Content mapping helps ensure you’re developing the content that supports your buyers from the beginning to the end of their path to purchase—nothing more, nothing less. With content mapping, you’re not throwing spaghetti at the wall and wasting time and money creating content you don’t need. You’re publishing only content that has a clear purpose and corresponds to a specific journey stage.
So what is it, and how can you use it to increase the effectiveness of your content marketing?
What Is a Content Map?
Content mapping documents each piece of content alongside the journey stage it supports, offering you the ability to envision the best ways to meet customers’ needs at each stage. You’ll understand where in that journey they’re engaging with your content, how it helps them get what they need and how to steer them deeper into the funnel.
Why Should You Create a Content Map?
When you begin your content creation process by reviewing personas and examining the journey they’ll take, you can begin with a buyer-focused purpose. The content is about their needs, not yours. What questions will they have in the decision stage? What pain points might catch their attention in the awareness phase? The answers to these kinds of questions will guide you to the best content
Aligning your content with the buyer’s journey stages gives you a clearer picture of what your content library is made of. Does most of it answer the questions in the decision stage of the journey? That exposes a gap in the earlier consideration phases that you’ll need to fill.
If you have trouble finding usable content—a full closet with nothing to wear—it may make sense to take this further and perform a content audit. Your map is also likely to highlight some opportunities to repurpose existing content—content that almost fits but is “so last season.”
Your content map should help you focus on developing content that reaches the right buyers at the right time. That map is a great reminder of what they need at each moment of the journey—what resources to offer them and what questions they need answered. Only after you meet their needs with the right content in the evaluation stage, for example, will they be ready to move to the purchase stage.
Drawing Your Content Map
It starts with some homework. (Doesn’t everything?) But you may already have checked some of these steps off your list:
- Create or review the buyer persona(s) you’re targeting to focus on your audience.
- Document the journey your customer takes on the way to a closed deal.
- Consider what type of content works best in each phase of the customer journey.
- Reference your library of existing content.
- Map all that content to the journey stages where it’s relevant
- Identify the content gaps to know where you actually need new content
Their actions give you clues about where they are in their journey. A customer performing a Google search is probably in a different place than one who visits the solutions page of your website or downloads a buyer’s guide. The content you provide and the CTAs you offer in each of these places should meet them where they are.
The questions they’re asking are also different. Prospects begin with simple questions in the awareness phase, so the content there should be answering early-stage questions like who you are and what pain points you’ll solve for them. Further down the funnel, they’re thinking about things like price and how you compare with competitors.
Don’t answer pricing questions or ask for a meeting in early-stage content; they’re not ready. But once they’ve graduated to later-stage content, you can (and should) start answering the questions they have closer to a purchase, like cost and competitive comparisons, and be more assertive about scheduling a meeting.
The Right Answers at the Right Time
With a content map in hand, you can more confidently create content that answers the right questions at the right time so that you can attract, nurture and guide prospects from the beginning of the journey to a closed sale to a satisfied customer.
If you want to map a large library of existing content, a content audit is a great place to start. Read about the 5 Steps to a Successful Content Audit, or talk to one of our expert strategists to learn how we can help.