19 Facets of the Best Content Management System for Publishers

The best content management system for publishers doesn’t stop at content or management

If you’re a publisher in business today – congratulations!

You’ve already navigated some stormy times and maybe even stabilized your core business. But the environment keeps changing. How can you respond to that change so that you not only survive, but actually thrive? What’s going to drive more revenue for your business?

Lord knows we’ve seen plenty of change in publishing over the last 50 years. We’ve seen major media brands brought to their knees, and sold for parts. We’ve seen hundreds of smaller brands sold off, or just plain shuttered because they would not, or could not, change their operations to meet the evolving marketplace.

What publishers should do next is not always an easy question to answer. Not every publisher needs the same things. But, we do know what functionality a multiplatform publisher should consider – arrows in the quiver, if you will – to be a success in this changing environment.


Below is a list of the 19 different types of functionality we’ve identified as critical for most 21st century multiplatform publishing operations working today. Most will probably either match your business today, or reflect an idea you’ve had for how to grow your revenue.

1. Web analytics system

You can’t run your business without data. To run a business accountable for its actions, you have to constantly review and analyze the data – in the dashboard of your email service provider, in the sales reports, etc. So much data is available now it can almost feel like cyber-stalking. But having as much data as possible about all the systems you run is critical for strategic decision-making.

2. Customer relationship management system

These systems allow you to store all your prospect and customer information and track what they are doing. You can also capture and store all the communications, accounts, leads and sales opportunities. Multiplatform publishers can have complicated relationships with their customers who buy a subscription, multiple single products, events, and who can be leveraged to sponsors as leads. A CRM allows you to share all this information with the different parts of your organization so your efforts are efficient and well-coordinated.

3. Marketing Automation System

Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed to allow organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online – email, social media, websites, etc. More importantly, these systems allow you to automate specific marketing tasks. So, you can nurture prospects with personalized content that leads to them becoming your customers. When used correctly, these efforts can significantly boost revenue by efficiently targeting prospects with specific content and marketing messages. It’s easy to imagine that a prospect who opened and clicked on an offer, but didn’t purchase, might get that extra nudge to become a customer with a well-timed, well-written piece of marketing copy – sent automatically to all such prospects. Most publishers use some form of marketing automation already, whether they are drip campaigns or some type of autoresponder series. These are much more efficient methods of making sales and getting more revenue into your organization as quickly as possible.

Bonus: Learn about Haven Engage, our marketing automation system.

4. Email Management System

Whether you send 5,000 emails a day or 500,000, you have a professional email marketing system that allows you to communicate to customers and prospects. This is an essential component for marketing to new clients, as well as communicating with existing customers. The huge amount of email people receive daily makes it more critical than ever to manage your messages correctly. The data on sends, opens, clicks, etc., is critical to managing your messages and keeping your revenue growing. Plus there are legal sending requirements that must be adhered to.

5. Lead Management System

We all know what a good lead is, and a lead management system is a system of practices designed to generate new potential customers, generally through marketing campaigns. Whether you generate leads for your own business or for a sponsor, you need a system to collect these leads and move them from one place to another automatically. Some publishers use this system to feed their own sales force and integrate this with a sales management and customer relationship management system. Others offer sponsored content designed to generate leads for the sponsor. In those cases a good lead management system will automatically transmit those leads to the sponsor on a routine basis.

6. Entitlement Management System

If you sell subscriptions for a digital product that is accessed behind a pay wall, you need something to determine who can have access, and when their access begins and ends. Ideally this also contains an auto-renew function so you can charge renewal subscribers without doing anything manually.

7. Digital Newsstand System

If you want to sell digital editions of your magazine, you can use a digital newsstand such as Apple or Google Play, or you can use a digital magazine publishing software provider. Digital newsstand editions are often the most visually appealing editions of your products. The segment of your audience that wants to access your content on a tablet will expect this edition of your product to have the same features and functionality as other products. To make this channel profitable you need a publishing and marketing system to create and deploy these editions on the most popular newsstands, as well as to manage subscribers and offer web access to content with their subscription.

8. Directory Listings Management

Many publishers have sold directories in print for years. As we entered an internet economy, people initially thought these products would just go away. But many people are still looking for a reliable source of information on products and service providers in specific markets. If you’re a publisher doing this online, you need a tool to manage and sell listings. Ideally, this system allows you to populate other parts of your website with “related resources” where you can publish these directory listings from the category in which the post is published. This kind of additional functionality increases the value of the listing – and allows you to charge more!

Bonus: Learn about Haven Directory, our directory listings management system.

9. Event Marketing System

More and more publishers have turned to events to grow their business when revenue from print and online editions has gone flat. Even in today’s digitally connected environment, people still value the networking and learning that comes from actually meeting and talking to people who share their interests at a live event. Whether you are running 25-person roundtables or conferences and expos with hundreds or thousands of attendees, you need a system to collect funds, send confirmation emails, help with online check-in, manage different prices for early-bird pricing and track attendee information.

10. Webinar Management System

Webinars have also become a low-cost source of revenue for many publishers. Some publishers offer the content for free to generate leads for their other products, or as a lead source for sponsors. Other publishers charge for their webinars, and they can be a healthy source of ancillary revenue. Either way, webinars offer the opportunity to reach customers that enjoy listening to content or learning from content better by listening than reading. You need a system to support registration and to work with webinar hosting providers. Ideally, you can also bundle other products, offer discounts, manage registrations and offer certificates through the same system.

11. Learning Management System

A learning management system allows publishers to create, edit and manage learning material. This can be an essential tool if you want to provide e-learning or ongoing certification courses for customers. A good LMS will enable you to offer the courses, register and accept payment, offer quizzes within the course, combine products into bundles, track course completions and auto-renew subscriptions.

12. Online Checkout System

If you sell one, two or three products online, you need a direct sales system for online marketing and payment processing. You can create great content and market it well, but if your online checkout system doesn’t work well all those efforts go to waste. Problems with payment types, complex processes, and an overly complicated registration system are common mistakes in online checkout systems. Many publishers with only one or two products to sell often lose customers when they opt for a shopping cart, rather than a direct checkout. Publishers get a better close rate when there are fewer screens to deal with.

13. Online Shopping Cart

If, however, you sell many products, you probably need a shopping cart system so customers can browse the choices you have in order to buy multiple products at one time easily. But as you have probably experienced if you shop online, there are some common pitfalls: the process is too complicated, sometimes it’s hard to continue shopping once in the checkout, or the information on products and total sales charges isn’t presented clearly. Any online business selling multiple products needs this experience to work well in order to maximize revenue.

14. Social Media Management System

Good online publishers schedule and track social media through a social media management system. Many already use systems such as Hootsuite or CoSchedule to post across social media platforms, but there are plenty of other tools. These systems can be very important for marketing and outreach to customers. Different systems have different levels of user-friendliness. Posts must be very easy to schedule. The system has to interface with the right social media platforms, and the reporting must be easy to understand and readily available.

15. Content Recycling Management

If you are like most publishers, you already have a lot of great content. You spent a lot of time and effort creating it, but maybe published it once and never let it see the light of day again. Refreshing and reusing existing content has become a key tactic for publishers who find they can engage their audience through multiple channels with the same piece of content. A content recycling management system automates this and allows publishers to bring older content back to the surface where it can continue to engage your audience and drive revenue.

16. Community Management System

Many niche and specialty publishers built online communities, mostly as online forums, to allow customers and prospects to discuss the issues most important to them. For some publishers this has resulted in a steady stream of user-generated content. It also has helped publishers identify new product ideas, or new ways to grow the business around a specific community need. A good community management system allows users to have one account to access the community as well as other content on your site.

17. Taxonomy Management System

Complex websites with a lot of content need an easy way for users to navigate the site. You wouldn’t build a library without some way of finding the content you need. When online content is structured and indexed taxonomically, users can find what they are looking for more easily. Building and maintaining a taxonomy has become a basic part of creating and managing web-based businesses. A taxonomy management system, sometimes called business semantics modeling, or knowledge organization, reduces the time spent building and maintaining the information, while improving its consistency over time.

18. Online Calendar Management System

Many publishers also reach out to their audience by listing events in a calendar on their web site. This type of system not only lists event details, but allows users to add the event to their Google calendar or export to another calendar system. Also, members of the community can submit event listings for approval by the publisher.

19. Application Protocol Interfaces

There’s a lot involved with managing content online. You need something to communicate all this data to other service providers such as your fulfillment company, your email provider and other third parties – that’s what application protocol interfaces do. Without it, you’d be stuck without any third party options.

Haven Nexus Is Built with Efficiency in Mind

Haven Nexus CXMS is a state-of-the-art SaaS content management and publishing tool built, owned and maintained by Mequoda to enable all the functionality that multiplatform publishing businesses need to be successful and profitable.

Unlike retrofitted websites with disparate systems that make customer service and reporting more difficult, Haven Nexus gives you a complete, central database that informs your marketing decisions and helps you maximize the lifetime value of each subscriber. We manage all the infrastructure, so you never have to look under the hood.

We’ve even identified the best partners so you don’t have to research software, email, hosting, and other functions on your own, or take stabs in the dark. When you put your system management into the hands of the industry’s only strategy-centric provider, your organization reaps the benefits of stress-free technology, content-focused implementation and ongoing profitability.

Schedule a 30-minute complimentary consult with Mequoda’s founder Don Nicholas to learn more about Haven Nexus.

What other tools do publishers need as we grow into the 21st century? Tell us in the comments section!


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