a person writing on a piece of paper

Content mapping sounds like just another marketing buzzword.

That’s because it is.

But it’s a buzzword that refers to a process that aligns your entire content strategy with exactly the right audience.

As much as everyone hates how much our digital footprints are being tracked, we now expect all content experiences to be personalized.

In fact, a lack of personalized content generates 83% lower response rates in an average marketing campaign.

After all, if we’re going to cede our privacy to data trackers, can we at least get relevant content as a tradeoff?

This is why content mapping is such a crucial concept to blend into your marketing strategy.

Buyers want different types of content at different points of the buyer’s journey.

Marketers want different types of content for each journey stage of the customer lifecycle.

So, let’s get into it.

What is Content Mapping?

Content mapping is the strategic process of ensuring the right content goes to the right user, customer, or prospect at the right time.

This ensures that content is aligned with your customers and potential customers for greater personalization and success.

The idea of personalization certainly makes sense to most businesses. But many don’t actually know how to go about it. The result? Businesses end up pumping out content that they believe is great but doesn’t really align with the specific needs of their target customers.

Content mapping steps away from the one size fits all approach and helps companies create content that is meaningful to their visitors. This is done by analyzing two factors:

  1. The characteristics of the person engaging with the content. To determine this, businesses will need to take a look at the buyer’s persona.
  2. Understanding where the person is in the buying process or their lifecycle stage.

Let’s take a further look at what this means.

Buyer Persona

Every business should have a buyer persona. It’s a generalized presentation of your ideal customer. It’s meant to help businesses understand their customers better in order to improve SEO efforts.

When businesses know their ideal customers, they’re able to tailor content to fit the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of a particular group.

Keep in mind, it’s possible to have more than one buyer persona. This will depend on your business. But if it’s your first time creating a persona, it’s a good idea to dial it back to just one or two so that you can get the hang of it.

Lifecycle Stage

A buyer persona is one half of content mapping, but the other aspect relies on knowing where the person is in the buying process. You don’t want to hard-sell someone who was just introduced to your business.

You’ll scare them away and that’s obviously not the goal. You want to improve the customer journey.

This is why understanding where your customers are in the lifecycle is important. Where your target audience is in the lifecycle improves your content strategy, allowing businesses to create content at different stages for relevancy.

So What are the Benefits of Content Mapping?

We’re glad you asked. Too often, businesses will focus on how much content they can pump out in a month rather than coming up with a strategic plan to reach the right customers with relevant content.

The truth is, a few strategic blog posts can bring you a lot closer to your target audience than a bunch of blogs with no real direction. Essentially, content mapping is the road to better content creation.

Here are 4 benefits of content mapping:

  • Identify Loopholes in Your Content Strategy
  • Help you Understand Your Customers
  • Get the Most Out of Your Content
  • Guide Customers Through the Purchasing Funnel

Identify Loopholes in Your Content Strategy

Content mapping is all about aligning your content strategy to reach your target customers. With that said, an effective content map helps you identify loopholes in your content strategy by really taking a look at how well your content is performing and whether it’s addressing the pain points of the target customer.

Help you Understand Your Customers

Who doesn’t want to understand their customers better? For businesses, understanding your customers inside and out is key to success.

A content map helps you define the path your customers take when they’re preparing to do business with you. This, in turn, allows you to understand their motives, needs, and concerns.

Get the Most Out of Your Content

The trend of social media has made it easy to believe that the more pieces of content you post, the better. But you don’t want to follow trends, you want to get in front of your ideal customers.

This means that you need to make the most out of your content, which is where content mapping really shines.

A content map allows you to invest in the quality and relevance of the content you put out. This helps you avoid redundant, boring posts that fade into the void of the internet.

Guide Customers Through the Purchasing Funnel

You don’t have a content marketing strategy just because it sounds like a good idea — at least we hope not. You create content because you want to guide your customers through the purchasing funnel.

When done effectively, it’ll help you reach your audience at the right place and time, allowing you to maximize your marketing funnel and prove content ROI.

[Template] How to Develop a Content Mapping Process that Actually Works

All right, so you’re convinced that content mapping is critical for business success. But you’re probably wondering how you can develop a content mapping strategy that actually works.

Well, hold tight because we’re going to give you a simple step-by-step guide to show you how to content map like a pro and start reaching your target audience.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Develop a Buyer Persona
  • Create a Customer Buying Journey Map
  • Analyze Existing Content
  • Identify Content Gaps

Step 1: Develop a Buyer Persona

Before doing anything else, it’s important to develop a buyer persona. This is essentially the foundation of your content map.

But a buyer persona isn’t just simply generalizing the type of client you want to attract. There are a few factors you have to take into consideration to accurately find your target audience.

Things like demographics, motives, buying habits, and interests all help you understand your target customers better. Consider details such as:

  • Age
  • Where they live
  • Spending power
  • Interests
  • Challenges
  • Stages of life

It’s a good idea to explore whatever you feel is relevant to developing your buyer persona and the more detailed you are, the better.

Step 2: Create a Customer Buying Journey Map

Once you know what your ideal customer looks like, it’s time to create a customer journey map that outlines the different stages a potential buyer will go through before buying a product you offer.

Here are 4 different stages of a sales funnel.

  • Awareness
  • Engagement
  • Evaluation
  • Purchase

Knowing where your customers are in their journey will allow you to deliver more targeted content, which in turn, allows you to move customers to the next stage in the funnel. Let’s take a further look.

Awareness Stage

For customers in the awareness stage, consider content like infographics, blog posts, and videos. This is a great way to help customers to learn about your business and form a genuine connection.

Engagement Stage

In a perfect world, a customer would purchase your product or service upon their initial visit. Unfortunately, a perfect world doesn’t exist — which means you need to focus on getting customers to come back again through continued engagement.

To boost engagement, it’s best to create content like interactive videos, email newsletters, and blog posts.

Evaluation Stage

During this stage, customers are making their final decision before deciding to make a purchase. It’s best to focus on content like case studies, reviews and testimonials, and webinars.

Purchase Stage

Your content should be completely optimized and give customers confidence in their decision. This means it’s time for content that reinforces why your company is the best choice.

You can create a FAQ page, a landing page, free trial/sign-up pages, or even a “best of” page comparing your product to that of your competitors‘.

Step 3: Analyze Existing Content

Once you’ve developed a buyer persona and created a customer content map journey, it’s time to analyze your existing content to see where it fits in. You want to ensure that all content meets your current goals and objectives.

This is also a good time to segment your current content into groups such as the intended audience, the lifecycle stage, and your goals for each type of content.

A content marketing platform is the perfect tool for organizing your content in a productive way.

Step 4: Identify Content Gaps

Take advantage of Welcome’s Content Brief Template to help guide the content creation process.

Analyzing your current content will allow you to see any gaps you might have in the customer journey. With that said, if any content is not meeting your objectives, it’s time to scrap it and start fresh with new content ideas.

In the end, your content map should leave you with a cohesive content strategy that helps you to attract and retain your ideal customers.

Content mapping is an excellent complement to your digital marketing efforts. Ultimately, how well you develop your content mapping process will determine how quickly you can get in front of your target audience and actually move them along your marketing funnel.