So you have finally settled on a content management strategy. Now what? Unfortunately, resources for the CM Pro are not abundant, especially those that will actually help you put strategies into action. While some of these that I've collected here would benefit from community feedback, I offer some knowledge resources intended to help you and your organization get the most out of that hard-wrought content management strategy:
A key recommended resource is to join a mailing list that discusses content management. You can ask a question and expect several answers within a couple of hours. It's the best tech support system on the planet--and it's free. They are kept spam-free by requiring that you join the lists, and by hard-working moderators who screen spammers trying to crash the party.
Weblogs, Forums, and Wikis
The next most interactive resource is to contribute comments and questions to a weblog, a forum, or a wiki. You can generally add your comments at the bottom of a news post. Although you should not expect an answer, you may start an interesting discussion. Forums are more likely to have a specialist answer your question, because they tend to have sections for different technologies or vendors. Blog and forum postings are aggregated in a CMS Community News clipping service at www.cms-news.org. Wikis let you edit their content, so your contribution will likely be edited out if it does not add something. The CMS Community Wiki hosts the collaborative authoring project for the interactive CMS Glossary. The famous Wikipedia has fine sections on CM and CMS at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/content_management.
Web Sites and Newsletters
Bookmark and browse the top CMS Web sites regularly. CMS Review, CMS Watch, CMS~Wire, Gilbane Report, and Step Two are leading resource sites and you can Google the phrase "content management" or "CMS" to find more. Most CMS Web sites offer email subscriptions to their newsletters, which are usually monthly reminders to take a look at the Web site.
Books, Magazines, and Articles
There are only a half-dozen or so important books on content management: Bob Boiko's Content Management Bible; Content Critical, by Gerry McGovern; Content Management for Dynamic Web Delivery, by JoAnn T. Hackos; Managing Enterprise Content, by Ann Rockley; and Web Content Management, by Russell Nakano. I would also include Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, by Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville. You can buy the whole lot for less than the cheapest analyst report on content management. Magazines like AIIM E-Doc, EContent, KM World, and Transform regularly publish on CM techniques. (A selected list of recommended articles is available at www.cmsreview.com/resources/articles.html.)
Directories and Buyer's Guides
When it comes time to select a CMS, you will need a directory that lists all the CMS vendors and developers. There are many of these on the Web, the largest of which is the DMOZ Open Directory Project, where 1,500 CMS are collected in various subcategories. However, the short descriptions are inadequate, so you must visit the Web sites for more information. My quick rundown: Google repurposes the ODP listings and arranges them in their own PageRank order, which provides you a clue to the product popularity. Yahoo has a strong new content management directory of its own making. The Business.com category seems very dated. CMS Review has about 350 products, both proprietary and open-source. CMSInfo and OSCOM each list about 80 open-source CMS. The CMS Matrix provides a comparison chart for about 160 systems. CMS Review compares 75. The CMS Directory is a European listing. A directory of 14 online CM directories is at www.cmsreview.com/resources/directories.html.
Tony Byrne's CMS Report and Frank Gilbane's Gilbane Report are the most highly regarded analyst reports. Firms like Deloitte, Delphi Group, Forrester, Gartner, Giga, IDC, Metagroup, Ovum, and Yankee Group have also occasionally produced content management studies and both Outsell, Inc. and Shore Communications are research and advisory firms that focus on broader content issues.
Conferences, Workshops, Seminars, and Webinars
Check out the calendar of national and international CMS events at www.cmscalendar.com.
While I hope this column will provide tips and tools to help you develop a content strategy, remember that it is an ongoing process that will require you to stay up to date on the issues, strategies, and tools that will help your content management initiatives pay off.