Agility Sneak Peek: Content Modeling

Content Modeling helps you make sure your content is easy to find and access, lowering the probability of getting lost in all of the noise on the internet

Joel Varty
Joel Varty
Jun 7, 2021
Agility Sneak Peek: Content Modeling

Content modeling is a vital part of an organization's content marketing strategy. It helps you make sure your content is easy to find and access, lowering the probability of getting lost in all of the noise on the internet. 

Many CTOs are unsure of the value that content modeling can have for their business. Still, as we move into the next decade, it will be even more important for companies to have a plan for structuring their content to reach its maximum potential online. 

However, content modeling is often forgotten about because it does not come with an easy answer or a quick fix. Still, but there are many benefits to this type of improvement process for any company. 

Content modeling can be best summarized as a "recipe" for how you want your site to function. This includes, what pages should exist on your site, where they should link from one page to another, and how every piece of content interacts with one another.

In this Agility CMS sneak peek, we'll look at content modeling and how Agility CMS helps content teams gain more independence over their operations.

What Is Content Modeling?

Content models are hierarchies that break down information about each page on a website: the title; keywords; main image —if there's one; subheadings, short paragraphs, or bullet points with explanations or definitions, links back to other pages on your site; and so on.

A content model describes the different types of content you are likely to need for a given project and includes definitions of the elements for each content type and how they relate to one another.

Content modelling infographic on agilitycms.com

Content models take many forms. From spreadsheets to documents to diagrams and post-it notes. However, more often than not, you will need more detailed content models that break down each content type into its component parts; it also provides information about each file and attribute format.

A Deeper Look at Content Modeling

Agility CMS's best-in-class Editor Experience differentiates itself from other systems. It not only allows you to define and relate content types but also integrates with our built-in Page Management

This means you can define content, then control exactly how that content gets used and on which page.

Here are some of the advantages of Agility CMS content modeling:

  • Not just for developers: You can customize your content models right in the CMS using our visual builder.
  • Optimizes your editor experience: Group fields together, set required fields, default values, and much more.
  • Future-proofs your Content: Define structured content that is decoupled from your presentation layer.
  • Evolve your content model over time: Seamlessly switching from editing content to your definition allows for quick updates and promotes iterating on your content models.

The Content Model section in Agility CMS is where you can manage your Content Definitions, what UI elements editors can add to a page (Module Definitions), and what areas on the page can the editor manage (Page Templates).

Content model system in Agility

Content definitions are the most important aspect of the Content-first approach. You want to think about your content without fixating where it is going or how it will be used. Make it reusable, flexible, and easy to manage. You first define your content by creating fields, then you can create relationships between other content,

For example, an Author Content Definition may look like:

  • Name: Text
  • Birthdate: Date
  • Profile Image: Image

Author Content Definition

Modules are similar to Content Definitions in that they have fields and can relate to other content. Still, a Module is meant to represent a functional UI component that will ultimately render on a website or app. 

An editor should add a module to a page and render some UI and display content based on the fields on the module or its related content.

You can create anything from a simple, structured piece of text, a more complex item, or any functionality and integration with other platforms and systems.

For example, you have a Module called Image Slider:

  • Number of Slides: Number
  • Rotation Speed: Number

Slides: Linked Content Reference to Slides

Content Reference to Slides

Page Templates

Each Page Templates represents a different page layout. You often will have a different definition for a home page, landing pages, and other internal pages. A developer decides how the definition is rendered into HTML. Each definition has Module Zones which are areas where editors can enter pieces of content. These are called Modules, and they can be added, removed, and rearranged within these zones. The simplest example of a Module is a rich text field that allows for any content you want to be added onto the page.

page definition

We believe that providing an excellent editor experience is critical to any success. 

CMS implementation. Agility CMS believes you should have full control over what content you have, how it's defined, what is within those fields and exactly, and how they relate to each other, including things like validating and having more control over your content. 

We enable this with our content modeling features that are available directly in the CMS without requiring a developer. The first step in any successful website is determining what needs to be on the site. After this has been done, the next step would be to create a hierarchy for all of these different pages, where content modeling comes into play. 

Let's take a look at the benefits of content modeling for different user types:

  • Content strategist and designers: Content models and intelligent content can help a content strategy. Designers make sure that both the content and the design accommodate all the content types for the site. Also, it makes sure that every part of the text and media is available for visitors.
  • Developers: A thorough content model helps your developers understand the content needs and requirements of the company as they configure the CMS. For example, if the proposed content model wants to perform an action that the CMS doesn't support, the developer should adjust it and create a compatible model.
  • Content editors and authors: A content editor needs content models to create guidelines on what content should look like and how to enter it into the CMS. Modeling content enables the creation of intuitive content structures that simplify content production.

Content Modeling In Agility CMS

This tutorial is an abridged version of our Introduction to Content Modeling video.

In this example, we're looking at a blog post that already has a couple of fields, a title and image, and details. You can jump directly to view how this content is defined and make some changes. 

Content modelling screenshot on agilitycms.com

This allows you to evolve your content model over time as you're looking at it, and you may decide that you want to add more fields or change how fields are being displayed. 

You can do that directly from your content too.

Evolving content with Agility CMS

Once you're in this definition, you can do a variety of different things such as changing the order in which the fields appear on the input form, adding new fields using various field types, and other things like adding validation and setting default values

New field content modelling with Agility CMS

All of this allows you to feature-proof your content so that you can have content that is decoupled from your presentation layer. We take this a little bit further and provide two different types of definitions, one for specific content to a page. 

We call these module definitions; we also provide definitions for content that is not specific to a page content that may be used across multiple pages or multiple digital channels.

The key takeaway here is that there are different types of structures you can use when organizing your content, but deciding which structure best suits your needs comes from understanding what each one offers and what doesn't offer. 

Let's see the benefits of content modeling in Agility CMS:

  • Improved visibility: A dedicated section specifically for Content Modelling.
  • Faster than ever: A snappier UI, less configuration required, built-in previews, and linked content wizards make this the fastest way to manage your content models.
  • Easier to get started: A new Getting Started page in the content modeling section introduces new users to core concepts.
  • Streamlined definition creation: Less configuration is required so you can focus on what matters.
  • More Accurate: Preview your editor forms while you are creating fields.
  • Increased visibility of various field types: Adding a field now shows a visual representation of various field types available, and you can preview what they look like.
  • Streamlined Linked Content Field Configuration: A new wizard walks you through how to configure your fields, and you no longer need to create or manage hidden value fields that stored selected IDs

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