Content modeling explained - Understanding content modeling in a headless world

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    Content is in high demand everywhere you turn as consumers interact with their favorite brands on multiple devices. And a lot is being done to meet that demand, with approximately 7.5 million blog posts published per day, over 500 hours of video uploaded to YouTube per minute, and millions of photos and videos shared on various social media platforms.

    From mobile phones to tablets, smart speakers, TVs, and wearable devices, things have changed quite a bit compared to when the only thing a business needed was a website. The current digital environment requires a content-first approach, and with so many channels to juggle, organizations need a content strategy in place to deliver value. An important element in that content strategy is your content model, yet many content models are meant for content on a website, making them insufficient for today’s multichannel world.

    We’ll dive into content modeling and explain what it means to perform content modeling with a headless CMS like Storyblok.

    What is content modeling?

    Content modeling is a process for documenting the various types of content associated with your brand and its content attributes and defining the relationship between them. A content model helps define the purpose of each piece of content created and provides a structure for it.

    Two elements make up a content model: content types and content attributes.

    A content type provides a template to follow for making multiple pieces of similar content. For example, a business may have content types for pages, products, and author bios. A content type is used to create similar parts of the same content format.

    Content attributes, on the other hand, are the elements that make up a content type. The attributes for a product page content type may be the name, description, and price. Or for an author bio, it may include their name, title, and a description of their role in the organization.

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    How components help content modeling

    Content modeling is all about improving the structure of your content and components help to improve that structure even more. A component constitutes a small piece of data structure and can be filled with content. Components like hero images, columns, headlines and more can be easily arranged using a headless CMS, simplifying work for your content editors.

    What are the benefits of content modeling

    While content modeling might seem like a simple process, it can take some time to execute properly and should not be overlooked. When done correctly, it can yield quite a few benefits:

    • Improved structure: Content modeling outlines the relationships between different content types. This allows your brand to create a structure that clearly defines how content should be used and enables that content structure to be repeated again and again for each digital touchpoint.

    • Better context: Content modeling also provides context for different channels and content types. While much of the content in the early days of the internet was created for the web, over time, brands have adopted different types of websites and new channels where they can display content. For example, the content meant for a product page would not be the same as the content for a blog post. It also wouldn’t be the same content structure when content is displayed on a website and a mobile application. A content model provides the context to see how content will look on each channel.
    • Greater collaboration: Several people are involved in the content creation and management process, from designers and developers to content authors and marketers. Having a content model tells everyone in the content team how much content is required for each channel as well as the type of content needed.
    • Improved prioritization: Content modeling helps you to put the business objectives first. Once you know how content should be displayed on each channel and the types of channels you have content for, you can ensure that your content strategy is in alignment and that you’re not wasting resources with content that doesn’t fit your organization.
    • Content reuse: Content modeling supports content reuse by allowing you to use one piece of content in various ways. It makes it easy to modify content meant for one channel and adapt it to use in another. For example, content one a blog can be easily adapted to be used in email marketing campaigns, social media or on an eCommerce product.

    Steps to creating a content model

    How do you start building your own content model?

    Assess your current content library and assets

    Determining what content you have is the first step to creating any content model. After you’ve compiled all the information on your content library, you can decide what type of content you want to keep and what content you want to discard. Once that’s done, the next step is to create a taxonomy or system to classify the content so that you can categorize content that gets created in the future.

    Determine content types and attributes

    Next, determine your content types and attributes. Identifying the different types of attributes you have allows you to create a template or blueprint so that the components can be reused for similar types of content in the future. Creating a diagram that maps the relationships between your content types and attributes can help content authors, developers, and designers get on the same page while each is creating different elements of the content experience.

    Define your content relationships

    Finally, you need to define your content relationships and identify how content elements work together. Brainstorming the type of content you want to have and how it might be displayed is critical, but you also need to map out how each piece of content relates to each other and how it will work once it’s in the CMS. Building out these relationships ensures that all functionality and workflows remain the same once you add your content to the CMS.

    Storyblok: Content modeling with a headless CMS

    Having a content model is critical with the number of channels where customers expect to interact with their brand. A content model helps you navigate the busy digital landscape, yet you also need the right resources to put your model into action.

    A headless CMS like Storyblok helps you define the structure of your content and deliver it to the multiple channels your customers expect. In Storyblok, a content model is also known as a schema. When creating content, the first step is to create a content type and fields such as text, dates, images, or custom fields like an embedded map or icon picker. A content type helps you create templates for the stories or content elements in Storyblok. Some examples of a content type might be a post, page or FAQ entry. With your content types and components defined, you can then add content.

    If you want to learn more about how Storyblok can be used to define the structure of your content, see: How to structure Storyblok spaces using Atomic Design.