So, you have a business website with great offers, an attractive landing page, and even an active blog. But you’re still not getting the hits that you desire. Your prospects end up leaving your website without making a purchase or filling out the lead forms provided.
Could your SEO efforts be the problem? Or perhaps you should invest in more costly paid ads? Here’s a better idea – a content mapping strategy.
Content mapping is a process where you strategically align different pieces of your content to various stages of your customer journey. Content mapping is vital for several reasons, which include:
- Pre-empting the needs of your target audience.
- Creating an effective editorial content calendar.
- Ensuring that all customer touchpoints are covered.
Mapping your content also helps you uncover the best ideas that fit your brand goals and overall content funnel. Let’s now dive into the six key stages of any content mapping strategy and how your business or brand can navigate these.
1. Define Your Buyer Persona
Buyer personas refer to fictionalized representations of your ideal customers. They are an essential part of marketing plans for SaaS, eCommerce, or any other type of business.
With a buyer persona, you can understand the thoughts, feelings, actions, and pain points of your target customers through each funnel stage. This allows you to effectively target the right content at the right time to the right people.
An example of a buyer persona template from SEMrush is shown below.
From the above buyer persona template, certain data should interest you. They include:
- Demographic data – age, gender, residence, income level, etc.
- Professional data – industry, title, short-term and long-term goals, product use case, etc.
- Psychographic data – motivations, goals, hobbies, habits, values, pain points, influences, preferred communication channels, etc.
You can gain insights into prospective customers through the Audience Reports on Google Analytics, an example of which is shown below.
You can view demographic info through the audience reports, including age, gender, and geolocation. Interests, device usage, and other relevant statistics can be uncovered using Affinity reports, Market Segment reports, and Acquisition reports.
Important data that you can also collect from Google Analytics include where your page visitors come from, how long they spend on your page(s), and at what point they leave your website.
Audience insights can also be gained from social media analytics tools such as Hootsuite and Facebook Audience Insights.
2. Build A Customer Journey Map
Ideally, your target customer goes through an entire “journey,” from awareness to purchase and finally to advocacy.
For example, they may become aware of your product or brand through organic search or after clicking a paid ad. The ad click might take the customer to a product landing page where they’d get more info on the product offer.
If the customer is satisfied with the offer, they might sign-up for a free trial, thus moving further down the sales pipeline. Finally, they might convert to paying customers and eventually become brand advocates.
A customer journey map is essential for your digital marketing strategy, especially if you are a SaaS, e-commerce, or B2B heavily reliant on online marketing channels.
An example of a customer journey map is shown below.
The customer journey map gives a good idea of how to create compelling content for different customer journey stages. This needs you to think about the potential actions and emotions of customers as they interact with your brand. Here are some examples of questions that can help you think about your customer journey:
- What pain points lead customers to your brand?
- How would you like the customer to interact with you?
- What kind of emotions would you like them to feel?
- What content would quicken the customer journey and make it delightful?
Lastly, think about how you can make the buyer journey much smoother. From there, you want to think about the content types to produce for each stage of the buyer journey.
3. Select the Best Content for Each Stage of The Buyer’s Journey
It’s unlikely that anyone coming across your content will buy or subscribe immediately. Most prospective customers are rarely even aware of their problem until they see a solution.
For example, an e-commerce company might be comfortable with using spreadsheets to plan their marketing activities until they’re introduced to a marketing automation software that’s more efficient.
However, the e-commerce company may not hop onto the newly discovered software the first time they hear about it. They’ll need to be nurtured by the software provider until they’re convinced about the product.
That’s where the content funnel comes in, an example of which is provided below for a SaaS product model.
Infographic created by the author
Let us analyze the above content funnel. Targets “unaware” and “problem aware” can be supplied with general content about their problem. This can include blog posts, some social media posts, and comprehensive guides. These are referred to as Top-of-Funnel or ToFu content.
Targets who are “solution aware” and “product aware” can be targeted with content such as case studies, whitepapers, product overviews, and webinars. This is called Middle of Funnel (MoFu) content.
Finally, folks who are nearly making a purchase can be targeted with in-depth product reviews, testimonials, case studies, and demo videos (referred to as Bottom of Funnel or BoFu content.) Incentives can include free trial periods, discounts, free eBooks, etc.
4. Build Topic Clusters
The next phase of your content mapping journey is to create topic clusters. Topic clusters allow you to organize your site’s content so that it’s easy for users to navigate while you optimize for specific keywords at the same time.
Typical content clusters include a pillar page with links to and from other content pieces within your website. The pillar page usually has long-form content with comprehensive insight into a specific topic. For example, “How to rank for SEO in 2022.”
Topic clusters will then cover more specific subject areas and sub-topics addressed in the pillar content. Some of these topics could include “keyword research for SEO,” “internal link building for SEO,” or “on-page site optimization for SEO.”
Thus, topic clusters allow you to build strong internal links within your website to your various content. This boosts your SEO efforts and increases your Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (EAT) in the eyes of Google.
To build content clusters, consider the following:
- Identify keywords and the search intent related to each stage of the customer journey. You can perform keyword research using Ahrefs, Google Keyword Planner, and Moz.
- From the keyword results, you can identify the most important content gaps or topics at each funnel stage.
Finally, perform a content audit on your website to ensure that your topic clusters are effective. Look out for details like traffic, link clicks, and time spent on the content. You can use tools like Semrush and Ahrefs for this.
5. Design A Content Catalog
A content catalog is simply a collection of all your published content. This creates something similar to a well-organized database with all your content. This content database can be categorized based on the content type, topic, format, or goals.
Here’s how a typical content collection looks on Scoop.it:
For your content catalog, you might want to consider the following information fields:
- Content types like blog posts, pillar posts, webinars, case studies, newsletters, social media posts, etc.
- Keywords for each type of content and any internal links.
- The content topic and its relevance to the customer journey.
A content catalog enables your team to easily map out new content to specific categories of prospects and buyers. It also makes it much easier to find relevant content for specific purposes.
6. Map the Existing Content to Relevant Phases
After creating the content catalog, the next step is to connect your existing content to the relevant customer journey phase. Here’s a simple breakdown of how this should work:
- Top of Funnel (ToFu) content for the Awareness phase – In the awareness phase, the customer needs relevant information to help them understand specific problems or pain points. Popular content pieces here include “how-to” guides, landing pages, infographics, and checklists.
- Middle of Funnel (MoFu) for the consideration phase – In the consideration phase, the buyer understands their problem and seeks a solution. The types of content you’ll map here include “how-to” guides, product overviews, and case studies.
- Bottom of Funnel (BoFu) for the decision phase – Here, the buyer is interested and wants to opt for a specific solution. Your content should include testimonials, use cases, and success stories.
With your existing content mapped, you can now move into content promotion. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook and niche forums such as Quora and Reddit are great platforms for promoting your content.
Bonus tip: Include hints and call-to-actions in your content that lead customers to the next phase of the buyer journey.
Effectively mapping content allows you to enhance your content strategy by creating highly targeted lead-nurturing campaigns with a high ROI.
Following the six steps, we’ve provided in this piece will enable you to create compelling content maps. Research and build buyer personas, and create customer journey maps following the sales funnel approach. Build topic clusters and assign each buyer stage the best topics. Finally, design a content catalog that will allow you to easily map out different content to the relevant customer journey phases.
With these steps, you will be on your way to creating content that resonates with your audience and wins sales. Good luck!