GatherContent vs. The CMS

3 minute read

It's a complex process to get content planned, produced and published. There are usually many people involved, lots of resource needed and technology to be considered.

Ah, technology! Those involved in content operations will likely be familiar with a Content Management System (CMS), the place where content is put in order to be published to the website.We hear from teams of all shapes and sizes, from Universities and agencies, through to Government organisations and enterprises, that they create and/or govern their content directly in their CMS.

The trouble is, most CMS' aren't actually very content friendly. They can be complicated, technical platforms that don't provide a good authoring experience. Whilst they are used to publish content, they really aren't made for producing, organising and structuring content in an easy-to-use way.

Good news! GatherContent is.

Reasons to use GatherContent instead of a CMS for content production

GatherContent is a Content Operations Platform specifically created to help teams plan, produce, organise and structure content for websites, before migrating it to a CMS to be published.Here are the top reasons why GatherContent is better for content operations than a CMS:

  • Start working on content sooner
  • Better content collaboration with suitable tools
  • Use a tool built for content people
  • Adopt a content-first process for website projects

Let's looks at these in more detail.

Start working on content sooner - before your CMS is built

You may have an existing CMS (that isn't fit for purpose) or be using your current website project as a means to migrate to a new CMS. Either way, there will need to be lots of work to do so the CMS is ready for your content to be migrated and published.

So why wait until all of that work is done before starting the content? Whether that's improving existing content from an old CMS or writing new content.

With GatherContent you can start to structure and produce your content right at the start of a project. This is where content, design and development work collaboratively with a shared understanding of the technology being used and how the content needs to be structured and formatted for this.

They'll be fewer headaches when the project reaches the crucial migration. Imagine that!

We used GatherContent at Parkinson's UK to launch a new section of our website. We were auditing and editing content before our new CMS was ready and GatherContent was perfect for this because the flexible page templates could be made to reflect what our CMS would look like. It saved emails, attachments and spreadsheets going backwards and forwards between users and versions getting confused. I honestly don't want to think about how we would have completed the project on time without GatherContent.

Samantha Hopps, Senior Content Editor, Parkinson's UK

Have content collaboration tools not available in your CMS

The CMS is a repository for content. It's not a place for collaboration and authoring. As a publishing platform, the CMS serves a valuable purpose, but if you try and use it for content production you'll soon hit an obstacle. Perhaps one of many.GatherContent understands the needs of authors, content folk and website project teams. It was built with collaboration in mind and so with GatherContent you can expect live collaboration and in-line comments that make discussing, reviewing and approving content an efficient process.

Because the authoring experience and challenges around collaboration were kept front of mind as GatherContent was created and continues to be enhanced, the overall experience of getting content done is simpler. GatherContent is much simpler to use in the context of creating and managing digital content.

Have a tool built for content people

A CMS is really a tool for developers and technical teams. That's not to say others can't understand them or use them, but rather they were created with a different job and purpose in mind that content creation.

What makes GatherContent a tool for content people? It was created with content production, structuring and collaboration in mind. Users of GatherContent can expect:

  • A clear workflow, with due dates and reminders to automate the management process
  • All your content, revisions and discussions around the content are in one place
  • Templates for structured content that can be mapped to your CMS
  • Ability to add guidelines to ensure correct content
  • Better collaboration (as we've already discussed)

Using Gather Content allows teams to put content first. But what does that mean?

Go content-first and have actual copy for testing and prototyping

If you wait until a CMS is ready, or until you reach migration stage of a project, content will have no choice but to be an after-thought. That means it will probably be rushed and poor quality, inconsistent and not formatted as needed.

We like that GatherContent feels like a website to use – that really helps us write and edit specifically for the web, as opposed to print. Plus it’s a much more user friendly platform for developing content in than our CMS – the more ‘final’ we can get our content before going into the CMS, the better.

Helen Leech, Senior Editorial Officer, Mind

If you use GatherContent and consider and plan content at the start of your projects, by the time you reach the design and development phase you will have some contextual content to work with.It may not be the final approved content but it is likely to be content that is somewhere between draft and approved which means it has context, until placeholder content such as Lorem Ipsum.

By being able to design and prototype with real content, this results in a better user experience and a smoother migration process when the content needs to move from GatherContent into the CMS ahead of being published (by the way, we have some excellent integrations with popular CMS' to help with that).

The right tools for the right job

Just like we strive to give our audiences the right content, in the right place at the right time, we also need to use the right tools to achieve this.

A CMS is needed to publish content but it isn't suitable for planning, producing, and organising your content. With GatherContent, you meet audience needs and business goals faster by reducing the time (and headaches 🤯) it takes to deliver content.

Use GatherContent to bridge the gap between your content strategy and your CMS, safe in the knowledge you're producing structured content and clean HTML ready for the CMS! Without any unnecessary friction.


Content Operations: The Guide

How to build a scalable and repeatable process for producing effective content.

About the author

Adam Hawes

Adam looks after the commercial performance of GatherContent. Ensuring they are building a fast-growing business that's delivering lots of value to their customers.

He manages the sales team at GatherContent too and as part of that he also leads their pricing strategy.

In addition to all of that, Adam heads up the GatherContent Customer Success team. Together they work on ensuring their customers are succeeding and getting great value from the product and service. Adam and the team try to achieve this by offering the best possible support at every stage of their journey with GatherContent.

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