As cliche as it may sound, content is indeed king. Without high-quality content, you can throw all your digital marketing efforts out the window. Let’s put it like this: content is what makes the digital marketing world go round.
While digital marketing experts may disagree on a lot of fronts, they all agree on the importance of content. Content is the backbone of all your online operations. It adds value where there’s none and brings fortune in return by helping you scale your business. Given its importance, you must keep your content safely stored at all times.
Can a content database store your precious content? Does it play any role in scaling your business? What is its importance in building a comprehensive internet marketing plan? For answers to these and other questions, keep reading!
What Is a Content Database?
Let’s get technical: content in the term content database is defined as a sum of data plus context. To better understand this equation, think of your website as the main data. Without context, your website, i.e., data, is virtually empty. To fill it, you need context, and context is anything that supports the functionality of your website. Here are a few examples of context:
• The last edits on certain pages on your website
• Different variants of the same web page
• Market segments that the web page is intended to target
From the example above, it’s easy to conclude that you need context if you’re building a website. While you’ll still manage to create one without it by using a traditional online database and only data, a content database is a better tool for building not only websites but any application.
Essentially, it doesn’t differ much from traditional databases. However, it builds upon the idea of a standard database and provides users with additional tools and features. These add-ons further simplify the process of building and supporting content-driven applications.
From a developer’s point of view, content databases are a hundred light years ahead of traditional databases. The reasoning behind this is simple; they come with features that traditional ones lack, such as:
• Content organization
• Content revisioning
• Workflow organization
• Role assignation
All these properties are regular requirements in modern content-driven applications. As mentioned, a standard online database doesn’t have these built-in features, which means a database maker i.e. developer will have to develop them manually. But, let’s leave that to whom it may concern.
Below, we’ll bring the idea of a content database closer to you by speaking from a digital marketer’s standpoint.
Content Database Simplified
Think of a content database as your pantry. Instead of food, this is where you’ll keep the contents of your website, social media channels, work schedules, etc. The content can be text, images, videos, audio files, and more.
In the era before digitalization, people still kept ‘databases.’ Accountants, lawyers, police administrators, medical professionals – they were all drowning in a sea of boxes filled to the top with important documents and files. A new age has dawned, and the introduction of the online database has made everyone’s life simpler. But, can it help you?
How Does an Online Database Help in Digital Marketing?
The call for an online database finds its roots in the efforts of digital marketing experts to provide businesses with a comprehensive internet marketing plan. To be comprehensive, an internet marketing plan should be very detailed if you’re to harness its power and grow your business. Among other things, it should include a well-thought-out content plan and content calendar, which imposes the need for a content database that you can access anytime.
Instead of storing your content locally, you can easily create an online database with a database maker, but we’ll get to that later.
An online database is invaluable in digital marketing. Instead of organizing your workflow in countless Excel sheets or storing your written content in Google Docs until you lose count, an online-hosted content database allows you to have everything you need for your business at hand – any time, any place.
3 Main Domains Where an Online Content Database Helps
Generally, a content database helps with:
1. Keeping Things Organized
Organization is key in helping your operations run smoothly. Throwing things randomly in tables and documents is a rookie mistake. Although most of us are used to referring to Excel, Google Docs, or good old email when it comes to making things happen for our business, they tend to pile up, and we lose our way.
Just imagine how hard it would be to manage your website without some sort of visual organization. All your pages will be uncategorized, and your published and unpublished pieces might mix up – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Even if you do manage to figure out what’s what, your website visitors probably won’t, which at the end of the day, will cost you a lot.
Since content databases come with a built-in concept of folders, they eliminate such issues. Instead, they give you the option to create as many folders and queries as you wish and need – directly on the website.
Known in the world of project-oriented programming as inheritance, content databases come with this unique feature. It not only allows you to set relevant filters to multiple products simultaneously easily, but it also lets you customize pages from the same category without doing any damage to the existing filters.
Let’s explain this in layman’s terms through an example:
If you own an e-commerce store and you’re selling shoes, clothes, and accessories, chances are they’re all grouped in their respective categories. The category shoes is then narrowed down into sub-categories such as men’s and women’s shoes.
By the principle of inheritance, all products from the same category will inherit the same properties as other products from that category, like size or color. This will save you a lot of time that you’d waste otherwise on assigning additional properties to every single one of the products in that category.
But, what happens if you need to filter the results further by, for instance, material – leather? While all shoes have a distinctive size and color, not all of them are made of leather. How will you separate the shoes from the same category that only differ in material without damaging the inherited properties, those being size and color?
Here’s where content databases shine!
You can easily extend the fields to be more product-specific – assign additional properties (in this case leather material) only to the products that apply. If you built your website using a traditional database, you wouldn’t have had this option unless you hired a developer.
3. Tracking Changes and Improving the Workflow
If you’re distributing content to a large audience, you’re aware of the hard work that goes into bringing it all together. For starters, you have to hire writers who’ll draft the content. Editors will be in charge of ensuring the content is on point. Lastly, you probably want to be the one who has the final say on when the content goes live.
Imagine the mess uncoordinated work will create. Content databases allow multiple writers to work on a draft page or make copies of an already approved version. Essentially, if your website is built using a content database, your content can exist in multiple stages – draft, approved, or published. This will save you a lot of time since you can have a page published while your writers and editors polish it to perfection.
You can track all changes to your pages easily without disturbing the writing or editorial process. Your workflow will significantly improve, considering you can have multiple people working on the same piece of content at the same time. What’s more, you get to keep a history of revisions and recall previous versions if need be.
Another major advantage these databases have over traditional ones is the fact that they support content variants. Traditional databases store data in rows and columns, meaning there’s no room for additional variants. Content databases, on the other hand, allow you to have multiple variants, for instance, language variants.
You can have the same piece of content translated into a different language without lifting a finger, and even these language variants can have their own variants.
Database Maker – How to Create an Online Database
Given the unparalleled efficiency, out-of-this-world functionality, and overall simplicity of use, databases have become widely popular among businesses of all industries. Their popularity brought an obvious need for simple database makers that the non-developer crowd can easily use.
Below, we’ll go over the most popular database makers and their key features. Let’s dig in!
Knack is a user-friendly, intuitive, simple-to-use database builder that empowers managers to tackle everyday business operations with ease. As a no-code platform, you’ll have no trouble navigating and using its features, such as:
• Application builder
• Customization tools
• Reporting and analytics
• Open API
• Payment processing
You can easily build your own business solutions or use any of the templates that come with the software. Of course, you can pick a template and build on it as well.
As the name itself suggests, with Infinity, you have infinite possibilities to create workflow solutions. Its usability knows no limits since you can build an unlimited amount of boards within your workspace and structure them according to your needs and preferences.
One of the key advantages of Infinity over other database makers is the fact that it allows you to see your data from different perspectives, organized in:
Additionally, this database software lets you connect to more than 2,000 other applications. Thanks to the built-in drag & drop interface, you’ll have no trouble organizing your boards.
Praised among digital marketers as the ultimate database software for non-programmers, Memento does a great job organizing everything that needs to be organized.
One of the key features of Memento is the offline mode that allows you to make changes to your projects even when you’re disconnected from the Internet. Once the connection is back up, your changes will be automatically synced.
You can view your data in Memento in the form of:
• Set of cards
On a negative note, Memento fails to deliver customizations options. While you can customize most of the fields, you won’t be able to customize your forms.
4. Quick Base
When creating custom applications, Quick Base is the way to go. Quick Base shines when it comes to ease of use as it allows multiple users to work on and share mutual data storage.
Although it’s generally recommended for large businesses, especially healthcare, construction, and government projects, this database maker will work wonders for your content as well.
Quick Base comes with:
• Generous third-party application integration
• Intuitive form builder
• Selection of templates
• Dashboard tools for ease of use
• Drag & Drop editor
Be aware that Quick Base is on the pricier side. But, if you have the means, it’s definitely worth the investment!
Last but certainly not least, Zenkit is every content manager’s dream. It supports real-time collaboration on specific projects among teammates. The drag & drop editor further simplifies Zenkit’s functionality and improves overall performance.
To name just a few of the many handy features, Zenkit offers:
• Real-time collaboration
• Task management
• File sharing
• Workflow organization
• Offline mode
Should You Embrace Content Databases in Your Business
Content databases can work wonders for your business, especially if you’re in the content world. Given the extraordinary features a content database comes with, you can build virtually any application you have in mind.
Although these databases can’t directly help you scale your business, they can surely pave the road to success if you leverage their benefits right. If you were thinking about moving your operations to a content database, this is the sign you’ve been waiting for!