As of the Winter ‘20 Release, Salesforce has rolled out a powerful feature called ‘Salesforce Content Management System’.
This powerful tool allows you to manage and create Content for your communities and tries to eliminate the need of a separate CMS system by integrating static Content straight into Salesforce and Communities. It also drastically enhances the way List Views can be displayed on your Community. Some of you may already know the basics of this feature that used to be called ‘CMS for Community’.
Before we go into further detail, let me briefly explain some new keywords:
- Content: the actual object in Salesforce where you store your static text, banner image and url
- Workspace: here you can select channels to decide what Communities should be able to use what Content.
- Collection: on your Community, you can further split up your Workspaces by adding a Collection such as ‘Latest News’, ‘Lunch Menu’, etc …
I wrote a newsletter which is ‘Content’. We want to launch this on our Customer Community for which we can create a ‘Workspace’. On our Community, I want to have a ‘Collection’ of ‘Newsletters’ so that I can display all my newsletters in one component.
Now that you are up to speed with the buzzwords, it’s time to dive into the world of Salesforce Content Management System. I want to show you two things today:
- How Content is created in Salesforce
- How Content is displayed on Communities
I won’t bore you with all the details so if you have any more questions, feel free to contact us for extra information.
Creating Content in Salesforce
First of, your new companion when creating and managing Content is the new ‘Salesforce CRM console app’. This app allows Content Writers and Managers to easily create and follow up on all the Content in their system.
With this app, you can create Workspaces which allows you to split up your Content per Channel. If you have a Customer Portal and a Partner Portal, you might want to split up the articles, pictures etc per Community. Once you have created your first Workspace, you can start creating Content.
Don’t panic when you see the minimalistic screen of Content creation. Remember that in the back end of Salesforce, it’s all about writing and managing Content. Styling and displaying it is purely done on the Communities and we’ll get to that later.
To be fair, these four fields are all you get when creating a Content ‘news’
- Banner Image
- Excerpt (small preview of your Content)
These basic fields contain all you need to write your Content. It’s important to keep in mind that this is a standard Salesforce Object where you can only add custom fields and record types via the Metadata API and not by browsing the Object Manager. This means that extending the existing functionality does not have a click-not-code solution.
Another thing to note is that the Content object in Salesforce does not link to any Categories or Subjects. So it is not possible to automatically view all articles related to a subject or category.
Don’t worry if your Community is multilingual and you want to publish articles in the running User’s language! You can add languages and translations when setting up your Workspace. Just define what languages can be used in the Workspace via the easy setup tool:
When selecting more than one language, your Content will be written in the Default Language but the application will allow you to easily export the Content and Import translations. This way the Content is displayed in the correct language on the Community.
That’s pretty much it to create and manage your Content in the back end of Salesforce. As you can see, creating Content is nothing more than creating new records like you’ve done a thousand of times !
Displaying Content on Communities
So we saw that creating Content is quite straightforward. But I can hear your doubts about what the Content will look like on your Communities. Out of the box features from Salesforce often look minimalistic on communities and don’t offer much customization, if any...
Luckily for us, Salesforce provides us with a wide array of options to display your static Content on a Community. And I’m not talking about two or three styling options, I am talking about a wide variety of options regarding headers, borders, flags, sizes, colors, effects, images, ….
Of course I will not explain every option in detail. The most important thing to know is that you have four building blocks for your collections.
Here you need to decide how your Collection will look like. Do you want a nice grid for your ‘Latest News’ or maybe a slideshow to display your latest pictures?
As you can see, the Salesforce Content Management System wants you to make a visual impact on the end users. That’s why it is important to add a banner image to your Content.
There is the option to hide your image but keeping it flashy is always a plus.
For the Content itself, you have 3 basic options which you can then customize to your heart’s Content!
If you are not satisfied with the default ‘Tile’ Content layout or if you want to personalize it some more, you can change just about anything about it.
Using the customization options, you can map the Content with your company branding. You can do this by changing colors, borders, font size, image size, adding flags, etc.
Understandably you would like to see a quick example of what I am talking about. Here is a Salesforce CMS Collection component we made to display the menu of the week on a Community:
This component was not custom developed nor custom styled. With the options of Salesforce CMS, we were able to have this component out of the box and set it up in record time. A Content manager can just create and publish new Content each week and does not have to worry about the Community since the Lunch component will automatically display the last 5 published Content to that collection.
Here is the full example of a home page we set up using only Salesforce CMS:
A lot of customers ask whether we can make the list views on Communities ‘more flashy’ or ‘better looking’. To be fair, they do this with valid reason. The default list views on Communities look quite dull and are not very appealing. Extending them would almost always mean a custom solution.
And here is where Salesforce CMS comes into play. Our new best friend allows us to stream List Views as well! Remember all the styling options from earlier? Well, all of these styling options can be used on list views as well. For example, you can make a slideshow out of your Salesforce records in which users can navigate through their records.
In the Salesforce CMS Collection component, you can specify which fields need to be shown where. Imagine you want to display contact persons on your Community so that Users easily know who they can contact and how.
Our title should be the contact’s Name, subtitle the contact’s phone number and image the Contact’s profile picture. You can even decide which field should be the hyperlink to the record detail page.
So instead of just showing a plane list view with records, we can show the information in a more visual way.
Attention though, as of writing this blogpost, this is only possible with List Views. So a related list cannot be used by Salesforce CMS.
We will start with the good news first: reading, writing and managing Content for the Salesforce Content Management System does not require a special license.
But this is where it gets just a little tricky. Publishing the Content on your Community does require the ‘Manage Communities’ permission. As of writing this blog post, Users who would like to publish and manage Collections on the Community needs to be able to use the Community Builder.
To summarize, the Salesforce Content Management System is an amazing tool that allows you to easily create and manage Content for your Community. It’s very straightforward in use and it’s clicks-not-code covers a wide array of settings that should easily cover most companies’ branding guidelines. Whether to post a quick photo update or your companies ‘Latest News’, with Salesforce Content Management System, you can easily update your customers with relevant information.
Do you want more information or feel like your Community could benefit from Salesforce CMS? Don’t hesitate to contact me via our Contact Form!