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Content Mapping Tools and 5 Mind Map Steps



Content Mapping Tools and 5 Mind Map Steps

You spent hours sweating over a blog post to make it appealing and complete. You spent weeks of intensive preparation to produce an eye-catching video. You finally have your content in shape and publish the end result.

You promote it with a few tweets and updates on LinkedIn, Instagram, and your newsletter. And then?

Don’t cross your fingers and hope for the best. Turn to mapping to ensure your content makes the biggest impact possible.

Let me walk through the process with the example of a video presentation I did for the hybrid Content Marketing World event in 2021: What If Creating Single-Use, Disposable Content Were a Crime?

Decipher content mapping

In this case, I use the term “content mapping” to talk about mapping content to other content. Content mapping is a logical derivative of the phenomenon of mind mapping — drawing a diagram to visually organize information, frequently around a single concept represented as a circle in the center of the map.

#Content mapping lets you visually organize information around a single concept, says @carlijnpostma via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

An experienced content mapper can easily chop the topic into separate thoughts or ideas. But less-experienced content mappers should brainstorm, using the map as a physical manifestation. I like to draw a tree and jot down all the different categories, subjects, and content types that come to mind as branches.

You can download the example and create your own version.

Content Mapping Tools and 5 Mind Map Steps

Click to enlarge

Map your content in 5 steps

Follow the mind-mapping process with these steps, and see how to do it with the topic of “evergreen content” – the core message in my Content Marketing World video.

1. Select your core content

Base your map on a piece of high-quality, long-form content that will gain your target audience’s attention. Though it needs to be relevant content, you don’t need to start from scratch. Have you posted an interesting article? Does your podcast contain an episode about which you would like to focus more attention?

Start your #content map with a high-quality, long-form asset, says @carlijnpostma via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Specify the source of this long-form content – its landing page. Will you link to a page on your website? Or is the ultimate goal to attract more subscribers to your YouTube channel?

Example: My goal for the evergreen content video is to attract more visitors to my website and convert them into newsletter subscribers. My primary content source is this page on my website featuring the video, What If … Creating Single-Use, Disposable Content Were a Crime.

2. Divide into five subtopics

Detail five subtopics related to your primary long-form content. Bear in mind these subtopics likely won’t be in a ready-to-share format.

Example: The topic of “evergreen content” can be split into these five subtopics:

  • What is single-use, disposable content?
  • Why is creating evergreen content beneficial?
  • Tips on how to create evergreen content
  • What you can learn from Netflix regarding evergreen content
  • Don’t forget …

3. Create four perspectives for each subtopic

Think, too, about the way to convey each subtopic’s message. Does it work best as an interesting headline or a quote, a trailer video, or should it be an infographic or a photo collage?

Create 20 linking messages (five subtopics multiplied by four perspectives) for the primary topic to draw in your audience. You also can use these to create additional content for your topic.

(Example is incorporated with step four.)

4. Specify the content types and channels

Think about how to distribute your messages. Take into account the characteristics of the chosen network or medium. For example, Instagram and Pinterest require images, while TikTok demands videos. Or the tone of voice on Facebook can be informal, but LinkedIn users still expect more formal language.

Example (steps three and four):

  • What is single-use, disposable content?
    • Perspective: What is single-use, disposable content?
      • Formats: title, still image, short summary, link to page
      • Distribution: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook
    • Perspective: What if creating single-use, disposable content were a crime?
      • Formats: trailer video, link to page
      • Distribution: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, newsletter
    • Perspective: How do you identify single-use, disposable content?
      • Formats: title, trailer video of Unidentified Single-Use Content, link to page
      • Distribution: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok
    • Perspective: Command to the audience, “Stop creating single-use, disposable content. Start creating evergreens.”
      • Formats: poster, link to download
      • Distribution: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram
    • Perspective: Explanatory summary with a cliffhanger ending
      • Formats: text, quote, link to page
      • Distribution: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram
  • Why is creating evergreen content beneficial?
    • Perspective: Six reasons why creating evergreen content makes sense
      • Formats: text, link to page
      • Distribution: LinkedIn, Facebook, newsletter
    • Perspective: How evergreen content keeps drawing audiences
      • Formats: infographic, link to page
      • Distribution: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest
    • Perspective: ROI on evergreen
      • Formats: infographic, link to page
      • Distribution: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest
    • Perspective: Short summary of SEO benefits of evergreen content
      • Formats: text, link to blog post on website
      • Distribution: Twitter, LinkedIn, website
  • Tips on how to create evergreen content
    • Perspective: How to create evergreen content
      • Formats: text, link to additional blog post on website
      • Distribution: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, website
    • Perspective: Five don’ts to become a pro in creating evergreen content
      • Formats: list, link to additional blog post on website
      • Distribution: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, website
    • Perspective: Examples of brand evergreen content vs. campaign content
      • Formats: text, stills, link to page
      • Distribution: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram
    • Perspective: Case study of a brand showing the value of evergreen content
      • Formats: text, link to additional blog post on website
      • Distribution: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, website
  • What you can learn from Netflix regarding evergreen content
    • Perspective: What you should learn from the creators of films and series
      • Formats: text, blog post, link to page
      • Distribution: LinkedIn, Facebook, newsletter
    • Perspective: Why a new season attracts new audiences to previous seasons
      • Formats: text, link to additional blog post on website
      • Distribution: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, website
    • Perspective: How to develop an evergreen strategy
      • Formats: Book Binge Marketing, summary and reviews, link to page
      • Distribution: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram
    • Perspective: Six easy-to-apply tactics for your marketing strategy learned from Netflix
      • Formats: list, link to page
      • Distribution: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram
  • Don’t forget …
    • Perspective: Quote from existing podcast – Unlimited Shelf Life, episode about evergreen content
      • Formats: audio quote from podcast, cover podcast
      • Distribution: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram
    • Perspective: Review quotes from enthusiast audience
      • Formats: quotes, slideshow
      • Distribution: LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram
    • Perspective: New trailer video to promote the full video
      • Formats: talking head trailer
      • Distribution: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok
    • Perspective: Collect all shareable visuals that are relevant to the topic
      • Formats: photos, slideshows
      • Distribution: LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest

5. Schedule your posts over a longer period

Now that you’re ready to schedule your content, decide on what period you want to focus attention on your topic and schedule updates accordingly. Vary the times of day at which you post your updates to social media. This way, you’ll get the most viewers (unless your aim is a small audience and you’ve decided you want to repeat your message).

No time to waste

I sometimes get asked whether all this content overwhelms the audience. And if you look at all the different types together, it could seem that way. That’s why it’s so important to create a content map that allows you to manage the publishing carefully across multiple channels over time.

Updated Jan. 9, 2023

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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The Complete Guide to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader



The Complete Guide to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader

Introduce your processes: If you’ve streamlined a particular process, share it. It could be the solution someone else is looking for.

Jump on trends and news: If there’s a hot topic or emerging trend, offer your unique perspective.

Share industry insights: Attended a webinar or podcast that offered valuable insights. Summarize the key takeaways and how they can be applied.

Share your successes: Write about strategies that have worked exceptionally well for you. Your audience will appreciate the proven advice. For example, I shared the process I used to help a former client rank for a keyword with over 2.2 million monthly searches.

Question outdated strategies: If you see a strategy that’s losing steam, suggest alternatives based on your experience and data.

5. Establish communication channels (How)

Once you know who your audience is and what they want to hear, the next step is figuring out how to reach them. Here’s how:

Choose the right platforms: You don’t need to have a presence on every social media platform. Pick two platforms where your audience hangs out and create content for that platform. For example, I’m active on LinkedIn and X because my target audience (SEOs, B2B SaaS, and marketers) is active on these platforms.

Repurpose content: Don’t limit yourself to just one type of content. Consider repurposing your content on Quora, Reddit, or even in webinars and podcasts. This increases your reach and reinforces your message.

Follow Your audience: Go where your audience goes. If they’re active on X, that’s where you should be posting. If they frequent industry webinars, consider becoming a guest on these webinars.

Daily vs. In-depth content: Balance is key. Use social media for daily tips and insights, and reserve your blog for more comprehensive guides and articles.

Network with influencers: Your audience is likely following other experts in the field. Engaging with these influencers puts your content in front of a like-minded audience. I try to spend 30 minutes to an hour daily engaging with content on X and LinkedIn. This is the best way to build a relationship so you’re not a complete stranger when you DM privately.

6. Think of thought leadership as part of your content marketing efforts

As with other content efforts, thought leadership doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It thrives when woven into a cohesive content marketing strategy. By aligning individual authority with your brand, you amplify the credibility of both.

Think of it as top-of-the-funnel content to:

  • Build awareness about your brand

  • Highlight the problems you solve

  • Demonstrate expertise by platforming experts within the company who deliver solutions

Consider the user journey. An individual enters at the top through a social media post, podcast, or blog post. Intrigued, they want to learn more about you and either search your name on Google or social media. If they like what they see, they might visit your website, and if the information fits their needs, they move from passive readers to active prospects in your sales pipeline.

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How to Increase Survey Completion Rate With 5 Top Tips



How to Increase Survey Completion Rate With 5 Top Tips

Collecting high-quality data is crucial to making strategic observations about your customers. Researchers have to consider the best ways to design their surveys and then how to increase survey completion, because it makes the data more reliable.

→ Free Download: 5 Customer Survey Templates [Access Now]

I’m going to explain how survey completion plays into the reliability of data. Then, we’ll get into how to calculate your survey completion rate versus the number of questions you ask. Finally, I’ll offer some tips to help you increase survey completion rates.

My goal is to make your data-driven decisions more accurate and effective. And just for fun, I’ll use cats in the examples because mine won’t stop walking across my keyboard.

Why Measure Survey Completion

Let’s set the scene: We’re inside a laboratory with a group of cat researchers. They’re wearing little white coats and goggles — and they desperately want to know what other cats think of various fish.

They’ve written up a 10-question survey and invited 100 cats from all socioeconomic rungs — rough and hungry alley cats all the way up to the ones that thrice daily enjoy their Fancy Feast from a crystal dish.

Now, survey completion rates are measured with two metrics: response rate and completion rate. Combining those metrics determines what percentage, out of all 100 cats, finished the entire survey. If all 100 give their full report on how delicious fish is, you’d achieve 100% survey completion and know that your information is as accurate as possible.

But the truth is, nobody achieves 100% survey completion, not even golden retrievers.

With this in mind, here’s how it plays out:

  • Let’s say 10 cats never show up for the survey because they were sleeping.
  • Of the 90 cats that started the survey, only 25 got through a few questions. Then, they wandered off to knock over drinks.
  • Thus, 90 cats gave some level of response, and 65 completed the survey (90 – 25 = 65).
  • Unfortunately, those 25 cats who only partially completed the survey had important opinions — they like salmon way more than any other fish.

The cat researchers achieved 72% survey completion (65 divided by 90), but their survey will not reflect the 25% of cats — a full quarter! — that vastly prefer salmon. (The other 65 cats had no statistically significant preference, by the way. They just wanted to eat whatever fish they saw.)

Now, the Kitty Committee reviews the research and decides, well, if they like any old fish they see, then offer the least expensive ones so they get the highest profit margin.

CatCorp, their competitors, ran the same survey; however, they offered all 100 participants their own glass of water to knock over — with a fish inside, even!

Only 10 of their 100 cats started, but did not finish the survey. And the same 10 lazy cats from the other survey didn’t show up to this one, either.

So, there were 90 respondents and 80 completed surveys. CatCorp achieved an 88% completion rate (80 divided by 90), which recorded that most cats don’t care, but some really want salmon. CatCorp made salmon available and enjoyed higher profits than the Kitty Committee.

So you see, the higher your survey completion rates, the more reliable your data is. From there, you can make solid, data-driven decisions that are more accurate and effective. That’s the goal.

We measure the completion rates to be able to say, “Here’s how sure we can feel that this information is accurate.”

And if there’s a Maine Coon tycoon looking to invest, will they be more likely to do business with a cat food company whose decision-making metrics are 72% accurate or 88%? I suppose it could depend on who’s serving salmon.

While math was not my strongest subject in school, I had the great opportunity to take several college-level research and statistics classes, and the software we used did the math for us. That’s why I used 100 cats — to keep the math easy so we could focus on the importance of building reliable data.

Now, we’re going to talk equations and use more realistic numbers. Here’s the formula:

Completion rate equals the # of completed surveys divided by the # of survey respondents.

So, we need to take the number of completed surveys and divide that by the number of people who responded to at least one of your survey questions. Even just one question answered qualifies them as a respondent (versus nonrespondent, i.e., the 10 lazy cats who never show up).

Now, you’re running an email survey for, let’s say, Patton Avenue Pet Company. We’ll guess that the email list has 5,000 unique addresses to contact. You send out your survey to all of them.

Your analytics data reports that 3,000 people responded to one or more of your survey questions. Then, 1,200 of those respondents actually completed the entire survey.

3,000/5000 = 0.6 = 60% — that’s your pool of survey respondents who answered at least one question. That sounds pretty good! But some of them didn’t finish the survey. You need to know the percentage of people who completed the entire survey. So here we go:

Completion rate equals the # of completed surveys divided by the # of survey respondents.

Completion rate = (1,200/3,000) = 0.40 = 40%

Voila, 40% of your respondents did the entire survey.

Response Rate vs. Completion Rate

Okay, so we know why the completion rate matters and how we find the right number. But did you also hear the term response rate? They are completely different figures based on separate equations, and I’ll show them side by side to highlight the differences.

  • Completion Rate = # of Completed Surveys divided by # of Respondents
  • Response Rate = # of Respondents divided by Total # of surveys sent out

Here are examples using the same numbers from above:

Completion Rate = (1200/3,000) = 0.40 = 40%

Response Rate = (3,000/5000) = 0.60 = 60%

So, they are different figures that describe different things:

  • Completion rate: The percentage of your respondents that completed the entire survey. As a result, it indicates how sure we are that the information we have is accurate.
  • Response rate: The percentage of people who responded in any way to our survey questions.

The follow-up question is: How can we make this number as high as possible in order to be closer to a truer and more complete data set from the population we surveyed?

There’s more to learn about response rates and how to bump them up as high as you can, but we’re going to keep trucking with completion rates!

What’s a good survey completion rate?

That is a heavily loaded question. People in our industry have to say, “It depends,” far more than anybody wants to hear it, but it depends. Sorry about that.

There are lots of factors at play, such as what kind of survey you’re doing, what industry you’re doing it in, if it’s an internal or external survey, the population or sample size, the confidence level you’d like to hit, the margin of error you’re willing to accept, etc.

But you can’t really get a high completion rate unless you increase response rates first.

So instead of focusing on what’s a good completion rate, I think it’s more important to understand what makes a good response rate. Aim high enough, and survey completions should follow.

I checked in with the Qualtrics community and found this discussion about survey response rates:

“Just wondering what are the average response rates we see for online B2B CX surveys? […]

Current response rates: 6%–8%… We are looking at boosting the response rates but would first like to understand what is the average.”

The best answer came from a government service provider that works with businesses. The poster notes that their service is free to use, so they get very high response rates.

“I would say around 30–40% response rates to transactional surveys,” they write. “Our annual pulse survey usually sits closer to 12%. I think the type of survey and how long it has been since you rendered services is a huge factor.”

Since this conversation, “Delighted” (the Qualtrics blog) reported some fresher data:

survey completion rate vs number of questions new data, qualtrics data

Image Source

The takeaway here is that response rates vary widely depending on the channel you use to reach respondents. On the upper end, the Qualtrics blog reports that customers had 85% response rates for employee email NPS surveys and 33% for email NPS surveys.

A good response rate, the blog writes, “ranges between 5% and 30%. An excellent response rate is 50% or higher.”

This echoes reports from Customer Thermometer, which marks a response rate of 50% or higher as excellent. Response rates between 5%-30% are much more typical, the report notes. High response rates are driven by a strong motivation to complete the survey or a personal relationship between the brand and the customer.

If your business does little person-to-person contact, you’re out of luck. Customer Thermometer says you should expect responses on the lower end of the scale. The same goes for surveys distributed from unknown senders, which typically yield the lowest level of responses.

According to SurveyMonkey, surveys where the sender has no prior relationship have response rates of 20% to 30% on the high end.

Whatever numbers you do get, keep making those efforts to bring response rates up. That way, you have a better chance of increasing your survey completion rate. How, you ask?

Tips to Increase Survey Completion

If you want to boost survey completions among your customers, try the following tips.

1. Keep your survey brief.

We shouldn’t cram lots of questions into one survey, even if it’s tempting. Sure, it’d be nice to have more data points, but random people will probably not hunker down for 100 questions when we catch them during their half-hour lunch break.

Keep it short. Pare it down in any way you can.

Survey completion rate versus number of questions is a correlative relationship — the more questions you ask, the fewer people will answer them all. If you have the budget to pay the respondents, it’s a different story — to a degree.

“If you’re paying for survey responses, you’re more likely to get completions of a decently-sized survey. You’ll just want to avoid survey lengths that might tire, confuse, or frustrate the user. You’ll want to aim for quality over quantity,” says Pamela Bump, Head of Content Growth at HubSpot.

2. Give your customers an incentive.

For instance, if they’re cats, you could give them a glass of water with a fish inside.

Offer incentives that make sense for your target audience. If they feel like they are being rewarded for giving their time, they will have more motivation to complete the survey.

This can even accomplish two things at once — if you offer promo codes, discounts on products, or free shipping, it encourages them to shop with you again.

3. Keep it smooth and easy.

Keep your survey easy to read. Simplifying your questions has at least two benefits: People will understand the question better and give you the information you need, and people won’t get confused or frustrated and just leave the survey.

4. Know your customers and how to meet them where they are.

Here’s an anecdote about understanding your customers and learning how best to meet them where they are.

Early on in her role, Pamela Bump, HubSpot’s Head of Content Growth, conducted a survey of HubSpot Blog readers to learn more about their expertise levels, interests, challenges, and opportunities. Once published, she shared the survey with the blog’s email subscribers and a top reader list she had developed, aiming to receive 150+ responses.

“When the 20-question survey was getting a low response rate, I realized that blog readers were on the blog to read — not to give feedback. I removed questions that wouldn’t serve actionable insights. When I reshared a shorter, 10-question survey, it passed 200 responses in one week,” Bump shares.

Tip 5. Gamify your survey.

Make it fun! Brands have started turning surveys into eye candy with entertaining interfaces so they’re enjoyable to interact with.

Your respondents could unlock micro incentives as they answer more questions. You can word your questions in a fun and exciting way so it feels more like a BuzzFeed quiz. Someone saw the opportunity to make surveys into entertainment, and your imagination — well, and your budget — is the limit!

Your Turn to Boost Survey Completion Rates

Now, it’s time to start surveying. Remember to keep your user at the heart of the experience. Value your respondents’ time, and they’re more likely to give you compelling information. Creating short, fun-to-take surveys can also boost your completion rates.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Take back your ROI by owning your data



Treasure Data 800x450

Treasure Data 800x450

Other brands can copy your style, tone and strategy — but they can’t copy your data.

Your data is your competitive advantage in an environment where enterprises are working to grab market share by designing can’t-miss, always-on customer experiences. Your marketing tech stack enables those experiences. 

Join ActionIQ and Snowplow to learn the value of composing your stack – decoupling the data collection and activation layers to drive more intelligent targeting.

Register and attend “Maximizing Marketing ROI With a Composable Stack: Separating Reality from Fallacy,” presented by Snowplow and ActionIQ.

Click here to view more MarTech webinars.

About the author

Cynthia RamsaranCynthia Ramsaran

Cynthia Ramsaran is director of custom content at Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land and MarTech. A multi-channel storyteller with over two decades of editorial/content marketing experience, Cynthia’s expertise spans the marketing, technology, finance, manufacturing and gaming industries. She was a writer/producer for and produced thought leadership for KPMG. Cynthia hails from Queens, NY and earned her Bachelor’s and MBA from St. John’s University.

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