Webinar recording

Better Content Modeling.

In this video, our experts will show you:

  • Effective content modeling with remote teams
  • Step-by-step improvements to make your content model awesome
  • How you can improve your existing Content-as-a-Service projects to ensure your content strategies can be delivered seamlessly
Video poster

Q&A from this content modeling webinar:

Who in your team typically designs the content models? Would that be the developers, Bas, or someone else? 

Kristian: We typically have content modeling be a collaboration between engineers and the business, with the engineering team ultimately owning the delivery of designing the content model. Ownership of the content items, on the other hand, is typically a responsibility that the business owns through its content writers, BAs, or marketers. Ingestion of historical data during a platform migration would be a joint effort between engineering and the business.

What is the biggest issue when preparing a content model?

Boris: The biggest challenge is usually the change of mindset. I often get asked how to model a certain layout or page. A sign of a good content modeling process is to think about the layout last after you’ve designed your core content types. What I try to do instead of focusing on the layout side of things is to take a step back and evaluate the semantic relationships between pieces of content. I explore where the given topic is covered and highlight relationships and the reuse potential of different content chunks or pieces. This approach will give you a much more future-proofed content model. 

What is the one thing that you most wish you knew about content modeling before your last major project? 

Kristian: Experience with content modeling brings an intuition towards creating simple content models in what may initially appear to be a very complex domain. There are usually opportunities to collapse numerous potential content types into more general types that can encapsulate a number of them when named well. This approach can create a much more elegant and easy-to-maintain content model.

Is it possible to model landing pages in KK?

Boris: Yes, if you design a content model supporting it. Landing pages can be designed in a modular fashion by being composed of reusable sections or widgets which represent different functionality or content pieces. These should only link existing content as you’d want to avoid tightly coupling form and content in the first place to future-proof your setup. Think about your content first, layout last. Editors shouldn’t be burdened to identify visual relationships of content—they should be able to focus on the semantic ones instead.

In your words, what is “Content as a Service” compared to headless CMSs? 

Kristian: When we are building a product such as a web application or a mobile app, we may want to accept payments. We would typically term to a “Payments-as-a-Service” platform such as Paypal, Stripe, or Braintree—rather than building out our own gateway. We simply want to accept payments quickly and focus on building what is core to our product. We leave all of the complexity to the payment gateway, such as the admin panels, the management of accounts, the processing of the actual payments, etc.

We can think of content in the same way; as we are building a web application or a mobile app, we very likely want to display content. We will want this content to be manageable and structured, and we will want to be able to localize the content in different languages and manage the workflow and publishing rules of the content, etc. Similarly to the above example with payments, we don’t want to build all of this complex infrastructure for managing content—so we see Kentico Kontent as a Content-as-a-Service platform that we can easily bolt onto our own tech stack to solve that particular need.

A headless CMS is the underlying technology that is used to deliver the Content-as-a-Service platform. In some ways, it is like looking at the various AWS services, and we can say that AWS can provide a “Platform-as-a-Service” offering, where the fundamental underlying technology is Cloud Computing.

What is the difference between a content item and a content snippet?

Boris: The more accurate term would be “content type snippet”, so apologies if I caused confusion in my presentation. These are reusable sets of fields without values. They can be employed to reuse the same set of fields on multiple content types. Most commonly are content type snippets used for SEO, personalization, and other metadata fields, which are often used on multiple content types. This keeps your content models consistent and allows you to extend numerous content types at once by simply changing one content type snippet if needed.

On the other hand, content items are instances of a content type. To give an example, let’s say you’ve got two content types, Article and Blog post. They will usually represent pages on a website, so they will need SEO related fields. SEO fields can be implemented with a shared content type snippet. If you then create a new Article called “How to make an iced coffee” and publish a blog “How to cope with the quarantine”, those are your content items based on your content types. More information on snippets can be found here.

What tools/software do you use for planning or wireframing content models? 

Kristian: We love using online design collaboration tools such as Figma, as they provide a nice canvas/whiteboard type of product that allows real-time collaboration, where you can easily move shapes around to represent content models. It is also easy to embed your actual wireframes or high-fidelity designs into the space to construct a more structured board within Figma as the one that I presented during the webinar.

How and where should an existing Kentico EMS customer start when thinking of migrating to a Kentico Kontent type architecture?

Boris: There are different architectures depending on a range of aspects, most of which are explored in this e-book. For example, if you plan to keep Kentico EMS as the front end to leverage the online marketing or e-commerce functionalities, we recommend keeping the core content in Kentico Kontent and ingesting it into EMS where you’d manage the front-end aspect of the website. If you prefer the editing experience in EMS, you can set up Kentico Kontent as a headless API to power other channels than the web. The first step in a complete migration should be a content audit and a content modeling session. The most important and often difficult part is to change the way you approach content. We provide content modeling and migration workshops ourselves as well if you’d like a hand with that. Another good starting point is to read my free e-book about content modeling and follow me on LinkedIn or Twitter for related reads on this topic ;).