Content mapping is a powerful tool for content marketing. It allows you to review your existing content assets, plan for new content, and determine how each asset can be used to effectively reach and engage your target audience.
This post will show you exactly how to use content mapping to get the most out of your content marketing plans. We’ll review:
- What is content mapping?
- The benefits of content mapping
- Content mapping steps: How to create a strategic content map
- Tools for content mapping
We also created a content mapping template to make the process even easier. Download the template now and follow along to create a content map of your own.
What is Content Mapping?
Content mapping outlines how each piece of your content strategically relates to and supports the customer journey. It helps you connect every piece of content to a stage of the customer journey and visualize opportunities to better meet the needs of your audience.
Creating a content map helps you understand:
- Where in the purchase funnel your content engages customers
- How your content helps customers get what they need at each stage
- How you can guide customers through the customer journey more effectively
The Benefits of Content Mapping
Content mapping has a variety of benefits.
- It helps you understand your customer. When you define the path customers take on their way to doing business with you, you can better understand their goals, needs, and questions. This insight can help you implement more effective marketing strategies, and may even help you improve your products or services for your target market.
- It gives you an overview of all the content you have. Content mapping helps you audit and catalog your existing content. Having one central content library helps you avoid creating redundant content and highlights opportunities to reuse or repurpose content you already have.
- It helps you get the most out of your content. More content isn’t always better. If you’re only focused on the amount of content you create, it’s likely the quality and relevance of your content will suffer. A content map makes sure that every piece of content is created with a purpose and is fully optimized to serve that purpose.
- It helps you guide customers through the purchase funnel. Most importantly, content mapping is a guide for reaching your audience in the right place, at the right time. It helps you create an effective content plan made up of resources that will engage prospects and nurture them until they’re ready to become paying customers.
Content Mapping Steps: How to Create a Strategic Content Map
Follow these six steps and content mapping best practices to incorporate this tool into your content strategy.
- Buyer Persona: Create a buyer persona to understand your audience
- Customer Journey: Document the journey your customer takes on the way to doing business with you
- Content Analysis: Understand what content works best in each phase of the customer journey
- Content Audit: Create a catalog of the content you have
- Existing Content Map: Map existing content to relevant phases of the customer journey
- New Content Map: Create targeted content for gaps in your content map
1. Create a buyer persona to understand your audience.
Personas and content mapping go hand in hand. You can’t create a useful and accurate content map without developing an in-depth buyer persona first.
A buyer persona is a detailed description of your ideal audience. It helps you get to know your customer and understand what they know, want, and need.
A buyer persona typically outlines the following characteristics of your ideal buyer:
- Demographics: Age, gender, income, location, family situation, income, education, etc.
- Professional Role: Industry, job title, company size
- Values and Goals: Psychographics, characteristics of their personality, what they believe strongly in, professional and personal goals, values, lifestyle details
- Challenges: Pain points, fears, issues at work or home
- Sources and Influences: Favorite blogs, books, thought leaders, conferences
- Buying Habits: Objections to buying, where they buy, how long it takes them to buy, who makes the buying decisions
A buyer persona compiles these traits to create a representation of your ideal buyer. This exercise helps you to visualize your ideal buyer and the process they go through on their way to becoming your customer.
2. Document the journey your customer takes on their way to doing business with you.
Once you have a clear picture of who your ideal customer is, the content mapping process will be easier. You can use what you know about your ideal buyer to create a customer journey map that illustrates the path that person takes on their way to doing business with you.
A customer journey map outlines your brand’s unique purchase funnel and how your ideal customer moves through it. It outlines five stages of the marketing funnel:
Customer journey mapping also outlines what the customer experiences at each stage of the marketing funnel. It may document the following details for each phase:
- Customer Actions: What the customer is doing (performing a Google search, visiting a website, visiting a store, etc.)
- Customer Questions and Thoughts: What the customer is thinking about (price, competitors, the offering’s ability to solve problems, etc.)
- Branded Touch Points: The branded customer platforms or interactions the customer experiences (visiting your website, visiting a physical store location, speaking with customer services reps, etc.)
- Brand Opportunities: What your brand can offer to customers to help and support them based on their actions, questions, thoughts, and the touch points they experience in that phase of the marketing funnel
When the customer journey is laid out, it’s more clear what content you should create to attract, nurture, and guide customers during their journey.
Use this customer journey mapping template to outline your ideal buyer’s journey from start to finish.
3. Understand what content works best in each phase of the customer journey.
Before you create any new content, you should know what type of content works best at each phase. Familiarize yourself with the different types of content and how they work in each phase of the purchase funnel.
Awareness content or top-of-funnel content attracts new audiences to your brand and helps prospects find answers to the questions they ask when they realize they have a need. Awareness content typically includes:
- Blog posts
- Buying guides
- Social media posts
- Interactive content
Engagement content keeps audiences interested in your brand so that when they are ready to buy, they choose your company. Engagement content typically includes:
- Email newsletters
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Interactive content
Evaluation content or middle-of-funnel marketing content helps inform customers as they decide if your brand, products, and services are a fit for what they need. Evaluation content typically includes:
- Landing pages
- Marketing case studies
- Product and service lists
- Data sheets
- Reviews and testimonials
- E-books and white papers
Purchase content or bottom-of-funnel content is what customers interact with when they are ready to buy. This content targets buyer keywords and helps customers feel confident in making their purchase. Purchase content typically includes:
- Sales and landing pages
- Free trial sign-up pages
- Live demos
- Free consultations
Post-purchase content supports customers after their purchase and also re-engages and remarkets to them to bring them back into the purchase funnel. Post-purchase content supports customer lifecycle marketing and typically includes:
- User guides
- Customer portals
- Email newsletters
- Social media posts
When you know what type of content works best in each phase of the customer journey, you can put existing content in the right place on your content map. You can also uncover gaps and opportunities where new targeted content can be created.
To learn more about post-purchase content, read: Your Complete Guide to Retention Marketing
4. Create a catalog of the content you have.
Before you start content mapping, there is one more step to take. You need to know all of the content you already have. Knowing what you have will prevent you from creating duplicate or redundant content assets.
Perform a content audit and create a catalog of all the content you have. List each piece of content and relevant details such as:
- Category (the theme or topic related to the content)
- Type of content
- Publish date
- Conversion (the next step the audience should take after viewing the content)
- Quality of content
Need help creating a catalog of your content? Use this content audit template to build an outline of your own.
5. Map existing content to relevant phases of the customer journey.
Now, you can start filling in your content map. Go through your existing content catalog and assign each piece of content to a phase of the customer journey.
To decide where the content fits on your map, consider:
- The type of content. As outlined earlier, certain types of content work better in certain phases of the customer journey. Look at the type of content and decide where it best aligns with the phases of your content map.
- The content’s conversion point. As you consider where the content belongs in the map, also look at what the content tells the audience to do next. Make sure the call to action at the end of the content guides the customer to the next phase of the buyer’s journey.
- The quality of the content. Not all of your existing content may belong in your content map. If you find that the quality of an existing piece of content is low, don’t use it in your content mapping just yet. Leave it out and make a note that it could be revised or repurposed later.
6. Create targeted content for gaps in your content map.
At this point, you have a content map that matches existing content to various point in your customer’s journey. Next, look at your content map to find gaps you can fill.
What content are you missing that would help customers and guide them through the buying process?
Identify parts of your funnel that have inadequate or shallow content and create a plan for filling those gaps. For tips on creating new content you can add to your content map, check out these detailed Alexa resources.
- To create awareness and engagement content: How to Get Brilliant Ideas for Top-of-Funnel Content
- To create consideration content: How to Use MOFu Marketing to Improve B2B Content
- To create purchase content: How to Use Buying Keywords to Improve Conversion Rates
- To create post-purchase content: Customer Lifecycle Marketing: The Complete Guide
Pro Tip: You don’t always have to create brand new content assets to fill gaps in your content map. Go back to your catalog of existing content and look for ways to repurpose what you have and use it in other phases of the funnel. Get more tips on repurposing content in our post Making Content Work for Every Purchase Funnel Level.
Once you go through these steps, you will have a content journey map that outlines all of the existing content you have and the new content you need to create to support prospects along their way to becoming (and staying) paying customers.
Tools for Content Mapping
Content mapping is easier when you have tools to collect and organize your information. The following resources give you everything you need to start your content map.
- Buyer Persona Template: Craft a detailed buyer persona that helps you get inside the mind of your ideal buyers. Take a look at these buyer persona examples for inspiration.
- Content Audit Template: Create a comprehensive list of your content assets along with metrics related to their engagement, quality, and SEO, so you can easily assess each piece’s value and decide where it fits in your content map.
- Content Mapping Template: Develop a content map that details each phase of the customer journey. Itemize the content you already have to support that journey and what content you need to create to support that journey. Download the free template now.
Create More Targeted Content for Your Content Map
Content mapping is an important part of a strategic content plan
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. By visualizing what content you need to nurture prospects through your purchase funnel, your content plan becomes more efficient and effective at engaging your audience. Use the tips and template in this post to start your content map, and then get the tools that will help you with the content creation process.
Alexa’s marketing software includes keyword research and target audience analysis tools to help you find the perfect content opportunities to fill your content map. Sign up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan to get immediate access to our full suite of SEO and competitive analysis tools.