Content is one of the most important foundations of your marketing strategy, if not the most important. An effective marketing strategy is built on publishing valuable content, content that meets the wants and needs of your buyers. People are looking for content that is specific to them and answers the very questions they seek answers to. But how do you know what those questions are? How do you know what your content should be about? While it might seem like a big task, there are methods that can help you. For example, content mapping.
What Is Content Mapping?
According to HubSpot: “A content map is a plan to deliver the right content, to the right people, at the right time. Content mapping takes into account the characteristics of the person who will be consuming the content and their lifecycle stage”. The important thing to remember when creating content is that one size doesn’t fit all. And while lead generation and nurturing maybe the goal for your small business, it is vital you ensure the content you create is relevant and timely for your audience.
At the core of content mapping, what you’re trying to do is to target content based on the characteristics of the person consuming the content (refer to your buyer personas), and where that person is in the buyer’s journey.
Why Are Buyer Personas Important?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional depiction of your business’ ideal customer. They are based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating buyer personas, it’s important to identify how your customers research and buy. When it comes to buyer personas, the more detailed you are, the more useful they will be.
Why exactly are buyer personas important? They are integral to marketing success as they provide valuable insight that will ensure your marketing efforts are aligned with what your buyers are looking for. How? A detailed buyer persona will help you decide where to focus your marketing efforts, budget and sales process. The benefit of this? You will attract more website visitors, generate quality leads and close more customers.
How Does The Buyers' Journey Help?
The buyer persona you target with your content is only one half of the content mapping equation. You not only need to know who your target audience is, but you need to know where they are in the buying cycle – also known as the buyer’s journey. Essentially, the buyer’s journey is the process buyers go through to become aware of, evaluate, and purchase a new product or service. When you break it down, the buyer’s journey follows a three-step process: awareness, consideration and decision.
The Awareness Stage
During the awareness stage, buyers become aware they have a problem. At this early stage buyers aren’t actively searching for a solution. Rather, they are understanding their challenge and seek out content that will help them to understand their problem, pain point or need.
The Consideration Stage
During this stage, buyers have clearly defined their challenge and are now beginning to evaluate the different solutions that will solve their problem. At this point, buyers are simply considering different solutions, rather than brand or company specific solutions.
The Decision Stage
Once buyers have reached the decision stage, they have carried out enough research, have evaluated the different solutions to their problem and are finally ready to choose a company to help them solve their problem. At this stage, buyers want to know more about your organisation and why they should choose you over a competitor.
By combining what you know about your buyers and where they are in the buying process, you can start to map out what information they are looking for, and ultimately what content you need to publish.
Get Started With Content Mapping
Content mapping takes the headache out of content creation. Start with one persona, ideally the one most likely to buy from you. Answer each of the following questions for each stage of the buyer’s journey. The goal for your buyers is different at the awareness stage compared to the decision stage. And the information they are looking for at the awareness stage is different from the decision stage. So remember to answer each question for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
- What is their goal?
- What is their challenge?
- What keywords do they search for?
- What information are they looking for online?
- What questions are they asking at each stage?
- Where do they search for information?
- Who do they trust for information?
How To Choose The Right Topic Ideas
The answers will give you the topic ideas, try to come up with 4 - 5 topic ideas for each stage which will give you 3 months worth of content.
For example if you were targeting people who had just built a home with a watering system you might come up with:
- Awareness Stage: Why you should install an automatic watering system before landscaping.
- Consideration Stage: Installing an automatic watering system: DIY vs Contractor
- Decision Stage: 10 things to ask an irrigation contractor before hiring them.
Where you can, use their job title or a word they will relate to, here are some examples:
- Home Owners Guide To Installing an Automatic Watering System.
- Landscapers: 10 Reasons You’ll Benefit From Outsourcing Irrigation
- Strata Managers Guide Choosing The Right Irrigation Contractor
Use numbered lists:
- 10 Things Home Owners Should Know About Installing Automatic Watering Systems
- 10 Tips To Help Strata Managers Find The Right Irrigation Contractor
- 10 Benefits of installing an automatic watering system
How To Apply Your Topic Ideas To Your Marketing
Refer to your buyer personas and buyers journey to know where you should be publishing content. For example you might create a video for the 10 Things Home Owners Should Know About Installing Automatic Watering Systems for Facebook and Instagram, and then repurpose that into a blog article to be published on your website. You could also create individual social media posts for each of the 10 points and publish them separately.
Use these examples to guide you on coming up with relevant and helpful content ideas for your audience.