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Why Every Marketer Needs a Content Map: Insights and Benefits

Creating a content map can help you stay organized and keep your marketing efforts on track. Learn more about why content mapping is essential.

Content is a crucial aspect of any successful marketing strategy. Your website is a sales tool that can help guide visitors through the customer journey and encourage them to take advantage of your offerings. Content supports every stage of the customer journey, but you need a plan for the types of content you'll use on your site and when.

A content map is essentially a plan that ensures you deliver the right content to the right prospect when they visit your website, taking into account various aspects of the customer journey and your unique target audience. The content you share with your visitors will directly impact conversions, so it's crucial to have a plan.

A content map will ensure your website is designed properly, improving the customer experience while helping your business reach its ultimate goals. But how can you begin content mapping and ensure your messages are delivered to the right person at the right time? Keep reading to learn more about content maps and how to use them to improve your website performance.

What is a content map?

A content map is a strategic guide for creating content that's relevant, informative, and valuable for your target audience at every customer touch point. Content mapping is an essential part of any content strategy and can help you find new opportunities to engage with your audience and generate interest in your offerings.

A content map works alongside the customer journey, allowing you to create content at specific stages. For instance, you'll have different content for individuals in the brand awareness stage and those in the decision-making stage.

Content maps are most commonly used for websites and can help you create valuable and helpful content throughout the buyer's journey without sacrificing website quality or creating unnecessary pages. Ultimately, it lets you focus on essential content first and put your customers and their needs at the center of your sales approach.

Importance of content mapping

At the most basic level, content mapping helps you organize content creation efforts that support your marketing and sales goals. Plus, this practice ensures a consistent customer experience that leads website visitors through the customer journey.

Different types of content have different purposes. For instance, you might use an e-book to generate leads and a blog to increase brand awareness. Other kinds of content can be used throughout the customer journey to improve experiences, raise awareness, generate leads, and promote sales.

Your content map can be as comprehensive as you want, listing everything from every type of content you'll use to reach your goals based on the customer journey stage. The main purpose is to efficiently move potential customers through the funnel, with each piece of content serving a specific purpose.

How to build an effective content map

Anyone can build a content map, but not everyone can create an effective one. Since the goal of your content map is to serve as a guide for which types of content you'll use within each stage of the customer journey, you should provide as many details as possible.

Follow these steps to make a successful content map that improves the user experience while helping you reach your marketing goals:

Create buyer personas

Before content mapping, you must create buyer personas that help you understand your target audience and make it easier to personalize content based on their specific needs and stage in the funnel. The more comprehensive your buyer personas, the better they'll be. You should always use real customer data collected via social media or your website, along with market research, surveys, and interviews, to step into their shoes and learn more about them.

How many buyer personas you end up with depends on your company. Smaller businesses tend to only have a few buyer personas, while larger companies with more product lines may have several personas.

Define the goals of your content marketing

What is the purpose of your content? Content mapping is designed to help you create content by determining which types of content match your buyer personas and each stage of the funnel. You should also consider the goals of your content marketing strategy.

Your content marketing goals should align with your overall business goals, allowing you to create a robust strategy to support your business's success.

Make a customer journey map

Before generating your content map, you must define the customer journey. Your customer journey may be long or short, depending on how long it takes to convert prospects into customers. For instance, e-commerce websites typically have a shorter customer journey than B2B organizations that rely on sales teams.

Your customer journey map should consist of the following three stages:

  • Awareness. Awareness is when consumers know they have a problem but aren't sure what to do about it.
  • Consideration. During the consideration stage, customers have defined their problems and actively seek solutions.
  • Decision. The decision stage, or the conversion stage, is when the customer purchases a product or service to solve their problem.

With your customer journey map in mind, you can create a content mapping template to generate ideas for each stage.

Plan content for every stage of the funnel

If you already have a website, it's never too late to begin content mapping. After developing your map, you can perform a content gap analysis to ensure you have content for each stage. Creating a plan using your existing content allows you to identify gaps and areas where you're missing crucial information or educational aspects that can make a more seamless customer experience.

You should have content planned for each stage of the funnel, and don't be afraid of using multiple types of content. Not every kind of content you create will resonate with website visitors, so having variety can be beneficial.

You can use this content map example to plan your own content strategy:

  • Awareness. You're trying to attract attention and generate interest during the awareness stage. When someone knows they have a problem, they try to learn more about it before researching solutions. To attract new customers, consider using SEO optimized content that brings Google users directly to your website when they search for queries related to their problem. Optimizing specific pages on your website, including landing pages and blogs, for specific keywords can increase website traffic and generate more awareness. You can also use curated content to generate interest and connect with new customers and create infographics to answer common questions.
  • Consideration. During the consideration stage, consumers are weighing their options. By now, they know your solution exists, but they've also learned about your competitors and are deciding which product or service is best for them. During this stage, you'll want to share content that focuses more on the benefits and features of the product. Some types of content you can use include product pages, infographics, and blogs comparing different options.
  • Decision. In the decision stage, consumers already know about the solutions available and have a narrowed list of options. At this point, your content must prove your solution is the best one to meet their needs. Types of content you can use during the decision stage include case studies and testimonials to convince consumers to take action.

Refine your strategy

After identifying the different types of content you should use throughout the buyer's journey, you can begin mapping out your content ideas. Your map can help you identify gaps existing between two stages of the buyer's journey and ensure you're providing enough variety of content to meet your customers' needs and help them make the right decision.

As with any marketing strategy, it’s best to regularly refine your strategy to ensure it remains effective.

Best practices for content mapping

Your content map should guide the types of content you'll use throughout each stage of the customer journey. While that might seem simple enough, getting lost in all your existing content and the content you want to create is easy.

Here are a few best practices to make the content mapping process as simple as possible:

Develop content clusters

Content clusters allow you to take your main topics and delve deeper into them. As such, you can divide and categorize different subjects within the same topic to discuss them in-depth and provide your audience with more informational content.

Use a content mapping tool

Many content mapping tools are available to help you create a visual representation of your map and ensure it's comprehensive enough to guide your entire strategy. For instance, you can use keyword research tools to find new keywords related to topics you want to discuss or use graphic design tools to create your map and make it easier to understand.

Set goals

The main purpose of your content map is to serve as your guide, but it doesn't necessarily tell you whether your content is performing. You should have key performance indicators (KPIs) that tell you whether a piece of content is successful. For instance, is your e-guide being downloaded and generating leads for you? Are your blogs driving organic web traffic?

You can set goals for each type of content, stage of the buyer journey, and your overarching marketing strategy to ensure your content works to enhance your business.

Ensure success by content mapping

Content mapping can help you create a guide for success when using different types of content throughout the marketing funnel and buyer's journey. While content mapping is primarily used for websites, you can take your efforts a step further and promote your content with social media posts and e-blasts.

Try Mailchimp today to take advantage of our suite of marketing tools that can help you build a content map and measure your success.

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