Headless CMS Workflows

Posted on
October 17, 2023
Posted by
Markus Weiland

In the fast-paced world of digital content marketing, content teams have to deliver content that is ready at the right time to meet business needs but that is also high-quality and fulfills precise technical requirements. In this context, understanding the different headless CMS workflows and then choosing the right one for your content teams can unlock major productivity improvements.

In this blog post, we'll delve into three distinct workflows to publish content with Commitspark, a powerful GitHub-based headless CMS that brings the efficiencies of software development workflows to the world of content management. Whether you're new to headless CMS or looking to optimize your existing setup, we'll explore the pros and cons of these workflows: a traditional workflow where all content lives in a single place, the GitHub flow, and the multi-environment branching approach.

Traditional workflow

Let's start with the most straightforward method where only a single branch exists, similar to a conventional headless CMS where all content lives in the production environment of a single project. Here, in our basic workflow, we can observe the following aspects:

  • Centralization: All content lives in a single location, e.g. a single branch, and all content changes, even unrelated ones, must take place in this single location
  • Difficult to review: It is very hard to reliably review only specific content changes when all content is mixed together in a single location
  • Fragile: Production content can break in unexpected ways when new content is added without being able to properly test such changes in a separate location beforehand

GitHub flow

If you're looking for a more refined approach that offers better control over your content, consider the GitHub flow.

In this workflow, we have a main branch for production content and individual content changes that belong together each go into separate, short-lived content feature branches. Once content in a content feature branch is ready and approved, the branch is merged into production and then deleted.

Here is what sets this workflow apart:

  • Simplicity with Control: It's relatively simple to understand, yet offers enhanced content management capabilities
  • Parallel Work: Unrelated content changes are isolated in separate branches, allowing content editors to work in parallel
  • Preparation and Preview: You can prepare, validate, and preview content before it goes live
  • Uninterrupted editing: During content creation and editing, the separation of branches allows content editors to work without conflicts and interruption by changes happening elsewhere
  • Explicit conflict resolution: Any potential conflicts with content changes in other branches can be fully resolved within the current branch before merging, ensuring conflicts never make it into production
  • Peace of mind: Production content on the main branch can never be affected by content changes happening in other branches

Multi-environment workflow

For those who value meticulous planning and thorough quality assurance, the multi-environment branching approach might be your ideal choice.

This workflow is similar to GitHub flow but adds two extra review branches "development" and "staging" on the way to production:

  • Layered Review Process: Together with content branch review, a total of three incremental review layers exist that can be used to weed out issues
  • Coordinated Releases: By accumulating content changes in development and staging branches, you can have well-coordinated, coherent releases of larger amounts of content
  • Integration Delay: The major drawback compared to GitHub flow is that content doesn't reach production until a big release, potentially leading to delayed integration feedback
  • Publication Pipeline Clogging: When a critical error is discovered in content that has already been merged into development or staging branches, other content in these branches can no longer be published until a fix has been developed, typically bringing the entire content pipeline to a halt


For many teams, GitHub flow seems to strike the right balance between the aspects discussed. It is a workflow that facilitates parallelization of content development in separate branches while at the same time maintaining short development cycles. This means quicker integration validation and faster feedback loops, and it is a workflow that is often chosen by agile teams in the software development world for this reason.

As for content publishing with a headless CMS, it's essential to find the workflow that aligns best with your team's needs and goals. Each approach has its merits, but for those looking to optimize for speed, simplicity and collaboration, the GitHub flow shines as a practical choice.

By choosing the right workflow with a GitHub-based headless CMS like Commitspark, you can streamline your content management processes, enhance productivity, and stay ahead of the competition. So, which workflow aligns with your team's content management strategy? The answer might just set you on the path to content management success.

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