Engaging experiences require fresh content. And streamlining your content creation process is important both for contributor teams who are focused on productivity and occasional users who require an intuitive interface.
Whether you're a content architect managing a multi-channel content strategy or an front-end developer responsible for a single website, involving your content contributors early in the project can make the difference between a successful content management system (CMS) launch and one mired by delays and rework.
Work with them to validate the contribution experience as you design your content model. Focus on the content they’ll have to create most often––product collateral, news articles, events, guides, stories, etc. And generally, the simpler the content model, the easier it will be for contributors to understand it and create what you need.
Once you have a first draft of your content model, take time to review it internally. Here are the areas I focus on when reviewing a content model:
Once you’re satisfied that the model makes sense functionally, create a repository and some sample content and validate the contribution experience with your business users. We offer several content management tools to help in this journey, making it easy to create the right content model and help your business users create the content you need for a successful project.
The simplest way to start optimizing your content types is to group fields. Content fields can be grouped under logical titles to give structure to the content type. For instance, if you’re modeling a product with a set of product details, you can group these fields under the title "Product Characteristics" to indicate to contributors that these fields are related. This will help when users create and edit content through the web interface.
If the information you need to model is more complex, Oracle Content Management offers an "Embedded Content" field type. An Embedded Content field allows you to store structures and lists of content elements as a single field.
Imagine we're storing information on cameras, where different product lines have varying sets of characteristics. An Embedded Content field called “Product Characteristics” would allow users to manage different sets of data for different products in a more flexible way. Another example might be an “Address” field, where the various address elements are managed together in a single field, but each element can still be styled and presented independently.
Another best practice when modeling content types is to avoid asking users to assign multiple versions of an image or videos to a content type. Oracle Content Management makes it easy for you to manage multiple renditions for the same image as a single asset. It also allows you to define custom media types, like product images (e.g., 800x800 / PNG format) versus marketing images (e.g., 400x200 / 96 dpi / JPEG format) so you use the right images for different parts of your content model.
Taxonomies are powerful tools for organizing and relating content. They provide an alternative to reference fields when creating relationships between assets. Whereas a reference field defines a tightly coupled dependency between two assets, taxonomies support a more loosely coupled relationship between assets that can evolve over time.
Oracle Content Management allows you to create one or more taxonomies to support a multi-faceted relationship between content items. For example, a How-to article on getting the most from your new camera could simultaneously be categoried by:
Taxonomies reduce the need to define every relationship explicitly when creating content. For example, instead of defining related products to my camera, I can categorize it in a way that allows users to find other cameras that have been categorized similarly. I can also add taxonomy categories to digital assets like images and videos as I upload them. This instantly creates a relationship with corresponding product or products, without having to explicitly relate them to the individual products.
Taxonomies are designed to represent your business and, as such, they will likely evolve over time. Content can be categorized any number of times, even after it has been approved and published. Content management systems like Oracle’s offer native AI capabilities to make it easy to recommend and recategorize content as your taxonomies evolve.
Oracle Content Management dynamically generates content creation forms based on your content model. Each field in your model can be associated with one of several predefined field editors. For instance, if you’re creating a content item for a new camera and one of the content fields is the camera brand, you might model this as a text field, and decide to associate either the Text Box editor where the contributor would type out the name of the brand or a Single Select Menu editor for users to select from among the pre-populated list of brands you sell.
For many customers, leveraging these predefined field editors is sufficient to provide an intuitive, productive interface for creating content. For more nuanced customer requirements, Oracle Content Management provides several alternatives, including custom field editors and custom forms.
Custom field editors allow you to make simple improvements to standard content forms without having to rethink the entire contribution experience. Back to cameras––you might create a custom field editor with the set of brand icons that users can click on instead of a drop-down list. Another option would be to create a Text Box field editor with autocomplete functionality. A user starting to type in a brand name, would see a list of valid brands to select from that contain the text they've written. You can find more information and sample custom field editors in our documentation.
Custom forms to create and edit form content are also available in Oracle Content Management. These are particularly useful when your content type is complex, either because of the number of fields or because you are storing JSON in Embedded Content fields. In our camera example, we might want to manage a large list of product attributes for each camera as well as text variants for different channels. Using a custom form, you can guide users through the entire creation process from start to finish.
Custom forms also allow you to incorporate dynamic feedback and help authors as they create content. For instance, a custom form could be used to give users real-time SEO analysis (e.g., read time, tag extraction, suggested links) on the text they're writing. You can find more information and a sample custom form in our documentation.
Oracle Content Management offers a powerful set of Representational State Transfer (REST) APIs for creating and publishing content from any custom application on any device. And, this solution also enables you to reuse standard and custom content forms when building custom web applications leveraging the Embeddable UI capabilities (specifically, the Content Item Editor Embed UI).
With the Embed UI, you can build a custom interface that combines content creation with other user activities in a completely branded experience. You can accomplish this using a headless framework like React, the Site Builder tools that come with Oracle Content Management, or any other browser-based technology.
This is useful when building a custom interface that manages not only the content related to cameras, but also information coming from the ERP, the PIM, and other systems. Find more information on embedding the Content Item Editor in our documentation.
With a CMS like Oracle Content Management, you can incorporate user feedback to finetune your content model and contribution forms, maximizing usability and productivity for your content creators.
To learn more, watch our Quarterly Update on Innovations for Advertising and CX or take a quick product tour.
Monte Kluemper is a Principal Product Manager for Oracle Content. Monte has over 20 years of experience in the content space, working closely with customers and partners to design engaging digital experiences.