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Want To Make Your Content Marketing More Effective? Try Journey Maps

Content marketing is increasingly seen as an effective way to turn prospects into customers. Effective content marketing benefits from understanding how prospects find, consume and respond to content. To better understand those interactions, content marketers can try using journey maps.

What are journey maps? They are “a visual or graphic interpretation of an individual’s relationship with an organization, service, product or brand, over time and across channels.” The journey is mapped from the customer’s perspective.

With my colleague Ava Seave, a principal with Quantum Media, I am working on a user experience project that involves journey mapping. Talking with our client, Ava learned of a useful resource, Designing CX, that has helped us think through our work.

The site offers “design and agile practices for customer experience innovators”. Its contributors recommend that budding journey mappers employ an interactive approach it describes as “learn – design – execute”.

A Design CX post written by John Kembel, “Crash Course In Journey Mapping”, links to a PDF that explains how journey mapping help users:

  • Understand experiences and diagnose issues
  • Reframe and reimagine experiences
  • Redesign experiences to influence attitudes
  • Provide visual data that allows us to connect, collaborate and align around customer interests

In mapping a customer’s step-by-step journey, the folks at Designing CX look upstream to understand prior experiences that frame a customer’s current attitude. They also look downstream, after the actual event, to see what a customer does as a result of their interactions.

Looking “before” and “after” helps marketers think about several things, including the content offered at various stages of a customer’s journey.

One of the refreshing aspects of the approach advocated by Designing CX: It is accessibly low-tech. Wall maps, post-it notes and visual aids are the preferred tools. Common-sense questions are at the heart of their methodology.

The Design CX PDF outlines five steps anyone can take to map a customer experience:

  1. Select a specific customer to map. The more clearly you can describe the customer, the better your map will be.
  2. Map the customer’s step-by-step experience. The folks at Design CX recommend focusing on “moments that matter” over efforts to capture every potential action.
  3. Map touch points – the interactions with your content, product or service – both “on stage” (visible) and back stage (systems, for example).
  4. Layer in the customer’s attitudes and needs – components of a persona, with an eye on whether those needs are met or unmet.
  5. With the map in hand, identify problems and start to prioritize how to tackle them.

If you rely on content to turn prospects into customers, journey maps can help you understand how prospects find, consume and respond to content. As you reflect on those content interactions, you’ll find ways to make your content marketing efforts even more effective.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

2 thoughts on “Want To Make Your Content Marketing More Effective? Try Journey Maps

  1. Brian,

    This is a great use case for journey maps. We have clients who use our journey mapping software for this very reason. We’ve even included a case study on our site ( We know John Kembel well and support the DesigningCX methodology/framework within our platform.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

    Annette Franz
    VP, Customer Experience
    Touchpoint Dashboard

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