In this post we will show you how to define part of your content plan. Included in the post you can find;
Next, we launch into part five of our nine-part framework, which is all about mapping your content themes to maximise engagement.
And in this short post, we’re giving you a quick look at our Content Ideas exercise — a clever way to generate content ideas around the kinds of questions your customers might be asking.
Here, you’ll learn:
- Why mapping your content marketing themes can make all the difference;
- How to use the Content Ideas exercise to answer questions before you’re asked;
- And how doing so can establish your business as knowledgeable and credible.
Plus, at the bottom of the post, you’ll find a free worksheet download to help you map out your own content marketing themes.
Ready? Let’s go.
Why map out your content themes?
Establishing a solid online presence for your business often requires that you’re proactive, visible, and responsive. This translates into having an up-to-date website and active social media accounts, where you can share relevant information and respond to customer queries.
But to keep things ticking over, you need to fuel your marketing machine with content — and you need quality, not quantity.
This is where content mapping can help. It’s a way to outline specific content themes that relate to and support your customer’s journey. Whether they’ve only just realised they have a problem or their finger’s hovering over the “BUY” button ready to purchase your solution, your content should help to inform, engage, and guide your customers, nudging them towards a conversion.
With that in mind, the content you create needs to be meaningful. It should be underpinned by research and clearly and confidently answer common questions or concerns.
The following exercise can help you do just that, using two simple tools to pick out search queries related to your product or service. You can then use these as the basis for a robust content marketing calendar, answering your customer’s questions with clarity.
Exercise: generate effective content ideas with two simple tools
In the graphic above, you’ll see a blank mind map (also called a “spider web map” or “concept map”). In the middle of this map, we’ve got a space to put one of your core products or services.
From there, we branch out into different types of questions your potential customers might be asking, starting with “how,” “what,” “where,” “why,” “can,” “are,” etc. Using AlsoAsked.com and AnswerThePublic.com (more on them later), we want to fill these sections with questions we can answer using our content.
When it comes to the product or service in the middle, it’s always better to drill down into your offering and be as specific as possible. While you could do a sort of catch-all by using your overarching product or service, you’ll be able to create more meaningful, detailed content by digging a little deeper.
For instance, if you’re an accountancy firm, you could try to map your content around “accountancy,” but this may be too broad to grab the attention of your target audience. Instead, if you were to look at the common search queries related to “tax audits” or “management reports,” you’re more likely to find searches by people much further along the sales funnel.
So, let’s take a look at this exercise in action below, where we’ve used “eCommerce fraud” as an example.
To discover the types of questions your ideal customers are plugging into search engines, we use two tools, AlsoAsked.com and AnswerThePublic.com. These are both free tools (although there are limits to the number of searches you can do with the free versions).
AA and ATP both work in a similar way: they mine Google search results for related searches before compiling a massive list of relevant questions to your product, service, or industry.
Returning to our “eCommerce fraud” example, we generate various questions we can use for our content marketing by simply typing this phrase into the tools mentioned above.
- How to prevent eCommerce fraud?
- How to detect eCommerce fraud?
- Where to report eCommerce fraud?
- What can you do if you get scammed online?
- Where can I complain about eCommerce?
We then return to our spider web map, adding the best questions to build out a selection of potential options for quality content.
And as you’ll see in the completed example above, the deeper you dive into this exercise, the more valuable the questions become. Starting with a simple search (“eCommerce fraud”), we’ve created a seed list of ultra-specific fraud-related titles, including:
- Can chargebacks be reversed?
- Are chargebacks legal?
- What is the Central Consumer Protection Authority?
- And more…
Once you’ve got a bank of topics related to one of your products or services, you can repeat the exercise for the rest to create an in-depth and well-rounded content marketing plan.
Key Takeaway: Mapping your content like this lets you position your business as an industry expert. You can then match your customer’s journey with relevant content. From the broader, discovery-phase queries to the more qualified searches around pricing or real-world examples, you’re helping them every step of the way towards a conversion.
Using this exercise also takes a lot of the heavy lifting out of the content creation process. Instead of brainstorming for hours on end trying to develop new topics and titles, simply build your blog, newsletter, or social media content around what your customers want to know.
Or, in other words, answer their questions before they ask you. Download the workbook below and give it a go yourself.
Try the Growth Mapper today
We’ve designed each section of our Growth Mapper framework around a critical part of your business growth. We start with the basics and drill down into the details, giving you a clear picture of the opportunities and challenges moving forward.