10 reasons I love Sitecore .

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I’m often asked why I love Sitecore so I thought I’d write a short article to explain my top 10 reasons. I hope you find it helpful.

1. Others don’t compare

When all is said and done, none of the other Web Content Management Systems (WCMS) are really comparable. None of the other WCMS in the Gartner Magic Quadrant really offer the same consolidated suite of features in such a compact and well thought through usable package.

2. Component/Object-based versus Page-based
This is possibly complicated to summarise easily but the best Sitecore websites are built using Helix principles and utilising a very component (or object) based approach. This means all pages on the site are rendered based on inherited templates and then a user can add components to that page in a flexible way. Essentially this provides a suite of tools and building blocks to create any page on the site in a very granular and flexible way. It also means any of those components can be individually tested or personalised. This component-based approach is quite a major difference between Sitecore and many of the other WCMS platforms.

3. Security

Customer data, Website Content, Analytics and Email data. These are all essential ingredients to any digital platform and campaign. With the impending introduction of GDPR next year, the need for a brand to consolidate data and be sure of its security and integrity is paramount. Sitecore is a robust, warranted and secure platform that minimises the amount of data repositories and is regularly penetration tested. So its a platform you can trust with your brand’s data and reputation. Could you be so certain when using multiple systems or bespoke applications?

4. One holistic solution - not a sum of parts

In order to have similar features to Sitecore, many of the other platforms have had to either add new features either by acquiring other software platforms or by adding new features that were not intended to be part of their original proposition. Sitecore was built from the ground up as a holistic digital marketing suite and even though some of the other platform parts may have additional (or even superior) features, they are not so well integrated and are less usable as a result.

5. Built for marketers

Many CMS platforms are applauded and loved by developers and our developers love Sitecore. However to achieve commercial success it is essential that it meets the needs of the business as a whole. When it comes to a website it is quite often the marketing or customer services department that really ‘own’ the website and they want to be in control. Sitecore’s flexible framework and workflows not only empower non-technical people to be able to make changes without developer assistance but it will also be done in a way the the Head of IT will be happy with too. Equally because it is a consolidated platform rather than lots of systems bolted together it is easier to analyse and report on user activity and turn that insight in to actionable outcomes.

6. We chose it
Before Sagittarius chose to become a Sitecore partner we had our own WCMS that we had developed for nearly 10 years and had nearly 100 customers using it. When we decided to cease developing our platform but to align ourselves with a market leader instead, we spent a lot of time evaluating the options. We chose Sitecore for many of the reasons outlined in this article but we also chose it because we thought it was the best platform for us to be able help customers achieve their business goals. We had no allegiances, no technical restrictions and no fixed budget, we simply went for the platform that we thought was the best. And in my opinion I still think it is.

7. Consistently evolving
As outlined above, we chose Sitecore initially as it seemed the platform that was moving with the market (or perhaps ahead of it) and that to some degree future proofed our decision. Having worked with Sitecore for the last 4 years, I can confirm that they have never failed to deliver on that promise. They have consistently continued to develop and improve the platform, add new features, respond to market conditions and keep us and our customers ahead of the curve.

8. Anything is always possible without a re-platform
One of the topics often discussed with a customer is what their long term plans are. Whilst most have a rough idea it would be true to say it can often be a bit ‘vague’ on the detail. So how can we plan for future demands on the platform with confidence? Through our experience here and Sagittarius and one quick look at the Sitecore website to see the bands that are using it there is no doubt that Sitecore has what it takes. The Sitecore platform is so scaleable and ready for the most complexed of digital challenges I am always happy to reassure customers that ‘whatever’ the future holds, Sitecore will still be a solid foundation on which to build it and you will not need to re-platform in a few years because you have out-grown it.

9. Email marketing suite
Sitecore’s powerful email broadcasting suite is often overlooked despite its power. It offers an impressive range of features comparable with some of the standalone providers but its all integrated in to the one platform. This makes it much easier to build emailers in the first place but also much easier to test and track their success. Also keeping all that data in one place makes it easier to control users contact preferences and data security - a key business problem for many, particularly with the pending General Data Protection Regulation coming in next May.

10. Cost effective compared to other enterprise level solutions
Sitecore is a premium product and as per my first paragraph not really comparable with other platforms. Its power and greatness comes at a price but in my opinion one that offers great value if its what you need. Whilst there are WCMS platforms out there that have lower license costs (or are even free), if you look at the real cost of an open source CMS then add on the cost of running ‘bolt on’ tools like Campaign Monitor, MailChip, Qubit, Optiizely, Marketo etc. for example you might be surprised to learn Sitecore is often the cheaper option - and you get a whole lot more to boot.

There are of course more than 10 reasons and for each of these 10 there is plenty more detail to add but hopefully this article gives you the highlights and enables you to make an informed choice. If you’d like to discuss anything in this article then please contact me via any of the channels below or email me on hello@sagittarius.agency

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
Paul Stephen
Paul Stephen
Co-Founder & Joint CEO
With over 25 years in marketing, Paul is one of the UK's leading experts on digital marketing. He oversees the agency and often lectures and consults within the industry on digital and marketing related subjects and has a particular interest and skills in the travel and tourism sectors.

Paul operates nationally and internationally, helping brands to think outside the traditional horizontal and vertical channels and transform their business with creative multi-channel marketing and digital re-invention.
Paul Stephen

Paul Stephen

15 Sep 2017 - 5 minute read
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