Kontent Horizons 2020: What we learnt at Kontent's virtual conference

Rob Warburton
November 26, 2020 12 min read
kentico kontent horizons

Yesterday the GRM team had the pleasure of attending this year’s Kentico Kontent Horizons event, which was held virtually for the first time ever. Making the most of the knowledge sharing amongst the Kontent community, we tuned in to some excellent talks and panel discussions on all things Kentico Kontent and Headless CMS. Here are some of our thoughts from the event: 

Panel discussion: The future of content management 

Speakers: Bart Omlo (MD, Kentico Kontent) and Petr Palas. (CEO, Kentico Software)

GRM Attendee: Mehtab Shabir (Client Success Manager, GRM Digital)

Attending the Kentico Horizons event, was the first event that I’ve attended remotely that I have not been a speaker at, and the experience was totally different.  

I was able to sit back and fully absorb both the content of the event, and the set-up. Kudos to Kentico for putting on such a smooth virtual event and managing to adhere to all the CoVid safety measures whilst doing so (in front of the camera at least). 

One of the sessions that I was really interested to hear about was around the future of content management, through the eyes of Petr and Bart, and the considerations to take into account when embarking on a Headless Content Management solution. There were some really interesting questions from attendees and equally thoughtful responses to them by Petr, who is widely acknowledged as a thought leader within the content management world. 

A few of the main insights from the Q&A session that stood out to me were: 

You choose services that you need 

Traditional CMS solutions have looked to encompass everything you may need under one umbrella. Some version of the old saying of “Jack of all trades, master of none” springs to mind. Within these traditional solutions, although available, 80%+ of functionality is not used by organisations.  

What we are now moving towards is a micro services approach. This approach will see organisations utilise specific specialised services based on their particular needs. For example, organisations who wish to make use of personalisation, will work with software such as Marketo, that specialises in this area and really be able to fine tune their personalised journey to their client's needs. 

Kentico Kontent's 'best of breed' approach includes integrations with some of the leading marketing automation, collaboration and CRM tools.


Bridging the Gap 

Content as a Service is different from true Headless (which is focussed largely on developers). There is a constant movement by Vendors such as Kentico to bridge this gap. This is showcased by features such as Web Spotlight, which enables in context website management, allowing users to make changes on the website page directly (and also collaborate, comment etc), without wondering how those changes will look once published.  

Kentico Kontent 'Web Spotlight' gives content editors the ability to see what their content will look like once published.


Ensuring success 

Ensure to include Business Users and not just content teams from the outset. This may seem obvious to most, but when embarking on a headless solution, organisations can often focus on the content team, overlooking key requirements for the business which would help dictate the structure of set-up. 

Is Kontent for everybody?

Simply put, no. The organisations that would find most use of something like Kentico Kontent would be enterprise organisations that have a higher level of content requirement and are more digitally mature to focus on what Kontent brings. Organisations that may have multiple divisions/brands/locations etc.  

User-centric approach to digital acceleration in retail

Speakers: Alexandre Papanastassiou (Integration Manager, Emakina Group)

GRM Attendee: Matthew Beecham (Account Manager, GRM Digital)

Alexandre, Emakina’s Integration Manager delivered an excellent and insightful talk on user-centric approach to digital acceleration in retail and gave some great food for thought.  

With the current pace of digital change within retail, legacy infrastructures that were built to last are becoming more unable to deal with the increasing demands of the market. Infrastructure needs to be built with change in mind, providing flexibility and the ability to adapt to the ever-changing demands within retail.  

It’s paramount that in order to address digital acceleration, we ensure co-creation with as many stakeholders as possible during the initial phase of mapping out the strategy and the infrastructure that underpins this.  

Here are my key takeaways from Alexandre’s presentation:  

  • Omnichannel is the new normal within digital retail experiences  
  • Integrated architecture is fundamental to achieving a successful omnichannel approach  
  • Market leaders are currently demonstrating the level of success of advanced omnichannel practices can bring 

Tackling large-scale enterprise content operations 

Speakers: Tomas Hruby (Product Manager, Kentico Kontent)

GRM Attendee: Jalle Islamovic (Operations Manager, GRM Digital)

As the title states, the purpose of the talk was to provide an overview of how Kentico Kontent can help large enterprise organisations in becoming consistent, coordinated and share the same goals and context. Further, large enterprise organisations with multi-national websites occasionally have difficulties sharing content and knowledge across all regions and local content managers.  

Tomas Hruby, Product Manager at Kentico Kontent, shared a few tips to mitigate these difficulties. The ones I thought were important and interesting;  

 - Create a shared platform, where users can collaborate in one place 

- Standardise content production and make sure that whoever joins the team has a standard process to create and publish content 

- Bring more people into your CMS. Users can provide feedback, suggestions, comments by inviting more people. It is easier to collaborate in one place and users will have clear communication channels. Also, everything can be restricted with permissions given to each user. 

Additionally, Tomas shared some visions for Kontent that I thought could help some of our multi-national clients with local websites. As mentioned above, by standardising content production it would make it easier for managers to make sure that the correct process is followed, but sometimes local regions must have different workflows to global HQ One vision Kontent have is to create flexibility for local teams, so that separate local workflows can be set and used within parameters set by a global HQ. 

Another vision mentioned was 'Content Inheritance', this means when content is created in the Global website, it could be re-used for local sites should the user want to. If the content is changed on the global level it would amend the content across all sites automatically using the inheritance feature (the user can also un-inherit and use part of the global content). This would assist large enterprise organisations that reuse a lot of content for multiple locations. For example, if one product is used in multiple locations, the same content can be shared from one platform and if the product spec is changed it is automatically changed across all sites that use the inheritance.  

A simple view of how content can be added to a headless CMS like Kentico Kentico (the content hub or Global website in this case), then easily distributed to multiple platforms such as local websites.


Having listened in to this talk, my view is that Kontent has been developed with users in mind and any future visions that they have is based on making life even easier for the user. Content should be the centre of the platform and should be easily distributed across various channels easily. 

What is the best Jamstack choice for you? 

Speakers: Ondrej Polesny (Developer Evangelist, Kentico)

GRM Attendee: Alem Huseinspahić (Support Manager, GRM Digital)

The purpose of this talk was to discuss the Jamstack as a modern approach to building website. It was great to hear form one of Kentico’s in-house Developers on how this technology could be used in relation to Kontent. 

So, what is Jamstack? 

JAM stands for JavaScript, API and Mark-up. This approach is becoming more widely spread amongst the web design and development community. As you can assume, in this approach we are using JavaScript and API to generate the mark-up for certain content. Since this approach is so popular, there is wide support for this type of development, and multiple frameworks are supporting it such as React.js, Vue.js and static site generators such as Gatsby, Jekyll, Hugo etc.  

But wait a sec...static sites? Static sites cannot be fed with dynamic content, right?  

Well, no! Let me explain this to you in simpler terms.  

When the front-end application is created with a certain framework or in combination with a site generator like Gatsby (on top of React), the output is static files in a folder which can then be used for deploying to the server. Or if optimised to a serverless platform, all the static assets will be in them files including the JS, CSS, and others.  

If you remember earlier, when we mentioned what JAM stands for, we also mentioned API. This is our source of dynamic content. Dynamic content can be loaded through JavaScript over the APIs, so as you guess, every API that can serve some content can be used for this purpose, even something as simple as Google Sheets. (Even if this is possible in theory, this approach with Google Sheets would be a nightmare to manage and optimise!) 

In short, this is how a headless CMS like Kentico Kontent works. We are storing our content in a ‘web repository’ and delivering it to mutliple front-end applications. This allows for much easier management of the content and allows us to apply certain workflows regarding content creation and publishing. When content teams publish their content, it is delivered by APIs to front-end applications which consumes the content, applying the styles and rendering it for our end users. In most cases, content will only need to be created and published once, allowing APIs to automatically display it across multiple platforms such as a website, mobile app, intranet, voice assistants etc.  

It is not hard to guess that this is a perfect use case for Kontent, since Kentico is offering SDKs for almost all platforms (JS, .NET, PHP, Java, Ruby) and is compatible with most of the static site generators. It certainly is the future of content management for large teams, and using this approach to content management in your company will have multiple benefits: 

- Performance and security improvements  

- Cutting down the infrastructure complexity 

- Cutting down the expenses related to infrastructure 

- Centralised content – a single source of truth 

- Faster development processes 

- More efficient and controlled content creation workflows

10 habits of highly effective content marketing teams

Speakers: Amy Lecza (Senior Manager, Content Marketing, G2)

GRM Attendee: Rob Warburton (Digital Marketing Consultant, GRM Digital)

As we all know, you can have the best technology in the world, but if you're not putting it to use effectively, you won't see the results that you desire. With a whole event dedicated to Kentico Kontent and getting the best from a headless CMS (what is a headless CMS?), it was only right that there was a talk from a member of an external team who are seeing excellent results from their content marketing efforts. The team in question is the content marketing team at G2, the leading software review service, led by Senior Manager, Amy Lecza. 

Throughout the talk, Amy shared her most effective content marketing habits that have driven success for G2 over the past few years, and here's what I thought were the most insightful points: 

Answer the questions your audience is asking before telling your own story. 

This was a great point and something to think about at the start of any content marketing strategy. As marketers, it can become so easy to slip in to the trap of writing about who you are and what you offer, forgetting about the actual challenges that you are helping to solve for your audience.  

Focus your content efforts on what your audience is actually looking for at this moment in time and you'll be on a path to increasing engagement and brand advocacy. Now most people when they think about finding out more about their audience's questions would go down the standard route of long tail keyword research or using a tool like ask the public. Amy recommends going closer to the source, questioning customer service, support and sales teams to find out what they're hearing directly from the customers. This is then used to generate ideas for future content. 

Remember that publishing isn't the last step

Although it can feel like it takes a long time to drum up a piece of content, you've got to remember that publishing isn't the last step. It's actually the start of the next process; promotion. You've got to invest as much time, if not more, in getting this content in front of your target audience. Where are they searching for the answers to their challenges? 

Repurposing your content is a great way to make a piece of content go further in your promotional efforts. People like Gary Vaynerchuck have been doing this for years; creating one long form piece of content and then dissecting it into smaller chunks which can be used to promote the main piece on other channels. From one podcast or webinar, you can easily create a transcribed blog, multiple short clips and quotes for other social media channels.  

Refresh your old content 

I was quite impressed to see the results that Amy has delivered just from refreshing some of the older content on the G2 site. Sharing screenshots of analytics, we were quickly able to see where content had been refreshed and the enormous impact this has had on views and engagement. 

Refreshing content is something often overlooked, but it clearly shouldn't be. The benefit is that if it was originally a strong piece of content, you will still maintain the domain authority, high quality backlinks and keyword rankings that it owns. Refreshing it just gives it a new lease of life, whilst letting search engines know that they can trust it to be the most up to date information for that topic. 

The key is to identify when a piece of content needs a refresh. That can be done by keeping an eye on your analytics to see when the content peaks in terms of views. Over time you'll gain a better understanding of the average time it takes for your content to peak, so you'll know when to get prepared for a refresh. 


And there it is, our take on this year's virtual Kentico Horizons conference. An excellent event which once again highlighted the developments in headless CMS and displays Kontent as a front runner for any enterprise businesses looking for this type of solution. If you're interested in finding out more about whether a headless CMS solution is right way forward for your business, contact GRM Digital and we will be happy to help.