That's why you need to care about content modeling

At a time when good content means everything for a business to be relevant and visible in the market, it is crucial to have a solid strategy for how content is structured and presented online.

Merethe Honne

Whether it's a restaurant chain looking to showcase a menu in a clear way, an online retailer launching spring news or a management body with an extensive database of environmental data, content modelling is the key to success.

So what exactly is content modeling?

“Content modeling is about mapping all the data and content that a business has access to or wants to produce. Then you find out how this content interrelates, how it should be presented on different surfaces and interfaces, and how it should be edited, explains Audun Støren, designer and advisor at the design and technology agency Increo.

A content model should not be confused with a site map. While site-mapping is about how the user will find information and navigate a website, content modeling is about structuring the content in a smart way.

Breakfast Seminar - Work Smarter with Content
Oslo 19 March/Trondheim 21 March

Tightly connected to the user experience

The attention economy is something everyone has to deal with. Good content matters a lot to your competitiveness if you sell goods and services. Consumers are constantly looking for new and relevant content.

By structuring your content into meaningful content types with clearly defined fields and relationships, it becomes easier to produce, maintain, and quality-assure what you post. Content types can be anything from video, images, factual information, blog texts and articles, that is, anything that promotes and makes your business visible.

“Content modeling facilitates a better user experience, both for the creators of the content and for the end user. By modeling the content, one does not have to type the same information several times in different places. Everything is collected in a structured way that offers much greater flexibility and possibilities for reuse and automation,” Støren explains.

He uses a restaurant chain to illustrate his point.

— Let's say a restaurant chain has coffee, tea, soft drinks, hot buffet and take away on the menu. If these are only free text fields for each individual restaurant on the web, there is no guarantee that they are written the same everywhere,” Støren says and elaborates:

“With content modeling, what is offered on the menu is defined as a separate content type, a so-called object, to which individual restaurants then refer. This eliminates ambiguity and duplication of data, and ensures a good user experience by filtering all restaurants that offer, for example, take away.

How Increo works with content modeling

While content modeling may sound complicated, there's a lot to be gained from doing things right from the beginning. Increo works systematically to ensure that businesses end up with optimal content models.

“First, we need to understand what job the website or service is going to solve for the end user. Then we map out who the different user groups are before we analyze what existing data and what content the business has from before,” Støren explains.

In parallel with these initial processes, the modeling itself starts.

“Here we start with what the business already has in terms of content. We delve into each content section and define which data fields and relationships it should contain. We clean the closet, really.

“Then we prepare concrete proposals on how the graphical user interface should be designed based on the combination of the content models and the needs of the users.

Better structure = increased visibility

Content modeling provides increased visibility in search engines and across different surfaces. When content is structured, it becomes easier for search engines and other services to understand the contexts and index the content appropriately.

This is important for anyone who works with SEO. Search engines are becoming increasingly adept at picking up and understanding content that is well structured. For example, they can present relevant information such as opening hours, menus and descriptions of restaurant premises directly in the search results, without the user having to enter the website,” Støren says.

In the longer term, Støren does not rule out that traditional websites will be replaced by smart presentations, where all content is available as structured data. Therefore, good content modeling is becoming increasingly important to be visible and relevant.

“We already see this today, where Google gives you a quick presentation of relevant information without you having to click through to the site.

From Frustration to Content Modeling

Many businesses contact Increo because the publishing solutions they work in are perceived as cluttered and lack logic.

“Many people struggle with the fact that it is cumbersome to maintain and update content. By modeling it correctly, we can create tools that provide a much better workflow,” Støren says.

“When the content model is well thought out and usability is taken care of, the right information will arrive in the right places. This is how we create satisfied content producers and provide end users with the information they are looking for.

Increo is technology independent and works with a variety of frameworks, languages and tools.

“For most customers, the choice of technology is not so crucial at the initial stage. The most important thing is to find a good way to structure the content. Only when this bit has been clarified do we advise on which technical solution is best suited,” Støren says.

Involving the customer

Increo helps customers optimize structure and flow throughout the value chain from content production to presentation. With the right content model in place, businesses can take full advantage of their content and reach out in a better and more efficient way.

Støren stresses that involving the customer frequently and closely is a success factor.

“We do not finalize the design of the graphical interface and publishing solution until we have gained the customer's perspective on how the underlying content model works for their specific needs. It is much easier to make changes at an early stage than to correct mistakes afterwards.

Breakfast Seminar — Work Smarter with Content

Oslo 19 March | Trondheim 21 March

Norske Sanity has been named the world's best headless CMS (, largely because of their approach to how content should be managed. At our breakfast seminar, you will gain unique insight into this tool and the logic behind it.

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What can we help you with?

Morten M Wikstrøm
Morten M Wikstrøm
CEO, Consulting
976 90 017
Merethe Honne
Merethe Honne
928 87 311

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