The six key features of a successful sport CMS

17.12.19

by Marco Lorenzi

Finding a powerful and high-functioning sport CMS can be make or break, especially in today’s fast-paced world. Read on for six key features you shouldn’t be without

17.12.19

by Marco Lorenzi

Finding a powerful and high-functioning sport CMS can be make or break, especially in today’s fast-paced world. Read on for six key features you shouldn’t be without

It’s never been more important to get your content management system (CMS) right from day one – after all, we’re in an age where content is the key to unlocking profitable and long-lasting marketing strategies.

Choosing which CMS should underpin your whole digital ecosystem can be tricky, but it’s needed to help your organization to excel. Among the many features of a CMS, it can be quite easy to get seduced by fancy functionalities and eye-catching add-ons. But, you need to ask yourself: How many of these will you actually use? What is it that will actually provide tangible solutions for your needs?

Here at Deltatre, in more than 30 years, we’ve learned a few things about the key elements that sports organizations must find in their own CMS platforms.

Looking at how the world of sports content is evolving, read on for our summary of the key elements you need to look for when choosing a CMS in the world of sport.

Let’s have a look.

#1. Intuitive core functionality

When it comes to content management, many may assume it’s a simple matter of creating, dragging and dropping, before editing pages. However, don’t take it for granted, as this core functionality is not always presented in an intuitive way.

Blogging platforms often allow content owners and editors to manage and organize posts and pages by date and category. This keeps the interface simple and easy to navigate, but represents a limitation in functionality that can be quite frustrating. Especially in environments like sports where things move quickly and the importance of ‘being there’ when things are actually happening is fundamental.

The core functionality of a modern CMS sits within the space of content creation. As an editor, you will need to publish your content with the possibility to combine text and media, as well as to embed content that comes from external sources. And, most importantly, the workflow needs to be as intuitive as possible.

For example, think about that moment when you must break important news in the middle of an event – and before anyone else does. How long will it take you to edit the piece, enrich it with impactful media and push it on top of the carousel that populates your homepage? The quicker, the better. Fans are thirsty for information. They want it here and now.

#2. The editor

The editor is certainly a core feature that is worth extra attention. It’s the interface that brings the backbone of your content to life, and traditionally it has allowed content creators to add, amend, and apply basic formatting to the text. The majority of CMS’ have been conceived with the so-called WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor at their heart. This feature simply explains that content is edited in a form that resembles its appearance when displayed as a finished product, regardless of the medium.

The adoption of an easy to understand editor brings both advantages and dangers to editorial teams and content owners. In particular, when given too much control of the design of a page, editors can customize a page’s appearance to the point of impacting the consistency of design and branding. The CMS, in order to achieve this, also needs to mix design and content, when editors have one job above all: to focus on content and make it stand out.

The new generation of editors as part of content management tools take a slightly different approach, going beyond the WYSIWYG paradigm. Deltatre’s own FORGE, for instance, allows editorial teams to move through an interface that will let them focus on content creation only. They will use the editor to mark up headings, lists, links, and other elements, via drag and drop functionalities and an easy integration of external content into long-form stories.

#3. Platform-agnostic content

As said above, content and presentation should be completely separated. Editors today are better off with a CMS that lets them create content in an agnostic way, without being tied to one single representation.

With FORGE, editors can create content and publish it via an optimized layer of Distribution API. This allows a real multi-channel environment. Why is this an important element for a bespoke CMS for sports entities? The need to be on top of every single event – around the clock – requires editorial teams to create pages, assign templates, and include different modules, among other tasks. All without specific technical knowledge.

#4. Roles and publication workflow

The publication workflow is another element to be carefully evaluated before choosing a CMS. What about extra large editorial teams with several people involved in a potentiallychaotic process? The CMS has to allow the definition of a number of roles to manage access rights and different levels of features authorization. A fine-grained permission system ensures users have the necessary permissions to perform the actions they are assigned. A publication workflow needs to be set up according to a specific pattern that takes into account management and approval of content before its actual publication.

#5. Search and manage assets

Search functionalities and lean asset management are a must-have too. A CMS with a powerful search tool will help content creators to orientate themselves through crowded content banks. A smart filtering system to retrieve tags and specific pieces becomes editors’ main ally.

FORGE stands out for its simplified filter and search panel. With it, all the most used filters are just one click (or tap) away. After all, producing content on tight deadlines and working around the clock becomes crucial in order to retrieve information in a timely manner. The ideal CMS should be designed to help editors find their content in an easier way and play a key role in leading an editorial team to success.

A strong content bank encompasses a well-organized selection of images and media. Another strong feature of a sport CMS must elevate the quality of visual assets, both from an asset management and a customization perspective. Think of a basic editor to adjust graphics to your needs, cropping them and displaying them in a responsive way across multiple devices.

#6. Multilingual support

How important is it to present your content to multilingual audiences? We have the answer: it’s more than just a nice to have. Sports organizations and other entities are widespread across the globe and as a result are forced to think and speak in multiple idioms. A CMS needs to be flexible, able to support multiple languages for an increased accessibility, and therefore open more opportunities to monetize audiences.

It’s vital that your platform supports quick translations within the user interface as well as more complex translation workflows that involve third party tools. It becomes more intricate when organizations decide to venture towards non-Latin languages, such as Arabic, Russian, or Chinese.

Closing thoughts

The perfect CMS for the sports environment must take into account the six elements we have outlined above. Let’s be clear, there are other elements that content creators might be looking for, from the integration of third party widgets to analytics tools. However, we identify in those six elements key value drivers for a sport-oriented content management system.

We’ll dive more in-depth into the intricacies of content management platforms in the New Year, ahead of the world-class events that will keep us busy in 2020. In particular, we’ll ask our colleagues what their CMS predictions will be for the next 12 months. Stay tuned.

Are there any other features you think are integral to a sport-focused CMS? Join the conversation on Twitter or LinkedIn @deltatre.

Newsletter

Sign-up to get all the latest news direct to your inbox