Content modeling allows you to organize and manage all the types of content you produce, their components, and their relationships with each other. It’s an essential part of an efficient content operations and governance model, allowing your teams to leverage those components and relationships for a seamless experience for your audience.
When you pair content modeling with a robust content taxonomy, your teams will have everything they need to find content assets quickly, incorporate reusable components into new content, and link new content to relevant older content.
That’s the why. Now, let’s look at how to incorporate a content model into your content strategy.
Start with a Diagram of All Your Content Types
List all the types of content your company produces. Now, draw connections between those types of content to show how they relate to each other, as content strategist Rachel Lovinger advises.
Here’s her model of the relationships among various elements of a musical artist’s website:
Image via Rachel Lovinger in A List Apart
The content type labeled “Chart” is the artist’s sales page, listing all the pieces available for people to buy. That page would naturally link to a description of each song, and each song’s page would link back to the chart.
In addition, an album page would link to each song in the album. Additionally, this musician chose to link his bio (probably the About page if he’s a solo artist) to the album page in case new fans wanted to know more about him and his background.
If the musician had a blog with instructional videos or written tips on mastering the instrument he plays, he’d probably link the songs he references in his blog posts to each song’s page. Then, he’d likely link the song page to the lesson that explains a technique he used in that song.
Next, List the Elements in Each Type of Content
Let’s return to our fictional musician’s web pages to look at the elements on each page. On your diagram, list each of those elements underneath the page’s name.
For example, our fictional musician’s About page would usually have an image of the musician and copy about his background and current work. On the other hand, the song page might feature a video or audio snippet, as well as a brief descriptive paragraph.
Now, suppose the musician partners with two other people to start a recording studio. He’d love to grow it into an enterprise-level corporation to compete with major labels, requiring even more musicians and support personnel on staff.
To prepare for that growth, he could create content templates for each type of content out of his existing pages. For example, he could create a blank bio page preset with a space for the staff member’s photo and another for the text. Having these preset types of content ready to go as his studio adds personnel will save his content teams much time if his future is as rosy as he imagines.
Then, Add the Details for Each Element on Your Templates
Remember, it’s not only your writers and videographers who will refer to your content model. Your UX, UI, and design teams, as well as developers, SEO teams, and subject matter experts, will also collaborate on the content you produce.
So, you’ll need to avoid using departmental jargon when describing each detail on your templates. While these details might vary by type of content and your company’s needs, here are some of the items you might want to include:
- An easy-to-understand description of the element
- What types of content you can use it in
- Format, e.g., visual, video, text, etc.
- Type of text, if applicable, e.g., normal text, H1 heading, H2 subheading, etc.
- If the element is text, whether your content teams need to write it or whether to load it from a specific feed, such as your company’s Twitter feed
- Who has permission to make changes
- For textual elements, the character or word count limit
- For visual elements, the dimensions in pixels and if it needs a caption
- The goal you want the element to accomplish, e.g., drive the user to click on a button, download a resource, or inform the user, etc.
- The layout it should use, e.g., columns, full width, text wrap, etc.
- Specific guidelines for the element, along with an example if necessary
- The information’s owner, e.g., the development team, the design team, etc.
Having a dedicated idea repository within your content marketing platform allows you, your teams, and other stakeholders to make suggestions to your content model during the development process without time-consuming emails and messages back and forth. That way, you can make any needed changes to your content model before you start using it in content planning.
Finally, Plan How to Leverage Reusable Elements in Your Content Model
As Content Marketing Institute’s Natalya Minkovsky advises, today’s content automation tools make it possible to make static content dynamic. Utilize the reusable elements in various types of content to update content automatically.
For instance, let’s revisit our fictional music studio for a simple illustration of how this process works. Let’s say the studio has grown a bit and has added a new content type, “Live Concerts,” for their touring artists.
Since this content type would naturally include concert dates and venues among its elements, the studio’s content teams could program their automation solution to add upcoming concerts to each artist’s bio. Not only will this simple action give the content a quick refresh, but more importantly, it will entice more fans to attend their favorite artists’ live performances.
Use Metadata to Tag Your Content Types and Their Components
With an enterprise-wide content metadata management system, you can tag specific pieces of content with relevant metadata. That process makes it easy for your teams to find content assets when they want to enrich new content with more information.
Use the same system to tag your content type templates and their components. That way, when you need to create a new content asset of the same type, you can find the template quickly, along with the elements you need to include.
If you want to get more quality content into your audience’s hands faster – and who doesn’t? – content modeling is a great way to put your content production at warp speed. Without a content platform that simplifies this complex task, you and your teams will put in plenty of overtime to get your system up and running.
But with DivvyHQ at your side, you’ll have a platform that accommodates every phase of the content planning and production process across the enterprise, including robust content strategy metadata management and content analytics customized to your needs.
And you can try it free for 14 days with no obligation. Start your free trial today!