What does the future of content distribution look like when content is required to “splinter” across more and more publishing platforms?

The answer is called Content as a Service (CaaS).

As things currently stand, the same person (or team) producing content is usually responsible for publishing it. The content’s full original form might be, for example, a blog post on WordPress; trouble is, a blog post on WordPress is only a blog post on WordPress. If you want that content to be visible on other platforms, you have to re-format it for each platform and then publish it on each platform.

The idea behind Content as a Service (CaaS) is something we know intuitively: no matter how many different places you publish something, it’s ultimately the same content at heart. The service of CaaS is making this manifest in reality: rather than managing and publishing many versions of content yourself, you create one “master version” of the content and its transformation and distribution are handled for you.

Three reasons this is exciting to us:

It represents an evolutionary leap forward for CMS platforms. Many brands publishing content on the web will be using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress—but as we said, the trouble with WordPress (like any public platform) is that content has to be formatted a specific way for its intended front-end output. There’s no cross-platform compatibility in the formatting, and that’s why you have to create each platform’s version separately.

In order to work, Content as a Service does need its own version of a CMS—but something very different from WordPress. CaaS providers like ContentStack use what’s called a “headless” or “API-first” CMS, which means that it doesn’t have a front end; instead, the CMS acts like a private database, and content managed by the CMS is only visible to the public once published somewhere else. This is mega-cool because it could mean that CMS platforms are finally able to serve as true central repositories for finished brand content.

It saves time and allows you to publish content sooner. The time and effort required to create (the original version of) the content doesn’t change—but once you’ve done that, virtually none of the same BS will follow. Aside from cutting out time and hassle, it means that brand content can publish sooner than it would have otherwise, and with no loss of control, coordination, or quality.

This is pretty cool no matter the size of the operation—but it becomes increasingly valuable (A) as businesses get bigger and more visible and (B) as content plays a more central role in customer acquisition and/or conversion.

It creates new opportunities for businesses to reach customers. Tools like Hootsuite are useful because they help you coordinate posts across multiple social-media platforms; CaaS platforms should be useful in a similar but much bigger way. Not only is content production easier (because of the “one master version” thing), but CaaS platforms allow users to multiply their presence without multiplying their efforts. Even with Hootsuite helping you, trying another social channel means more work—but when your CMS/CaaS can adapt your content to other channels for you, you might as well try any (and all) that interest you.

So often, the formula for marketing success boils down to “try a bunch of things and keep digging where you find shiny stuff.” Anything that multiplies your options multiplies your potential—and if you’re producing content worth consuming, Content as a Service might be worth its weight in gold.

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