The ideal piece of content answers a reader’s question just as they think of it. The reader has a question, and the following paragraph answers it. Content mapping takes that concept even further by considering what information your reader needs at different points in their buyer journey and delivering it to them.
What is Content Mapping?
Content mapping is a method of planning content that supports your customers’ buying experience. It helps you connect each piece of content you publish to a stage in your customers’ journey. Doing so allows you to better meet your audience’s needs by reaching them with the information they are looking for right when they need it.
Content mapping benefits to your business include:
- Better Understanding Customers. Researching your customers and understanding what information and support they need along their buyer’s journey gives you a better understanding of their goals, needs, and questions.
- Providing a Content Overview. We see a lot of businesses with a ton of content just sitting on their websites. They aren’t sure what they’ve written or what they need to write about in the future. Content mapping helps you audit and document your existing content to know what you have, what you need, and what you can repurpose.
- Getting the Most from Content. Creating more content isn’t the answer. Instead, you want to develop strategic content that works for your business. Content mapping helps you do that.
- Easy Ideation. It’s difficult for a lot of content writers to find ideas. With content mapping, you understand what your customers need and when, so there’s no shortage of ideas for content that best serves their needs.
- Better Leads. When you reach out to the right people and give them what they need, leads will increase. Also, the leads you get will be of better quality because you’ve spoken directly to potential customers with the information they need to know when they need to know it.
- Making Sales. Content mapping helps you guide customers through the purchasing funnel, which means making sales more effectively and more quickly.
7 Steps in Content Mapping
We’ve convinced you that content mapping is the way to go. But how do you do it? Below we’ve outlined the seven steps in content mapping.
Step 1: Create a Buyer Persona
A buyer persona is a data-based depiction of your ideal customer. Essentially, you take the research you have on your customers, and you create a fictional profile of an individual who represents your ideal customer. You then make decisions about your business based on that buyer persona. Then you can write for and direct all of your content to that specific person.
A buyer persona should include:
- Demographics. This data is anything you would check a box for, including age, gender, income, location, children, and education.
- Career. What does this person do for a living, and where do they do it?
- Values. What does this person care about?
- Lifestyle. How does this person live their life? What do they do in their off time?
- Challenges. What are the pain points in this person’s life? Specifically, what issues do they have that your product minimizes or solves?
- Media. How do they get information? How do they use media?
- Buying Habits. How do they decide what to buy? What might keep them from making a purchase?
The truth is that you can’t know too much about your ideal customer or visualize them too clearly. Use any data you can get to create your persona.
Step 2: Examine Your Customers’ Buyer’s Journey
Use what you know about your ideal customer to analyze their buyer’s journey. To do this, use the five stages of the marketing funnel as they apply to your business.
The five stages of the marketing funnel are:
- Awareness. The prospective customer becomes aware of your product or service.
- Interest. The prospective customer is aware of your product and what it does. They’re interested in how it might help them.
- Evaluation. At this point, potential customers are interested in your product, but they haven’t bought it yet. Now they’re starting to do some research about your product in comparison to others out there. Would it solve their problem?
- Purchase. Congrats! You have a new customer. They purchased your product or service.
- Post-Purchase. You want your new customer to continue feeling connected to your product and company after the purchase. Build this connection through user information, support, and community.
Think about how your ideal customer engages with your products at each stage of this journey. What do they need to know in each step?
Step 3: Consider which Content Works Best in Each Step
You can’t just write a blog post for every step of the marketing funnel and expect it to work because you’ve done some research. So before you sit down and start writing, think about what content works best in each step of the marketing funnel.
Types of content that work best in each step of the marketing funnel:
- Awareness – blog posts, infographics, video, checklist, buying guides, social media
- Engagement – interactive content, email newsletters, blog posts, infographics, video, social media
- Evaluation – landing pages, case studies, product/service lists, reviews and testimonials, webinars, e-books
- Purchase – landing pages, reviews, demos, free consultations, FAQs
- Post-Purchase – user guides, email newsletters, online forums or other community groups, social media
Once you understand the types of content that work best in each part of the marketing funnel, you can couple that information with what you know about your ideal customer and their needs.
Step 4: Evaluate What You Have
Now that you’re starting to see the kinds of content you need, do you already have any of it? There’s no need to recreate a bunch of content you already have. Instead, create a spreadsheet of what’s already there.
Include the following in your content spreadsheet:
- Marketing funnel location
- Content type
- Publish date
- Conversion – what you want the audience to do next after reading the piece
Step 5: Map Existing Content
Assign each piece of existing content to a point in the buyer’s journey. When do they need this content? How is it best to reach them? Is the content currently in that format and ready to use, or does it need to be repurposed?
You can find downloadable content maps online to use in the actual mapping process. But a pen and piece of paper or your spreadsheet work just as well. Just jot down what your ideal customer needs to know in each step of the marketing funnel and the best type of content to reach them at that time. Then compare it to what you already have in your content spreadsheet.
Step 6: Fill in the Gaps
Now that you know what your customers need and what you have, it’s time to fill in the gaps. What content is missing? Make a plan to create that content on your regular publishing schedule.
When planning new content, ask:
- What type of content does my customer need? Look at the types of content that fit their buyer’s journey, then determine how best to present the information they need.
- Where will I publish it? A lot of the content likely will go on your blog, but it also could go on your website, social media, or even on YouTube.
- How will I share it? How will you get the new content in front of your audience? Don’t just publish it and expect them to find it. Will you put it in your newsletter? Will you share it with them when they visit a brick-and-mortar store? Will you share it on social media?
- How will I measure results? How will you determine if the content was successful? Consider metrics like page views, time on site, and conversions.
Don’t forget to include new content on your spreadsheet, so you can regularly analyze your customers’ needs with the content you have. You don’t want to have to start from scratch each time you do content mapping.
Step 7: Share the Content
Once you create the new content, don’t just rely on search engines for them to find it. Go to where your ideal customers are at that point in their buyer’s journey and provide it. Also, don’t forget to continue sharing the existing content that you determined still serves your customers well. A clear distribution plan is important. Otherwise, you’re creating all of this content and hoping Google leads customers there. Be active in your content promotion, not passive.
Let Content Journey Map Your Content
You’re busy building a business. We get it. We are too! Lucky for you, the business we’re building happens to focus on content. That means we’re happy to learn more about your business and your potential customers and create a content map that will have you serving their needs every step of the way. Sign up for a free consultation to learn more about how the Content Journey team can help you grow your business.