Before you move further, let's go through what can come in handy in different situations. Bookmark this page for later when you're modeling content. But even passive knowledge can make a difference when you read further.
General content modeling terminology
The first term is content modeling, which 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.
The result of the content modeling effort is a content model. The content model is a blueprint and a set of (usually enforced) rules on how your company will work with content throughout the whole organization or in a given project.It’s important to note that the content model, if carefully crafted, is future-proof and not dependent on more volatile aspects of the project, such as the actual content, the implemented front end, or its navigation.
Content types and items
Content types are your blueprints for creating different kinds of content items. For example, they can create an Article, Blog post, or even a Mattress product. Some systems will call these blueprints page types (they don’t have to be pages), entities, collections, data types, classes, or modules, to name a few. The name content type best reflects the purpose of this construct as everything created based on it is content, and all instances will be of the same type. Thus, content type. Creating instances based on content types results in producing content items.It’s important to address the flexibility of content types right here. The Mattress example mentioned is, in most cases, already a composite of multiple content types. The article could contain a call to action (CTA), which by itself can be a content type. We will address how far you should go when it comes to the granularity of your model in a separate article.
Content type elements
Dissecting content types brings us to a lower level where weʼll discover their actual structure. Content types consist of a set of sub-objects for which we’ll use the term elements. These can also be called fields, properties, attributes, inputs, or similar. The term element showcases the flexibility over some of the other naming conventions and highlights the fact that these are the smallest building pieces belonging to an overarching structure, the content type. So, for example, when talking about a Mattress, there would probably be Name, Description, or Price elements. These elements usually come in different types, such as Text, Number, or Date and time.
Building relationships between items
One of the most important aspects of a content model, if not the single most important one, is the links you establish between different content items. Links between items are dictated by how your content types are set up as most systems allow for some kind of linked item element type.
Linking with metadata
Linking items explicitly is one of the ways of forming relationships. Another way, and even more useful one, is utilizing meaningful metadata, which is any information helping you to form invisible (semantic) relationships in-between content and between content and readers. Metadata can include taxonomies, personas, audiences, or stages of the buyerʼs journey. Metadata attached to content gives it the needed context for which the content was crafted. You’ll use different tools to add metadata to your content model depending on what is available and what you want to achieve. In short, metadata can be added as an element, a content type, or a separate taxonomy object if available.
Assembly and chunks
Other common terms used when talking about content modeling are the assembly model, content chunking, and content chunks.
The assembly model is the process of how the content is pieced together from different content items. This can be done manually, by content editors, or even automatically by the actual front end.
Content chunks are the smallest reusable pieces within the whole content model, and the process of modeling those is called chunking.
Chunking sometimes means grouping elements into a content type (chunking up), but usually, it means breaking content types down (chunking down) into more reusable pieces. We’ll always use it in the latter definition.
These are the essential constructs you’ll need for most content models. Some systems come with supporting tools to aid your content modeling efforts, such as content type snippets used for a repeating set of fields that can be repeated on multiple content types (e.g., SEO elements), or custom elements that can simplify and enhance your content model significantly (e.g., a custom element allowing you to select assets from your existing DAM), so it’s recommended to get yourself familiar with your CMS of choice.
Terminology specific to Kontent.ai
Templates/forms for content items
Contain content type elements or content type snippets
A typical use case is a concept of a blog post, testimonial or article
Some content based on a content type (an instance of a content type, to be specific)
Contain filled elements
A typical use case is one specific blog post
Content type elements
Atomic parts of content types with optional validation rules that later works in content items as a piece of structured information
Contain a piece of content (text, numbers, dates, etc.) but also linked items, components, and taxonomies
A typical use case is a blog post title, target persona, text voice, related articles
Content type snippets
Multiple content type elements re-used in multiple content types
Contain content type elements
A typical use case is metadata for SEO, content brief, customer journey context
Link content items together, create relationships
Contain other reusable content items
A typical use case is related articles, author, child navigation
Inline, non-reusable pieces of content inside a rich text element that work similarly to content items but don't have a name and are not listed among all content
Similar to content items, contain filled elements
A typical use case is a slideshow, attachments, poll, one-time images
A tree of tags for settings or categorization
Contains its terms
A typical use case is a persona, voice & tone, category
A way to compartmentalize different kinds of content
Similar to taxonomy, used for filtering content items
A typical use case is dividing content between company departments or separating regional content
Variants of a content item, with the same structure and connected to the original content item
Similar to content items, contain filled elements
A typical use case is translations, region-specific content
Specify child items of a content item
Subpages are similar to linked items, they exist only with Web Spotlight enabled
Focus on the purpose of the content type, not its representation. However, if you need to embed layout into your model, use a generic Page content type. Don’t create types such as Page with left section. Instead, use taxonomies or components to specify the layout options.Avoid one-off types or being too specific, such as creating Home page or About us page content types.
Use for content of the same type, such as different articles, CTAs or FAQs.Avoid using for content that's only part of one specific item. For example, an article-specific slideshow or attachment.
Use the right element based on the information purpose. For example, if you want to pick the content creator from a list of options, use the Multiple choice element for checkboxes (if multi-choice)or radio buttons (if single-select).Don’t be too specific, such as Twitter summary (more suitable would be Social network summary).
Use for sharing elements across content types. It can be only one element if you want to maintain consistency, such as a detailed guideline that would be difficult to manage separately, persona, or page options.Use to ensure the same naming of content type elements' codenames to make your developer's job easier.
Use validation in the element to ensure that content creators will link suitable content only.
Use when the item is tightly related to the parent content item only. When a second use appears, or you want to decouple the workflow, convert it into a content item.Use for anything that can't be represented using the out-of-the-box rich text toolbar. For example, prices, images, names, or phone numbers.
Use to manage site relationships, personalization, layout, content discovery, or tags that won't be displayed to your visitors. Useful for internal filtering in the inventory.Don't use if you want to display the taxonomy term to your website or app visitors. Instead, define a content type as taxonomy metadata.
Use to classify content items. For instance, a university would use collections to group content by faculties. An international company could use collections to separate region-specific content from the shared one.Depending on your use case, you can also decide to use variants to manage regional content.
Use for fallbacks of content.
Separate the actual content from the navigation. Create the content in a separate content item and then link your page to it. This way, your content will be ready for an omnichannel presence. Later, you can create a different hierarchy for another channel and reuse the same content.