How to create a content journey map

Reading time: About 4 minutes

“Turn left here.”

“Are you sure?”

“No.”

“What does the map say?”

“Erm…”

I squint at the tiny writing. Rotate the page. Squint again. Rotate.

We’re on the highway. Jan’s driving. I’m supposed to be navigating.

He’s about to find out how directionally challenged I am.

He pulls onto the shoulder.

Looks at the map.

“It’s upside down.”

“Oh,” I say.

Rotate. Rotate.

“And we were supposed to get off the highway two exits ago.’

“Oh,” I say again. “Oops?”

“Sometimes I wonder what happened to the people who asked you for directions.”

I guarantee they did not arrive at their destination because I don’t know how I survived before Google Maps and Waze.

That’s because I have ZERO sense of direction. Like, nothing.

I know my left from my right, but that’s as good as it gets.

If you want me to panic, tell me to “turn north onto the R56”. My brain literally short circuits.

Jan, on the other hand, can drive somewhere once and never need directions again.

ONCE!

I’m convinced it’s a superpower.

Image credit: Adrienne Hedger

Turn left at McDonald’s

Before Garmins and TomToms, my strategy was to plot my route from a map book, memorising a sequence of landmarks – not street names.

Like following a trail of breadcrumbs, landmarks signal to me that I’m at least headed in the right direction.

Because direction dyslexia is a thing. And apparently, I have it.

Plotting your content journey map

The content journey map plots the goals (landmarks) and actions (turn left) that your customers take as they engage with your brand.

Once they reach a landmark, it must be clear what they should do next.

They read a blog, then what?

They download your white paper, then what?

They sign up for a free trial, then what?

Landmarks are a series of related content that move your customer along, like a game of Hopscotch. No one can resist a game of Hopscotch.

Highlight this: Each piece of content must be strong enough to stand alone. Your customers start their journeys at different points, so each piece of content could be the first time they engage with your brand.

B2B buyers consume 13 pieces of content, on average, before making a purchase.

At its core, your content journey map answers the question:

What does your customer want to accomplish as they interact with your brand?

It specifies, at each step, what content your customer needs to move down the marketing funnel from intent to purchase.

How to create your content journey map

Story time.

Kat painted a lot during lockdown. She posted her creations on Instagram and, soon enough, someone wanted to buy a print. Someone else wanted to commission a painting.

And just like that, Kat has started a business. Yay, Kat!

But Kat doesn’t know how to run a business. Or that she needs accounting software to manage her finances.

You sell accounting software, which officially puts Kat at the top of your sales funnel and the beginning of her content experience with your brand.

At its most basic, Kat’s content journey might look something like this:

 

The content journey map helps you to understand Kat’s needs and how you can support her at various stages of the journey.

In a way, you’re creating a route strategy that navigates her through a series of paths and decision points.

Here’s what a fleshed-out journey could look like:

Well, well, well… this is looking more and more like a CONTENT STRATEGY, don’t ya think?

Your action this week

Create a content journey map for your muse.

  • Step 1: Define your customer’s goals – what do they want to get out of engaging with you?
  • Step 2: Break the goals down into tasks. What steps must they take to complete the task?
  • Step 3: Map your customer’s information needs to each task. What do they need to know – and when – in order to take the next step?
  • Step 4: Map content ideas to information needs. We’ll cover this another time.
  • Step 5: Identify appropriate channels for delivering the content. Think beyond digital channels, brochures, packaging, posters, events, TV, and radio.
  • Step 6: You should also map the process your customer follows as she/he moves through the journey, but that’s beyond the scope of this post. We’ll also cover this another time.

Clever human

If your brand were a point on a map, where would it be, exactly?

If you want to stand out, people need to know exactly where to find you.

Here’s Richard Mulholland on defining your intersection, stepping out of the shadows, and not hiding in plain sight.

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