Innovative Content Journey Mapping: Creating a Clear Path for Your Marketing Strategy

Last Updated on Sep 25, 2023

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    Content journey mapping is simple, right?

    You post an advertisement and offer a product. Somebody sees it, likes it, buys it. End of story.

    Not for online businesses. Or a company that uses the internet for any interaction.

    People select brands based on numerous factors, from the initial contact to post-purchase activities.

    How do you ensure quality every step of the way?

    Well, the map is not the territory, but a good map points you in the right direction. That’s true in real life, and it’s equally applicable for online marketing.

    Join us for a complete overview of content mapping for businesses. We’ll explain the concept, discuss its benefits, and provide a step-by-step guide for company growth through positive customer experiences.

    What does content journey mapping mean?

    Customer journey content mapping means visually representing every touchpoint between a customer and a company—from the first point of contact to post-purchase endorsements. It can help you understand shoppers, improve marketing, and drive sales.

    Let’s provide a bit of context.

    Go back several decades, and you’ll find that the customer journey was a straightforward affair.

    Marketers only had to deliver an effective pitch. Three touch points later, a sale’s complete. Nobody bothered with content journey mapping back then; that’s how uncomplicated it was.

    Flash forward twenty years, and we have digital marketing on websites and social media. The way we shop is no longer nearly as simple, as it’s affected by hundreds of messages from all available channels. And each affects the purchase decision. 

    In fact, 80% of customers find their experience with the company as valuable as its products. You have to manage each touchpoint in great detail to ensure a sale.

    We keep mentioning touchpoints for content mapping. What are they?

    A touchpoint is a point of interaction between companies and customers. It contributes to the overall customer experience. Think social media posts, search engine results, ads, website blogs, and communication with sales representatives.

    So, content journey mapping is managing all content a shopper sees. It includes the moment a prospective shopper first hears your name and the emails you send three months after they’ve become a client.

    Sounds vague? Don’t worry. We’ll break down journey mapping through content into its constituent elements. But first, let’s explore the benefits this process brings to your business.

    Why should you be mapping content to the customer journey?

    Your company is a decade old, and you understand your shoppers. Why bother with content journey mapping?

    A man in a suit taps a beacon marked as "Customer Journey" on a grid overlay.

    Because the online marketplace is colossal, complex, and crammed with competitors.

    Content mapping gets the right message to the right viewer at the right time. That way, you’re ensuring a seamless experience for visitors. And that’s what turns them into loyal shoppers.

    Let’s talk about tangible benefits.

    Understand your customers better

    Content journey mapping brings invaluable insights. It shows what drew people to your website, how they went about a purchase, and what hurdles they encountered.

    Say that you’re seeing great website traffic but few sales. Your content mapping shows a lack of buyer’s guides. That might signify that visitors need further reassurance before hitting the purchase button.

    This information helps you develop and implement more effective marketing, services, and website practices. Ultimately increasing the customer experience in relation to your brand.

    Review and audit existing content

    If you’ve been in the online sphere for a while, you have heaps of written blogs, guides, and case studies. Are they valuable, though?

    Content journey mapping includes cataloging existing pieces, gauging their quality, and discarding unnecessary ones. It also allows you to repurpose old text.

    Suppose you’ve written user manuals for each high-tech item in your shop. They sit in your blog section and rarely get any reads. At the same time, customers often bounce from the product listing, likely confused by the complex language.

    Link the guide to that page, and voila. You’ve facilitated informed purchases.

    Generate content with purpose

    Related to the previous point, your corp might require new content to fill in the gaps. Where should the writing energy go?

    You might spend your time posting on social media to get that outbound traffic. Then your website is left dry and unattractive to visitors. Or vice versa.

    Either way, content journey mapping includes first contact and purchases. It encourages you to focus on both. Put everything you have on a map, and gaps become glaringly obvious. It’s easier to dedicate your content production energy where it needs to go.

    Smoothen out the purchase funnel

    The purchase funnel represents steps taken between window shopping and paid purchases.

    Content journey mapping helps you engage people interacting with your business. It generates resources that smoothen the transition from viewer to buyer (to repeat customer).

    For instance, your name might be all the buzz on social media. However, rare prospective shoppers visit your website. Or they’re visiting the landing page but bouncing. You might be lacking a clear call to action, and content mapping shows that.

    Improve your customer support

    Finally, content journey mapping alleviates a customer’s struggles with your company. It outlines all data a shopper might demand, from payment plans to your philosophy.

    Why does this matter?

    Over 33% of customers consider switching brands after one negative experience. And negative experiences are anything that leaves them confused, annoyed, and not 100% catered to.

    Of course, you could have a team of representatives ready to answer these questions, but not everybody is ready to reach out. Content mapping fills these gaps and provides answers before a question becomes a problem.

    Create the ultimate customer journey content mapping strategy with these simple steps

    Given the benefits from above, not engaging in content journey mapping means falling behind your competition. Luckily, making a basic map isn’t a hassle.

    It’ll take time to fill it with to-the-point content, but even an outline improves your prospects. Start with these simple steps, and keep analyzing and optimizing down the road.

    The word "Strategy" on a yellow background, stylized with map markers, a chess piece and a trophy on the right.

    Step #1: Create a buyer persona

    Buyer personas and content journey mapping go hand in hand. You need to understand your clientele to create an accurate and actionable map.

    A persona is a buyer profile representing your ideal audience member. The goal is to understand your average shopper and pinpoint what they want from your business.

    To do so, outline the following characteristics of your shoppers:

    • Demographic data—age, gender, geographic location, income, education
    • Professional data—industry, company size, job title, responsibilities
    • Psychological data—beliefs, traits, values, lifestyle ideals
    • Buying habits—where and how they shop

    Apart from this basic information, identify their pain points for a map that promotes experience and sales. These take two forms:

    • Life issues your product or service will solve. They might not have time to cook but want to skip fast food.
    • User experience pain points with companies. They might struggle with service providers, client support, or payment options.

    Gather as much data as possible. You’ll need it for the third content mapping step.

    Step #2: Define the relevant touchpoints

    Once you know all about your audience, it’s time for the meat of content journey mapping. You’re about to plot the touchpoints.

    These contacts depend on the industry and goal. A new bakery could geo-target ads and offer discounts for those who follow them on Instagram. A makeup brand might sell items online, requiring a greater emphasis on digital marketing.

    Specifics vary, but this stage-by-stage overview of content mapping applies across the board:

    • The awareness stage means people now know your brand name. It includes SERPs and social media.
    • The consideration stage has a person deciding whether to purchase from you. Blog content, endorsements, and buyer’s guides help here.
    • The purchase stage is where you sell a product or service. Relevant content includes product pages and listings.
    • The retention stage includes all contact after the sale. Over 40% of customers open their post-purchase emails, garnering a continued relationship.
    • The advocacy stage is where the shopper is now a dedicated customer. Referral and loyalty programs are your best bets.

    These stages of mapping content to the customer journey already have excellent organizational potential. Adding detail makes them even more useful, though.

    Step #3: Develop the touchpoints

    You’ve started content journey mapping by defining its stages. Combine that information with your buyer persona to determine which post types yield the best results.

    We can offer only general advice here, as specifics differ between brands. A fitness equipment company might need video tutorials to encourage purchases, while blogging could work better for a florist seeking to spark interest.

    Whatever your business is, answer the following questions for each content journey mapping stage:

    • What is the customer thinking and feeling?
    • What is their number one priority?
    • What is their most likely action?
    • How can you move them to the next stage?

    Here’s a template example to help you visualize what we mean.

    Template to help you plan a user's content journey based on the persona of a fashion designer.

    Having as much detail as possible helps you tailor the content for effectiveness. Now, what kind of content would that be?

    Step #4: Populate with content

    Not all posts fit every funnel stage. Choose the right content types for each stage to get the reader from point A to points B, C, D, and beyond. Here’s how:

    Pro tip: We’ll discuss various content types below, but they work best when tailored to your buyer persona. Use demographic data, likely questions, and shopper desires to come up with topics and specifics.

    Awareness is top-of-the-funnel for content journey mapping, attracting audiences, and addressing needs. It usually includes:

    • General blog posts
    • Video content
    • Infographics
    • Buyer’s guides
    • Interactive content
    • Social media posts

    Having attracted audiences, step two of content mapping follows—the consideration stage. The point is to persuade the person to choose your company once they’re ready to shop, through:

    • Landing pages
    • Case studies
    • Product and service pages
    • Reviews 
    • Testimonials
    • Endorsements
    • Webinars

    Now comes the purchase stage, the part of your content journey mapping with direct results. In this case, you’ll make customers confident in their purchase decision by providing:

    • Consultations
    • FAQ pages
    • Guides
    • Live demos
    • Reviews
    • Coupons

    Last comes the two post-purchase parts of content mapping. These stages re-engage and remarket your brand, ensuring repeat and loyal customers. The following content helps:

    • Surveys
    • Usage guides
    • Platforms
    • Portals
    • Newsletters

    Step #5: Analyze and optimize

    Content mapping the customer journey doesn’t stop at producing kickass posts for each part of the funnel. Follow up these basic practices with result tracking. Poll your customers, use analytics, and crunch numbers. 

    Metrics to look out for include:

    • Content engagement (stage 1)
    • Website traffic (stage 2)
    • Sales numbers (stage 3)
    • Repeat purchases and customer loyalty (stages 4 and 5)

    Keep exploring your target audience and tailoring the content to them. Your results will only get better with greater specificity. Content mapping will become the primary way to structure your digital marketing as you fine-tune the strategy.

    Content mapping for frictionless experiences

    Having a complete understanding of customers’ experience with your company lets you deliver excellence at every stage of their buying journey. And you can gain such understanding with content mapping.

    Drop the writing without rhyme or reason and approach it strategically with content journey mapping. Increased efficiency, higher sales, and greater shopper satisfaction are one comprehensive plan away.

    Ready to form a plan that never fails? Schedule a consultation today. Let Grassroots Content produce content that charts the map to business prosperity.

    Frequently asked questions

    What is a content journey map?

    A content journey map is a visual representation of a customer experience on your website. It provides insights to any areas that may fall short of helping you reach your goal. A journey map helps you see which steps need improvement to help the audience go from viewer to buyer. 

    What are the stages of content journey mapping?

    The stages of content journey mapping are awareness, consideration, decision, and loyalty. Each stage has a unique set of challenges and opportunities for improvement. 

    What are the elements of a content journey map?

    The elements of content journey mapping are vital for accurate data. These elements include a customer persona, phases, pain points (touch points), thoughts, and opportunities.