What is Content Mapping? How to Build An Effective Content Strategy With It?

August 4, 2021

Many marketers are opting for content marketing to reach their target audience. Marketers know the importance of content marketing for the growth of their business. According to HubSpot 2020, 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing. Moreover, nearly 40% of marketers say that content marketing is an important part of their overall content strategy. For any content efforts to work, personalization is needed. Marketers cannot achieve much from their content if it is not customized to their target audience.

 

Personalization is key to attracting your target audience. With personalized content, you give customers the information they are looking for and try to solve their problems. If you write on irrelevant topics, it may not resonate with them, and they will not engage with your content. Hence, it is important to align your content with the needs and interests of your potential customers. Coming up with relevant content ideas can be a challenge. A content map can help marketers ensure that their content is relevant to their customers. In this article, we will look at what content mapping is and how it can be useful for your business.

 

What is Content Mapping?

 

According to HubSpot’s definition a content map is a plan that helps you come up with the right content for the right people at the right time. It considers the attributes and lifecycle stage of the target audience who will be consuming the content.

 

Content mapping is the process of coming up with relevant and useful content for the target audience by understanding their needs, interests, and pain points.

 

The goal should be to target content based on the following:

 

Buyer Persona

 

Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. It helps you understand your customers better and tailor content specific to their needs. To build a buyer persona you will need to research your customer’s interests, buying behavior, demographics, psychographics, pain points and more. A business can have more than one buyer personas.

 

To create accurate and strong buyer personas you will need to do market research about your ideal customers. These insights can help you build realistic personas that align with the characteristics of your ideal customer. This helps you create content that resonates with your customers.

 

Lifecycle Stages

 

Another important aspect of content mapping is lifecycle stages. Every customer goes through a buying journey, and it is vital to know where they are at. Lifecycle stage is the location of where your target customer is at during their buying process. Based on their stage you can create relevant content that nurtures them to reach the decision stage where they make a purchase.

 

These are the following lifecycle stages:

 

Awareness: In the awareness stage the person is aware of their needs or problems that they seek solutions for. They are looking for products or services that can help them.

 

Consideration: In the consideration stage the buyer has clearly identified what the need to solve their problems.

 

Decision: In the decision stage the buyer has determined their solution or approach they will take to solve their problem.

 

With the help of buyer persona and lifecycle stages you can clearly determine what type of content will be useful and valuable to your target audience.

 

Why Do You Need Content Mapping?

 

Content plays a key role in the success of your overall marketing strategy. With content mapping you can create content that your customers find engaging and useful. It makes it easier for you to build a relevant content strategy.

 

Here is how content mapping can be useful for your business:

 

Knowing your customers: The content mapping process encourages you to dig deeper. While creating your personas you will do an in-depth research on your customers and their lifecycle stages. In this process you get to know your customers better like what type of content they are looking for or how they find solutions to their problems.

 

Target the right topics: With content mapping you will know exactly which topics your customers are looking for. This makes it easier for you to brainstorm content ideas and write on relevant topics.

 

Save time and resources: With relevant topics you can focus your time and resources in the right places rather than wasting them on irrelevant content. You will only create and distribute content that is beneficial to your customers.

 

How to Build a Content Map?

 

Here are key steps that can help you get started with content mapping.

 

Build a buyer persona

 

The first step is to create your buyer persona. Buyer personas will be specific to your business. You can have more than one buyer personas if your business sells different types of products or services that cater to different customers. Start by assessing what are all the areas you need to research about to build accurate personas. You will need to know the customer’s demographics, psychographics, buying patterns, pain points and more.

 

Once you have gathered all the insights, put together your buyer persona. Give the persona a name and a face to make it more realistic. Your buyer persona should tell the story of your customer and how you can help solve their problems. If you are not sure about how to put together your personas, you can download free templates available online that can make it easy for you to build your personas.

 

Map customer journey

 

A customer journey considers the entire experience the customer has had with your brand. This includes how they came across your brand, the interactions, and the entire experience till they became customers. Customer journey enables you to assess how customers have been experiencing your brand. This is a great way to make improvements in your existing approach and strategies.

 

To map your customer journey, interact with your existing customers. Ask them questions that allow you to assess their experiences. Go through your social media and look at what your customers say about your business. Consider any reviews or testimonials previous customers have given about your business. This can help you understand what the customer’s experience has been with your business. With these insights you can make relevant improvements in your present content strategy and find out what type of content they found useful.

 

Here are the points you need to note when assessing your customer journey:

 

Actions: Find out the actions your customers take after hearing about your business like visiting a website or store, performing a Google search.

 

Motivations: What encourages the customers to move to the next stage of the buyer’s journey? What type of questions do they ask? The thoughts and emotions they have.

 

Touch Points: How the customer engages with your business. This could be through websites, social media, customer service reps etc.

 

Obstacles: What kind of obstacles or challenges the customers face in each of the stages? It could be the price, communication gap or any other issues. Think about all the issues that could deter the customer from moving forward in their journey.

 

Opportunities: Determine how your business can help resolve all the challenges the customer faces.

 

Review existing content

 

Go through all your existing content and review it. See how your present content aligns with the buyer personas you have created. Is your existing content useful in generating quality traffic to your website? Are your SEO efforts successful in helping your content reach the right audience? Are the topics able to cover the pain points of your target customers? Do your topics have enough search volume?

 

All the questions can help you figure out if your content is able to reach the target audience at the right time. With this you can determine the gaps in your content. Based on these insights you can make improvements to your current content strategy. Moreover, you will create content that is valuable to your leads and customers.

 

Create content relevant to customer journey

 

We discussed lifecycle stages above and how they are important to content mapping. There are various stages in a customer journey, and you need to ensure that your content is relevant to each stage. One type of content will not be applicable to all stages. The prospect in the awareness stage has different needs as compared to the one who is close to the decision stage. Hence, you need to ensure that you create content relevant to each stage.

 

Here are the types of content you can create for each customer journey stage.

 

Awareness

 

In this stage you need to create content that attracts new prospects to your products or services. These are the types of content you will need:

 

  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Checklists
  • Social media posts
  • Interactive content

 

Consideration

 

Here you will provide customers with content that helps them evaluate your business, products, and services. This stage will include the following content:

 

  • Emails
  • Case studies
  • Webinars
  • E-books
  • Testimonials
  • Landing pages
  • Product or services guides

 

Decision

 

In this stage you provide bottom-of-funnel content when customers are ready to purchase. This content targets buyer keywords and helps customers make their final decision. This stage includes:

 

  • Landing pages
  • Free trials
  • Sign-up pages
  • Demos
  • Free consultations
  • FAQs

 

Post-purchase

 

What happens after your customer has purchased? You need to ensure that you keep educating your customers and build sustainable relationships with them. This stage will include the following content:

 

  • User guides
  • Newsletters
  • Coupons
  • Surveys
  • Social media posts

 

In each stage your prospects have different needs, challenges, and perspectives. Hence, you need to ensure that you build content that is customized for each stage to be more relevant to your customers.

 

Competitor research

 

Your competitors can help you generate different ideas for your content strategy. Conduct a research on your competitor’s content. Analyze all the content they put out like social media posts, email marketing, blogs, content offers, landing pages etc. Through this research you can find out what works for your target audiences. It is a great way to brainstorm more relevant content ideas.

 

Identify content gaps

 

With all the research you do, you will notice the gaps in your content strategy. Identify all the missing content that can help your customers move forward in their buyer’s journey. This can help you get more ideas about the type of content and topics you can cover in the future.

 

Tools for content mapping

 

Creating a content map can be easier if you have the right tools. Here are some tools that you can find online that can make your content mapping process smooth.

 

Buyer persona templates: These templates can help you build buyer personas from scratch. You can customize them based on the needs of your business.

 

Content audit templates: With the help of these templates, you can put together your existing content analyse it with relevant metrics and make notes about various changes that need to be made.

 

Content mapping template: This can help you build a content map based on your customer journey. You can also identify the current content you have for each stage and the ones you need to create.

 

Content mapping is key to creating a strategic content strategy that helps you reach target customers and engage them. You need the right content to nurture your audiences and help them reach the decision stage. Valuable and quality content can help you convert more leads to customers. In addition, it can also help you build long-term relationships with your existing customers. It also ensures that you are using your time and resources more efficiently to create valuable content.

 

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