Getting Started with Content Modeling: A Quick Guide

Beth Norton
June 9, 2023
5 mins

82.91% of companies reported that switching to a headless CMS improved productivity and revenue growth. One of the key factors in their success is content modeling.

So, what is a content model? How does it benefit content teams and developers? And most importantly, how do you create a content model that facilitates a seamless omnichannel customer experience?

What is a Content Model?

A content model is the framework that describes all of your content types and their relationship to each other. In a headless CMS, content is managed separately from its presentation layer, so having a logical taxonomy structure enables you to use your content in multiple ways, and be adaptable and consistent in delivering content.

Why Content Modeling Matters to Developers

A content model allows developers to deliver the frontend experience in line with the end user’s expectations. Because each element is defined, it simplifies the process of creating a consistent, searchable and seamless user experience across your digital estate, as well as minimizing chances of miscommunication or coding issues.

A content model also ensures that developers can keep pace with changing business and customer needs. Old content can be upgraded swiftly, and new types of content created without the need for changes to your architecture.

Developers, check out our detailed guide on creating a content model here.

Why Content Modeling Matters to Content Teams

What holds content teams back from creating great content? Studies regularly cite slow manual processes, lack of agility, and frustration at the inability to deliver content across multiple channels. 

A headless CMS underpinned by a solid content model eliminates these challenges for content producers. Reusable components can be input once and automatically updated across every channel. The content model enables speed and flexibility, allowing content teams to focus primarily on creating engaging, customer-centric content, without having to rely on developers.

Amplience’s 5-Step Guide to Creating a Content Model

  1. Identify content types

Take time to review your current content ecosystem and conduct an audit, noting the types of content and formats your organization uses. You might have categories such as blogs, case studies, events and testimonials.

Create an inventory, and use the sitemap to understand your content spectrum. Consider other content types and formats that you might develop in the future to meet customer needs, the taxonomy will be fluid as your business evolves.

  1. Add attributes to your content types

An attribute is a quality or characteristic of a content type. One content type might have a range of attributes, so it’s important to define which ones are most important for your business. For example, if you were listing the attributes of a product description, you might include things like name of product, price, specifications, and customer reviews.

A helpful way to record this is in spreadsheet format, listing content types and definitions, their associated attributes, and examples of particular attributes.

  1. Understand how your content connects

Identify how your different content types are associated, and how they are connected. For example, a testimonial is given by a customer, and documentation is for a product. When you’re connecting content types, it’s helpful to think about which content type does the work (subject) and which is affected by the action (object).

You may find yourself adding or subtracting from the content model to simplify as you go through this process.

  1. Create your content model

You should aim to produce a visual map that displays each content type, their attributes, and their relationship to other content types. This is often represented in a diagram where the content types and their attributes are housed in boxes, and the relationship between them is illustrated with arrows that connect them.

This exercise will produce content modeling wireframes that can be replicated in your headless CMS. Content teams can then reference the structured models and test its application to their projects and workflows.

  1. Refine and evolve

Over time, your business and customer needs will change – and so will your content delivery requirements. Be prepared to review and tweak your content model regularly, to adapt to changes and to allow for the evolution of new content types.

Content modeling may seem like a complex task at first, but it’s key to streamlining the content creation process, and to enabling speed and agility with content delivery. Get it right, and everything you do afterwards, from strategizing to deployment, will be fast and scalable.