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Published on February 15th, 2011 | by Rahel Bailie


Content types

Content typing is, at its basic level, the attributes of specific chunks of content. The technical team may take responsibility for this, but you may end up having to make adjustments or to create re-use models. (It’s my experience that technologists make sweeping assumptions about content re-use that is not particularly appropriate.)  My experience is that there is no set notation system, but the integrator will be comfortable with database object definitions, and likely comfortable using that notation.

Here is an example, a news release has standard attributes: a release status (for immediate release), a headline, a city, state, country, and month, day, year, body, organization name, contact information, and an “end” indicator. A content model for a news release could look something like  this:

This gives instructions on how the integrators should create the content model, and how content flows. In this example, contact information is not created for each news release, but imported from the contact information in the repository. In that way, a changed phone number or address could be corrected all the way through the site with virtually no extra effort.

For product content, maintenance content, and other technical content, these content genres are quite mature, and have standard content models. It can prove very helpful to learn about the various types of content standards, to ensure that you’re not re-inventing the wheel, and that your content will be interoperable with other content of the same genre.

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About the Author

Rahel Anne Bailie is a synthesizer of content strategy, requirements analysis, information architecture, and content management to increase the ROI of content. She has consulted for clients in a range of industries, and on several continents, whose aim is to better leverage their content as business assets. Founder of Intentional Design, she is now the Chief Knowledge Officer of London-based Scroll. She is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, she has worked in the content business for over two decades. She is co-author of Content Strategy: Connecting the dots between business, brand, and benefits, and co-editor of The Language of Content Strategy, and is working on her third content strategy book,

4 Responses to Content types

  1. Ligja says:

    I’m really enjoying your series on Content Strategy deliverables. As someone who is trying to grow our agency’s CS services without guidance from anyone with prior CS experience, these have been tremendously helpful. We haven’t gotten anywhere close to being this detailed in our audits (nor have any our projects necessarily required it), but it’s definitely useful to have some model to work towards. Keep ’em coming!

  2. Thanks for this, very useful to me, I have done this before especially to make things easier to understand for the technical team. Before I used a word doc but this spreadsheet format is better, yours is more concise.

  3. Pingback: Are You Content Strategy Material? | MindTouch, Inc Blog

  4. Pingback: Building a Content Strategy Methodology in Several Thousand Easy Steps « Eating Elephant: A Content Strategy Blog

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