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Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all marketing. Consumers are savvier than ever these days, and they know when brands aren’t treating them as individuals. They want content to feel as though it’s speaking directly to their pain points and interests. For content to really resonate with audiences, it needs to be personalized. And it needs to get to the right consumers at the right time in the right way.

Enter content mapping. This strategy can help your brand target and reach the right audiences in a way that’s comfortable for them and builds their trust in you. As you get started on the road towards improved relationships and more efficient communication, learn about the helpful role content mapping can play.

What Is Content Mapping?

At its most basic, content mapping is a planning technique to help nurture leads. It helps you display your content in front of the right audience at the right time, depending on where buyers are in your marketing funnel. Content mapping also involves knowing your target customer and what they want. You use that information to show them valuable content that helps them and ultimately nudges them closer to conversion.

To create a successful content map, you need to know who your audience is and how close they are to making purchases. This involves creating buyer personas and determining consumers’ lifecycle stages. To get these ready, you’ll need to take a dive into your consumer data and market research.

  • Buyer personas are descriptions of your target customers that detail who they are, what their demographics look like and what their preferences are. A well-crafted buyer persona is a thorough profile and should include at least the following information about your imaginary target customer:
    • Name
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Career
    • Lifestyle/family situation
    • A problem they’re looking to solve
    • Ways they prefer to solve problems
  • The lifecycle stage is like your marketing funnel. It describes the decisions and points in the consumer journey, from first contact with your brand all the way to finalizing a purchase.

Once you’ve honed in on this information, you’ll have a better idea of how to tailor your content to appeal to your target audience. There can be many variables and layers of complexity when it comes to sending the right marketing message. Content mapping helps you keep up with personalization as you create relevant content.

What Are the Benefits of Content Mapping?

Beginning a campaign is like heading off of a trip. You choose your destination — or set campaign goals — and plan your route to travel to that spot efficiently. Without a map, it can be difficult to get there. Content mapping guides you to your goal and helps you realize these benefits in the process:

  • You gain greater, more holistic insights into your audience. After analyzing research and data to create your personas, you’ll have a clearer idea of your target. You may be able to use much of this information in future campaigns, meaning you’ve streamlined the planning process.
  • It positions you as trustworthy when done well. If you execute a content mapping strategy properly, you’ll show consumers you care about them as individuals. You’ll become part of the solution to their pain points. This ultimately fosters their loyalty.
  • Content mapping highlights opportunities to close gaps in your marketing strategies. When you have a detailed map, you can review it to see if you’re missing a content type or content that addresses a specific subject.

Any brand can apply content mapping in some capacity. Whether you’re using blog posts, videos or social to stimulate interest and build trust, it can be a useful part of the process. Content mapping can be of particular importance for brands whose goals are to generate leads and drive inbound traffic.

Creating a Successful Content Mapping Strategy

Want to boost your understanding of content mapping as you prepare to take the first steps? Take a look at the process of creating a content map:

  • Create one or two “people” for your buyer personas. List their pertinent demographic and other information, along with the key problems they’re looking to solve that your product or service can help with.
  • Determine your personas’ lifecycle stage using the four Rs below. This can help determine what’s in the content you create. Stages include:
    • Recognizing: Your target is aware of a problem to solve or a need to meet.
    • Researching: The target starts looking into what the problem or need really means to them.
    • Reaching out: Your target looks for ways to solve the problem or meet the need.
    • Resolving: The target has enough information and is ready to make a purchasing decision.
  • Use the point in the lifecycle stage as a framework for your content. It’s time to begin creating content that touches on the problem or need in a way that inspires the consumer to move to the next stage.
  • Keep on personalizing. Show different content to different audiences. Avoid creating material that’s generic, and target your audience where they’re likely to be. For example, older age groups might be more comfortable with blog or Facebook posts, while younger audiences may prefer Instagram.

Content mapping sounds simple in theory, but there are plenty of variables that can come into play. Getting to know your audience well and avoiding all-purpose messaging are two keys that can set you down the right path.