by | Oct 21, 2021 | CONTENT, MESSAGING


When we arrange a holiday, we start with the end in mind. It is likely and sensible to think about:

  • where we want to go and why,
  • who we are going with,
  • what type of holiday it will be and
  • the best time to go.

An example might be going to Cornwall, as it’s too complex to go abroad at the moment.

Imagine the chaos if you simply said, ‘we are going sometime in June’. It is fair to say that without mapping out the detail, you would end up:

  • not knowing the exact dates to enable you to book time off work,
  • struggling to find the right accommodation having left it so late,
  • not knowing what to pack, because you haven’t considered what sort of a break it will be.

Map out the bigger picture

Once we map out the bigger picture, we can start to ‘plan and plot’ what the holiday will look like in more detail. In my experience, writing things down encourages you to focus your attention better and enables you to plan with greater detail, resulting in a much better holiday.

It is the same with our content

If we ignore the customer journey, it is unlikely we will get our customer to where we want them to be. So we must start with the end in mind and work backwards. In this way we are able to look in more depth at our customer needs, wants and challenges, so that we can begin to craft and create relevant content that is tailored specifically to them.

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Introducing content mapping

In this article, I am going to explain what ‘content mapping’ is and how this differs from ‘content planning’.

I will share the 3 reasons you need to be content mapping, if you are not already doing so, namely:

  1. It creates structure around your content.
  2. It organises your content and gives you a chance to repurpose (reuse and adapt) old content.
  3. It speeds up your content creation to reduce overwhelm.

So first we need to get messy before we can refine and simplify.

As Steve Jobs once said: “It takes a lot of hard work to make something simple”.

"It takes a lot of hard work to make something simple" Steve Jobs

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So, what is content mapping?

Content mapping is a way of delivering content so that it resonates with your customers. It can help you achieve the right content, for the right person, at the right time.

The content you create needs to be personal to your customer, highlighting what it is they want and need. If it doesn’t resonate with them, you are likely to confuse and lose them.

If you ‘map out’ some of the bigger things, you will create a more robust and structured content plan. It is likely there are many topics you will want to cover, but if you don’t map them out, what you communicate will be reactive and inconsistent.

One goal of creating content is to demonstrate that YOU are the authority as this can help to attract new customers to your business. If they haven’t experienced your business before, then they can be classed as “cold” and won’t have any preconceived ideas about what you offer. With this type of customer you need to zoom out from the detail and talk in much broader terms.

Content mapping gives you the chance to look at the bigger picture in more detail. Enabling you to create content that truly resonates with your customer, and helps to highlight your unique message.

If you don’t map things out then what?

  • You will be reactive, not proactive.
  • You will be winging it and just rushing to put content out there.
  • You will be inconsistent in your content creation efforts.

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Content mapping compared to content planning

In comparison to content mapping, content planning is something we would do more regularly (weekly or monthly), to plan out what the content consists of and to create it. This could include a theme, that you can tailor your posts and images around.

The planning out is more about writing the words, finding the images, and creating the content to be published. And the execution focuses on scheduling the content in your chosen format. Content planning is talked about a lot. But content mapping less so.

In a nutshell, content mapping is the BIGGER picture and content planning is the FINER detail.

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The 3 reasons you need to be content mapping

So now let’s look at the 3 reasons you need to be content mapping:

# 1 – using ‘content pillars’ helps you to create structure around your contenT

In business, we lead our customers through stages: from first discovering us, to building up trust with us, to finally committing to work with us.

You could look at this another way:

  • Cold lead – awareness
  • Warm lead – consideration
  • Hot lead – decision

A content pillar is a large piece of content that is broken down into smaller pieces. As your potential customer moves through the stages, they are going to respond to different types of content. By referring to the different stages, you can tailor your content at different levels, so that it resonates with your customer, no matter where they are in their journey.

So, once your customer has been made aware of your business, they will consider how you can help them solve their problem. The next step would then be to move them to the decision stage and because you have broken your content down into content pillars, you’re able to tailor it to suit your customer throughout their journey.

By mapping out your content pillars you are essentially zooming out from the detail and talking in much broader terms. This can be useful if you are strapped for time when having a conversation with a potential customer. It allows you to talk about your business succinctly and in a way that makes sense to them.

These pillars provide structure and strength to your communication.

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#2 – it organises your content and gives you a chance to repurpose (reuse and adapt) old content

So now you have the main categories, you need to look at breaking these down further so that you can start delving deeper into your content.

This is where you need to begin to come up with ‘sub-categories’ that are relevant to your content pillars. When a potential customer is ready to learn more, these sub-categories will help to explain the pillar in a lot more detail.

It will also allow you to look at other content you have produced, which you can then reuse, if the data shows good engagement. It makes things more organised and easier to follow.

Now you have a format, you can plug in new ideas at any time and flag any ideas that aren’t relevant right now, to ensure that your content supports the customer journey.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and getting a good ‘back catalogue’ of content takes time.

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#3 – it makes content creation easier to execute

You are more likely to stay consistent if you have a map and plan in place. Remember the holiday analogy above?

Being reactive isn’t always a bad thing. In the case of content mapping, when something comes along that is relevant and you would like to communicate, simply ‘slot it in’ to your existing map.  This doesn’t get in the way of your efforts to be proactive.

Creating relevant content is the enjoyable bit, and in some ways the easiest bit.

Because you have figured out the big rocks, it makes it easier to create the little rocks and drip feed these out, all the while, building up a bigger picture of your knowledge and what your business can deliver.

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How to do content mapping effectively

As I’ve shown above, content mapping when done properly takes time, but it is so worth the effort. Because once you’ve built the foundations, it is then easier to both add content and remove content that is no longer relevant. Content mapping evolves over time, so my recommendation is to find a starting point, and refine from there.

Introducing The Simplest Content Plan in The World

The Simplest Content Plan in The World is a mini-course I have created to help you “map out your content”. It is a collection of videos and downloads that will help you to speed up your content creation process and ensure you are consistently showing up for your audience.

I am running this as an interactive, live workshop where I will cover areas of this article in more detail, talk about types of content, and share with you my useful technique to speed up content creation.

The next version of this live workshop is taking place on Thursday 11 November 2021 at 1.45pm. Find out more and book your place here.

The Simplest Content Plan In The World

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In conclusion

So, there you have it. Content mapping explained. Why you should be doing it and what happens if you don’t.

To enable you to move past content overwhelm and procrastination, I have shared with you the steps you need to take and also offered you help if you need more information.

I hope you found this informative and as always, I would love to receive your comments or questions on this article.

Beyond this, if you need help, don’t forget to check out The Simplest Content Plan In The World and book your place for November!

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At a glance…

3 reasons you need to be content mapping:

  1. Using ‘content pillars’ helps you to create structure around your content.
  2. It organises your content and gives you a chance to repurpose (reuse and adapt) old content.
  3. It speeds up your content creation and reduces overwhelm.