SEO technology flat illustrationMost content creators understand the need for, and have mastered the development of, editorial calendars. They have outlined what content they are going to create when and they know to plan posts around major events – both internal and external – like corporate earnings, product launches and holidays. But too few creators have recognized the power of the content map.

A content map differs from an editorial calendar in several ways:

  • A content map helps you leverage every piece of content you create. Can your blog post be turned into an infographic or video? Is part of it tweetable or pinnable?
  • A content map ensures you are reaching all of your target audiences. You may have seven posts aimed at developers, but what are you creating for the end users?
  • A content map makes sure you keep your content fresh with a healthy mix of content that educates, convince, entertains and inspires.
  • A content map helps you create content for customers at every stage of the buying cycle from prospects to evangelists.

So how do you develop a content map? Here are six steps to get you there.

  • Identify your key message. What is the most important point you want to convey?
  • Develop three storylines to support your message. What are the narratives that support your message?
  • Identify your audience. Who is the target for each story and where are they on the buying cycle?
  • Think about what moves your audience. Do you want to entertain, inspire, convince or educate them?
  • Determine where you will reach the customer. Will it be your owned channels (website, blog, etc.), social sites such as YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn or via earned media via a press interview or contributed article?
  • Decide on format. Does your story work best as text in a blog post or op-ed? Does it work best as video or an image or perhaps a podcast?

For a successful content marketing program, you need to map your content strategy before you create.

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