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Introduction to content modeling

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If content was a coffee, the content model would be the coffee cup, which holds all ingredients and the final product together. The cup is a constraint but together with the ingredients, it also gives you a lot of possibilities when making a coffee. Content modeling is very similar to this real-world scenario.

Table of contents

    Key points

    • Every content model is unique and consists mainly of content types and content type elements.
    • Creating a content model is a collaborative effort and the best results are achieved if all stakeholders are involved.
    • Having a content strategy, mapped out customer journeys, and an audit of the existing content is invaluable.

    In content modeling, ingredients would be your content type elements (sometimes also called content attributes). The same ingredients can be used to make different types of coffee, so you are also able to create different content types with your content type elements.

    Overall, the process of preparation would be the assembly model. You don't need to remember this term but it can be a suitable keyword if you look for more content modeling information.

    How important is content modeling, really?

    From the team’s experience, well-modeled projects are more successful from both result and satisfaction points of view. For us, content modeling is one of the most important things that can decide the success of your project.

    If you already know the basics and want to go further, hop on our content modeling e-learning path to master content modeling.

    Detailed and careful preparation, with great ingredients and a bit of uniqueness, will set you up for success if you plan to open your own coffee chain. The same can be said for the content model.

    Comparison of coffee and the content model

    The content model is the foundation of your project and although it may have similarities with the content models of others, it will have some unique traits. It’s so unique that no one will have exactly the same content model as you or your company. It’s only yours and no one else’s.

    Creating a good model is hard, so the best approach is to start small and iterate. This can be done by building it in a flexible and extensible way. This should be your mantra for the whole process. On top of that, involve at least one stakeholder per department to address their needs and get internal buy-in for the model.

    In this tutorial, we will use the coffee example to illustrate content modeling better, but here are some other real-life examples you could use to understand different content modeling terms.

    Building blueprintStepsOrder of sectionsAssembly model
    Building codesCoffee cupStructure of articles and how they relate to each otherContent model
    Bungalow, Duplex, VillaFlat white, Cappuccino, Latte, Long blackBlog, News, Breaking newsContent types
    Mortar, Bricks, Water, Cement, Timber, TilesWater, Beans, Milk, Creamer, SugarImages, Text, VideoContent type elements (or content attributes)
    Pre-fab walls, Windows, DoorsCoffee pods, Creamer, Nescafe 3-in-1SEO fields, Metadata fields, CTAsContent chunks

    Before you start modeling

    This series is focused on content modeling itself. However, to become well-prepared and make content modeling easier, we recommend that you do a couple of activities that will help you understand your existing customers and content:

    • Map your customer journey across all channels
    • Dig into your current information architecture setup
    • Audit your existing content

    What's next?

    After reading this introduction, you should have overall knowledge about what content modeling means. Are you able to explain what content type elements are? If so, continue to the next step to learn more about content modeling in 

    If you are still unsure why you should learn content modeling, check out more on this topic and what could go wrong.