A couple of weeks ago I had a discussion with a recruiter who reached out to me about a content strategist role for a large web development company.
I have to say the interview didn’t go as planned. And that was because the “curse of knowledge” took a stranglehold over me.
They were looking for someone to implement the technical aspects of content strategy (ie. taxonomies). I proclaimed that I really like to focus on the strategic part – planning out content to achieve certain results.
After the conversation ended, I realized that had I just messed up big time. Not only did I not explain that I have plenty of experience with the technical aspects of strategy, but I also missed out on a good teaching opportunity .
Why “Technical” Didn’t Cross My Mind
The reason I didn’t even think twice about the technical side of content strategy during the interview is because I use WordPress as a content management system.
WordPress takes care of the technical so easily, that you don’t even realize you’re doing it.
Yes, I’ve designed taxonomies. Yes I’ve re-arranged menu items, forms and widgets to try and optimize how the user uses the site.
But WordPress makes this so easy to do, that you don’t even realize how technical these steps really are (I’ve had websites before WordPress…and it was a huge pain in the ass to move items around).
There will be people that nitpick and tell you that it isn’t a true CMS. But in my mind, you can spend your time nitpicking…or you can find the easiest way to achieve results.
Plus, there are a few plugins you can use to make the critics happy.
And for me, not using WordPress as a content management system is leaning towards foolish.
Benefits of WordPress as a CMS
Here are a few highlights of why I love WordPress as a content management system and why I think businesses need a really good reason not to be using it:
Taxonomies. Taxonomy is a fancy word for classification. A site taxonomy is really just an ordered list of pages and sub-pages.
Well guess what, if you want a quick visual representation of what your site taxonomy looks like…there’s plugins for that.
With a few clicks of a button, you can install CMS Tree Page View which will not only create a taxonomy for you, but also give you drag-and-drop capabilities to move things around. How cool is that?
Design. I like to use Headway Theme on my sites which makes designing a site extremely easy. Everything from picking colors to moving items around can be done without any coding.
Just as important for user experience, you can pick fonts, colors and sizes for your content.
Multi-User Support. One of the main benefits to having a good CMS, especially for larger companies, is being able to support multiple users at once. Of course, security issues arise. And a situation may arise where different people should have different access levels.
Here’s a quick fix: The Web Editor’s CMS plugin.
This is a pretty robust solution to turning WordPress into a full-fledged content management system.
And it gives you the ability to brand the back end! Bonus points!
Multi-Media Support. Using different media formats can really ramp up your content marketing efforts. Luckily, WordPress supports anything you can think of.
Audio? Why not! There’s people that post their entire Podcasts onto their sites with WordPress (and yes, there’s plugins for that).
Expandable. As you can see from my previous points there are a lot of plugins.
There is a huge community of users who also create a ton of tools. Some are paid. Some are free.
You can expand WordPress’ basic capabilities to perform basically any function you can think of. And you can’t beat free.
The Single Downfall
The single downfall I have found with WordPress as a content management system is there is no quick solution to keeping a content inventory.
There are a few plugins that allow you to make notes next to your content, but I like to go a little more in depth.
Of course, I created my own content inventory that I think is pretty good (click the link to pick up a copy for yourself).
So What I Should Have Said Is…
So in the end I missed a really good teaching opportunity.
Instead of saying I don’t focus much on the technical aspects, I should have said “I can make the technical aspects so easy for you that they become second nature.”
And when you don’t focus on the technical…you can focus on doing things that actually drive results.
Of course, that’s going to make a lot of IT people very unhappy.
Do you or your company use WordPress? If not, why not? What do you use in its place? What other CMS-focused plugins have you discovered? Do you think its foolish to focus your efforts on the technical side if you can focus it on creating results?