By Robert Rose published June 7, 2010

How to Use Mapping to Develop and Measure Content

In last week’s post, I walked you through how to map your content to your buyer personas and sales funnel. By having this information, you can start to see where your gaps in content are.

So, what’s next? You need to fill in the gaps and put a plan in place to measure what is and isn’t working.

Fill in the Holes of Your Content Map

When you are starting (or continuing) to develop the wonderful content that will fill in the holes of your content marketing strategy, don’t forget to leverage the content you already have.

Using our example of the technology company from last week, let’s say you have a security white paper that is aimed at Director of IT in the  Raw Lead phase in the buying cycle. You may be able to tweak it little bit by adding in some code samples, changing the title and delivering it in a different way.

For instance, instead of:
White Paper: Learn how WIMP’s Make Office Applications more Efficient

Update the paper to this:
Try Before You Buy. 3 Free Code Samples. See How Our WIMP’s Make Your Application More Efficient.

This is the same basic white paper with a different title focused on a different part of the funnel.

Think about ways you can make the paper more relevant to your audience in a different part of the buying cycle. For instance:

  • Maybe this one comes in a Zip file with the code samples in a separate file.
  • Maybe this one requires registration.
  • Maybe the ad that delivers this content promises the free samples, rather than education.
  • Maybe the reader needs to  talk to a rep to get this package.

In short, you can redesign this content so it can be used further down the sales funnel. Once you’ve filled all those holes, you can start to see what is and isn’t working.

Measure What’s Resonating

By developing a quick and easy way to understand what type of leads you’re attracting by which tactic, you can now see which content is resonating best with your target audiences. This is one of the biggest benefits of content segmentation.

As you start to measure the number of downloads (or engagement) by title, and then associate them with leads, prospects and customers, you can track which content is resonating best with all of your different audience segments and where your prospects are entering your sales funnel.

For example, you may find that you’re getting a TON of downloads at the top of the funnel, but none of the CFOs are finding any value lower in the funnel. Or, you may find that PPC ads are giving you a lead for someone who is much higher in the funnel (i.e. awareness), and organic search is giving you more “opportunities.”  How’s that insight for helping you direct media dollars?

Or, you may find that ALL your Directors of IT are coming into the middle of the funnel, and all that time you’ve been spending on education and awareness would be better spent on developing more valuable deep funnel content like demos, free trials and samples.

Key takeaways

There are three major benefits of going through the content segmentation and mapping exercise:

1. You will identify better content marketing engagement metrics. You’ve now got new content marketing tools to start working with your sales team work more of those Raw Leads down the line. A Raw PPC lead now can be nurtured with more content marketing into an Opportunity.

2. You have a lever that you can pull to try and attract more opportunities. And, trust me, sales guys will let you know what is and isn’t working. If one white paper or webinar is working better than others, you’ll hear about it.

3. You’ve got better insight about your content marketing and what keywords, and key phrases are working in your titles. Maybe that “how-to” guide really should be delivered later in the sales funnel rather than as an “education” piece. Or maybe you can keep both but use different titles and promotional tactics.

Don’t Forget the Long-Term

The critical thing here is not to get lost in the analysis . This process isn’t the end-all-be-all answer to your content marketing segmentation strategy. Recognize that your results may be slightly skewed by how you’ve repurposed the content, your titles and how you’re segmenting.

But like all things – this is a process that can be refined, revised and improved with effort.

I’ve seen this process work in as little as a couple of weeks – and trust me – it can have great results.

Have you used content mapping and segmentation in your organization? What results did you have?

Author: Robert Rose

Robert Rose is the Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of The Content Advisory - the education and advisory group of The Content Marketing Institute. As a strategist, Robert has worked with more than 500 companies including global brands such as Capital One, Dell, Ernst & Young, Hewlett Packard, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Robert is the author of three books. His latest, Killing Marketing, with co-author Joe Pulizzi has just been released. His last book, Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing, was called a “treatise, and a call to arms for marketers to lead business innovation in the 21st century.” You can hear Robert on his weekly podcast with co-host Joe Pulizzi, "This Old Marketing”. Robert is also an early-stage investor and advisor to a number of technology startups, serving on the advisory boards for a number of companies, such as Akoonu, DivvyHQ and Tint. Follow him on Twitter @Robert_Rose.

Other posts by Robert Rose

Join Over 200,000 of your Peers!

Get daily articles and news delivered to your email inbox and get CMI’s exclusive e-book Get Inspired: 75 (More) Content Marketing Examples FREE!

  • Beth Ryan

    Working with a B-to-B, industrial website for capital equipment, I have always used a “website as information resource” strategy, because no one buys a million dollar furnace over the internet, our sales funnel relies on face-to-face in order to close orders. Content is King in this type of strategy. For accounting and purchasing who are tasked with researching and qualifying vendors, I have two articles, “Heat Treat 101” and “Aluminum Metallurgy” that enable non-technical readers to have a general understanding of the process and equipment – these two pages have consistly high rankings, right behind and sometimes surpassing the landing pages – since around 1998. I think you are spot on to continue to analyze using the data to anticipate future needs.

    These types of articles to not require the same coordination and permissions as case studies (I never betray customer confidentiality). Yet, every time I survey users, case studies are the top content request; but then I'm stepping up to the more challenging persona in our sales funnel the engineer/maintenance/plant manager.

    What are your thoughts on the much more coordinated process of developing legitimate case studies?

  • Robert Rose

    Thanks for the great comment…. Yes, you've hit on the “holy grail” of B2B Marketing – finding the customer who will “talk”….. Having a great process for creating great case studies – and by great I mean that they share results and methodologies. This is something that i've seen so many B2B companies struggle with. Even customers who “want to talk” are sometimes limited by corporate policy or legal obligations not to say anything substantive…

    Having said that – I think putting some kind of policy (aka process) in place makes a tremendous amount of success. Certainly maybe the fodder for another post – but just a few things I've seen work:

    1. Rewarding the Sales person for getting pre-commitment from the newly signed customer for a case study.

    2. Formalizing a customer reference and case study program – where at the completion of every project (or sale) someone goes in and speak with the customer about what “worked” and what “didn't” and get permission to share this information in a case study.

    3. Get permission for the case study with results but make it “anonymous”. While not as strong – it's better than nothing – especially if you make it real or the opportunity so speak with this customer…

    Then, there's all sorts of ways to entice customers to take the time for the interview… And I've seen everything from “we'll make a donation to your favorite charity” to “dinner”…. With all “gift” and corporate ethics policy duly noted….

    Hope some of that's helpful….

  • Beth Ryan

    All great ideas; thanks!

  • Bob Scheier

    Great story, Beth, and you also point out that content doesn't need to be “fresh” or groundbreaking to be a consistent good draw. At one IT trade pub I know, an “old” (last year) story defining what “cloud computing” is continues to be a top draw, even though it's rarely updated. To me, the lesson is that everyone, in every business, has knowledge that's old hat to them, but news to the prospect — and can help score leads. Thanks again.