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How to Update Your Site Faster in Times of Crisis: 5 Tips

Weathering Uncertainty: How Retailers Can Connect With Digital-Only Customers

By refining the way you use your content management system (CMS), you can add speed and agility to content workflows and keep your content current, all while your teams work remote.

Crisis drives rapid change. Across industries, we’re grappling with a communication challenge in real time. Commerce leaders face a unique need to keep a mountain of content current – all while their content teams work from home. You and your content team may feel it’s impossible to respond fast enough. But refining the way you use your content management system (CMS) can add speed and agility to content workflows.

Content agility in action

Commerce companies are doing an amazing job of delivering needed content to customers.

For example, the cosmetics retailer Lush provides prominent links to COVID-19 information on its homepage. Plus, it connects customers with a handwashing how-to article from its homepage. The article even includes an overview of how soap works. 

Clothing retailer Hot Topic uses a homepage banner to link to COVID-19 FAQs about store closings, refunds, and more. Digging into product pages, you’ll find available sizes along with the number of times people purchased hot items. For example, this Animal Crossing hoodie is selling fast according to the site. Retailer Madewell takes a similar approach, with store closure information along with shipping and return links featured on its homepage. Customers used to an in-person experience get fast information about the retailer’s online shopping experience. 

Content workflows under new pressure

Behind the scenes, many commerce teams that contribute content are struggling to keep up. Marketers, PR, and merchandisers all have more to share than ever. And executive approvers have more to review. They’re facing an unprecedented need to keep customers connected to the latest product, shipping, and return information.

Getting content published – even a straightforward return policy update – can take many steps and approvals. During a time of crisis, are you trying to carry out too many steps at a faster pace than ever before? Streamline some of the CMS-based processes you use to create and share content, especially product and other customer-facing content. Use these five tips as a starting point:

1. Empower the right people to update content

The people who create content should be able to update it. Train them to update content themselves with your CMS, and align approvals and workflows to support them. Cut back on the number of people who need to approve minor changes. Do you have a copyeditor proof the content on your staging site before going live? Keep that — it adds value by catching errors without taking much time.

2. Simplify product page design and update workflows

Look at your product page design and update workflows. You might find it’s a multi-stage back-and-forth between merchandisers and frontend developers. Look for opportunities to remove handoffs. If possible, let product teams update templated pages or page components themselves in the CMS.

3. Reuse content across channels

Your CMS may support publication to multiple channels, and you may not be taking full advantage of that capability. Being able to reuse content like banners across your storefront and in emails can be a huge time-saver, especially when you need to communicate with customers quickly.

4. Keep employee-facing content up to date

Your team needs to keep up with the latest developments too. That means empowering your HR and training teams to update content themselves. This example from NOW TV shows how simplifying training content creation processes boost internal engagement.

5. Share timely stories and expertise that’s relevant to your customers

As Party City does in this collection of at-home family fun ideas, you may want to share information that’s not transaction-related. Your blog is the perfect place to do that, especially if you’ve trained the right people to update content. Consider giving in-store staff who are now at home an online tutorial in blog writing. Your empowered content editors can help polish and publish insights from people eager to keep contributing from home.

Overcoming too much CMS complexity

If your content flows through more than one CMS or requires a frontend developer to publish, you might be thinking the above steps don’t apply. They do – you just might need to tweak them to your systems and capabilities. Just reducing one approval cycle or increasing the reuse of content (even if you have to cut and paste between systems) can save days.

Content is the conversation you’re having with customers. Understanding your CMS can help you make the conversion smoother and allow updates to happen in near real-time.

Do you want to learn more about how CMS technology evolved? Read What Is a CMS? 

To get more tips on navigating change, read other articles in our Leading Through Change series. Find thought leadership, tips, and resources to help business leaders manage through crisis.

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