The Content Model describes the scope and type of information required to comprehensively document a particular product or service, and forms part of the overarching content strategy.
A good Content Model ensures that content is accessible and findable. To do this, it needs to detail the information required to a very granular level. For example, it not only specifies that each product should have an overview, but that the overview should include the intended purpose, at least one user benefit, and an image.
In this way, the Content Model provides the framework to ensure that a product or service is comprehensively documented while providing the flexibility to adapt to changing requirements and new features.
A Content Model is a valuable tool for documenting in agile environments because it enables product managers to define the minimum-viable documentation required to close a story.
Using clear, unambiguous terms and language makes content easier for the reader to understand, and, therefore, is more likely to achieve the objective of communicating information. The Style Guide captures this information and in doing so defines how the content defined by the Content Model is written or illustrated.
The Style Guide should be incorporated into all content production processes, and also used as part of the review and approval process. In this way it provides a quality assurance check to ensure consistency across all content producers and channels.
The Template defines how the content looks when it is published. This could be a simple Word template, or the CSS used to style a dynamic web site.
A good Template covers the document medium, for example PDF or HTML, and the size, such as A4 or A5. It should also define the styling of the text, page, and dynamic elements, such as cross-references.
When using single sourcing tools, the Template is separated from the content, and, therefore, the same content can be used with multiple templates. This gives product management teams much greater flexibility to get the most value out of the content produced.
View an example of single sourced content.