3 Ways to Map Content to The Buyer Journey

three ways to map content to the buyer journey
three ways to map content to the buyer journey

A 2020 Demand Gen Benchmark Study found that 51% of marketers are using data to inform their campaigns.

On the surface, this may seem to be positive news until you think about the 49% of marketers that aren’t doing it.

I do understand though. This type of content analysis isn’t easy. It’s not something you learn in college or read in a book. And YouTube videos can only take you so far.

It takes years of experience, trial & error, testing and failing. What’s ironic is that the minute you think you understand the process, the buyer’s journey completely changes, and the learning process starts over.

Let’s explore some fundamentals that will set you up for success and equip you to learn how to use insights and analysis to create content that reaches buyers.

Before we go further, I want to explain what I mean by insights and analysis.

I am not referring to performance analytics. Optimizing search programs, email campaigns and other forms of outbound marketing is certainly a best practice.

What I am referring to is the research needed to get done even before campaigns are launched or content is even created.

Search Volume Still Works

This isn’t necessarily a new or sophisticated way of content mapping. Smart marketers who manage SEO or inbound marketing have been doing this for years but it’s worthy discuss and add some additional context.

Tools like Semrush and Alexa provide marketers with keyword research to help them understand the different variations of people searching in Google and monthly volume numbers. This type of data shows the popularity and search demand for keywords and phrases that buyers are using.

I’m oversimplifying it, but this type of data can help inform the keywords you are bidding on in paid search, and serve as your editorial calendar for any long-form content and YouTube videos you plan on posting.

An additional technique with search volume is ongoing optimization of your current search visibility using Google Search Console. This approach will give you insight into which keywords and phrases are appearing in Google, and which ones are driving clicks to your website. The beauty about this is that you can optimize your content for additional longtail keywords as often as you need to.

Audience Insights Drives Relevancy

This approach is extremely helpful when panning content for the B2B buyer journey. The hypothesis is that buyers search the way that they talk. Let me explain.

B2B buyers and IT decision makers aren’t shy about telling the world who they are and what they do for a living. This is great information for analytics teams to build social audiences based on the business and IT job function. In other words, it’s easier today to build audiences of CIOs, COOs, the head of IT, engineers, developers, and everyone in between.

Once audiences are built, you can track their conversations over the course of time or in many cases, in real-time. This is called audience conversation analysis.

A collection of all their social media mentions are clustered together and categorized by common words based on volume of usage. This will give you an analysis of the topics, trends, key words, phrases, and hashtags they are discussing publicly on social media.

Similar to search, you can use this audience analysis to inform your keyword strategy for paid search, SEO, and even the social content you use for engagement.

Media Analysis is Not Just for PR

Analyzing the media can provide valuable insights for everyone, not just PR pros either. In fact, most folks working in PR aren’t using this type of data anyway.

This hypothesis is that the media is at the forefront of technology; and the journalists and reporters are covering the top trends, challenges, and opportunities that they’re seeing in the marketplace based on the interviews they are having with the C-suite.

If you know what the top media publications that your audience is reading, you can analyze those media publications and uncover hidden topics, narratives, and themes that they are writing about.

An audience analysis extracts the top media publications that they have an affinity for, read and share. So, the data is already there for you to use.

In this case, you would do a coverage analysis which is like the conversation analysis mentioned above. But in this case the data source are the actual media sites like forbes.com, fortune.com, and bloomberg.com. The headlines and keywords mentioned in the body of the article are also clustered together and categorized based on volume of usage.

The output is the same. You can use these insights to inform all your inbound and outbound marketing activities.

The first step in understanding the buyer’s journey is acknowledging that it’s dynamic and always changing. But what is predictable is how buyers are using Google and the conversations they are having on social media. These are both constant, and when they do change, it’s usually over longer periods of time.

Michael Brito is a digital strategist and the Global Head of Analytics at Zeno Group. He’s also an adjunct professor at San Jose State University, TEDx speaker and content creator on YouTube. You can connect with him on social media or take a look at his social media marketing blog.

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