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Teresa Lane - Content Modeling - WordCamp St. Louis 2016

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Are you trying to wrangle bunches of content that’s as unruly as a room of toddlers? Or are you trying to plan a site with a bunch of “mystery meat” pages? Whip that content — and your project —into shape and wind up with “model” content. Learn how to recognize patterns in existing content, create patterns across content pieces, and figure out when to create special post types.

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Teresa Lane - Content Modeling - WordCamp St. Louis 2016

  1. 1. Content Modeling Teresa Lane @teresaalane Director, Digital Content Strategy Washington University in St. Louis
  2. 2. What I mean by “content modeling” • Not a set-in-stone term • What I’m talking about today: • Representing content types and the pieces that comprise them • Relationships between content pieces • Can also use this technique to develop/communicate a site model WordCamp St. Louis 2016 @teresaalane
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  4. 4. Content Design + Engineering • Clear, relevant • Engineering structures WordCamp St. Louis 2016 @teresaalane
  5. 5. Content comes in many sizes. • Informational “stuff” • Big text pieces • Articles/Blog Posts • Mission Statement • Descriptions • Specialized, often smaller, pieces • Groups • Programs • Products • People information • Bios • Contact • Role descriptions • Forms • Events and calendars • Recipes • Music/artist information WordCamp St. Louis 2016 @teresaalane
  6. 6. Avoiding assumptions with specificity • You know about what I mean by each sort of content on that list • Vague • Assumptions • Perspectives • When we’re conscious of specifics, our content’s more effective WordCamp St. Louis 2016 @teresaalane
  7. 7. So let’s make a model! 1. Dismantle the big blob. 2. Pull apart the pieces. 3. Identify purpose and use for each. 4. Put the pieces back together. WordCamp St. Louis 2016 @teresaalane
  8. 8. 1. Dismantle the big blob. • Identify the website’s overall goal. • What are the discrete messages that we need to communicate via content? • Of those, what are our “showcase” messages? • Of those, how do they group together? • These questions will get us at what our top-level (or landing) pages will be. • What are the actions we need to ask of our visitors? • How do we guide users to these actions and/or allow them to find the results by demand? WordCamp St. Louis 2016 @teresaalane
  9. 9. 2. Pull apart page/post pieces. • What are the clearly individual pieces? • Title • Text sections • Images • Image captions • Featured content • Author WordCamp St. Louis 2016 @teresaalane
  10. 10. Simplest example: the blog • One content type: post • Parts of posts compose everything: • Single post • Title • Date • Author • Content • Image • Home page, search results, most popular/recent widgets • Title • Excerpt WordCamp St. Louis 2016 @teresaalane
  11. 11. A straightforward example: events • Typical content model • Title • Date • Time • Location • Address • Map • Link to map and/or directions • Description • Call to action: register, contact, etc. WordCamp St. Louis 2016 @teresaalane
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  14. 14. 3. Identify purpose and use for each piece. • What might we want to treat differently with visual styling? • Subtitle • Call to action • What do we need to use functionally? • For sorting or filtering • What do we need to reuse in other places? WordCamp St. Louis 2016 @teresaalane
  15. 15. Defining each piece • What’s its format? • What’s its size/length? • Is it required? • What’s its structure? • e.g., field vs. tag • Example, sort by date: • Standardize format • mm/dd/yyyy • 10 characters • Required • Field WordCamp St. Louis 2016 @teresaalane
  16. 16. Another type with obvious pieces: recipes • As seen in Google search results: Rich snippet Keyword- and chocolate-rich meta description Page title WordCamp St. Louis 2016 @teresaalane
  17. 17. 4. Put the pieces back together. • Prioritize • Describe connections • Customize details WordCamp St. Louis 2016 @teresaalane
  18. 18. More complex content model sample WordCamp St. Louis 2016 @teresaalane
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  20. 20. Why do we need models? • Designers • Design according to sizes, relationships, uses of content • Developers • Custom post types • Field options • Sorting/filtering mechanisms • Partners in content creation • Uniform content structure • Needed information • Visualize what their content will “look like” when it’s on the site WordCamp St. Louis 2016 @teresaalane
  21. 21. But to be selfish… • Content strategist / Information Architect / Content Creator • Breaking out pieces helps us understand our content better • Helps us do a better job of structuring our pages and creating a strong message architecture • Get functionality out of our content • Content guides design so that styles and containers suit the content we’ll be entering, editing, managing WordCamp St. Louis 2016 @teresaalane
  22. 22. What we get out of a content model • Content • Layout • Functionality • Flexibility • Structure • Reusability • Future-proofing WordCamp St. Louis 2016 @teresaalane
  23. 23. Resources • http://alistapart.com/article/content-modelling-a-master-skill • https://gathercontent.com/blog/from-blobs-to-chunks-a-real-life- example • http://alistapart.com/column/wysiwtf • http://responsivewebdesign.com/toast/contentmodel/ • http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/content-everywhere/ WordCamp St. Louis 2016 @teresaalane
  24. 24. Thank you! Teresa Lane @teresaalane teresa.lane@wustl.edu

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