A Step By Step Guide To Developing Your Content Matrix

What Is A Content Matrix?

A content marketing matrix is more than just an inventory of your existing content. A content matrix provides a better understanding of your audience’s perception of your content, and it helps you to focus on the factors that matter to your audience at different stages of their buyer’s journey.

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How To Develop A Content Matrix For Your Business

Creating original, high-quality content that is relevant to your audience is one of the most important facets of an effective inbound marketing strategy. Your SEO (search engine optimization), social media marketing, PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, and email marketing efforts are highly dependent on your content. This mix is why you should create a content marketing matrix. The amount of content needed for your inbound marketing strategy can be challenging to not only develop, but also to plan, organize, and track. A content matrix makes this process less of a challenge by mapping out your existing content to see how it fits together.

However, a content marketing matrix is more than just an inventory of your existing content. A content matrix provides a better understanding of your audience’s perception of your content, and it helps you to focus on the factors that matter to your audience at different stages of their buyer’s journey. This focus makes it easier to create compelling content. A content matrix forces you to think about the contextual situation of your audience, what your conversion goals are, how you will contact your audience, and finally, what type of content you should create for each stage of the buyer’s journey.

A content marketing matrix provides not only an overview of your existing content but also provides the guidance you need to implement a more effective content marketing strategy.

Benefits Of A Content Matrix To Your Business

Creating a content matrix might seem like a lot of work. After all, not only do you need to take inventory of all of your existing content as well as break it down, but you’ll need to update the matrix as you create new content. However, it’s well worth the time and effort that it takes to put together a content matrix. Look at some of the benefits you’ll reap by building a content matrix:

Identifies Areas Where Content Needs Exist

A content matrix is a grid that organizes your content and describes its value in easy-to-read columns. You can glance over your content matrix to identify areas in your content strategy that are lacking. For example, you might find that there’s not enough content available that’s specifically tailored to a particular stage of their buyer’s journey compared to the amount of content available for other stages. You’ll also be able to view what format your content is in and identify the formats you lack. You may realize that you don’t have nearly as much visual content as the amount of written content that you’ve published.

Sales Enablement Is Strengthened

A content matrix ensures that you have quality content available at every stage of the buyer’s journey. The matrix moves leads through their journey and prevents them from stalling at a particular stage due to a lack of targeted content. You’ll notice your buying process will speed up and you will start to see an increase in your conversion rates between every stage.

Email Marketing Is Strengthened

With the use of a content matrix, you can ensure that you have content that’s successfully encouraging leads to sign up to your email list. You can also use your content matrix to guide your lead nurturing via newsletters and targeted email content. This effort will strengthen your overall email marketing campaign.

Generates New Ideas

Evaluating your content matrix to see what type of content you’ve written in the past can help you generate new ideas for future content. The content matrix should list the main topic of each piece of content. You may find topics that you can delve deeper into, or you may think of similar content relevant to your audience that you have not created.

1. Define Your Buyer Personas

The first thing you need to do before you create a content matrix is to define your buyer personas. By creating buyer personas, you’ll gain a better understanding of who your audience is. A buyer persona is a description of your target customer. When you create a buyer persona, you create a fictional representation of a customer. Details that make up a buyer persona include gender, age, job title, wants, needs, goals, hobbies, motivations, who influences them, how they make purchases, and more. Most businesses have more than one type of customer, so you should have more than one buyer persona.

When it comes to creating your buyer personas, use the data that you’ve collected on existing leads and customers. This data can come from forms on your website, social media profiles, surveys, and any direct interactions you’ve had with your leads and customers.

2. Map Out The Buyer’s Journey For Each Buyer Persona

Every customer goes through their own buyer’s journey, which consists of several stages: the awareness stage, the consideration stage, and the decision stage. The awareness stage is the stage at which the buyer becomes aware of their problem. They will begin to research their problem to better understand the issue. During the consideration stage, they will define their problem and start researching their options on how to solve their problem. Once they make it to the decision stage, they will choose a solution.

3. Define The Challenges, Needs, Obstacles, And Questions Of Your Buyer Personas In Their Journeys

Because the buyer’s journey is not linear, people will tend to jump from channel to channel, no matter where they are in the buyer’s stage. As a result, they can sometimes get stuck at a certain stage because they may be lacking the information they need to move to the next stage. You need to identify where your different buyer personas are most likely to get stuck so that you can figure out what content is missing and where to post that content to help avoid them from getting stuck in that place.

To keep buyers moving through their journey, define what the questions, challenges, obstacles, and needs of each buyer persona are. Addressing all of this through your content will help prevent them from getting stuck as they move through their journey.

4. Inventory All Existing Content And Group By Persona And Journey Stage

Associate Each Asset To A Buyer’s Journey Stage

Once you’ve defined your buyer personas and how they move through the buyer’s journey, take inventory of your existing content. Categorize each piece of content by the buyer persona it’s targeting and the specific stage of the buyer’s journey with which it’s associated. 

Types Of Content

Besides categorizing your content by buyer persona and journey stage, also take note of the content type of each asset. You will be able to see if your content is lacking in a particular type. The following are examples of the different types of content you should have:

  • Brochures
  • Infographics
  • Articles
  • Email
  • Blog Posts
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • Presentations
  • Newsletters
  • Case Studies
  • Testimonials
  • eBooks
  • Videos
  • Datasheets
  • Website Pages

5. Identify Your Gaps

A content matrix is a detailed content inventory created in a spreadsheet that can be sorted by category. This spreadsheet will give you instant visual feedback on any gaps you have in your content strategy. For example, let’s say you have three main buyer personas. If you sort by buyer persona, you might discover that the majority of your content focuses on two of those three personas. The same applies when sorting by the different stages of the buyer’s journey or by the types of content. You should be able to spot any gaps in either category easily.

6. Define Resulting Content Creation Priorities

Once you’ve identified all of the gaps in your content strategy using your content matrix, you can define your content creation priorities. For example, if you’ve noticed that you’re lacking content targeting a specific buyer persona, you should make it a priority to fill this gap as soon as possible. You’re likely losing leads who could be categorized as that persona if you don’t have enough targeted content to help nurture them through their journey. Identifying gaps should help to guide your content strategy and make it more effective. However, you can also use your content matrix in other ways to determine your content support needs.

Determine Important Content Support Needs

Other ways that you can use your content matrix to help guide your content strategy by identifying important content support needs include:

  • Update Old and Outdated Content – If you add the publishing date to your content matrix, you’ll be able to identify old content that could use an update.
  • Check Areas with Sparse Content – You can use your content matrix to identify areas where there isn’t a lot of content. Maybe you discover that you have tons of content on your blog, but not a whole lot of content in the form of webpages. You could address this by prioritizing the creation of more main webpages, such as a FAQ page or a testimonials page.
  • Content Prime for Upgrading – The age of your content isn’t the only thing that identifies the need for an upgrade. You can perform a content audit to determine what content is performing poorly, whether it’s a result of low views or low conversion rates. By upgrading this content, you can improve its overall performance.

7. Set Your Content Production Plan

Once you’ve identified your gaps and defined your content creation priorities, develop a content production plan that addresses your areas of need. This plan should build on the successful components of your past content creation efforts. Create a separate content production matrix, so you have an overview of all of your future content. This content production matrix should map back to your marketing team’s content calendar.

The go-to-market version of your content matrix (which is the inventory of your existing content) should be used in conjunction with the content production matrix to identify the best pieces of content to share with your audience at different stages of their journey.

8. Keep Your Content Matrix Current As New Assets Are Curated

As you develop and publish content on your content production matrix, you should move it to your go-to-market version of your content matrix. Keep this go-to-market content matrix updated as new assets are curated so that you can routinely audit your existing content and adjust your content strategy as needed.

Creating A Content Matrix Will Result In A More Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Taking the time to create a content marketing matrix will give you a clear picture of your existing content and how it works together to nurture your leads through the buyer’s journey. With a completed content matrix, you’ll be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your content marketing efforts, which in turn will allow you to craft a more effective content marketing strategy.

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