What the Rise of Platishers Tells Us About Content Management Systems

About 4% of the marketing technology landscape is comprised of content management systems. (Chief Martec) This may not seem like a lot, but CMS platforms (including about 140 companies) are the 6th largest group of marketing technologies on the map, with WordPress as the most popular solution. (Vital) They comes behind only Sales Automation, Enablement, & Intelligence (220), Social Media Marketing & Monitoring (186), Display & Programmatic Advertising (180), Marketing Automation & Campaign/Lead Management (161), and Content Marketing (160).

In existence for over 20 years, content management systems are a reliable giant in the scope of marketing technology. While other areas of technology have skyrocketed into popularity—and then sometimes fizzled into the forgotten gutters of failed technology—CMS has, for the most part, simply existed and done its job. An essential for the success of content marketing, digital marketing, and mobile efforts, content management systems are so integrated into our day-to-day functions many marketers are not even cognizant of their reliance on their CMS. Not only do they allow marketing teams to function like a well-oiled machine, a content management system can center and stabilize a complicated martec stack. Although it’s typically suggested that marketers have a strategy before investing in a CMS, once it’s been purchased and implemented, a CMS can typically left alone.

At its simplest, CMS allows content to be published and edited from a single source. At its most complex, it can be the heart of digital experience, responsible for orchestrating and organizing all customer-facing communications. While marketers are taking content management systems for granted, though, there is a whole new group of technology-content hybrids that is taking this marketing technology to the next level.

What is this group called, you ask? Platishers. No, I did not stutter—platishers.

What is a Platisher?

According to Venture Beat, a platisher is “a breed of publisher that has built out a fancy and advanced CMS platforms”. The optimal words here are ‘built out’. These platishers have customized CMS platforms that they themselves have created. While this is impressive on its own, what’s truly remarkable is what these platishers do with their custom content management systems. They open their systems up to the audience.

While the word platisher and the concept behind it may seem foreign, the application is more than familiar. Popular platishers include Buzzfeed, Gawker, Medium, and, now, even Facebook and LinkedIn.  What these innovators do is combine the algorithmic ranking traditionally associated with platforms with the traditional publishing model. Hence the word platisher—a mix of publisher and platform. What these platishers are trying to accomplish is to both occupy the space of publishing edited, tailored content and function as a tool that audiences can use to create their own content.

When and Why Was the Platisher Born?

The term platisher was first coined in 2014, so it’s a new phenomenon in comparison to the age of the content management system. Before the birth of the platisher, publishers and platforms were divided along the lines of content creation and content discovery/communication. Publishers and platforms often partnered and found success in that way, but the concept of platisher was never fully realized due to issues of legality and fear of muddling organizational focus. After all, the goals of pure publishers and pure platforms are vastly different.

While some still question these issues in relation to modern platishers, this hybrid didn’t pop up for no reason—it answers some of brands’ most pressing content marketing concerns.  Firstly, publishers have seen the astronomical success of social media and are taking cues from it.  The main takeaway being that audiences want to create content and want to be involved in the process of creating content.  The second takeaway being that audiences want relevant content and there’s no better want to ensure relevance than to allow audiences to take part in the content creation process.

On the other hand, platform builders have realized that there is far more valuing in owning the content on their platforms than there is in simply providing content to their users. By involving themselves and their audiences in the process of content publishing, platforms builders both create and capture more value on their platforms.

When it comes to marketing, the platisher is significant in two ways. One, given that marketing is, thanks to content marketing, becoming significantly more aligned with publishing models, marketers should be taking notes on what innovative publishers are doing to stay afloat. Secondly, models of content creation and distribution—and their relationship with revenue—are changing.

Crowdsourcing content is becoming more and more necessary for keeping up with content production standards. The platisher answers this need by providing tailored content from its newsroom as well as opening up content creation to audiences, which, if they’re large enough and invested enough, will likely dwarf the production capabilities of your internal team. This also opens avenues for marketers to easily create content on other platishers, where they’ll find an active and engaged audience.


Ultimately, the rise of the platisher is showing that traditional understandings of tech and content are becoming blurred. It’s also showing that the tried-and-true functionalities of content management systems are seeing a bit of a shakeup. The days of set-it-and-forget-it are dead now that customized, audience-driven CMS platforms are taking hold.

The verdict is still out on whether these hybrid models will last—especially those that are a result of a merger between two formerly separate platform and publisher organizations. Still, this new breed has arisen for many legitimate reasons, and so likely will not completely drop off the marketing scene, especially given the involvement of giants such as Facebook. Whether you think it’s a Frankenstein’s monster of marketing solutions or the next model of publishing, the platisher is here and it’s making waves.


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