Unpacking the Decision Journey to Make Better Content

November 3, 2021

Lauren Teague, Convince & Convert

Session Recording


Lauren Polinsky presents Unpacking the Decision Journey to Make Better Content. She will talk about journey mapping and the importance of putting your audience in the center of your messaging. Throughout this video, she will help you create your own audience journey map. Watch the video to see the worksheets she uses for each step of the journey. 


Introduction (4:30)

When content is created in silos, audiences cannot move through a decision journey the way marketers intend. Also, the website and social copy may not sync.

When audiences look at your brand’s content, they don’t care which department created it — they see everything holistically as a brand. If the content is “broken,” all teams need to come together to “fix” it. 


“Relevancy is the Killer App” (26:51)

Jay Bear said, “Relevancy is the killer app.” You can have the best product, the best service, but if it’s not relevant for the customer at the time, it doesn’t matter. That’s why you need to make the customer the center of your message. 


Here is a checklist for relevancy:  

  • Identify audience target 
  • Identify hyper-specific questions they have at every stage 
  • Show up with care for the audience’s needs and pain points 
  • Distribute to the right channels 
  • Distribute in the format they prefer 


The traditional funnel starts at the top with awareness, then interest, then decision, and ends with action. However, the customer journey is not linear. It has become circular in the modern age.

Every organization has blind spots. Recognize your blind spots and take action to prepare for them. Use journey mapping to guide intentional content that supports audiences in their journey. Have content at every part of the journey. A persona is like a picture. The audience journey map is a persona over time. 


The Magic Journey Map (36:34)

The journey map has three parts: audience overview, decision mindset, and brand response. 


The Audience Overview and Decision Mindset (38:26)

First, describe one specific audience to the best of your knowledge. Go beyond the traditional persona to consider motivations and behavior. This is important because it helps you narrow and define specific targets and segments we want to reach. It also forces you to think chronologically. This helps set up future marketing personalization. It will help align needs and concerns, as well as anchors, around mindset and behavior – not demographics.

After you know who your audience is, think about mindset.

Every stage (awareness, consideration, action, and advocacy) needs to be defined by your own process. Map the emotion. For example, is there hesitancy where a potential customer would take a step back? 

The mindset is written from the audience’s POV. It covers key stages and actions an individual takes to reach their goal. Layer in emotional mindset tied to different stages and identify the questions and needs preventing progress to the next step. 

Journey mapping provides a clear path for finding the exact message that resonates at each step of the journey. Repeat this process, and create and customize a new map for each audience segment. Make different versions for distinct personas within each segment not different versions between teams. 

In doing so, you will never have to wonder about what content is needed because it’s already mapped out. Your only worry then becomes prioritizing it. 


Attain Relevancy (1:01:51)  

Become hyper-aware of the audience’s emotional and rational needs in their journey. Then you will be able to create the ideal response that serves as a guide, not a deterrent. You’ll be able to understand how to get the right content into the right channels at the right moment. You want to be there when the audience realizes they have a problem and a goal. 


Content Auditing (1:07:06)

Once the map is completed, perform a content audit. The audit uses tags from journey maps and future creative briefs. Start with existing content to identify what works and what needs to work. Audit content in all channels and forms. This is to identify gaps in content and create a priority list for production. 


When you audit, there are many questions to ask, such as: 

  • What questions does this piece of content answer?
  • Is the desired action clear? 
  • How do we measure the success of this piece of content? 
  • What content type is best? 
  • Can it be repurposed another way? 
  • What signals a move to the next stage? 


A content audit starts with aggregating the questions the audience has. Determine if and how those questions are answered through content, online and off. Document where these answers are found, and if they need to be updated. For your key pages and top-viewed content, use a template to record key information. A worksheet or Airtable base can help aggregate multiple content records.

Audit existing content for the Calls-to-Action (CTAs) used. Connect CTAs back to Journey Stages and Mindset. Consider what response an audience is seeking at the different stages. Detail what you’ve found during the Content Gap Analysis. Use a checklist to pull and prioritize the next steps. 

You do not need to create each piece of content from scratch. Get the most out of every piece of content you have by breaking it into smaller pieces. With every large content effort, try to break it into six smaller pieces to populate social media and drip content. 


Conclusion (2:26:55)

Journey mapping provides a clear path forward for finding the exact message that resonates at each step of the journey. The three pieces of the journey map are: 

  • Audience overview
  • Decision mindset
  • Brand response 


Take the time to nail these down for your brand. It will result in synergy between departments, and you will never have to wonder about what content is needed because it’s already mapped out: you just have to worry about prioritizing it.