What is content mapping and why should you consider it within your content strategy?
There are several ways to map and segment your content - from type to topic - but to truly resonate, your foundation consideration should be to map content to the buyer’s journey.
How - and Why - To Define A Content Mapping Strategy
Do you have a comprehensive overview of your existing content?
For marketers, it can be hard to keep track of all the content your organisation has produced - making it difficult to determine what to focus on next. This is where an in-depth content audit, that maps existing assets to each buyer’s journey stage, can ensure you share the right content with the right people at the right time.
Did you know that 47% of B2B buyers view 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep? Content, in a wide rage of varieties, is essential to any B2B marketing strategy. Whether you’re focused an Inbound or an ABM programme, your content will enable your business to attract, engage, and delight your audience.
For that reason it’s important to have content suited to all stages of the buyer’s journey, from awareness and consideration through to the decision stage - and beyond! In today’s marketplace, providing your audience with educational, valuable content that answers their questions and helps them to solve their problems, is key.
Your buyer personas are generalised, fictional representations of your ideal customers. They depict the people and segments you are trying to attract - who have a pain that your business can solve. Keeping your persona audience in mind will ensure your marketing campaigns have the best chance of success, by resonating with their specific needs and interests.
When planning content, you should consider what specific goals, challenges, and habits your ideal accounts and audience have. What information are they looking for? And what relevant assets can you create to engage via the most relevant channels.
If your organisation helps to solve multiple persona pain points then it may even be worth segmenting your content by the challenge experienced at each stage of the customer journey.
2. Map The Buyer’s Journey For Each Persona
Of course, it’s important to consider persona challenges when creating new content. But, it’s also key to audit existing content, breaking down what content assets you have by persona, topic (building on your pillar page topics), and buyer’s journey stage.
Be sure to keep a map, matrix or spreadsheet to hand so you can easily identify what content types you have that fit the right person, right challenge, and at the right buying stage. This will make campaign building, promotion, and future content development much easier!
Whether you have one high-value persona that you’d like to focus on or have several equally-important personas, you should consider which pieces of your existing content speak specifically to their challenges at each stage of the buyer’s journey, and create new content where necessary:
At the Awareness stage (also known as TOFU or 'top of the funnel'), your persona has realised that they have a potential problem or opportunity. Here, they may engage with more high-level content relating to their challenge. Blog posts, some eBooks, podcasts and social content are commonly awareness stage content. When engaging awareness-stage buyers, avoid sharing product or solution-focused content. As they are exploring, and not yet considering a purchase, such content may come across as ‘pushy’.
At the Consideration stage (MOFU, middle of the funnel), your audience has a clearer definition of their problem or opportunity and are researching potential solutions. They may be looking at how others have approached similar problems - for example, by reading case studies, watching videos or attending webinars.
At the Decision stage (BOFU, bottom of the funnel), your audience are searching for solutions and defining their approach. They are weighing up relevant products and services offered by different organisations. Here, content such as solutions guides, demos, walkthroughs, case studies and vendor comparisons are a great fit to help them make a decision.
3. Consider Which Content Format Works Well At Each Stage
Content type and format can be just as important as mapping assets to the right buying stage.Your persona research should help you identify not only what content your audience is interested in, but the content formats they engage with.
So consider - does your persona like to watch videos during the awareness stage? Do they read up on case studies when considering a solution to their challenges? Will they attend a webinar or book a meeting if they’d like to learn more about your solution? According to Demand Gen, 49% of B2B buyers said they now rely more on content to research and make purchase decisions. So get to know your audience to ensure you’re creating content that resonates at every stage.
A detailed content audit can help you identify if you have that right-type of content that is ready to go. You should take existing content metrics into account when performing a content audit; this will highlight standout content that’s performing well at each point in the buyer’s journey.
From this insight, you may need to optimise or repurpose existing content - or add new ideas to your content plan to fill any gaps.
4. Understand Your Audience’s Intent
Reaching your audience at the right time in their buying journey with the most relevant message is critical to successfully engage, nurture and build trust with them.
A campaign built around intent data can remove the guesswork and indicate whether a specific, defined target account is already in an active buying journey - i.e. engaging with content containing awareness, consideration, or decision stage keywords.
With intent data for example, we could identify when a target account is trending around a particular set of decision-stage or competitor keywords. This is the ideal time to target them with a decision-stage piece of content, and make sure your organisation is there with the right message at exactly the right time!
When completing your content audit, you should review intent data to uncover the key topics that your persona audience engages with. Not only will this prompt you to leverage existing content, but it can also highlight significant gaps in your content plan. Once you know what your audience actively consumes online, you can create new buyer-stage specific pieces of content that are aligned to these trending topics.
Deliver Greater Value: Optimise Your Content For Each Stage of The Buyer’s Journey
Content mapping determines where you should focus your content production efforts - so you can plug any gaps and make the most of top-performing assets.
Basing your content production on the needs of your audience (at the various stages of the buyer’s journey) will also help ensure that your content stays relevant to your customers’ needs, rather than focusing on your own. Ultimately, by auditing your content you can direct your content strategy, helping you produce content that truly resonates with your audience.