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Content Ops
September 20, 2022
xx min read

What is a Component Content Management System?

A Component Content Management System (CCMS) is a system that lets you manage content at a component level. A CCMS allows your teams to author, manage and share content in real-time across any website, app, portal, or knowledge base. This system tracks links, versions, and metadata associated with each component. It gives you unparalleled granular control of your content.

More and more organizations are switching to a CCMS to leverage this incredible control of their company knowledge.

In this post, we’ll examine what a CCMS is and how it’s different than a typical CMS.

Who uses a Component Content Management System?

Most organizations can benefit from a CCMS. Organizations that create large amounts of content need a way to keep their documents organized and easily findable, which a CCMS provides. Organizations in highly-regulated industries need ways to secure access and governance in their documents and find many benefits to using a CCMS. But no matter what industry you’re in, a CCMS provides lots of impressive features. A CCMS enables organizations to do some amazing things like:

To understand why a component content management system offers this functionality, we’re going to contrast a CCMS against a typical Content Management System (CMS).

What is a Content Management System (CMS)?

A typical content management system tracks content in the form of posts, pages, or documents. We linearly write these documents and often apply the formatting while we write. Because we write them as whole documents, the system manages the content as documents. The primary difference between a typical CMS and a CCMS is the level of content management.

A typical CMS manages content at a document level.

A CCMS manages content at a component level.

A CMS gives you some control over your documents, but it is not granular enough to achieve the functionality that we previously mentioned. A CCMS provides this granular control because content is created in the form of components.

What is a Component?

A component is a chunk of structured content of any length that is independent and self-contained.

A component can be a single word, a series of paragraphs, an image, or a video.

Components are different from documents in size, but also in how they are created. In a CMS, we write documents in a linear, contextual manner. This style is a natural way to communicate. When we write, the ideas bleed together, like the colors in a child’s watercolor painting.In a CCMS, we write components in a modular manner. This style is independent and self-contained. The intent is to avoid contextual dependency if possible. Content written in a modular vs linear manner is a crucial distinction because writers can then use these components to build the documents. Using components already written, authors can freely move, rearrange, or remove the parts to construct new documentation from existing components.

CCMS and CMS comparison chart

Components are Everywhere

Components aren’t unique to documentation. Many products have embraced componentization. Let’s take the example of a car. If your transmission fails, you will probably replace or repair the transmission rather than buy a new car. The vehicle manufacturer understands the importance of componentizing the product both for production speed and cost-effectiveness. When a car manufacturer builds a new car, they are NOT creating a bespoke piece of art. They are selecting from an assortment of new and existing parts and then assemble those into a vehicle.

By assembling from components, the manufacturer increases their production speed and reuses the same components for different models. The use of components in car manufacturing might all seem rather obvious, but that’s because componentization is old news in car manufacturing. Reusing content is the same. Instead of creating a totally new document each time, you take pieces you’ve already created and can easily add to them to create a much quicker new document.

Updating Components

One of the best things about a CCMS is that it future-proofs your content. Since documents are written linearly in a typical CMS, the ideas are intertwined and difficult to isolate. When one idea contains content that requires updating, it’s tricky to update with precision. Linearly written documents are time-consuming and expensive to update, maintain, re-format, republish, and re-translate.

Components are different

Documents composed of components are resilient against the (metaphorical) corrosion of time.Individual components are fast to update since they are short and self-contained, but the speed doesn’t stop at the component level, it extends to your whole content repository. Instead of re-writing or copying and pasting content, components are reused and linked. If a writer creates a masterful product description, they reuse that component, linking it to every applicable instance where that product description is required. If you have several similar products you’ll likely create many documents that are extremely similar. If you have two documents that are 90% the same, with only a few small details needing to be changed, content reuse makes it a snap. You can simply change the necessary content without touching the other 90%, all without copying and pasting.

Infographic describing the benefits of a CCMS component content management system

Linked components become even more convenient when it’s time to update your content. When our writer’s masterful product description needs an update, he updates the original component and that update occurs in every instance of reuse. Since your content is stored in one single place, it becomes a single source of truth. You don’t have to wonder if the document you have is the original or a copy. Sounds like magic, but it’s just a Component Content Management System at work.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you create a sell sheet for your newest products. If your prices change a year later, you can simply go into the CCMS and update it. Then, everywhere you’ve published that document will be updated automatically. You don’t have to recreate the document and remember all the places you’ve published it.

How a CCMS Makes Components Possible

Components are powerful but only if managed with the right system. The right system can track specific and relevant metadata about each component. And this is exactly how a CCMS works.Metadata makes the functionality of a CCMS possible no matter the scale. This granularity separates a CCMS from other content management systems. A CCMS tracks the content on a granular, or component, level

  • It tracks the location of those components within your system
  • It tracks the relationships and associations with other components
  • It tracks the use and status of those components— things such as publishing outputs, workflow status, translation status, and audit trails

Granular control of components opens the door to amazing benefits.

More Benefits of Granular Control

Fast Searching

Companies waste a ton of time searching for existing content. The average knowledge worker spends 19% of their day searching for existing knowledge. A CCMS uses metadata to enable faceted search and reduce the time spent searching.Users can search for components by:

  • Title
  • Workflow status
  • Author
  • Date
  • Keyword
  • File-type
  • Publishing status

The possibilities are endless. You can even create custom metadata fields and tag the components specifically for your internal workflows. This is called structured content. With a CCMS, your team knows exactly where to look and exactly how to find it.

Single Source System

Your component content management system becomes your single source system. This means that there is one single place where all of your content is stored, and when you reuse components you’re not creating a new one, you’re using the existing one. This Single Source centralizes your content. This eliminates knowledge gaps and department silos. A Single Source System also streamlines your content creation process. You can write, edit, manage, and publish, all from one system. A single source system eliminates questions about:

  • Versioning
  • Branching
  • Authoring status
  • Reviewing status
  • Publishing status

A single source puts everyone in the same system and on the same team. You can learn more about a single source here.

Content Reuse

Components are perfect for powerful reuse across your documentation. Since the components are self-contained and modular, you can use them in many locations. This means creating microcontent is a breeze. A Component Content Management System uses linking for reuse, not copy and paste. This linking means that you write once, and reuse it endlessly. Read more about the different types of reuse or learn about how reuse improves your document speed by 50%.

Multi-Channel Publishing

Components are excellent for publishing the same content to multiple channels, simultaneously. Typical CMS’s make publishing difficult and slow. Writers waste time formatting the document manually for each publishing channel. One example, Microsoft word users, can often spend 30-50% of their “writing” time formatting their content.With a CCMS, the formatting is automatically applied during the publishing process. By automating these time-consuming and mundane tasks, writers focus on creating excellent content and publishing that content in a fraction of the time.


Unstructured content in a document is difficult to build upon and deploy to modern technology. Many content management systems and their users fall behind due to the inability to freely exchange data with other systems and applications. Content deployed from a CCMS is more useful than content from unstructured systems because components are more precise than delivering entire documents. When customers or services need nuanced and relevant content, a component delivers. The real advantage of using a CCMS is getting the right knowledge to the right people, right away. From increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty to cutting down on wasted time and employee frustration – in a lot of ways, your content has never held more power. And a CCMS is just what you need to unleash it.

How Allstate Business Insurance Leveraged Their CCMS to Improve Customer Satisfaction

The power of a CCMS sounds good in practice, but it also works in action.One of our Heretto customers, Allstate Business Insurance, wanted to find a better way to deliver content.The problem? Agents were having to read 20-page to 200-page PDFs to find an answer to a customer’s or prospect's question about a policy. They called Allstate Business Insurance’s own help desk to get questions answered over the phone.

This knowledge gap was expensive, and it forced specialists to spend their day answering repetitive questions.Allstate’s solution was to create a chatbot named ABIE. The chatbot system is connected to their Heretto CCMS. Agents and customers could type their questions, and the chatbot would deliver the exact component of content that answered their questions with precision and accuracy. No more PDFs, and a 25,000 monthly reduction in phone calls! Read the full case study here


Content organized at a component level is:

  • Managed effectively
  • Updated easily
  • Published quickly

This is the power of a CCMS.For organizations struggling to keep their content under control, a CCMS offers a better way to create, store, and deploy knowledge.

Want to see how Heretto’s CCMS can help you gain control of your content?

Book a Demo today and get started.

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