What is content modeling?

Content modeling aims to create a content model, which is a framework for your content to make sure it’s highly reusable, presentation independent, and supports all aspects of your business and your clients’ needs.

Imagine having some kind of information, idea, or concept that can be represented in a multitude of ways. For example, you are selling the best mattress in the world. How would you go about representing this information? How do you sell this product?

A drawing of a mattress
A drawing of a mattress

The Omnichannel dilemma

This mattress can be described with a simple image such as this one. Maybe you already had an image in your head when I used the words “best mattress in the world“ before even seeing the image. Another way would be a photo of the mattress.

A photo of a mattress
A photo of a mattress

Or it could be actual audio.

An audio wave of the text “Best mattress in the world”
An audio wave of the text “Best mattress in the world”

So how do you decide which one is the best? Especially when you think about different devices your customers use. If your answer is as always, i.e. with text and images, what about voice interfaces? Alexa? Google Home? Does your text and image support answering questions such as: 

“Can I purchase this mattress on a Sunday?” 

Apparently not in Washington due to an obscure law. Or another question like: 

“Is the mattress locally made?”

One metadata to rule them all 

For us, it’s easy to connect the dots and answer these questions, but for a bot or an assistant, it is a complex task if the content metadata isn’t carefully crafted.

Photo of a mattress with some metadata
Photo of a mattress with some metadata

Relationships matter

The beauty of having more carefully crafted metadata is that it can reveal otherwise hidden relationships. Those relationships are not only in-between content but also between content and your customers.

A smart speaker answering a question about the mattress
A smart speaker answering a question about the mattress

Reusability is the key

This more structured approach to content, detached from its presentation, unlocks its reusability potential. Your content will now be reusable on any channel and in any related piece of content. Now it can be delivered with minimal friction anywhere.

Mattress information flowing to different digital channels
Mattress information flowing to different digital channels

We don’t have to stop here. By storing your content this way, you are also prepared for future channels. No more content migrations.

Mattress information flowing ready for future channels
Mattress information flowing ready for future channels

Something which might have been overwhelming to think about in the beginning now seems really simple. And the relatively new discipline that can help you to achieve this and much more is content modeling.

It aims to create a content model, which is a framework for your content to make sure it’s highly reusable, presentation-independent, and supports all aspects of your business and your clients’ needs. It’s a blueprint for how your content will be created and how it will support the evolution of your content. It’s enforcing helpful boundaries on how your content is created, and it liberates its strengths via embedded semantic content relationships.

In essence, content modeling structures your content into highly reusable pieces and adds relationships and meaningful metadata. Creating a content model is a collaborative effort, and the best results are achieved if all stakeholders are involved. It’s also much more rewarding this way.

This hub will help you with all of this.

Key Points

What to remember:

  • Your content isn't destined only for the web anymore. Sooner or later, your content model will have to support omnichannel delivery.
  • Metadata is key to help to adapt content for future applications, such as voice channels or AI, and creating meaningful relationships between content and between content and customers.
  • You don't have to craft channel-specific content if you design your model highly structured with reusability in mind. 

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