Content Mapping: Everything You Need to Know

Converting a prospect into a customer is a delicate process. Move too fast and you’ll appear pushy. Take too long of a time and leads will be dropping through the sales funnel faster than you’ll be able to stop them. So, how do you avoid this from happening? By creating purposeful content with content mapping. 

If you’re wondering how and where to start with content mapping, we’ve got you covered. Here’s an extensive look into developing a content map with all the tools and tips you’ll need to successfully convert leads. 

What is a content map?

In every area of business, planning is everything — which is exactly what is required for a successful content strategy. 

Content mapping is a tool that allows you to plan, strategize, and visualize your content so you can attract your ideal audience at every stage of the buyer’s journey. While you might think a content map needs to be in, well, a map, there is no right or wrong way to approach content mapping. Some may prefer visual mind maps, others may find collaboration on a document or project management tool easier. 

Content mapping is extremely versatile. Depending on your industry, the volume and type of content you produce, and what your content marketing goals are, how you structure your content mapping process will vary.

Why is content mapping important?

The importance of proper planning shouldn’t be overlooked if you want to produce high quality content. Like any kind of map, a content map provides a bird’s eye view of your entire process, including any content in the past that is worth repurposing and others that need tweaking. 

Sometimes when we’re caught up in the content creation process we forget to occasionally “zoom out” and see the bigger picture, which is crucial to grow and scale. This is where content mapping comes in.

Besides providing an overview of your content operations and processes, content mapping can help you:

  • Plan out your unique customer journey
  • Discover where different types of content fit in each stage of the customer journey
  • Identify gaps in the customer journey that can be filled with content 
  • Create an ideal buyer persona 

10 steps to effective content mapping

Now that you know a bit more about content mapping, how do you approach the process of creating a map? To make it easy, we’ve broken this down into ten separate steps. While you can follow along the order from start to completion, feel free to come back to previous steps or jump forward when needed as you fill out your content map. 

1. Research and plan out your map 

Before you begin drafting the map, you’ll need to know:

  • The purpose of your content map 
  • How you want to structure your content map
  • What your content goals are

What works for one process or organization may not work for yours. It’s crucial to take a look at how you currently structure your content creation process and identify areas that need improvement. This is also a good time to think about what type of map you want to create. Does your content incorporate visual elements? If so, mind maps may be worth trying out. If you’ve got a large team, cloud collaboration tools could be a great option. 

2. Create a buyer persona 

When you think about your ideal client, who do you have in mind? Creating a buyer persona is a key stage in any marketing strategy, but is often overlooked. While these personas are fictitious, identify what pain points they may have and how you can help. Does your content marketing efforts match what they’re looking for? What are they trying to solve? 

3. Map out each stage of the Buyer’s funnel

Once you’ve fleshed out an ideal persona that you want to target, you can start mapping out each stage of the Buyer’s funnel in the content mapping tool of choice. This funnel details the entire process a potential buyer goes through before they become a loyal and returning customer. Top of funnel, middle of funnel, and bottom of funnel content will differ in their language, structure, and intention. 

4. Plan content types that correspond to each stage 

Now that you’ve mapped out each stage of the funnel, you can allocate appropriate content types that correspond to each stage. At the top of the funnel the purpose is to attract leads, in the middle of the funnel leads should be engaged, and at the bottom it’s all about converting. Here’s a quick guide to different content types for each stage:

  • Top of funnel – Blogs, articles, email marketing, social media, ads
  • Middle of funnel – Ebooks, videos, podcasts, newsletters
  • Bottom of funnel – Case studies, testimonials, webinars, product comparisons

5. Keyword research and content buckets 

Discovering new content types and topics is easy with keyword research and content buckets. With a plethora of SEO tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush available, you’ll be able to discover what your audience is really looking for. Keyword research is also great for coming up with attention-grabbing meta fields. Grouping your content into content buckets keeps your strategy streamlined and ensures the business’ mission is kept a priority.

6. Don’t be afraid to repurpose content 

Content repurposing is more than just reusing old articles from a year or two ago. Depending on the type of content map you create, you’ll be able to see what content types resonate with your audience and which ones are worth tweaking. Repurposing “evergreen” content is relatively straightforward, but for more time-sensitive content, you’ll need to adjust sections. 

7. Brainstorm with your team

One of the best parts of working within a team is collaboration at the highest level. Most content mapping tools allow for collaboration via the cloud, and this is essential if there are multiple stakeholders working on overlapping projects. Brainstorming with your team can also help you discover new content ideas based on different perspectives. 

8. Broaden your content (and platform) horizons

If the content you produce is always the same and you’re not getting the results you want, consider broadening the type of content you produce and the digital platforms you’re sharing them on. Not all platforms work for different business industries and audiences, so it may be a good idea to revisit your content strategy. 

9. Analyze content performance 

Producing high quality content is one thing, but for a successful content strategy, analyzing the performance of the content is crucial. Depending on the terms you’ll be measuring, Google Analytics, SEMrush, or Ahrefs are good tools to start with. Once you’ve seen what works and what doesn’t, your content map can be adjusted. 

10. Review, refine… and review again

A content map is a living, breathing, system. Ok, while it’s not actually living, this is a good way to approach reviewing and refining your content map. Once you complete the first draft of your map, don’t expect to leave it as is. You’ll want to revisit it occasionally, tweak it slightly, and ensure it’s still aligning with your overall content marketing strategy. When done right, a content map is a valuable tool that can last for many years. 

Content mapping tools

While it’s all fine and well to understand how to create a map, you might be looking for specific tools that can aid you in the process. Here’s a small selection of content mapping tools that can take your content mapping to the next level. 

1. Airtable


Are you looking for one place that holds all the information about your work? Airtable is a database that allows you to hold and process integrations, information, and data related to any campaign or piece of content. Airtable is also highly customizable and collaborative, making it perfect for larger or remote teams. 

2. Google Drive


When it comes to collaborative tools, it’s hard to get better than Google Drive. With its ability to be integrated with countless apps and the incredible versatility it offers, Google Drive is one of the most commonly used collaborative tools for a reason. Google Docs also works seamlessly with the other Google Workspace apps like Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets. 

3. Ahrefs


For a lot of content (think articles, blog posts, and white papers), SEO health is important. You’ll want to make sure that the content you’re producing is actually reaching their target audience! Ahrefs is a SEO and keyword research tool that allows you to analyze your keyword rankings, website health, and can help you come up with new content ideas. 

4. Mind Meister


Not all of us learn, plan, and process the same. For those who prefer a more visual style, Mind Meister is worth trying out. Often used for large marketing campaigns, users will be able to see and contribute to visual mind maps for brainstorming, planning, analysis, and more. 

5. Google Analytics


Analyzing and monitoring your traffic doesn’t have to be hard with Google Analytics. Is your content performing the way you’d like it to? Google Analytics provides a vast array of information that can help you answer that question, including who’s visiting your site, how they’re getting there, and more. 

Content mapping examples

1. Map an index of your content library


If you have many content buckets or you’re continuously juggling different content types and topics at once, try mapping an index of your past, present, and future content library. By visually connecting topics with lines and fanning it out to see how they connect with each other, you’ll be able to see everything you’re producing, all in one place. 

2. Map out upcoming content


A content calendar makes for an excellent content map on its own or as a part of a system. Mapping out upcoming content allows you to visualize busy or quieter periods in your calendar, coordinate your content with holidays, special events, and important dates, and ensures deadlines are being met. 

3. Map the customer journey


Great for complex content marketing campaigns or planning out a specific buyer’s journey, funnel style content maps ensure everyone is on the same page regarding when and why a content piece is being sent out. These visual maps also allow you to process, plan, and readjust when needed — meaning there may be ideas that pop out as you’re drafting it up. 

The bottom line

Content mapping should be an integral part of your content strategy if you’re looking to optimize your content, streamline your content calendar, and convert more leads. 

A well-thought-out content map is not only an efficient collaboration tool, but it ensures everyone in your team understands the quality of content being produced and how it aligns with the business’ goals.

Don’t forget to share this article!

Related articles