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Digital Marketing

What, Why and How to do Content Mapping

Introduction
Today’s internet world is highly competitive wherein businesses strive continuously to acquire new customers and retain the existing ones. You can do this by putting forward the right kind of content in front of your target audience.

Content mapping is a powerful strategy that helps you understand who is your target audience. Content mapping assists you in purveying your target audience with the content they are looking for. This post will show you how you can utilize content mapping to build your customer base. You will get to know about

image showing 7 different aspects of content mapping.

What is Content Mapping

Content maps help to glean insights and understand customers from a human angle. It reveals a variety of customer behaviors and traits that help you to put forth the right kind of content in front of your target audience at different intervals of the buyers’ journey.

Content mapping digs deep into various facets of the buyers’ journey. You need to apply mapping to different departments (sales, marketing, customer support, etc.) of your organization so that you can attract and delight the buyers through the purchase funnel.

Why is Content Mapping Essential

There are a number of reasons which make it essential for organizations to seriously embark upon the content mapping journey. Some of the most important ones are

Understanding Your Audience
It is a big mistake to suppose that you thoroughly understand your customers. Your products/services are likely to fail if they are produced without keeping in mind your target customers’ needs and aspirations.

Content mapping helps you to identify your target audience by building multiple and detailed buyer personas. Once your personas are ready, content mapping enables you to put the right kind of content in front of your target audience who would be more than happy to consume it.

Focusing Your Content
Once you have understood what kind of content you would need at each stage of your buyers’ journey then you are in a position where you can specifically catalog your existing content and pinpoint the content gaps that need to be filled by producing fresh & updated content. Content mapping brings sales, marketing, and customer support on the same page and guides their coordinated efforts.

Building Content Strategy
Identifying the buyers’ needs, organizing your content, filling the gaps, using existing content by repurposing it, all these help in giving your content planning and execution a strategic overhaul. It spells out specific goals and also lays down a road map to achieve those goals.

The benefits of content mapping are many. You will realize its indispensability once you start mapping your content with the central focus on your buyers.

How to do Content Mapping

Content mapping is a dynamic process. It begins with researching your customers, developing buyer personas, chalking out the path your target customers walk during different stages of the buyers’ journey. Conduct a content audit to find out what content assets you have and precisely analyze what new content assets (blogs, videos, eBooks, and white papers) you specifically need to create. Let us dive deep into each step.

What is a Persona
Personas are fine instruments to create brand loyalty. You need to create a fictional web persona that represents your target audience based on calculated averages of your customers’ buying processes, goals, and demographics. Companies utilize personas as user archetypes. These archetypes are a compilation of general personality traits, behavioral patterns, wants, and needs attributed to a type of target customer which can be applied to a large category of customer types.

Create personas that encompass the most complete picture of your target audience so that they can easily identify with your web personas. Feel as he feels and do as he does. In fact, you need to create multiple personas to represent different segments of your target audience.

Buyer personas must paint a wholesome picture of your target customers. It goes beyond basic demographics (age, gender, income) and must include other elements such as personality traits, habits, beliefs, motivational aspects, etc.

Steps for Researching
Different departments of the organization like sales, marketing, customer support must sit together and share their experiences, insights, and opinions. This kind of detailed discussion unravels various angles related to the customers which may have not been considered before.

Focus is very important in these meetings. Efforts must be made so that real data gets collected. Large whiteboards must be used along with markers. Colored stickers are also very useful. Record the observations of different members of the meeting in 4 quadrant THINKING SEEING DOING FEELING. This is called empathy mapping. Empathy mapping helps you portray your buyers and understand the path they walk during the buying cycle.

Conducting Interviews
It is very useful to conduct separate interviews with sales, marketing, and customer support teams.

Some of the questions that you need to ask the sales team are
What type of customers do they typically meet ?
What are the common objections that customers raise ?
What are the fears that stop customers from transacting ?
Which type of prospects usually turn into customers ?

The marketing team will be able to throw light on these aspects of customer behavior
The lead generation tactics that have been most successful.
The call to action that generated the greatest response.
What kind of content namely videos, podcasts, blogs, online Ads, social posts are you currently using to reach your customers.

The customer support team can provide answers to questions like
What queries prospects have ?
Which are the trouble shots ?
How do customers describe you ?
What kind of words & jargon do customers use regarding your products ?

Interviewing Your Customers
Listening to what customers say, how they voice their opinions, what fears inhabit their minds, where did they come across your company (social media, blogs, video content, etc.) provide valuable information for empathy mapping.

Open-ended questions provide a great deal of information as compared to YES/NO questions. Before conducting the interview it is your job to make the customer feel comfortable. A congenial environment paired with an explanation about why the client is being interviewed builds trust in the prospects’ mind.

Do not select clients for the interview that represent only a particular section. Ideally, you should consider the following as your interviewee candidates.

People who have chosen to buy from you.

People who have not purchased anything.

Those who have bought from your competitors.

Benefits of Interviews
This type of sample survey helps to validate the inferences you have drawn after conducting interviews of your sales, marketing, and customer support teams. In fact, these customer interviews will prove whether your assumptions regarding customers buying patterns were correct or otherwise.

After this, you will be in a much better position to successfully develop your products and services as per customer needs because now you are not producing anything based on educated guesses but it is based on solid customer research.

Sample Customer Interview Questions
Demographic questions about age, gender, income, marital status, residence (city, town, rural areas)
Career questions regarding current job title, kind of industry, aspirations, educational level, technical & professional skills.

Daily life questions such as time spent at work, what frustrates them, what inspires them, which TV shows they watch, do they own a car etc.

Online awareness such as do they use laptop or smartphones, access to the internet, are they active on social channels, how did they come to know about company products etc.

Qualitative data collected through different interviews must be supplemented with quantitative data available from various tools like Google Analytics. Combining qualitative and quantitative data helps you understand search traffic, buying intent, content optimization, customer preferences, etc.

I will now walk you through an imaginary persona of ELISA wherein you will gain insights how to apply the knowledge you have gathered so far and also record the impressions of your persona into four quadrants THINKING SEEING DOING FEELING.

Buyer Persona

Buyer Persona of Elisa.

These are just little tips about Elisa. Elisa is an urban resident of about 25-35 years. She uses modern gadgets and seeks whatever information she desires.

Since she lives in a city and is single, she finds it difficult to manage tasks, she is an avid internet user who chooses to do most of her shopping online. She is also very active on social channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

She is extravagant by nature, she buys impulsively and is attracted by modern technology.

One can dig still deeper into Elisa’s character by recording her impressions into the following 4 quadrants.

Empathy Mapping done in 4 quadrants.

Content Auditing

You should create a detailed catalog of the existing content assets by listing each piece of content and relevant details such as TITLE, URL, CATEGORY, TYPE OF CONTENT, and PUBLISHED DATE.

This kind of content auditing points out at content gaps. These content gaps should be filled by producing new content or repurposing the old one. On the basis of identifying the buyers’ journey and creating an empathy map in 4 quadrants THINKING, SEEING, DOING, FEELING provides guided opportunities to create the right kind of content for each stage of the buyer persona (Extravagant ELISA) in this case.

Stages of Buyers Journey

3 stages of buyers journey

AWARENESS
This is the first stage in the buyers’ journey where Elisa becomes aware of her problem or desire and tries to seek more information to clearly articulate her pain point or intrinsic desire.

The kind of content that needs to be created must be educational in nature. It should help Elisa to collect every kind of information related to her problem or desire. An effective marketer must make his content resonate with the customers’ mindset so that they can digest it.

The specific type of content that caters to the awareness stage include
Educational content in blogpost, videos, Infographics, slide shows
E-guides & E-books
Whitepapers
Industry research/analysis reports

At this stage, the content marketer needs to attract more leads and should use specific keywords like prevent, troubleshoot, and improve. An effective SEO strategy helps the educational content to rank higher on SERPs to attract more attention.

Educational videos on YouTube, Instagram, and utilizing social media proves beneficial in spreading your educational content to a larger audience.

CONSIDERATION
In this stage, the buyer (Elisa) has collected adequate information about her pain points or desires and is committed to find a valuable solution. She is in the stage of evaluating variety of options available.

The kind of content that should be put forth include
Product comparison guides
Expert guides
Live interactions (Podcast)

You need to incorporate keywords like provider, services, tools. Put yourself in the buyers’ shoes and visualize what kind of content the buyers will be looking for during this stage.

Motivate and engage the buyers. Customer service must tactfully handle calls from interested people. Informative emails, conversational bots, social media messaging prove very handy.

Position your content in a way that it appears problem-solving rather than product selling. Customers must feel confident that you care about them and they must consider that dealing with your brand will be beneficial for them.

DECISION
The buyers have clearly articulated what they are looking for and have also evaluated various options but it may happen that they may not buy at all. Here you need to create challenging content in order to motivate them.

Discount coupons, free trials, vendor/product comparisons, urgent sales prove beneficial in gently pushing the buyers towards their goals.

Clear calls to action are very important for the buyer (Elisa) to take the desire action. Once the deal has been sealed do not leave your customers. Delight them with a thankyou email, a follow–up call. Make them feel satisfied and happy. Nurture them in such a way that they become promoters and advocates of your brand.

Social media listening is also very crucial. Today in this world where Facebook, Twitter, Instagram have become household names, customers expect brands to listen to their voices on social media and provide timely solutions. Successful brands utilize the vast doors opened by social media channels to interact with their target audience, collect testimonials from happy customers, and delight them. In short, brands try to build a humanistic face through social media.

Content Mapping Tools

There are a variety of tools available to facilitate your content mapping journey. These tools fall under 3 broad categories.

Buyer Persona TemplatesHubSpot SmartBug
These templates enable you to develop detailed multiple personas (both micro and macro) for thorough identification and visualization of your target audience, their needs, and goals.

Content Audit TemplatesGatherContent SEMrush
You can track the major KPIs using these templates to get in-depth information about various SEO metrics such as email open rates, conversion rates, time on page. These templates create a catalog of all your content assets that need to be used, repurposed and updated when required.

Content Mapping Templates Dyno Mapper CoSchedule
These templates detail different phases of your buyers’ journey and match the content assets with each stage so that your audience is attracted, engaged, and motivated to do business with you.

Final Thoughts
Content is the driving force in the internet world.

Use content mapping to identify your target audience and record their impressions in 4 quadrants THINKING SEEING DOING FEELING.

Once you have built your buyer personas, using content mapping tools & templates help you to put the right kind of content at each stage AWARENESS CONSIDERATION DECISION of the buyers’ journey.

In a nutshell, content mapping opens up numerous opportunities for boosting your marketing campaigns and achieving the overall objectives of your organization.

By ALI YUSUF

I am a writer who sculpts Blogs, Articles, Web Content to fit every business need.

2 replies on “What, Why and How to do Content Mapping”

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