Content offers an excellent opportunity for companies to boost their business outcomes. By delivering relevant and helpful content to customers, they can build a dedicated community, increase brand awareness, and improve the overall reputation. In addition, they will keep customers engaged and encourage them to come back for more.
However, content is not just writing posts on a company blog. It can come in different formats and types, ranging from landing pages and newsletters to Help Center articles and product guides. In short, content is everywhere.
Still, sometimes content is created just for the sake of creating it. For instance, imagine a situation when you are working on an article that an
In such cases, the content doesn’t serve its major goal of delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time. Isn’t it better to write a blog post focusing on their problems or goals?
To clearly understand what content your audience needs and get a rich source of content ideas, turn to customer journey mapping. Customer journey mapping can help you truly understand your customers, what types of content they need at different stages of their journey, and what formats work best for them.
What is a customer journey map?
A customer journey map or CJM is a methodology used to visualize and reveal customer experiences over time, looking at every step of the customer journey through the customer lens.
A CJM can include such basic and commonly known stages as awareness, consideration, decision, etc. or the stages can have custom names (see below).
CJMs contain all the necessary information about a specific customer’s journey. These can be the actions they take, channels they use, interactions they have, their expectations, emotions, problems, and so on.
How long should the customer journey map be? Well, it depends on many factors: the goals you have (e.g., improve the content on your website only), resources (e.g., you have a small team and don’t have much time for making big changes), etc. So you may opt for visualizing the end-to-end journey or just a part of it.
Сustomer journeys start long before customers come to you to make a purchase. They may decide to buy a new car, and it’s a starting point of their journey. The following steps will be learning about special offerings on dealer websites, watching vehicle reviews on YouTube, visiting forums, and more. At some point, they come to your store, online or offline. And this can happen, for instance, either because they watched a car review video on your YouTube channel or read a “How to choose a new car” post on your website.
So your task is to understand what content can be helpful for customers at each customer journey stage they go through and in what format. This way, you will become a go-to expert that your customers trust and love. They will become your brand ambassadors and help you distribute the content you produce. Plus, properly developed content will nudge people to make purchase times quicker.
The customer journey mapping exercise will provide an endless number of ideas in terms of new topics as well as some formats and channels of distribution. For example, while building a CJM, you will understand that new users struggle with learning your tool after the registration because the Help Center doesn’t have the information they are looking for. You will also learn that they prefer watching short videos instead of reading long articles. So your next steps might be recording video guides and uploading them to your Instagram account.
What is also important for content? It is a good idea to add the questions the clients ask themselves at a particular stage. Based on these questions, you can come up with new content ideas tailored to the needs of customers.
How to build a CJM?
Although a map might have different customer journey stages and sections, mappers usually follow a very similar process: they start with doing research to learn about their customers as much as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to talk to your customers. If you can’t, ask your employee-facing colleagues to share their knowledge with you. Also take advantage of other customer-related data you have: Google Analytics, social media, review platforms, etc.
Then they turn the data they have gathered into personas and build personas profiles. When creating personas, be sure to specify their preferred channels and content types and formats. During the research stage, pay attention to the specific vocabulary which is typical of your customers. It can be identified while reading support tickets or conducting surveys and interviews. Such phrases and words can be further used in your copy. What for? Speaking your customers’ language, you make your content easier to understand and you’ll get more readers who are your potential customers.
The next step is to build CJMs on top of these personas. There is no right or wrong tool to do it. You can use physical or digital sticky notes, Google Sheets or PowerPoint, but for more visual and elaborate maps, online tools like UXPressia will be a better choice.
Before you start mapping, identify customer stages and sections you want to include in it. After that, start with a quick draft to get off the ground. It’s always a great idea to begin with focusing on customer actions. Adding user goals, channels, emotions, and other stuff will allow you to see the bigger picture.
Finally, list opportunities and ideas on how users’ challenges can be solved with the help of content, improving their overall experience with you. And think of other opportunities: maybe you know the sites that people belonging to your personas read. So it would be logical to get published there to draw their attention to your brand.
Content is a powerful tool for business growth that helps attract and convert the target audience more efficiently. Journey maps can come in handy for content creation. When created properly, they help you identify opportunities where content can help customers to deal with their problems and understand what content they need, at what time, and in what format.