Content Can’t Conquer without a CMS

While it is very true that content is king, be it on desktop, tablet, mobile or television, that king must come in a vehicle of some sort. There’s got to be a way to get him from his castle to the people. Nearly everyone writing, producing, filming, collaborating on or curating content uses some form of CMS.

I’ve worked for many years in the digital space. Almost 5 of those years were spent as a content manager. I learned to pay close attention to what content I was posting, where it should go and its purpose in the greater strategy of the sites I worked on, but I feel like I missed a big part of the picture: While I made requests of our development team, I could never really take control of our unruly, clunky and pieced-together CMS.

I had to make workarounds, look for loop holes in the page requirements that would make the impossible possible. I had to make the content fit the CMS structure. Our pages, our content, lived in a somewhat static box. We could say it with words, but only a limited amount of characters. We could say it with an image, but only if it fit within the confines of the page. As a content manager, I learned to find ways around the rules, but never really got to revolutionize the site because of the limitations of its CMS.

With my experience working on a poorly built CMS, I’ve been excited to learn about Vox Media’s platform for publishing on their sites, Chorus. It is beyond a content management system; it is an evolved and forward thinking media stack for large scale user bases and heavy 24 hour use. Used on Vox’s sites like The Verge, Polygon, SB Nation communities across the country and of course, freshly launched, Chorus allows for maximum customization and developmental flexibility.

Chorus improves on the content production and publication experience for some of its most critical users: its writers. The journalists that craft and create the quality product participate in shaping how Chorus is used and how it works. Add to that the voices of the communities and brand partners, and you’ve got thousands of voices that make this beautiful music each and every day. “We’ve named it for what it enables — a convergence of individual voices combined in unison for unique effect,” says Cheif Product Officer Terri Brundrett.

Vox is shaping the future is through its content creation features. Sometimes adding the data points for a piece can take longer than writing the article itself. As an author writes, Chorus scans the content for keywords and automatically tags the story as it’s written. It can even identify related terms that might fit the story as well.  A bookmarking tool allows the writer to save links to photos, videos and pages from around the web and easily insert them into stories as they write. And Chorus has image-suggestion tools that bring up approved, relevant imagery from around the web straight to the piece as its being written. Smart and time-saving. And this is just the beginning.

Eric Eldon at Tech Crunch got the inside scoop when Vox Media first launched Chorus and can take you through the platform step by step: A Closer Look at Chorus from Tech Crunch. And CEO Jim Bankoff speaks on the attraction of Chorus from in a recent New York Times article after was launched: “for this generation of talent, which grew up digitally, having the proper tools to ply their craft is essential. Being able to offer them the best possible platform to achieve their goals is a great advantage.”

I look forward to this emerging generation of media companies that believe in investing in their technology as much as they invest in their content. Writes and developers working side by side to make the web work for everyone is more than just a sunny outlook. It’s becoming reality. Let’s become a part of it.

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