This is one of the 52 terms in The Language of Content Strategy published by XML Press in 2014 and the contributor for this term is Cleve Gibbon.
What is it?
A formal representation of structured content as a collection of content types and their interrelationships.
Why is it important?
Provides a shared vocabulary for content that communicates its essential structure and meaning, making it easier to execute a content strategy.
Why does a content strategist need to know this?
A content model is a representation of structured content that surfaces the key content types and their interrelationships. Content types are an essential part of the shared vocabulary between business, creative, and technology teams when talking about what content has real value to the organization and at what cost.
Content strategists need to be involved in content type conversations, early and often. The content model is an important output that captures the understanding of structured content at any point in time. However, the intended outcome is for there to be an ongoing process that any member of a team can use to mine, define, and refine structured content. This includes business stakeholders, UX/IA, and technologists uniting around a single view of content. Content strategists are key to keeping these content discussions live and front of mind.
Today, content modeling falls within the purview of technologists. So, many failed projects result from a mismatch between business content needs and the unchallenged constraints and limitations of a content management system. This is wrong, costly, and unsustainable. By using content models that connect business and technology early, and speaking the same language, we can do much to eliminate waste in the future.