A lot of B2B marketers talk about the need for content mapping. In short, this is the process of identifying what information each of your personas needs throughout the buying process. It’s time-consuming, but not difficult when you follow the steps below. Here’s the process I use as well as some templates to get you started (you can view them all below or download them in one PDF).
Identify your buyer personas
Check out the template I provided last week for your buyer personas.
Determine what questions your personas have at each stage of the process
Once you identify who your personas are, identify the questions they have for each stage of the buying process. While the buying process may vary for different buyers, I’ve broken it down into six basic stages:
- Early (mid)
- Early (late)
- Mid (late)
To figure out what questions your personas have, ask questions or analyze user/professional groups and do plenty of research (find studies and reports that have been conducted on your target market, or conduct them yourself). Here are seven ways to research your buyer for content marketing.
It’s important to note that not all personas will be involved in all stages of the buying process.
Answer the questions
Once you have identified the questions your persona has, track the answers to the questions and a suggested format for providing this information.
I use this persona content map matrix to fill in the questions, answers, content and content format for the entire buying process. This can then be leveraged for nurture, drip or promotional marketing. This matrix will help define your overall content strategy and how it supports your website, social media, sales enablement and other marketing or demand generation efforts.
Different format types can be more appropriate for various stages of the sales cycle. Take a look at this post from Tom Pisello that outlines the various types of content that users like to consume. Also, SiriusDecisions recently did a study around the weight of various content types (and how the importance changes).
Conduct a content audit
Next you want to determine if you have the content you need to answer those questions and support various concerns your buyers will have. This will help you visualize what you are trying to do with the content mapping and storing of content that’s easily accessible by anyone (sales people, for example) to support individual sales processes.
Map the content
Now you need to map the content you will use for each persona at various stages of the buying cycle. When you map your content this way, you will probably find that you have a lot of content for a certain stage or certain persona. This is good; it gives you a very clear place to start filling in gaps.
Identify content gaps and create content
The gaps are the holes you have left that need to be filled. Knowing the gaps will help you prioritize the work, but it will also help you be better informed if a partner or media opportunity arises. You’ll know if you should spend the time and resources on it or not.
Also, when you develop the content, be sure to address your buyer persona’s information consumption needs, and desired content formats at different stages. This process isn’t just about knowing what to send out next, it’s about understanding what your buyers want, and being relevant, helpful and valuable to them.
Let me know what questions you have about content mapping in the comments below.
That is one of the most useful articles I have ever read. Thanks for providing all that great content and templates for our readers!
Great article Barbara! As for the Social media part of the game, It’s no brainer to see that social media is here to stay for good. Given vast variety of the existing channels to choose and stick with, it’s time for such a hot space to enter into a new category. There is a need for a portal to provide a quick and intelligent decision for both the consumer and the enterprise about their online connections.
A Platform to Help us to Distinguish Our Quality vs. Quantity Friends, Fans, Followers, and Companies
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Flickr and others have been doing a decent job of providing additional marketing exposure and even in some cases, additional revenue. However, as more and more social networking sites pop up, how do you manage your brand across all these channels? Maybe more importantly, which one of these sites should you select as the one that will help you best reach your target audience? The proliferation of the social media avenues is becoming overwhelming.
This glut of information reminds me of the early 90’s when WWW was adopted broadly by the general public. Every company rushed to have a presence, to the point it became literally impossible to find the right information on the Web. That’s when a better generation of search engines – at first the Yahoo! and then Google – entered the market and helped us find the most relevant information by just typing simple keywords in their search box. If you had asked before Google launched, if there was a need for another search engine – most would have said no, we already have those….
Then came Web 1.0 & 2.0 – Youtube, Flickr, myspace, Facebook, Twitter and countless others have turned everyday people into content producers, influencers and experts. We basically tripled down on the information overload How do you know which channels to select for deploying your social media strategy? How do you know which one is the right channel to let your fans and followers to find you, your products, and services? Most importantly, who is Joe Smith that is recommending that person, that company, that product?
I hope my awesomize.me can accomplish such a mission. The site is not another social networking platform. Yet the portal to all your existing social media channels. The platform helps you, your fans, your potential clients to make an intelligent decision as to which company to connect to or follow via which social media channels and why? It’s free!
CEO & Founder
No doubt, it is very useful article.
As any good B2B content marketer will tell you, it is very important to understand your audience.
Here are the few basic tips:
1)Keep it simple at first, then get more complex
2)Figure out your buyer personas, then target them with content
3)Remember to map your delivery mechanisms
It is very important to map your delivery mechanisms to the buyer personas and stages in the sales cycle. Early stage awareness messages might be delivered by your company blog or online banner ads, but more complex messages should be delivered via nurture e-mails and even direct mail.