When developing a content model, there are three challenges to overcome.
The first is understanding the value of a content model and what it can do for your organization. Most discussions about content modeling tend to concentrate on this question of “why”? We spend a lot of time explaining all the reasons we should model content in attempt to persuade someone a content model is a thing they need and should want.
This has already been done well. I’m going to let others keep fighting this battle.
But, once we’ve convinced people of the why, we run headlong into the second challenge: how do we actually create a model from a team and requirements standpoint? Meaning, how do we decide what types and attributes we need, and how should they all fit together?
This is a problem of discovery, analysis, team dynamics, trial and error, and dozens of other factors. Again, many resources have been written about this.
Assuming we know why we need a content model and assuming we’ve put together a good, logical plan, the challenge this guide is concerned with is the third one –
What tools do we actually have available to do this?
The answer to this one can be tricky. If you already have a CMS, then you have an existing toolset you need to work with, and it’s helpful to know what modeling functionality that CMS offers before you start planning.
If you don’t have a CMS and you need to acquire one, then knowing what tools you need helps inform the decision. Many teams don’t know what features they should look for, or what questions they should ask when they go looking. They end up with a system which is completely mismatched to what they were trying to accomplish in the first place.