CMS; Content Management System Makeover

What did it cost to build your hyper local website: That’s the question I was asked from a buddy in the local news business. He needed a CMS, or content management system make-over. I replied: ‘about $750 in software and services to get it up and running. The monthly expense runs about $200’. That’s less than half of what a typical Broadcast or Newspaper operation pays to outside vendors & CMS companies.

My buddy was floored upon hearing that. He has a deep and respected background in local news. He’s always been considered a digital pioneer among his peers. Notably, he always had keen interest in my use of WordPress as a content management system.

We talk frequently about a variety of challenges and opportunities that local broadcast operators face in the online world. Many conversations revolve around the high cost and complexity of content management systems or CMS.

We both believe that one of the greatest impediments of digital success for local media, is the difficulty and expense of digital content management systems, or CMS.

Usually, only one or two people in the building really knows how to use the CMS. It’s either the webmaster, news director, or the marketing director. We think a content management system needs to be easy enough for almost anyone to use on a regular basis. And that’s why we endorse WordPress.

In 15+ years of consulting TV, Radio and Newspaper, we always found the website to be controlled by the wrong people. Not bad people, just the wrong people. We never saw anyone in the sales department overlooking the website. We rarely saw anybody with a performance-based compensation package in charge of the digital efforts. Far too often, it was a news director or a marketing director or webmaster. All of these execs were salaried. It’s painfully obvious that’s one of the biggest reasons why local media continues to struggle with online profitability.

We love WordPress because it simplifies & democratizes. No geek expertise is necessary. This scares the crap out of IT guys, program directors, and high paid VP’s of Digital.

WordPress is excellent for news. Just ask CBS or the New York Times. But it’s also superb for marketing, promotions, video, e-mail and sales efforts.

Most digital efforts are firmly in control by a non-sales exec. That’s like everybody sharing the same, dull pencil that was controlled by the one person who figured out how to use it.

WordPress changes all that. It’s like giving sharp pencils to everyone on your staff.

While traditional media continues to run digital operations like they did 10 years ago, hyper local websites like Brigantine Now and the Ballston Journal continue to grow both their audience and advertiser base.

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