Content mapping is part of every content marketing strategy and describes the process of mapping content types with each stage of the customer journey – from brand awareness to lead generation to purchase and repeat custom. When you engage people with relevant, helpful, and resonant content at the right stage, you'll enjoy a higher return on your content investment.
Your prospective customers need to know that you exist and offer the product, service and support they are looking for. By engaging them with your knowledge and expertise through blogs, posts or videos, you demonstrate your relevance and value, and will gradually build more trust in your brand.
The rule of thumb is to have eight hours of content that prospective customer can engage with. So by the time you speak with them, they will have a good understanding of what you do and how you do it – they'll be well qualified!
‘In the digital age, content plays a crucial role at every step of the customer journey. Your website and outreach channels work seven days a week to convince prospective and existing customers the value you can add.’
Step 1: Understand your customer
It all starts with your customer. What questions do they have? What are their goals? What problems do they need solving?
Then you need to be able to answer how your business uniquely solves their problems.
Some of the most successful business websites focus on answering common customer questions. They survey their existing clients, do keyword research, collect FAQs via email and social media, and then answer them with blogs, articles, white papers, videos and social media posts. Successful businesses distribute their keyword-optimised content so that their audience find it and consume it.
‘Some of the most successful business websites focus on answering common customer questions.’
By answering burning audience questions, you will demonstrate your expertise and show how you will help them. When you earn someone’s trust, they are more likely to engage, subscribe to or contact you. This is why for so many businesses today, digital content marketing has become their key lead generation and customer retention strategy.
With 60–90% of purchase decisions made online (depending on your industry), your digital content marketing efforts will be well rewarded. You will naturally attract qualified leads who like your approach, requiring very little ‘sales’ effort from you.
Step 2: Define the customer journey and map it to the right content
The customer journey is labelled by its stages and variously described as:
Awareness – Evaluation – Purchase
Research – Comparison – Conversion – Advocacy
Exploration – Research – Evaluation – Conversion – Support
Whether it is described as three, four or five stages, there is a natural progression from stranger to customer. There are subtleties and customisations to this model, and every company will have a unique content map according to its own audience profiles, business goals, and niche. Read more about the best content types across the four classic stages of the customer journey with some great examples to illustrate.
Step 3: Amplify your content
To be found, you will need to spend (at least) as much effort promoting your content as you did creating it. Distribute your content across earned, owned and paid media channels as part of a consistent publishing schedule. Email, social media, search engine marketing and search engine optimisation are the key digital strategies to distribute your content.
Step 4: Review, revise, repeat
Content mapping is unique to each business–customer combination. The more you publish, the more you will learn about what type of content works, and what doesn’t, with your audience. A rule of thumb is to allow six to twelve months to find the sweet spot with your audience and to find an optimal return on investment.
Measure and track engagement across all the channels through analytics – look at bounce rates, time on page, popular pages, social media engagement, and where new leads come from. Smaller businesses usually do this manually. Larger businesses will need to use marketing software to do this at scale.
Which content touchpoints do you use?
Here is a list of the most common content touchpoints businesses employ. Which of these would suit your customers’ journey? Start doing some of your own content mapping to see where the gaps are.
Reports – trends, data
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Search engine marketing (SEM)
Search engine optimisation (SEO)
About the author
Andrea is an experienced writer and content strategist living in Auckland, New Zealand. She has an unhealthy obsession with her work, consuming books and podcasts about content best practice and entrepreneurship, daily. She started Folio in 2007 as the GFC hit (a feat in itself), has authored four books, been a finalist in the NZ Book Awards, written hundreds of website pages and social media posts, more captions than she'd like to remember, and some very, very long white papers. In its ten years plus, Andrea has developed Folio into a busy writing agency, attracting clients who have the same love for quality writing and brand storytelling as she has. Read more about Folio or contact Andrea directly by email – andrea (@) folio.nz.