This is an article “How Content Maps Work” by Marc Primo
If you want to boost your content management efforts and develop more strategies to hook more audiences to your site, content mapping is one of the top methods you can apply to align what you create in terms of content with your business goals. There’s one surefire way to develop content maps that can address your needs for efficient content management. All you need to do is follow the step-by-step guide below to start your content mapping adventure.
Content maps are encoded stages of a buyer’s journey for each persona you have identified within your marketing funnel. This document maps out and analyzes where your customer is in his journey and helps you develop the appropriate content you can send to push potential customers further down your marketing funnel. Most content maps can display various content articles assigned to multiple customers depending on where they are on their buyer’s journey.
Another thing that content maps deliver is an overview of all the content you have developed throughout your marketing journey. It stores every article or post in an inventory that can help you pinpoint which ones work best for each marketing funnel and buyer persona, while also letting you spot opportunities to tweak what doesn’t work.
To create a practical content map, here’s a step-by-step guide you can follow that eliminates the more tedious aspects of the process:
The traditional content mapping method
Creating a content map via the traditional method takes a linear approach of identifying buyer personas, mapping out existing content for each persona, and filling out the gaps in the entire buyer journey.
Identify buyer personas
First, you should identify and create the identities of your potential customers with their respective characteristics of what is known as an archetype. For example, you are trying to sell digital marketing services to small to medium enterprises. You may want to create a buyer persona within your niche market based on needs, business goals, and what value proposition you can offer vis-a-vis appropriate content for that particular persona. Being specific about creating such personas by including the age range of the target audience, location, and preferred channels on social media also helps as this would fill out any gaps you don’t want to miss. Remember, 77% of social media users are active on any of the Meta platforms available today.
There are two ways to identify and create your buyer personas. One involves getting to know your potential customers by talking to them directly or through surveys via social media or any leads you get. Some useful platforms you can try are SurveyMonkey, Remesh, or UserTesting. Another way is to review your competitor’s data via organic searches or the CMO Survey website to get more of the industry insights you need to familiarize yourself with the market and their spending behaviors.
Create a content mapping template
After identifying your different buyer personas, you’ll have to create a template to make your content mapping easier on Google Sheets or Excel. You can do this by assigning each of your existing content where they should appropriately fall within the buyer’s journey.
Each stage of the buyer’s journey involves increasing awareness, stirring up interest and desire, driving to purchasing action, and customer retention or brand loyalty. You can modify each stage according to whatever marketing model you think will work best for your campaigns. Remember that the main objective here is to curate your content according to the right audiences within your marketing funnel. It would help if you always did this in a way that is according to the proper stages of the buyer’s journey per identified buyer persona.
If you find some content that seems fit for multiple stages and buyer personas, choose the one that can enjoy more mileage to boost its traffic. For content that doesn’t seem to fit any stage, you may want to tweak and improve it so that it doesn’t go to the wastebasket.
Fill in the gaps
When applying a traditional content mapping method, the last step you have to perform is determining which stage of the buyer journey per buyer persona needs additional content or mapping adjustment. This step will allow you to map out a step-by-step walkthrough toward your desired results correctly.
What works best for this step is doing extensive keyword research that lets you further understand what your buyer personas are talking about, which platforms they frequent, and the niche language they use on search engines. Filling the gaps also entails proper analysis of your performing keywords to compare, determine, and select which ones can do the job for you.
You can also optimize your content map by studying how your competitors perform in the market via website checks to pull out some ideas for content. Perform market research and list potential competitors using Ahrefs’ Site Explorer platform. Check the Competing Domains and Content Gap reports. These reports will show you new ideas for content and keywords you can use in your content curation and development.
Finally, you can identify more new ideas for topics you can use to populate your content database by further studying your niche. Whether you want to know what the market is currently talking about on social media or feel the need to review secondary resources or influencer blogs and learn more about what’s trending in your niche, each ounce of effort to find the correct information will help you curate your content map more efficiently.
Focus on external content that shows you how-to guides, unique topics your competitors haven’t discussed in their blogs, your target audience’s pain points, and sentiments or testimonials from your buyer personas that pertain to your offered products or services. One app that can help you get more insights and information on your niche market is SparkToro.
Most marketers use the content map strategy to ensure that every content that their brands produce and post are helpful to each buyer persona on the list. It’s a meticulous curation of articles and visual complements covering the entire marketing funnel to keep visitors interested and attracted to your brand. Most importantly, content maps ensure that these buyers complete their journeys, making them an indispensable tool for every digital marketing campaign.