Content modeling is the process in which you determine where the content is coming from, the systems that manage it, who owns it, the operational considerations, and the structure of the content itself (metadata and taxonomies). Through this process, you are then better able to identify gaps, level of effort, and feasibility, providing the necessary inputs for tech during the design process. The process of modeling, (not just the artifact) helps to establish the content management foundation that will enable a unified experience across all devices and channels.
With clients, you should be selling the development process itself, not the model as a deliverable. The modeling process creates a bridge between the tech and design teams during product development. The modeling process enables you to vet content challenges with the business early, and make changes or modifications before things have been finalized. The model should come in a format that helps to answer questions and document decisions, whether that looks like a spreadsheet, annotations, Jira tickets, or a napkin scribble. It should be versioned, iterative and flexible, integrating into the overall development process. However once you have moved into development, templates are built, and system goes live, the value of the model itself depreciates quickly. As a next step, you should create content and data management guides, that are more client facing instead.
Overall, content modeling enables you to start content conversations early, and resolve issues, so we don’t design something that can’t be built.