To keep up with consumer demand, businesses need to tactically rethink and reform the way they produce and manage content.
What you need is a way to stand out in the consistent content chaos. To make that happen, you need a strategy that can help:
- push out content intuitively
- transform disorganized assets into a comprehensive manner
- manage real-time collaboration effectively
And that’s where the role of a CMS is important.
Here’s a comprehensive guide to building the right content strategy with Drupal, focusing primarily on the technological aspect, which will help you build and establish the right notes with your audience.
You Need to Have a Content Strategy. But Why?
With an increase in the number of content dissemination channels, it is easy to lose consistency and easier to lose track of the larger goal.
“Pushing out content without being focused on the goal, its relevance, distribution, or the target audience is a waste of time and money – even if your content is amazing!”
The 2018 Demand Gen Report revealed that buyers are becoming more discerning and selective in the content they decide to consume. 88% agree that content producers need to focus less on product specifics and more on the value that can be brought to their business.
These key findings from the audience can be harnessed only with a well-designed content strategy. Which means by doing as little as creating a persona you get ahead of 58% of your competition (2018, CMI Report).
According to the same study, a whopping 97% of top performing B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy, while 32% of (overall) B2B marketers do not have a documented plan. In most cases, this means that they really have no clue what they’re doing.
Some of the benefits of a digital content strategy are:
- Aligns your team with the organization’s mission/goals
- Helps you figure out which types of content to develop and which will work
- Keeps your team focused on priorities
- Helps you allocate resources for better results
- Clarifies your target audience/s
Building Content Strategy With Drupal
Traditionally, the content strategy involves planning, creation, and governance of content. However, with an explosion of channels and proliferation of new devices, content strategy can not be limited to just website content.
One of the challenges is to remain engaging yet relevant on different channels.
This can be solved by bringing uniformity and consistency across the various touch points from which a user can access information and engage with the content.
“The goal of the content strategy must be to strategically fit the reader into the marketing funnel”
Drupal’s dynamic features at the core make it a perfect fit to cater to the needs of creating great digital experiences. Here’s how:
Unifying the Content Strategy Across Channels with Drupal
Often neglected, content governance is a detailed framework of content delivery and management which ensures consistent brand storytelling across all media.
Implementing a content governance framework requires different users (from the same or different teams) to collaborate with a distinct workflow and audit trail effectively. In the face of exponential growth in the variety and volume of content, Drupal helps manage, organize, and secure the content with Workflow and Staging.
Since editing the content on live site can also result in accidental publishing, Drupal’s Workflow module provides a separate staging environment . Drupal has an easy staging and preview of content in different environments anchoring full content staging capabilities.
You can define multiple workspaces such as "staging" and "live" which are copies of your site, to create content (or modify) and the changes are visible only within that workspace. Once the changes have been verified, you can "deploy" the content to another workspace.
User, roles, and permission: Security is important and that is why not every user can have permission to access the system of the website. Drupal offers a number of security modules which help manage and secure backend access.
With User Access Control, site administrators on Drupal can work to provide unique user experiences and different access rights to writers, editors, marketers, and site visitors.
The Workflow module helps in creating arbitrary workflows and assigning them to entities. That's important from a security perspective too. Workflow with the states like Draft, Review and Published can be assigned to Story node type.
Thus, only the users with ‘Editor’ permissions can set stories to the published state.
Some of the other Drupal modules which can be used are:
- Workbench Access module: helps in creating editorial access control. Admin can grant access to the users and their content which can be found at My Workbench on Homepage. It harnesses content-focused features in one unified user interface.
- Domain Access module: allows you to share users, content, and configurations across a group of sites.
Enterprise-wide password control systems
Password security is even more crucial and needs the right kind of strategic perspective with strong policies.Default password management could be considered good, but of course, it can be improved. Here’re some of the Drupal security modules that can be used to provide additional controls for password management:
- Password Strength: provides realistic password strength measurement and server-side enforcement for Drupal sites using pattern-matching and entropy calculation.
- Password Policy: provides a way to enforce constraints which must be met before a user password change will be accepted.
- Restrict Password Change: Adds a new permission 'change other users password'. When the user_profile_form is loaded it checks to see if the current user has the proper permission or if they are editing their own account, otherwise, it removes the password change option.
- Login Security: Login Security module improves the security options in the login operation of a Drupal site. By default, Drupal introduces only basic access control denying IP access to the full content of the site.
- Shibboleth Authentication: Provides user authentication as well as some authorisation features.
- Flood Control: Add an administration interface for hidden flood control variables in Drupal 7, like the login attempt limiters and future hidden variables.
- Secure Login: Ensures that the user login and other forms are submitted securely via HTTPS, thus preventing passwords and other private user data from being transmitted in the clear.
Digital Asset Management System: An important part of the governance is business workflow and common identity, which is significant for the smooth functioning of marketing. The CMS needs to provide the ability as a solid repository while also able to modify uploaded digital assets.
It should give editors the ability to make iterative changes to assets to enable promotion of products and brand across channels and devices. Digital Asset Management (DAM) smartly strategizes the way enterprises handle their digital assets.
The Acquia DAM Connector can sync your digital assets with your Drupal website, allowing editors to seamlessly use content from within all the websites you maintain. In order to ensure that the site is using the latest version of an asset stored, it periodically syncs assets from Acquia DAM via a cron job.
It also empowers editors to select Acquia DAM assets directly through a media field or through the WYSIWYG integration. Further, it enables the user to view asset metadata directly in the entity browser without importing the asset and provides a usage report of assets within Drupal.
“In the digital landscape, the creation of digital assets in large numbers is almost inevitable.”
Backup: Writing content is an intensive exercise. And so you need to have a backup to save yourself in case the website system crashes or is hacked.
Backup and Migrate: Back up and restore your Drupal MySQL database, code, and files or migrate a site between environments. Backup and Migrate supports gzip, bzip and zip compression as well as automatic scheduled backups.
Content Modelling with Drupal
Before you start building the site it is important to consider your content as a whole and work out a model that will guide you and the user to smoothly navigate through the website.
It entails detailed definitions of each content type’s elements and their relationships to each other. It also helps to identify the organization’s requirements, develop relevant taxonomy that meets those requirements, and consider where the content blocks and fields should be allowed or required.
Content modelling is a critical starting point for website content.
Drupal is an incredible CMS for building a content-rich website. Built on its entity system and the variety of field types, Drupal can support a wide range of content models.
At core, it is built on View which can help sort out the default taxonomy/term view however you want. Let’s you want a way to display a block with the X most recent posts of some particular type.
It can be used for anything that handles the display of views, and the core Views UI module permits you to create and edit them in the administrative interface. When you define views, you are interested in taking data from your website and displaying it to the user.
Breaking content types into fields, it allows you to build structured content as well.
Modules like Paragraphs and Stacks let you build rich and dynamic content.
Layout Builder, a stabilized module, in Drupal 8.7, empowers you to build layouts with ready-to-use multi-column layouts and Drupal blocks without the intervention of a developer.
It is unique since it can support multiple and different use cases from templated layouts applied to dozens of pieces of structured content, to designing custom one-off pages with unstructured content.
Here’s how it can be used in three different use cases:
- Layouts for templated content: The creation of ‘layout templates’ can be used for a specific content type. Example, blog posts.
- Customizations to templated layouts: Can customize the layout templates on a case-by-case basis. Example, to override the layout of a standardized product page.
- Custom pages: The creation of custom landing pages which are not in sync to any particular content type or structured content. Example, a single ‘About us’ page.
The Layout Builder is more powerful when used with Drupal's other out-of-the-box features such as revisioning, content moderation, and translations.
Omnichannel Content Strategy with Drupal
Users are always at the centre. Therefore, the content strategy needs to be as dynamic as your user experiences across different channels, if it is to succeed. Omnichannel content strategy is a way to unify the experience across all the channels and touchpoints.
Irrespective of how and where the content/ products are being first consumed at, complete consistency and unified experience is expected.
API First Publishing with Drupal
Drupal 8 is API-first which means, it can power ambitious applications of all kinds, from behind-the-scenes systems written in languages like Python, Java or Go to rendered experiences using the latest frontend frameworks, like React, Vue and Ember.
Content touchpoints are proliferating at a fast clip. You now have conversational UI, digital signage, medical and healthcare devices, and it lets you integrate with other systems, use your content anywhere, display it as you please. API-First Drupal is well positioned for entire digital ecosystems.
The JSON:API module, which is also now in core with Drupal 8.7, is meant for creating high-performance APIs to expose Drupal data in JSON. It works by creating API endpoints and requires no configuration and the module instantly accesses all Drupal entities.
This makes it easier for Drupal’s core ecosystem, of web services responsible for third-party content and application, to integrate.
Mobile-first and Out of the Box Responsive
Accessibility via any device needs to be useable too. Drupal 8 has been designed with a mobile-first strategy. The responsive design ensures that content and layout are scaled based on the viewport size available.
With Breakpoint and Responsive Image, out-of-the-box Drupal 8 ships with two modules that ensure mobile-first behaviour .
Responsive content needs to be modular and readable so readers can easily consume it.
Drupal for mobile lets you easily define different pieces of content for different devices. Each field in the backend can be uniquely styled and prioritized according to its content type.
Personalization with Drupal
No matter how good your content is, no one will bother to read it if it doesn’t talk to them, in their own language. Every content piece needs to communicate with your audience and increase the relevance of product proposition, by addressing their unique fears, needs and desires.
This orchestrates customer experience and drive engagement.
Personalization brings familiarity, which brings strength to customer loyalty to your brand, helps track demographics and behavioural patterns and convert an anonymous user into a potential customer.
Acquia Lift solves the challenges for digital teams, by bringing together content and user profile data from any source to personalize the customer journey in ways not previously possible. More than a headline swap or banner choice, Lift presents wholly targeted experiences based on broadly observed visitor behaviors as well as specific user preferences and interactions in real time with the very first engagement across any device or channel.
“And 81% of B2B Marketers (2018, CMI Report) believe that building a content strategy makes it easier to determine which types of content to develop.”
Drupal in Other Marketing Technology
New technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) among others are reshaping how users consume content. It’s a big opportunity for companies to produce and recycle the same content through different channels and mediums. All the while keeping people engaged.
Immersive experiences created by virtual reality is the “Next Big Thing” happening. Virtual reality has seen a surge lately, with constantly emerging in Gartner Hype Cycle. While it is rapidly approaching a much more mature stage, in the enterprise sector, virtual reality has already lots of scenarios where it gets employed with success.
For instance, educational purposes. VR can enable a lot of more experiences that in reality are not possible or too dangerous.
Here’s a demo video of a high school student, Jordan who explores Massachusetts State University (a fictional university, built on Drupal) from the comfort of his couch. Jordan is able to take a virtual tour directly from the university's website.
Another part of the futuristic technology, AR can be used to superimpose useful information in a shopping experience.
The demonstration shown in this video displayed a shopper interacting with the AR application. The mobile application of Freshland Market (a fictional grocery store), built on Drupal 8, guided the shopper through her shopping list.
Often, it can be a virtual nightmare for content producers and marketers trying to find the right piece at the right time. Even so, if the content is all in one place, time-consuming complicated systems can mess up really bad.
Drupal 8 provides a perfect foundation for the incorporation of technologies to enable a smart strategy for your brand, content, and digital marketing needs. Your organization might be at infancy or already up with your content strategy, you can always reach out to our experts who can help you deliver quality results with personalized experiences.