4 Essential Content Development ToolsFriday, May 4, 2012
In last week’s post, I discussed three factors to consider when choosing a CMS for your chamber website. Today, I will continue to guide you in your search for the perfect CMS by identifying the most important content development tools for managing a dynamic chamber website.
Choose a CMS that simplifies the content development process by providing a unified user interface, a “What You See Is What You Get” editor, and a few easy-to-use tools.
UNIFIED USER INTERFACE
It takes different CMS modules to create different types of content (blog posts, news articles, photos etc). For some CMS systems, this means you’ll have to pick and choose different plug-ins from different developers, and learn how to use each. This equates to having learn how to operate several different software packages to simply manage your website.
You can save yourself quite a bit of trouble by choosing a CMS that contains a unified user interface – one where every tool is created by the same development team. Each module (blog, ecommerce, email marketing etc) should be consistent in the way it looks and feels. This will enable you to spend more time creating great content as opposed to racking your brain try to learn the way in which different modules/plug ins work.
“WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET” EDITOR
A WYSIWYG editor (“What You See Is What You Get”) allows a person with no HTML experience to create beautifully formatted web content. Rather than forcing you to decipher HTML code, a WYSIWYG editor allows you to work within an interface that closely resembles how the final product will look. And if at any time you do decide to tweak the coding, you can simply toggle over to the HTML view, then switch back to the webpage view when you’re done.
Now that I’ve discussed the importance of a unified interface and a WYSIWYG editor, I’d like to point out some content development tools to look for when choosing a CMS.
4 CRUCIAL CMS TOOLS FOR CONTENT DEVELOPMENT
Your chamber must be able generate many different types of directories. As your website functions largely as a resource guide and, it’s important that your chamber’s CMS enables you to create custom directories when you need them. Further potential directories are listed below:
- Staff directories
- Board of directors directories
- Coupon directories
- Interactive maps of businesses
- Business directories
- Featured businesses
- Restaurant guides
To rank higher in search engine results, you must publish fresh content to your chamber website on a regular basis. The easiest way to do this is with a blog. Look for a blogging platform that enables tagging, comments and RSS subscriptions.
The goal of your blog should be to teach your public about your chamber, its programs, its benefits and its significance within the community. Your community has little idea of the role your chamber plays, so educate them in an engaging and entertaining manner.
Newsroom (Your Online Media Room)
Your chamber website serves as a news source for multiple audiences. A good “Newsroom” tool will, to borrow a phrase from David Meerman Scott, allow your chamber to create multiple Online Media Rooms (Member news, Community news, etc) that feature multimedia content (including text, photos, video and audio).
The concept of an Online Media Room, as opposed to the old newsroom, is that it functions as your very own publishing space, designed for the media. You, as a publisher, control the wealth of your content, and should include audio, video, photos, news releases, background information, financial data, contact information and anything else that would interest and benefit a journalist looking for a story.
When anyone, not just journalists, want to know what’s current with an organization, they go to the Online Media Room to find out. Turn this room into a marketing tool, update it often and make sure that it is easily navigable, searchable, and visually appealing.
Keep your members informed of upcoming events by maintaining an interactive event calendar. Look for a calendar tool that also includes a “lister” that posts upcoming events on your chamber home page. Your calendar tool should also allow you to include event details – not just when, but also who, where, why and how much.
An interactive calendar is a great tool for making your chamber website user friendly and intuitive.
UP NEXT: CHOOSING A CMS, PART 3 - MARKETING TOOLS
I hope today’s post demonstrated how the right CMS can empower you to create dynamic, original content for your chamber. Next week, I will continue my discussion on choosing the perfect CMS by pointing out the most important marketing capabilities that will enable your chamber to draw in its target audience.
What do you think so far of these features? Can your chamber utilize them?