Putting the C in CMS

Previously I’ve written about how a content strategist can play many roles in a project. This is never more true than in a content management system (CMS) implementation project.

Although I once worked on a project in which we combined two corporate sites into one and moved the site onto a new content management system in eight  weeks, that was a rare exception (and a small content set).  In my experience, a content management system implementation project—end to end—can take well over a year and even up to two. And in my experience, the content strategist is present and involved from the first day to the final launch. Or should be, anyway.

A lot happens in that span of time and much of what the content strategist does falls outside what you may think of as typical CS tasks. To illustrate my point, here are just some of the activities that I led or participated in on a recent CMS project: stakeholder interviews, organizational change management, communications planning, content standards development, training, documentation, typical content strategy activities such as content inventory and audit, template and component inventory, tool inventory and audit, content source inventory, content flow diagrams (current and future state), template design, workflow design and implementation, governance strategies for content (including digital asset management), user roles and permissions in the CMS, auto-migration analysis, manual page build, content tagging, URL rewrite strategy, QA, UAT.

If you are part of or are planning a CMS implementation project, advocate for the inclusion of a content strategist to ensure that the content requirements and user needs—both internal stakeholders and external users—are reflected in the project scoping, design, and implementation decisions.

Read more about the content strategy role in a CMS project.