Content mapping should drive your website’s overall content marketing strategy. It helps you organize the content on your website so that this content can speak to your target audience at the right time and through the right channel.
This blog post explores what a content map is, why it is important, how you can create a content mapping strategy for your brand, and some tools that may be useful in the process.
We have also included an example of mapping out content to help you develop your website’s content map. Let us get started.
What Is Content Mapping?
Content mapping is a strategic method of creating informative, valuable, and relevant content for your target audience at different stages of the buyer’s journey. It is the process of creating a content map focused on delivering the right content to the right person at the right time.
A content map is similar to a mind map but is based on a website’s content. It helps you visualize your content and explore different content avenues.
Every content piece within the content map aims to fulfill the buyer’s needs at a certain point in their lifecycle or journey. This can help you identify and leverage the opportunities and gaps in your content strategy.
Why Is Content Mapping Important?
Every piece of content you create needs to have a purpose. That purpose, in turn, should be tied to your customer’s requirements. Without a clear purpose, the content created would only mean a waste of your time and efforts.
Implementing a content mapping process ensures:
- Each content piece serves a clear goal or purpose
- Each content piece is optimized for that goal
- Each prospect is gradually moving through each step of the buyer’s journey toward purchasing your offering
You need to recognize here that different customers or members of your target audience can have different purposes or goals.
So, a marketing funnel content mapping plan helps you deliver diversified content serving different purposes.
How to Create a Content Mapping Strategy
1. Define Your Content Marketing Purpose and Goals
Before developing a website content map for your business, you should be clear about your goals first. More specifically, what short-term and long-term goals does your business want to achieve?
How does your content strategy align with those goals? Whom are you trying to help with your business and content strategy, and why?
2. Segment Your Target Audience into Buyer Personas
Knowing and understanding your target audience determine the actual success of your content mapping strategy.
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer or member of your target audience.
Creating generalized buyer personas makes it easier for you to understand your customers and their behavior. You can create one based on market research, interviews, and customer surveys.
Ask the following questions to gather customer data:
- Why are they looking for an offering like yours?
- What goals has your offering helped them to achieve?
- Why do they buy your products or services instead of your competitors’?
- What characteristics do they have in common?
Based on the answers to these questions, segment the buyers into different groups having similar answers. Of course, you may end up with two, three, or many more buyer personas, depending on your business.
3. Map Out the Buyer’s Journey
A buyer’s journey is the process a buyer follows while making a buying decision. Their thoughts, emotions, and actions prompt them to take each step through their journey.
For example, their journey may start with the idea of wearing the right shoes for sports activities. In this case, they would search for “sports shoes” as the first step in their buying journey.
That is why it is crucial to consider what the buyer may be thinking and feeling behind each of their actions. Accordingly, you can understand which stage of their buying journey they are currently going through.
It typically consists of three primary stages:
The buyer realizes a potential opportunity or problem and seeks more information about it.
The buyer clearly understands the problem or opportunity and starts actively researching possible solutions. They may even be comparing different solution providers in this stage.
- Purchase or Decision
The buyer identifies the solution and looks for a solution provider to seal the deal. This is the stage where they decide to go ahead with the best solution provider that can meet all their requirements.
4. Plot Your Marketing Funnel Content Mapping Strategy
The reason why it is so vital to map out your buyer’s journey is that your content needs to align with it. In other words, create and implement content corresponding to each stage of the buyer’s journey.
At the same time, you need to tailor the content to each buyer persona.
Different types of content are effective at different stages of the buyer’s decision. Here is an overview of the common content types for each stage:
In this stage, the buyer is likely to have questions as to the problems they might be facing.
Think about the symptoms that may be causing their problem, and what information you can provide to help them identify their problem. These factors are going to be the foundation of your topic ideas for the buyers in this stage.
Common content types in the awareness stage include informational blog posts, eBooks, social media posts, infographics, checklists, and emails.
Design these content pieces to provide enough information to your awareness-stage buyers to make them fully aware of their problem.
Your content should try to move the buyer further ahead in their journey toward the next stage, that is, consideration.
The content in this stage should outline how your product or service can potentially solve the buyer’s problem. At this point, the buyer may be considering and evaluating plenty of options that they think could solve their problem.
Your job is to help the buyer move on to the next stage in their journey to make a decision and choose the most valuable solution (ideally, yours).
The common types of content in the consideration stage can include emails, how-to guides, whitepapers, case studies, product overviews, webinars, and comparison-related videos.
- Purchase or Decision
At this step, your goal is to prompt the buyer to choose your offering over your competitors. They would do so only when they see your brand as superior to those of your competitors.
Now, how can you achieve that goal? By answering the buyer’s specific questions and building their trust in your brand.
Content types that can help you do that include customer reviews, testimonials, consultation calls, coupons, and live product demos or free trials.
While preparing content for this stage, think about what sets you apart from your competitors. Are you providing a more affordable solution? Is your offering more popular in the market?
Answering these sorts of questions can help you tailor your content to the decision or purchase stage of the buyer’s journey.
5. Research and Develop Content Ideas and Topic Clusters
Considering the buyer persona, the stages in the buyer’s journey, and the different content types, it is time to think about what content to create.
Some avenues that can help you come up with content and topic ideas include:
- Keyword research
- Content audits
- The common problems your buyers are reporting to your sales team
- Customer reviews
- Questions your target audience is asking on social platforms like Reddit
Once you have brainstormed a list of potential topics, filter out the umbrella topics or pillar content topics.
Umbrella topics are those that can shelter a large number of topics and sub-topics under them. For example, “web design” would be an umbrella topic or pillar topic. Under it, topics and sub-topics may include “how to learn web design”, “how to design a website”, “the best web design tips”, “web designing software”, and so on.
The pillar page on web design would simply touch on all of these topics. Meanwhile, these other topics and sub-topics would each contain deeper explanations.
So, the topics and sub-topics make up a content or topic cluster together, connected to the umbrella or pillar page.
In this way, you can gather a long list of content ideas and segment those into topic clusters around pillar pages.
6. Bring the Content Ideas Together in an Editorial Calendar
A content calendar or editorial calendar brings your content ideas to life. Not only is it a way to keep everything organized but it also gives everyone a bird’s-eye view of what is going on.
Here are some pointers to include when setting up an editorial calendar:
- The type of the content
- The stage in the buyer’s journey and the buyer persona to which the content is mapped
- The team responsible for the content
- The deadline for each content piece
- The status of each content piece, that is, whether it has been written, edited, approved, or published
Such a content mapping visualization process ensures everyone is on the same page. It also helps schedule the publishing of the content, whether daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
7. Promote and Repurpose Content
Publishing the content is not the end of the road for your content mapping strategy. You also need to promote the content through different media formats and channels to reach and attract your target audience.
Promotion and distribution channels may include:
- Your website
- Your blog
- Social media
- Your email subscribing list
- Paid influencers
- Review websites and forums
Keep in mind that the channel you use for promoting your content should be one that the buyer is most likely to use. Also, consider your content promotion budget at this point.
At the same time, take into account the various ways in which you can repurpose the published content.
For example, suppose you have published a blog post. You can reformat that blog post into:
- A video touching on the topics mentioned in the blog post
- Several social media posts
- An infographic or a chart
- A podcast diving deeper into the blog post
- A downloadable checklist or ebook
5 Content Mapping Tools
1. Google Analytics
This is popular software that helps you understand what visitors are doing on your website and where they are coming from.
To deliver better results, you need to understand the behavior of your website visitors. Google Analytics lets you do just that, besides tracking and analyzing your audience.
Its Site Search feature, for example, gives you an insight into what visitors are looking for on your website. These insights contribute toward making the necessary changes to improve your website’s performance.
Plus, the Audience section provides information about the visitors’ demographics, including their age, gender, interests, location, and devices.
For instance, if you notice most of your audience is based in Canada, you can map your content marketing strategy accordingly.
SurveyMonkey is a well-known data platform used to conduct customer surveys. Other than creating, editing, and sending out the surveys, you can review the results and discover insights from them.
3. Google Docs
Another popular content mapping tool, Google Docs lets you insert and draw different types of diagrams. Once you start creating the content map in a Google Doc, you do not have to worry about having a backup, as it is saved automatically.
Secondly, it makes sharing work across your team easier than ever.
Trello is an easy-to-use editorial calendar creation app that allows advanced checklists, activity logs, and a timeline view. It lets you organize your content map using visually attractive boards, cards, and lists.
Teams can also cross-collaborate and arrange cards according to their due dates. Its drag-and-drop style is useful for assigning tasks to your team members and adding files to labels.
You can use this online flowchart tool to create a content strategy map with diagrams, shapes, and lines. The user interface makes adding and arranging items quite simple, so the flowchart creation process is pretty straightforward.
Lucidchart comes with sleek and modern templates that are visually appealing as well. Apart from sporting a wide range of standard shapes, it lets you create and save customized shapes of your own.
You can also export the content map to Microsoft Visio, SVGs, image files, and PDFs. Further, it offers real-time collaboration like Google Docs does.
A Content Mapping Example
Suppose you own a travel agency website that offers tour packages for both national and international destinations. The first step toward designing a content strategy map is to create a buyer persona. Let us name this persona “Julia”.
Julia has always traveled with her friends and family members but has never been on a solo trip before. Now, she wants to go on one, but she is confused about her first solo travel destination.
Simultaneously, she is looking for international destinations where she can travel solo on a budget. So, she resorts to the internet to find a solution to her problems.
This is what her buyer’s journey looks like
- Awareness stage
She will look for introductory content that can help her learn more about solo traveling. She will also search for possible international destinations she can travel alone to.
- Consideration stage
After gaining an idea about solo traveling and zeroing in on a cheap destination, she will want to create a clear budget for her journey.
In this stage, she is likely to seek a how-to guide that will teach her how to set up a budget. A downloadable template for budgeting can also come in handy for her at this point.
At the same time, she will get inspired by another first-time solo traveler who has already bought your tour package earlier.
- Purchase or decision stage
Now that Julia has identified her needs, she will want to fulfill those needs by looking for the best solution provider (or tour package, in this case).
She will request quotes or consults from your travel agency since you have guided her toward your cost-effective international tour packages.
As you can see, asking and answering the right questions is key to creating content that drives results. Content does not have to be a guessing game anymore with a content mapping plan in place.
However, you may need to focus more on the core areas of your business than on designing a content map. If this is the case, you can reach out to the Digital Marketing Experts at MyTasker. By mapping out a smart content strategy for your business, they can create the exact content your target audience needs from you. This can help improve your chances of winning loyal customers.