Mobile content management system: what is it and why is it important

With over 6.4 billion smartphone users and five million apps, a great mobile app can be a differentiator — but it’s not the distinction it once was.

To stand out in today’s market, you need to deliver consistently incredible and personalized experiences across multiple markets and geographic locations. This can only happen when you can create, manage, and localize content at scale.

That’s where a mobile content management system (mobile CMS, or MCM) comes in.

Rather than editing your application’s code every time you need to make an update, a mobile CMS democratizes the mobile content creation process, allowing anyone to publish content across all your apps in an instant. 

In this article, we explain a mobile content management system, how it benefits almost every global brand, and what to look for when choosing a solution. 

Ready to scale your app experience? Then, let’s dive in. 

    What is a mobile content management system?

    A mobile content management system is a user-friendly back-end platform that lets you create, manage, and publish content to various mobile devices accurately, timely, and consistently. 

    A mobile CMS also makes the management and delivery of content smoother and more efficient since product and marketing teams can make changes without interacting with an application’s code. 

    Not only does the centralized nature of a mobile CMS provide a place for teams to collaborate, but it also means anyone in your organization can deliver contextually accurate content at scale. And you don’t need to bug your developers every time you need to tweak mobile copy. 

    If you’re serving global audiences or multiple geographic areas, a mobile CMS becomes even more important. Making changes in multiple languages would be a nightmare without a centralized platform to build and publish content. 

    Think of the development bottleneck if you had to involve developers and translators every time you wanted a marketing message in a dozen different languages. 

    Combining a headless CMS for mobile, like Storyblok, Webflow, and Hygraph, with a translation management system like Lokalise lets product teams take the initiative, reuse content, and ensure a consistent localized experience. 

    How a mobile CMS impacts your team’s workflow

    Look, managing content for mobile apps is hard. A traditional CMS and a mobile-responsive website may be sufficient for very small businesses, but it won’t deliver the kind of seamless experience your customers expect at scale. 

    Managing mobile content and digital assets comes with unique challenges, from dealing with different types of mobile devices and software versions to a higher deployment cadence.

    This requires close collaboration between marketers, development teams, product managers, and translators — which can be a struggle. 

    Not only is it tricky to get all these people together in a room (or on a Zoom call), but it’s also increasingly resource-intensive, which means employees are stolen away from other (sometimes more essential) activities. 

    This can result in errors, confusion, and a complete lack of visibility, with everyone only seeing their part of the process and not what other departments are doing. Teams need a more centralized, visible system to avoid these information silos.

    How can a mobile CMS solve this? 

    Unlike traditional web content management systems, mobile-focused solutions have features and capabilities designed to handle the nuances of mobile content. 

    With a mobile CMS, developers don’t have to be part of every conversation (unless they want to be) since product managers and marketers can use visual editors to create and publish content themselves.

    A mobile CMS should have a visual editor to facilitate collaboration.

    We’ll get to the core features of a mobile content management system in a second, but for now, let’s look at what the ideal mobile CMS workflow would look like:

    • A single source of truth. The platform should be where everyone involved in mobile content delivery, from writers and translators to developers and product teams, can access and manage every asset and see the progress others are making. 
    • A streamlined review process. A mobile CMS’s centralized nature makes the review process faster and easier to manage, while keeping your inbox from being flooded with unnecessary approval requests. 
    • Automated publishing. Once you approve content, a mobile CMS can shorten the time between sign-off and publication. Integrations with applications mean updates can happen at the click of a button, and end-users see updates instantly.

    If your aim is to deliver exceptional and personalized experiences across multiple markets, you can see just how powerful a mobile CMS that integrates with a translation management system can be. The combination of technologies turns the creation and management of multilingual content for mobile apps from a turgid and convoluted process to one of the most streamlined and optimized workflows in your company.

    6 features to look for when choosing the best mobile CMS

    A mobile CMS has three core functions: delivering, managing, and previewing content. 

    • Delivering (or publishing) content is the primary responsibility of a mobile CMS. It should make it easy to create and publish content to every relevant mobile platform and device, even for non-technical folks. Bottlenecks are bound to occur if developers need to edit code to publish each new piece of content, which means end users will never get the immediate experience they desire. 
    • Managing mobile content with a system that lets writers, editors, and translators collaborate in a single platform helps streamline workflows and empower teams to deliver the highest-quality content possible to end users.
    • Previewing before publishing means no end user will suffer a poor experience. Cisco’s App Attention Index 2023 report shows that these poor experiences leave almost half of end users feeling disrespected. Mobile content management systems should give marketers, developers, and product managers a way to preview what content looks like on different smartphones, tablets, and screens before they hit publish.

    To deliver these experiences, mobile content management systems need to have the following features:

    An intuitive back-end experience 

    Whether it’s just a visual editor or a comprehensive project management tool that tracks your entire content campaigns, every mobile CMS should have an easy-to-use back-end system that allows teams to connect, collaborate, and execute. 

    This area should also have access controls and a user hierarchy that lets department leads manage who can view, edit, and publish content.

    Integration with an existing CMS

    Just because a mobile CMS should let you create content at scale doesn’t mean you should start from scratch. Whether you use WordPress, ContentSquare, or another CMS platform, your mobile solution should accelerate your progress by integrating your existing tools. 

    That way, you aren’t working from a blank slate. You can take digital assets from your existing website or mobile app, edit directly within the CMS, and then publish to all relevant applications. A two-way API connection can even make it possible to push edited or translated content back to your main CMS.

    Multi-channel content delivery

    Mobile doesn’t just mean smartphone applications anymore. From smart TVs to watches to game consoles, businesses have dozens of separate applications, and a mobile CMS should be able to publish to many, if not all, of them.

    A device-agnostic headless CMS

    In a traditional CMS, the front-end and back-end are tightly integrated. That’s great for single touchpoints like a desktop website, but it’s not suitable for mobile. 

    Instead, choose a headless mobile CMS where back-end content is separated from the front-end layer and linked by an API. This means you can change the front-end display at any time without impacting the content stored in your CMS. It also ensures you can create experiences regardless of the end user’s device or operating system. 

    Bonus points if your headless CMS is also framework-agnostic. This gives your organization the flexibility to use a new programming language in the future without having to migrate your entire back end to a new CMS.

    Make sure it connects with microservices

    A microservices architecture (one where businesses use independent cloud-based third-party applications to power their front-end and back-end infrastructure) is becoming more popular with a market size expected to reach $1.7 billion by 2028.

    As such, you’ll want to choose a CMS that connects with a wide range of third-party applications, either through native integrations or APIs. 

    Look at the number of platforms that connect with Localize, for example. The better your CMS integrates with the rest of your tech stack, the more powerful it will be. 

    Integration with localization management tools

    Your mobile CMS should also make it easy to deliver localized content to every market you operate in. Ideally, that will take the form of an integrated translation management system. 

    When you choose a mobile content management system that connects with a translation management system, you can translate existing content into dozens of languages at scale, manage everything in one place, and automate as much as possible. Lokalise solves many of the unique challenges that come with managing multilingual content for mobile apps, like cross-functional collaboration and rapid deployment.

    It also provides SDKs with OTA (over-the-air software development kits) that let your users get the latest translations on their smartphones without you having to submit a new version of the app for approval by Apple or Google. 

    Loaklise’s OTA localization capabilities allow you to rapidly expand your experiences to new markets and localize content without waiting for the App Store or Google Play to approve your updates. 

    By partnering with Lokalise to localize content, Revolut successfully scaled its mobile app to support 30 languages (and counting).

    Lokalise has turned a task we were dreading into an absolute pleasure. Great platform, intuitive UX, powerful API. The automatic text recognition for screenshots has been a lifesaver, and over-the-air updates are the icing on the cake.

    Using Lokalise to automate the localization process for mobile content

    The benefits of choosing a mobile CMS that integrates with Lokalise don’t stop there. Lokalise also has several other features that help you improve and accelerate the localization process. 

    Bring everyone together on one platform

    Localization and translation can require collaboration between half a dozen departments. But you can bring development, marketing, translation, and product teams under one roof with Lokalise. 

    The platform’s in-context sharing tools make it easy to collaborate and show translators exactly where and how you will use their copy. Thanks to integrations with design tools like Figma and Adobe XD, this can happen even before you publish the original version.

    The result? Your go-to-market time is halved, and translation quality is through the roof. 

    Translate faster with AI

    If you want to increase your go-to-market speed even further, then you can use Lokalise’s AI translation tool to automate the entire process. Our tool evaluates several translation engines and chooses the best one for your content. 

    Add context to AI translations in Lokalise

    But you don’t have to leave things to chance. You can guide Lokalise AI on things like tone, style, and audience to get translations that native-sounding translations.

    Automate workflows and publication

    There shouldn’t be a delay between you translating content and publishing it. With Lokalise, there isn’t. Our platform’s advanced localization automation tools make it easy to integrate translation into your continuous delivery workflow.

    Lokalise has several automation features to accelerate translation and publication

    You can use the platform’s Automation feature to automatically perform certain actions based on pre-identified changes. Or have your developers integrate your code repository via our API so that every time you make a change to the code, they’ll be automatically imported into Lokalise for translation. 

    Create exceptional and scalable experiences with Lokalise 

    A mobile content management system is the secret to delivering consistently incredible mobile experiences for every audience in every market — and no one makes that easier than Lokalise. 

    By connecting our translation management system to your existing content management tools, you can build a powerful mobile content management system that brings your team together in one location while accelerating and automating your content creation and delivery processes.

    Find out more by taking a product tour, or start your free trial today. 

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