Go live with the content model
Whether it’s school classes, work processes, or technological advancement, everything evolves. To get to or stay at the top of your business field, you always need to innovate and keep up with the current needs and trends.
The content model is no exception. Because of that, it’s important to take a couple of steps to ensure that the content model is still beneficial in the future and you don't need to redo the whole thing again.
Table of contents
- Schedule regular reviews and content audits on a yearly basis.
- Create a content type for chunks and chunk your content items into reusable pieces of content to avoid content duplication.
- Make it easy for the editors to enter content by dividing the content elements into content groups based on their purpose and permissions.
Ensure the right division
1. Group content elements based on their purpose
In your content model diagram, go through each content type once more, and group elements that are related together into content groups. Content groups make it easier for content creators because of two main reasons:
- They can focus on related elements only. If they’re writing, they can see the main content only. If they’re filling in metadata, they see metadata only. Don’t force users to scroll under the main content that has a different length in each content item.
- Let people in a given role in the project focus on relevant elements only. With content groups, you can set different permissions to different parts of content items so that unauthorized people don’t change what they shouldn’t.
2. Crumble content into smaller pieces
In coffee, the smallest assembly pieces are coffee grounds. In insurance, they can be insurance parameters. In content modeling, the smallest reusable pieces are chunks. Chunks are another content type that holds a piece of content that’s reused in multiple places.
Chunking is also sometimes used to describe grouping of elements. In this tutorial, this term describes breaking down of complex content types into smaller, reusable content pieces.
If you re-use content or you find an embedded set of elements with a strong intent (for example, CTAs, tasks, steps, diagrams, infographics, or quotes), chunk it.
- Create a content type, for example, named Chunk.
- If you set limitations to different elements, typically in rich text, ensure that Chunk is allowed.
Then, when you create content that will be reused or when you want to copy and paste content from an existing content item:
- Create a chunk instead – a content item based on the Chunk content type.
- Create the content in the chunk.
- Link both target content items to the chunk.
However, try to keep 2–3 levels of content nesting (for chunks and content items) at most. More levels lead to losing the context when going through a content item.
Best practices on chunking
If chunking got your interest, read more on this topic. We recommend:
- Want Content That’s More Usable & Reusable? Chunk It by Marcia Riefer Johnston, which contains examples, a task, and a video regarding chunking content
- How will content chunks improve your content model for a headless CMS by our own Boris Pocatko on our Content Modeling Hub, which explains chunking in more detail
You can also use schema.org to make sure you didn’t miss any essential elements. However, mirroring the whole object structure is usually not necessary.
3. Verify your content model responds to your needs
Once you create the first iteration of your model, take a step back and check if the content model addresses your requirements. Both re-platforming and new implementations usually come with a checklist of pain points or requirements. Double-check if the new model is addressing them.
Use a spreadsheet to list:
- Pain points
- Internal and external stakeholder needs
- Support of the customer journeys
Then, map your content types (or even content items) to them. This way you can keep track of how, for example, your metadata is able to help you to support your customer journeys. Remove everything non-essential.
4. Ensure your content model won’t become a burden
As needs change over time, it’s important to schedule yearly content audits and reviews of the content model. Audits prevent content to ROT (to become redundant, outdated, and full of trivial content), which is essential so that you don’t need to repeat the whole process from the beginning, and the model still brings you the biggest value possible.
We recommend creating some sort of a reminder. For example, a recurring calendar event to that part of the year when you can devote some time to the revision.
With all these suggestions, you can keep on refining the content model over and over again without having to redo the whole content model preparation from scratch.
The content model that you have now is:
- Extendable – via content type snippets and elaborated content types
- Flexible – you can reuse important content types as components or linked items
- Essential – containing little to no embedded formatting and layout information
Creating a content model is one thing, and people participating during the modeling phase will always have a very deep insight into what works how. With more content creators, though, you need to make the process of writing easy also for them:
- Set up content preview so that they can see the final appearance of their content.
- Add edit links to your preview/staging environments so that they can easily find the right content item to edit.
- Use content groups to display relevant elements to relevant people.
Because first and foremost, you need to make sure that content creators, whatever position they hold, enjoy working with your content model.
To continue further, pick a page from the page tree or search for what you're interested in. We recommend continuing with:
- Get inspired by real-life content modeling examples if you haven't already.
- Continue by setting up team collaboration when you finish with your content model.