CMS Storytelling The benefits of headless CMS Storytelling

Section titled Digital story experiences Digital story experiences

80% of companies that prioritize their customer’s experience have reported revenue increases. It’s no surprise that increasingly, the focus on bringing quality digital experiences to consumers is on the rise, and thus, a digital transformation in adopting a headless CMS that doubles as a digital experience platform (DXP).

According to Forrester, a digital experience platform is defined as one that “...provides the architectural foundation for flexible, agnostic core services to maximize scale, quality, and insights across channels and systems while delivering context-specific tooling for practitioners to build, manage, and optimize digital journeys on "owned" channels (web, mobile, messaging) and orchestrate third-party experiences (e.g., social, retail marketplaces).

In that definition, the main purpose behind a DXP is to drive brands in optimizing their digital customer journeys and storylines, and consequently, a consumer experience. With multiple ways of consuming media and content, the options are endless as to how a consumer chooses to interact with a brand through a number of channels. In fact, 59% of consumers enjoy having mobile-shopping as an option during their purchasing journey in choosing which brand to buy from. Providing digital experiences go well beyond traditional websites but also consider different mediums that consumers can consume your content and stories, such as IoT and mobile.

Getting to market as quickly and efficiently as possible makes DXP with a headless CMS is a key asset in managing and orchestrating all your brand’s content in one content hub, to distribute your story across different platforms and devices to provide the best possible digital storytelling experience to your consumers.

Section titled Personalization & Omnichannel Storytelling Personalization & Omnichannel Storytelling

Personalized content can be a hit-or-miss - a fine line between intuitive content that fits a customer’s needs and one that crosses that line spookily in knowing too much. Yet, brands are increasingly continuing to invest, with 89% of digital businesses of brands investing in personalization and personalized content for their customers and audiences, pointing to the importance of adopting personalization in your company’s horizons for your consumers - whether you are an enterprise or eCommerce site.

On top of that, 90% of customers are willing to share their data with brands in order to gain a level of personalization within their interactions, as long as that data is respectfully being used to channel relevant content at the right time, and place.

Marketing and content teams, especially, require a headless CMS that is both tactile, simple to use, and allows more independence in order to roll out their personalization campaigns seamlessly. Hand-in-hand, in using a headless CMS, personal data (with permission) can be made available through the use of APIs, third-party web service, and open data, to better understand your customer habits and preferences in order to create content such as through your UX/UI design accordingly to the way your customer interacts and consume your content. The separation between the front-end and back-end that is made possible by a headless CMS allows changes in your campaign and duplication of pages (per different versions per different audience types or persona types) at the touch of your fingertips without the need to involve a developer.

With a headless CMS, it is possible to create various versions of your website and landing page, going further in A/B testing different variations of that site to see which line of storytelling works best - something that is possible through the flexibility of omnichannel delivery for content delivered across multiple channels and devices.

A simple example of personalization points to localization, the ability to showcase your website or landing page targeted towards different international audiences in their languages - for example, Storyblok-made eCommerce site, Dear Sam, allows users to choose the country they are in, automatically changing settings to the designated language and currency.

Dear Sam Austrian eCommerce landing page

Get the low-down on omnichannel with our Omnichannel Marketing in 7 minutes article here

Section titled Flexible publishing and speed Flexible publishing and speed

Speed is essential in getting your brand story across if you want to stay relevant and in time with the latest trending topics and stories out there. A headless CMS, allows your brand to quickly upload and create new content, deliver and respond to the market accordingly. With content delivery being easier and seamless, it can thus save your company and brand in the long-run on time and money. Additionally, an API-first approach in a headless CMS, allows your brand to rank higher with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in Google Search results, while allowing you to additionally cache and optimize your content and images for fast and high-quality content that does not interfere with loading-times, thus allowing you to gain an advantage in speed, and focus on your storytelling.


Want the need for speed for your eCommerce site? Get our guide on how to optimize your site’s performance and eCommerce conversions!

Launching an enterprise-level website can be a long-term process, however, a headless CMS, allows the possibility to go-to-market within a matter of weeks without delay.

An example is Storyblok-built, Education First, which developed their global sites in 54 languages, in a matter of 8 weeks - once a task that previously took 4 - 6 months to launch to market.

Section titled Key Takeaways Key Takeaways

True digital storytelling requires a flexible content platform (something a traditional CMS does not offer) - a place to compile anatomies of stories and highly visual storytelling with text-heavy articles, with the intention to drive audience engagement and create an interactive narrative between a brand and consumer.

When considering digital storytelling in itself, this is usually in the form of linear headlines, subtext, photo, and body fields within a set page, yet, content management systems such as Storyblok’s’, allows the fluidity of content, untethered and therefore atomic to be moved around, reused, and recombined in various ways. Stories can then be repackaged using existing or new content, based on pre-designed templates and tech-stacks, and therefore making it easier to launch to market seamlessly.

A headless CMS simply, allows you to directly immerse yourself in your content on what matters most, telling your story. If your brand is looking to adopt a headless CMS for your content and brand storytelling, we’d love it if you could give Storyblok a try!

In the meantime

We’ve recently just published a comprehensive whitepaper giving you a good overview of the state of CMS, and how to make the switch to a future-proof setup