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What does moving to headless mean for editorial teams?

Let’s discuss how moving to a headless CMS can empower your editorial teams to focus on creating value.
Romina Soto

Romina Soto

Jun 06, 2024
What does moving to headless mean for editorial teams?

Editorial teams can comfortably work with a monolithic CMS they are familiar with. However, integrating everything into a single and indivisible system can create issues for development teams. For them, the limited flexibility that comes with traditional CMSs can cause scalability issues and lock them into an outdated system that they can’t easily modify or integrate with external tools.

While the developers in your organization might initially encourage the idea of going headless, it can also positively impact editorial teams. Overcoming the learning curve of working with a new system is completely worth it. With this in mind, let’s discuss how moving to a headless CMS can empower your editorial teams to focus on creating value.

#Become independent of development teams

Decoupled architecture is one of the main advantages of a headless CMS. Separating the content repository from the presentation layer has many obvious benefits for developers but can also benefit editorial teams.

Once the monolith has been set up, editorial teams are fairly independent in performing their daily work, but certain tasks often require developer intervention. Depending on your system's configuration, it could be different things - like updating the contents of a carousel or homepage links, etc. - which can often slow down or obstruct editorial work.

A headless CMS allows for a transformative shift in content management. With the content being decoupled from its presentation layer, editorial teams can exclusively focus on adding value through content creation.

Hygraph has allowed the marketing team to make constant edits and adjustments and launch new pages on our website. After the initial launch of new pages, the engineering team is not involved in the day-to-day work, allowing them to work on more challenging projects outside of just maintaining the website. It ensures that resources are being used in the best way possible, helping the business grow overall.
Harrison StevensVice President of Marketing at Bellhop

While it is true that moving to headless requires training Editors to use a new system and relies on good communication with the development team to ensure they approach content modeling with the editorial team's needs in mind, after this is done, Editors can iterate their content in an agile and flexible way. Once the schema is built, they don’t need the help of a developer to create or even edit the content.

No wait periods, no delays, just content being streamlined through an optimized workflow.

#Reuse content as components

The evolution from traditional page-based CMSs to headless represents a paradigm shift. Content is no longer created with a specific or fixed layout in mind. It does not depend on a drag-and-drop interface that will grant some flexibility while also risking design inconsistencies.

Headless's modular approach allows the creation of predefined and reusable components mapped between the CMS and your frontend. These components can be building blocks to generate dynamic content creation forms that improve efficiency.

Let predefined components handle design consistency while your editorial teams work on making your content the best.

Traditional content vs. modular content

The benefits of this way of thinking and working may not be straightforward. Sometimes, drag-and-drop features of a monolithic system may seem attractive at first glance, but they drive editors away from their core job and make them spend time on design details. Reusing components and just editing the content makes your job much easier while keeping the design consistent across the entire website.
Dino KukicHead of Demand Generation at Hygraph

#One CMS - all your channels

Headless + multi-channel = Content as a Service (CaaS)

We’ve already discussed decoupling as one benefit of moving to headless, but another benefit is content reuse. Multi-channel content publishing allows your content to be delivered across multiple channels via API. Content can be treated as an independent service and reused across platforms without duplicating or adjusting its shape to different channels.

Content as a service means that editorial teams create content once and distribute it where needed. Again, the focus can be shifted to the quality of the content and to perfecting the message instead of having Editors invest time into adapting content to different platforms.

Traditional CMS vs. headless CMS

#Seamless third-party integrations

The flexibility of headless is extended by its capability of integrating third-party tools. These tools can be integrated into your workflow and help editorial teams work more efficiently. For instance, if your company outsources content localization to an external system, you can integrate that system into your headless CMS and have all your content in one place without manually adding it.

As an additional benefit, the ability to easily and seamlessly integrate external tools into the CMS prevents you from being locked into a single vendor ecosystem, making it easier to adapt to the future.

#The transition

Moving to headless involves a learning curve for both editorial and development teams. Good communication is key so developers can model the content, considering the editorial team's needs seriously. Without this initial collaboration and communication, you could later face the challenge of an inefficient schema that costs Editors time and slows down the content flow. This is an important transition that should be accordingly planned in a comprehensive way that involves all teams.

Once the schema is built, you must train Editors to use the new system. While this can initially be time-consuming, it is also an investment into a new way of working that will save everyone a lot of time.

The development team also gains time from this, which can be used to ensure the frontend stays modern, up-to-date, and maintained. Likewise, Editors' freedom to create, publish, and edit content gives developers more time to react quickly to schema change requests.

Our 2024 CMS statistics report examines how to future-proof content management for organizations. In it, we asked 400 technology leaders about the state of the CMS in their companies, and their pain points, and 74% of them agreed that improving the ability to expose data and content would significantly reduce operational costs.

#Everyone benefits

While this article focuses on editorial experience, the benefits of moving to headless can impact your whole organization.

Editors can create content without considering where it will be displayed. They can work independently from other teams they collaborate with, with content quality and message consistency as their main focus.

Developers not only have more time on their hands due to Editorial teams working more independently, but they can also easily adopt new technology, and scalability is no longer problematic. No need to invest endless resources into what will ultimately be small changes to a rigid monolithic system. Their time can instead be used to integrate new tools or improve components that will ultimately contribute to an even better editor experience.

Headless enables a future-proof, sustainable approach to content creation. It plans content beyond the layout constraints it will initially be used under, extending this sustainable approach to your system, which will face fewer scalability issues in the future as content grows in quantity and becomes harder to manage.

Sustainability also extends to your communication channels, which gain the flexibility to change and grow with a focus on content delivery strategy. Create new channels as you need them and deliver your existing content to them without delays. Content exists independently of where it’s shown, and the multi-channel capabilities of headless let you easily set up new channels full of content.

Finally, but also most importantly, a headless approach helps foster meaningful collaboration between teams rather than day-to-day dependence. In this context, Editors and Developers are partners who communicate and collaborate so both teams can work efficiently independently.

If you’re interested in learning more about what headless can do for your team and your organization and want to find out how you can unlock the content potential of your CMS, check out Hygraph’s State of CMS Report.

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Blog Author

Romina Soto

Romina Soto

Technical Writer

Romina is the Technical Writer at Hygraph. She loves creating user-friendly documentation, hiking, playing video games, and 3D modeling.

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