local media insider

Death by CMS?

Alisa Cromer
Death by CMS? Don't let this happen to you.

If this headline taps some primordial survival instinct in the hindbrain of media executives... it should.

The sudden rise of the "Plasher," or platform-based publishing company,  such as BuzzFeed, and need for infrastructure that supports, say, native ads, are just indications of how rapidly publishing  technology is shifting and how neccesary is a full-on strategic response.

Just as media culture needs to change, so does its software.

Examples abound, once you know where to look. For example, when travel purchasing is almost full automated, why haven't all the dominant media in destination markets added booking engines, as Deseret Digital has done?

One reason is that without progamming capability or an adaptable CMS partner, media companies are simply trapped in their own architecture. Or else move at the pace of their CMS provider which typically trudges at the industry's overall lead-footed speed.

The bright side of this issue is that investors have poured millions into each knook and cranny of the local market identified by a Stanford grad or entrepreneurial engineer and these companies are ripe for partnerships with media.

MediaExecsTech (see the vendor tab on this site) is an alliance of media executives who share ratings and reviews of the third party media technology they use. But there are also  opportunities developed by incubators in your own markets that are unknown and worth exploring.

The simplest place to start looking for "what consumers want'  is at opportunities to add online ordering and aggregate marketplaces to allow a single buy.

One opportunity we've written about before (and are continually surprised that more media companies have not adopted), is to add  PRLink, which allows visitors to post press releases free with a guarantee of review by the editorial team - or pay a small fee to have the release go live on the site, in a "pr"  area, for SEO purposes.

Full disclosure: LocalMediaInsider is built on a CMS  from the same company, Creative Circle Media Solutions. However,  PRLink seems to us  like one of those no-brainer "better mouse-traps" as a way to supply online ordering for press releases and a simple first step to  integrating and monetizing the most common form of user-generated content.

You could even call it native advertising, if you wanted to.

This week's report looks at another fundamentally simple idea: Memoriams from AdPay, which lets funeral directors take orders for newspaper obituaries and related products locally and across the network.  "Preferred partners" - ie; media who actually sign up the funeral homes in their markets -  can add 30% to their own obituary revenues and secure their franchise for the future by eliminating the option for funeral homes to redirect obituaries somewhere else - like broadcast sites.   Besides, this is just a better way to do it.


Who else thinks so? The Dallas Morning News for one. They have enough control over their front end CMS, Mactive, to integrate Memoriams so that entries don't even need to be rekeyed for print. 

So what's holding media back from pursuing these kinds of initiatives at speed?

Often, it's the inability and/or unwillingness to deal with changes to the CMS necessary to make the required adaptation functional.

In fact, many technology companies say that is the number one reason they get for the most mystifying  turn-downs: Resistance within the company's technology and/or editorial team to "taking it on."

Today, even prior technology partnerships in specific franchise areas also compete with new opportunities - they can make it easier or more difficult to integrate to adapt better functionality that consumers want.

On the media side of the coin, growing the technological infrastructure can feel like feeding a thousand-headed monster, requiring the ability to relate real world consumer preference to hundreds of technological opportunities, and the political savvy of a world leader to cajole, threaten and enforce the best result internally and externally.

But without the corporate will and investment backing, the technological infrastructure itself becomes a major stumbling block to transforming franchises and securing them for the future.  In short, death by CMS.  Don't let it happen to you.