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SftB#3 Recap: The Evolution of Web Content

Kaya Ismail

Presenting to the hundreds of attendees who joined us for Stories from the Blok #3, Wordify, and DXP Report founder, Kaya Ismail, shared his learnings from almost a decade in the CMS industry.

Kaya began his presentation by outlining the foundations of a strong content strategy, the reasons why brands create content, and the driving factors behind “borderless content”.

Section titled The Rise of Borderless Content

To set the scene, Kaya detailed the historic role of Michelin Star’s content strategy, where the French Tyre manufacturer pivoted into hotel and cafe reviews in order to drive up demand for tires. Their campaign was a resounding, multi-generational success.

Kaya mentioned that similar content retains its power in the 21st century, but its nature is different. Instead of funneling content into a single channel like print or website copy, modern brands need to embrace borderless content, and the infrastructure required to support it.

In short, that translates into API-driven environments, where content, assets, and other information can be centrally controlled and integrated with, all while using APIs to publish said content across channels unrestrictedly.

Section titled Content and Experience Are Intertwined

Kaya then swiftly discussed the importance of content from an experience perspective, not just a marketing or sales perspective.

A digital experience is made up of components such as user interface elements, loading times, and the time it takes to complete tasks. But without content at all of these levels, there’s nothing to be experienced.

From call-to-action buttons on a website to Alexa’s response to a command, “without content, there can’t be an experience,” Kaya said.

This need for content is compounded for an enterprise company when you factor in things like omnichannel experiences, personalization, numerous audience segments, localization, and massive product catalogs.

Kaya argued that rising expectations from consumers in relation to omnichannel digital experiences pushed web CMS vendors to innovate on website-centric platforms and move toward headless architecture, which enabled front-end-agnostic content.

Section titled The Unbundling & Re-bundling of the CMS Industry

To enable brands to more easily offer consumers experiences that companies like Amazon were providing, the CMS industry underwent an “unbundling” process, Kaya stated.

Tightly coupled content management systems soon decoupled themselves, casting their front-end presentation layers, themes, and content authoring interfaces aside. This was what developers were looking for, an API-based CMS that isn’t tied to any one front-end.

The problem was, according to Kaya, was the missing content authoring features which marketers had come to rely on for creating, previewing, and editing content.

Hence, the re-bundling process began.

To re-bundle what was once unbundled, headless CMS vendors began to offer those familiar features, including WYSIWYG interfaces, drag-and-drop, and content previews. Storyblok’s Visual Editor is one manifestation of this hybrid headless CMS approach.

Section titled Headless CMS & DXP Funding: Where’s the Money Going?

In recent months, a slew of CMS vendors have announced the completion of sizeable funding rounds. Kaya posed the question of where exactly all that money was going.

With the re-bundling process underway across the industry, Kaya Ismail asked the audience to reflect on the vernacular used by funded DXP and CMS vendors when they announced their funding rounds. The focus, Kaya said, is on improving the user interface and user experience.

With developers already happy with their API-driven microservices architecture, many vendors are funneling their time and money into streamlining the marketer experience that was missing for so long.

From more collaboration tools to sexier user interfaces, the digital experience landscape is on the road to empowering content authors, just like it empowered developers.

“The goal?,” Kaya asked, “[is] better authoring and development experiences for employees, and [as a result], better customer experiences for end-users—leading to more growth.”