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7 Content Modeling Pitfalls You Must Avoid

Implementing a CMS is not just about patterns and frameworks. A fundamental part of it is content modeling, which is easy to mess up if you’re not careful. Here are 7 content modeling pitfalls you must be mindful of.

Date IconMar 8th, 20224 minutes

Eric Izazaga

Marketing Coordinator

7 Content Modeling Pitfalls You Must Avoid - Blog Post

A carefully planned and well-structured content strategy is essential for delivering consistent and high-quality content according to where and how your target audience wants it.

This is where a content model comes in - an effective content model ensures a scalable and sustainable content strategy for any business, regardless of its future content plans.

7 Pitfalls to Avoid During the Content Modeling Process

Building future-proof content models are challenging, and knowing what mistakes to avoid is not easy. That is why we put together this article—here are seven pitfalls teams should avoid when seeing through the content modeling process.

1. Avoid Building Content Models Without Company-Wide Buy-In

Editors, developers, designers, stakeholders, and content marketers should be part of the content modeling committee. 

Diving into content modeling without having all the teams aligned first or without any room for adjustment will only result in models based on limited, self-serving information.

As a result, it will become difficult to make adjustments later on or you might miss the MVP requirements provided by the product owner in the first place. 

Content models are living, breathing things that'll require frequent care and changes. It’s essential to treat content modeling as such, work closely with all the parties involved, and ensure everyone’s on the same page.

Communication must be open and constant, and establish key touchpoints to plan and implement content models in line with the development to avoid wasting time.

2. Avoid Creating Content Types for Every New Instance

Teams must refrain from creating a content type for every new instance. The purpose of content modeling is to consolidate content types and make them reusable for future website pages.

At times, you'll have to create a content type for a single content item with no other instances that could reuse the same content type. But, there will also be times when you’re tempted to create a content type just for the sake of minor differences.

While you might not see a problem with this at first, down the road, you’ll have a long list of content types for singular content items that is hard to manage and makes development increasingly complex. 

When modeling, keep reusability in mind and remember that content types shouldn’t represent the same content. Look for ways to group content types and think of content as inclusive and accessible to different audiences. 

Content modeling is also a great place to follow the DRY principle—Don’t Repeat Yourself. Look out for repeating patterns so that you don’t end up creating duplicate content types. 

3. Avoid Prioritizing Presentation Over the Meaning

Users coming from a monolithic, also known as traditional, CMS are used to thinking about the presentation of the content first instead of its meaning.

Of course—it’s hard to ignore the presentation completely, but by focusing too much on it, teams run the risk of forgetting the purpose of the content they are creating. This makes it challenging to understand the value of content for future projects and redesigns.

One way to overcome this pitfall is by modeling content around the meaning of each type. Teams should build their schema such that you can easily remove your presentation choices without it affecting your content.

4. Avoid Creating New Fields to Represent Existing Data

Creating new fields for content types that already use these fields elsewhere makes content models complicated and messy. The more fields, the more confusion the content model causes across teams.

To prevent team members from creating new fields, add rules or restrictions for how and where each field should be used. Doing so gives team members a better understanding of the fields that already exist in the content model.

5. Avoid Creating Content Types Content Teams Cannot Produce

In most cases, you will be asked to create all the content types your client or management believes they will produce, but that might not be realistically possible.

While it seems like moving forward with creating any content type, it’s important to understand what's involved in the creation of new content types and the outcomes.

Can developers build the content type? Will it be seamless for content editors and marketers to use the content types? What results should we expect to see by using these content types?

Remember, asking for too many content types eats into the budget, time, and other resources. Before pitching a new content type, it’s important to keep everyone's capacity in mind.

Decision-makers shouldn’t create content types or models that developers and content editors won’t find accessible.

6. Avoid Using a Taxonomy to Represent Content Types

The purpose of a taxonomy is to categorize content types using descriptions, naming conventions, and terms, not to represent them. While this seems like common knowledge, many websites tend to use a taxonomy system to create content types. 

As a rule of thumb, you should remember that if the terms and vocabularies set through taxonomy do not appear across multiple or all pieces of content (that is, they are not repeated), then you should convert the taxonomy to a content type instead. 

7. Avoid Not Considering the Channels You Need to Serve

A headless CMS overcomes many limitations of a monolithic CMS and allows you to build a content hub used to manage all content in one place and serve it to any channel.

For content modeling to be effective, teams must understand how and why they'll reach their audience on each existing channel. That way teams understand the purpose of each channel to help them build content types that enable them to spread their messaging cohesively.

Now It's Your Turn to Avoid these Content Modeling Pitfalls

Now you're all set to avoid these content modeling pitfalls as you begin building your content models. By keeping the clearly-defined practices outlined above in mind, you can leverage your content modeling process and build content with a purpose.

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