November 19, 2014 / Melissa Faudree

Who are you writing content for? Do you really know your audience? Content mapping is one way to help with your marketing strategy. It’s the foundation that ensures you are creating the right content at the right time for the right audience in order to convert more leads into sales.

What is Content Mapping?

Content mapping is the process of targeting content with the goal to understand and identify the characteristics of consumers (buyer personas) throughout the buying process (lifecycle stage). Content mapping has two parts: buyer persona and lifecycle stage. Let’s examine those two terms more closely.

Buyer personas are fictional models or examples of your ideal customers that have an impact on your services and solutions. They answer very specific questions. Buyer personas are researched in regards to their buying behavior such as their goals, their drive for buying, how they think, how they buy, where they buy, and questions about their buying decisions.

Lifecycle stage handles the aspect of where buyers are in the buying cycle. Lifecycles can be divided into 3 stages: Awareness, Consideration and Decision. During the awareness stage the person realizes or expresses a problem. The consideration stage is where they clearly define their problem. The decision stage defines their solution or approach.

It is important to develop personas for each segmented audience your business targets. What kinds of questions do you need to ask to develop a successful profile? If you complete a Google search for templates for creating personas, you will receive a plethora of templates and examples. However, there is no wrong or right way to create a persona. Every business and situation is different; therefore the process for creating each persona can be tailored. You can customize an approach and research that fits your company’s needs.

Essential Details for Buyer Personas:

  • Name & Title (Include picture)
  • Information about role/job
  • Basic background information (Age, gender, salary, location, education, family)
  • Attitude about the company’s product/service
  • Goals and Challenges
  • Values and Fears
  • I need/I want statements

Research can help build upon these personas so you can find out what drives your audience. The purpose of research is not to create personas based off of one individual, but the overall needs of your target audience. You are looking for patterns in your research. There are several methods for researching personas.

Research Methods for Creating Personas:

  • Web analytics
  • Ethnographic research
  • Conduct surveys and/or interviews with customers, prospects, referrals and third-party networks
  • Ask your audience questions on social media

Once your buyer persona and lifecycle stage have been defined, your business is at the final stage of content mapping. You can now adapt the marketing content that fits the needs of these defined customers. Within each stage, the content must be relevant in order to answer the questions and needs of the customer. You are answering questions with a specific person in mind; you are thinking like your audience.

Content mapping is just a small portion of your marketing strategy; it is not your entire strategy. Content mapping is a great tool to help create better content that is personalized for your target audience.

HubSpot offers a free content mapping template that is available for download.