Content marketing cannot drive results without considering the customer journey. One of the best ways to do this is to create a content map. It’s an essential asset in content planning, as you attempt to align customer needs and challenges to relevant, compelling content. If you aren’t utilizing content mapping, no worries! We’re going to show you how to leverage it to build an even more powerful content marketing strategy.
What Is a Content Map?
First, the basics. A content map outlines how each piece of content you develop strategically aligns with and supports the customer journey. If you’re going through a customer journey mapping exercise, you should have a defined set of stages and a good understanding of which channels you’ll likely be using for each stage. A content map takes this process even further to help you quickly connect every content piece to a customer journey stage and identify opportunities to meet the needs of your audience at that stage.
From a documentation perspective, the structure and formatting of a content map can vary widely. Depending on what you’re using to manage your content calendar or editorial calendar today, content map data can probably be integrated into that (ex: a customer/buyer stage field or column). Most content marketing platforms already have this built in natively within the platform, enabling simple reports and filtering of content by stage.
Example: DivvyHQ Analytics
Why Create a Content Map?
Using content mapping can be very advantageous for your content team. It can help you understand key actions, including:
· Where in the sales funnel your audience most engages with content
· How content moves prospects through the funnel and how to guide them more effectively
Further, there are many more benefits you can reap with content mapping. First, you’ll have a better understanding of your customers. As you define the path that a customer takes from interest to conversion, you can more accurately know their goals, needs, and objections. This insight helps you build a more compelling content calendar.
Second, content mapping works to allow you to audit and organize existing content. With a central content hub, you can eliminate redundant topics, determine repurposing options, and identify gaps.
Third, you’ll be developing purposeful content. The quantity of material you produce is not nearly as important as its quality. Content mapping offers you the ability to optimize each piece and to define its purpose.
How to Develop a Content Map: 6 Components to Include
Content mapping sets up the foundation of how to reach your audience at the right place and the right time. To incorporate it fully into your content strategy, you should follow these six steps.
1. Develop or Update Buyer Personas
Every brand should use buyer personas to define their ideal audiences. When these are well-developed, they’re a valuable resource for your content map. A buyer persona is a fictionalized profile of your buyer or buyers. It details characteristics such as:
- Demographics: Age, gender, location, income, education, etc.
- Roles: Job titles, company size, and industry.
- Values: What motivates them to make decisions?
- Goals: What are they trying to accomplish?
- Challenges: Pain points, concerns, and objections.
- Influences: Where do they look for information and insights?
- Purchasing habits: When and where do they buy? How long is the decision period?
By creating clear pictures of who your buyers are, you’ll be able to map content to their preferences more easily.
2. Document the Customer Journey
Now that you have clarity around who your buyers are, you can map out their journeys. In this step, start by define your primary funnel stages. Here are three common stages that many companies use:
- Awareness: Buyer is just becoming aware of their problem and begins to seek out information.
- Consideration: Buyer is fully aware of the problem and the possible solutions and takes time to consider all options.
- Decision: Buyer is ready to commit to a solution.
These are just the broad definitions of three common customer journey phases. You’ll want to customize them and add other key stages to document how your ideal buyer moves through their process. Now, notate the customer experiences at each stage:
- Actions and activities: What is the buyer doing in each phase (i.e., searching on Google, downloading content)?
- Questions and thoughts: What is the buyer thinking about at each phase (i.e., price, preferred features, etc.)?
- Touch points: How is your brand interacting with a buyer at each phase (i.e., delivering content via email campaigns, offering them personalized experiences online)?
3. Define What Content Works Best at Every Stage
Because each stage is different, you’ll need to align the right content to the right phase. Someone who is in the awareness phase is likely not ready to sign up or buy, so highly promotional content is typically not a good fit for that early stage. Here are some ideas about content and phase alignment.
Information and educational content are critical at this juncture. You can develop this type of content in a variety of forms, from blog posts to explainer videos to buying guides. At this stage, you need to focus on providing information, not hard selling.
At this phase, buyers are often comparing solutions. It’s the best time to deliver content to them that focuses on how your solution is superior—not simply in its features but in how it will make your buyer’s life easier. This stage aligns well with data-focused whitepapers, comparison sheets, reviews, and webinars.
The buyer is ready to make the final decision. In this stage, you need help the buyer validate their decision and incentivize them to choose you. Content that works well here includes social proof, influencer recommendations and assets that make the buyer confident in their decision. For example, leverage case studies and other data that supports your product’s effectiveness. Delivering special offers via email campaigns can also encourage them to purchase.
4. Create a Catalog of Existing Content
You can do this more efficiently by using a content marketing software platform that allows you to develop an asset hub. Opt for one that is searchable and defines multiple aspects of the content such as its category, format, and goals.
5. Map Existing Content to Each Customer Journey Phase
Continue to work with what you have to develop your first content map. Include aspects like the type of content, how the content supports movement through the funnel, and the quality. You may find that some of your content doesn’t fit on the content map. If so, don’t add it now. Instead, bookmark it so you can come back to it later to revamp it.
6. Identify Gaps for the Future of Your Content Map
Now that you know what you have, you’ll be able to get a clearer picture of what’s missing. Look at the stages in your funnel that are underrepresented. Having this knowledge enables you to go into content planning mode with strategic objectives.
Remember to keep refreshing your content map as you add content and as your buyer personas change and evolve.
Content mapping is critical to elevating your content marketing and making it more effective as a lead generator, nurturer, and converter. Now, the only thing you need to stay organized and focused is a platform built specifically to manage all this, DivvyHQ. See why content marketers rely on its functionality to empower their teams by scheduling a quick, 30-minute demo today.