Content Strategy: How to Map Content to Each Stage of the Marketing Funnel

If you want to generate leads, your content needs to correspond to the right stage of the customer's journey. Learn how you can build your content strategy using 5 Stages of Awareness. I break down the whole process into 5 easy steps.

Imagine you're having a regular status meeting with your team, and your new content writer puts you on the spot with this question: What's our content strategy? And you're like: Who cares?! Just get the work done! 

If you've ever felt like you can't explain your own content strategy, in this blog post, we're going to break it down real quick.


What's a content strategy?

A content strategy is, hm...it's really hard to explain it. I'll try, though. A content strategy is basically an answer to the following 3 questions:

  1. What exactly are you trying to achieve?
  2. How you're going to achieve it?
  3. How will you measure success?

A content strategy defines a specific course of actions that will take you from where you are now to where you want to be. The best content strategy is the one that helps you generate leads or people who have shown an interest in your products or services. To generate leads, your content needs to correspond to the right stage of the customer's journey and match the customer's search intent. And it needs to take the customer to the next stage of their journey, helping them traverse the purchase path quickly and easily.


Customer journey by Schwartz

The customer's journey is a marketing term that describes a path that a lead takes from being unaware of your product or service to being convinced that your product or service is what they need.

There are many ways to illustrate the customer's journey. I particularly like the model developed by copywriter Eugene Schwartz in 1966 called Stages of Awareness. In his book Breakthrough Advertising, Schwartz breaks down buyer awareness into five distinct phases: unaware, problem-aware, solution-aware, product-aware, and most aware.

Mapping your content ideas using this customer's journey opens your eyes to exactly what you need to say to your readers. If your readers are unaware, you want to tell them about a problem so they move to the next stage, which is problem-aware. And if they’re problem-aware, they need to become solution-aware, then product-aware, and, finally, most aware.

Content mapping example from one of my projects at Kaiiax


Let's figure out how you can use these stages of awareness to create your content strategy.

How to map content to stages of awareness


Step 1: Decide what product or service you want to focus on

For example, let's imagine you're a design services agency. You want to focus on selling your UI/UX design services.

Step 2: Decide what audience you want to sell your product or service to

As a design service agency, let's say you want to sell your services to startups who want to build SaaS products. They have a clear idea of what they need and are looking for a professional agency that can help them shape their products.

Step 3: Create a table with the 5 stages of awareness

  1. The unaware stage will include the topics that people who aren’t aware they have a problem will be searching for.
  2. The problem-aware stage will include the topics that help people solve a problem.
  3. The solution-aware stage will include the topics that will target people who are looking for a solution and need guidance to choose the right one. 
  4. The product-aware stage will include all the content that you're going to create for people who know you offer a solution to their problem and want to learn more about it.
  5. And finally, the most-aware stage will include copy created for people who are interested in your offer but need a little push to become a customer.

Step 4: Add keywords you will use to write content for each stage of awareness

Ask yourself: what keywords or phrases do people use when they are, say, experiencing a problem? Or looking for a solution? For example, at the unaware stage, your potential leads are just gathering information. Ask yourself, 

What can attract their attention?

An article that talks about SaaS design trends, for example, can be interesting for somebody looking to create a modern product.

To create content ideas for the problem-aware stage, you can ask yourself: 

What problem is my reader looking to solve?

Examples can include: 

  • How to build a product roadmap
  • How to build an MVP
  • What makes a good SaaS product
  • Product design process 

And so on.

For solution-aware readers, the question you want to ask yourself is:

What solution does the reader want to use to solve a problem?

Your content ideas can include: 

  • 99designs vs Fiverr
  • UX designer vs product designer
  • How to select a design agency

And so on.

Product-aware readers will search for commercial terms to find a design agency that will help them design a product. Content created for this stage is typically a landing page that sells your offer. If your offer is UI/UX design, you can write a landing page optimized for the search engines and relevant to the query "UI/UX design services". To write copy for this landing page, ask yourself: 

What does the reader want to know about my product or service?

If you do a good job describing your value proposition there, readers will be ready to send a project request. To make sure they do, you might offer them some incentive such as a discount or special gift.

At the most aware stage, you should persuade the reader that your solution is the best deal. For example, you can offer the reader a week of work free of charge, or a free pack of Instagram stickers designed to promote their product.


Step 5: Write content optimized for search and with your customer in mind

Now when you know how to create a content strategy using the five stages of awareness, everything that's left is to write great content, distribute it, measure its effectiveness, improve, and repeat. 

Mapping your content to each stage of the reader’s journey helps you understand:

  • How your content ideas fit in the marketing funnel
  • How your content helps readers get what they need at each stage of their journey
  • How you can guide readers through their purchase journey
  • If there are any gaps in your content and how you can fill them

You can use my content map template to organize and plan your content. Download it from my website and use it as a starting point for your own projects!

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Check out my blog post about Content Cluster Strategy, another great approach to improve the user experience of your content and boost your search performance. Make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel so don't miss a new video.


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