101 Course: Integrated SEO & PRDigital PRSEO Creating an Audience Journey Map (Customer or Buyer)

March 16, 2024by Kevin Rowe

My life changed when I started mapping out the audience journey.

As we delve deeper into the nuances of effective integrated marketing strategies, understanding audience journey mapping becomes indispensable. This email outlines a structured approach to mapping the customer or buyer’s journey, a pivotal component for tailoring your PR and SEO efforts to meet your audience at every critical juncture.

What is an Audience Journey Map?

An audience journey map (also called a buyer’s or customer’s journey) is a visual tool charting the path your potential customers take from initial awareness of a need or problem through to the final purchase decision and beyond. This map illuminates the customer’s experiences, expectations, and interactions with your brand across various touchpoints and channels.

Why Audience Journey Mapping Matters:

Mapping the audience journey offers invaluable insights into the customer’s decision-making process, enabling you to create content and strategies that resonate deeply at each stage. It ensures that your marketing efforts are not just seen but are also relevant and compelling, encouraging engagement and guiding the audience though PR-SEO conversion funnels.

How to Create an Audience Journey Map:

For my 101 Course, Introduction to PR & SEO, I created the REACT Framework to simplify the process of creating an integrated PR & SEO strategy.

As part of the course, I created a REACT workbook and provided an audience journey map template to walk you through the process of creating an audience journey map. Hope it’s helpful.

Step 0) Identify the archetype and scenario:
Identifying the archetype and scenario is about pinpointing your audience’s characteristics and the challenges they face that your offering solves.

  • Archetype: What is the profile of a specific person?
  • Scenario: What situation is that person in when entering into this journey?
  • Objective: What is the archetype trying to accomplish?

Start by analyzing demographics and behaviors to define the archetype, then outline their journey’s trigger, need, and goal. This focused approach sharpens content relevance and guides tailored user experiences toward desired actions.

I found this awesome AI tool called Osum that uses AI to identify detailed competitive research, SWOT analysis, buyer personas, growth opportunities and more for any product or business.
Or consider talking to sales reps or customer services to answer the question: What is the profile of our best customers?

Step 1) Define the Stages of the Journey:
Start by mapping out key activities and decisions the archetype makes from initial awareness of a problem to the final purchase and post-purchase evaluation, focusing on their motivations, questions, and barriers at each stage.

Utilize data from customer feedback, analytics, and market research to refine these stages, ensuring they accurately reflect the archetype’s experience and path towards achieving their goal.

  • Awareness: The customer becomes aware of a need or problem.
  • Consideration: The customer researches potential solutions or options.
  • Decision: The customer decides on a solution and makes a purchase.
  • Retention: Post-purchase experiences that lead to loyalty and advocacy.
  • Advocacy: Customers share their story about how the solution helped them.

Step 2) Identify Customer Touchpoints:
Identifying key touchpoints involves analyzing the channels and moments where the customer interacts with your brand or seeks information throughout their journey, using data from competitor research, media analysis tools, or social analytics to pinpoint where these interactions have the most impact on their decision-making process.

Useful tools to find websites and content that the audience needs are:

  • Sparktoro: Use a seed list of websites, keywords, and social profiles that your audience follows to find other sites and profiles they engage with.
  • Buzzsumo: Use a seed list of topics, keywords or articles to find influencers or sites that create related content.
  • Ahrefs Content Explorer: Use a seed keyword list to find authors and publications that mention a competitor’s brand or topics.
  • Listennotes: Find podcasts that competitors have been on, or that frequently discuss your areas of expertise.
  • MuckRack or Prowly: Find lists of journalists, articles, or media outlets that frequently discuss your areas of expertise or relevant trending topics.
  • Google search operators: If media software like MuckRack is outside of your budget, search Google for MuckRack media sources. This is much slower, but a great hack for small lists. {keyword} site:muckrack.com will give you a list good list.

Step 3) Understand Customer Needs and Questions:
For each stage, delve into what the customer is thinking, their needs, and the questions they need answers to. This understanding is crucial for creating content that addresses these queries.

  • Pain points: What pain points the audience has to deal with at the specific stage? For example, during the awareness stage they may have to prove that a problem even exists to management.
  • Opportunities: If the audience solves their pain point, what opportunities does this create for them? For example, during the consideration phase, a lower-priced but similar product could create an opportunity to get a higher ROI for the money invested.
  • Questions: What questions does the audience have that can guide content creation or media selections?

Step 4) Tailor Content and Strategies:
Based on the needs and questions identified, develop content and strategies for PR and SEO that align with each journey stage. This ensures your brand is providing value and building trust throughout the customer’s journey.

Use the insights gained from the pain, opportunities and questions to brainstorm content types and topic ideas.

For example, during the consideration phase, they have an opportunity to get a higher ROI by using one product over another. A product comparison content can show how one product creates a better ROI than another.

Step 5) Optimize Touchpoints for Conversion:
Review each touchpoint for opportunities to enhance the user experience (UX) and encourage the customer towards the next step in their journey, ultimately leading to conversion.
For example, during the awareness phase, the archetype may become aware of the problem from an influencer or opinion leader, a colleague on social, or a New York Times article.

Audience journey mapping is not just a tool for understanding your customers; it’s a strategic framework for engaging them effectively. By adopting this approach, you ensure that your integrated PR and SEO efforts are both customer-centric and conversion-focused, paving the way for deeper engagement and sustainable growth.

Additional Resources
Learn more about key opinion leaders in my Search Engine Journal article called Experts VS Influencers.

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