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User Intent and Content Mapping With Sussman and Pielusko

8 min read

Jeff Coyle, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of MarketMuse, hosted another exciting and informative webinar on content creation. His guests, Alexandra Pielusko, Director of Content Strategy, and Garrett Sussman, Demand Generation Manager, come from iPullRank, a respectful digital marketing agency. Based on their experience and expertise with content creation, these two professionals reflect on the importance of user and keyword intent and content mapping. 

This insightful conversation between the three explores the following:

  • The foundation of content mapping
  • The importance of targeting buyer personas and buyers’ lifecycle stages in content mapping
  • Tips for content marketing and management
  • The significance of a holistic approach when writing and targeting content.
  • The difficulty of using search results to drive SEO strategy decisions
  • Why and how you should use content mapping tools to create high-quality content
  • The importance of getting rid of the fluff and stepping back from your work

Show Notes

We outline some of the main topics from the webinar below. For more details on each of these points, follow the link to the full video. 

What is content mapping?

Content mapping requires you to, as Alexandra Pielusko put it, “[determine] what is the right piece of content for the right person […] at the right time in the right media” at every stage of the customer journey. In other words, the purpose of content mapping is to create personalized customer experiences that will attract and retain customers. 

With content mapping, your goal is to target content topics to:

  • Buyer personas: the people who will consume your content 
  • Buyers’ lifecycle stage: the phase reflecting how close a person or an organization is to purchase your product or service

As a content marketer, you need to be as specific as possible when targeting content to various buyer personas and buyer journey stages. It will help you attract and retain customers who are truly interested in your content. 

For example, you can use specific keywords to target content to aviation executives in the awareness stage of the buyer journey. You can also combine personas and journey stages with business issues, including post-purchase troubleshooting problems.

Tips for content mapping

Here are two rules of thumb you should consider when content mapping.

Look at your resources and current audience.

Firstly, you need to look at your available resources, what type of organization you’re in and how many people believe in the content marketing strategy you’re creating. Ask yourself if you need more tools to conduct audience research. 

The answers to the following questions can help you out:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • How are you researching your buyer personas? 
  • Do you know what people in your industry need and how to capture these needs through keywords?
  • How do you perform keyword research
  • Do you need a tool for keyword mapping
  • What is your target keyword?

Think about factors that rarely come to your mind. Don’t limit yourself to the confines of your office. Consider what people are looking for and what may happen in the future. What are your leads’ informational queries? What search terms do they use at each stage of the customer journey? Are there any emerging trends that could change your marketing strategy?

Think holistically.

Once you have the right resources, it’s time to start building a content mapping story. Think about your content mapping strategy as a whole — don’t just focus on each step of the process. What are your goals? Do you know what your audience wants? What makes you unique? The answers to these questions will help you deliver the right content at the right time and place to the right customer.

“Remember to take a step back and think through. How are we keeping our folks engaged, and what is the story that we want to be telling?” Alexandra Pielusko asked.

How to create high-quality content through content mapping

Using search engine results to drive better content strategy decisions can be incredibly challenging since they make moving targets. “SERPs change all the time,” said Garrett Sussman. “Whether that’s new competitors coming onto a certain results page based on a search query or just something as big as COVID happening and, all of a sudden, people are actually searching differently.”

Fragmented search also makes it difficult to use search engines to drive better content strategy decisions. “The more general the term that someone is searching for, the harder it is to match that intent. [It’s also harder] to know exactly what that person is searching for,” said Garrett Sussman. Luckily, customer intent is easier to capture when search terms are more specific.

That’s why you need to map your content with tools. Content mapping tools allow you to capture users’ transactional and informational intent and produce high-quality content to attract and retain customers. MarketMuse, for example, gives you topic clusters and content rankings. It also uses AI to determine how well your content covers a topic by measuring your work against your competitors in the search engine result pages. The app will also generate feedback based on the following questions: 

  • Is your content optimized?
  • Is your content keyword-rich? 
  • Are your meta-tags matching up to your competitors’?
  • Do you have a call to action?
  • What is the reading level? Does it fit your buyer personas’ expectations?

General tips for content marketing

To ensure that your new and existing content adds and provides value to customers, content marketers need to do the following:

  • Get rid of the fluff. Connect with subject matter experts and understand what you’re talking about so every word in your blog post counts. Ensure you’re providing relevant content that shows your understanding of user intent.
  • Step back and think about your content. Don’t confine yourself to your computer when writing. Walk away from your piece, do a little extra research, and think about what you’re writing about and how you can improve it. 

“Because we can get so lost when we’re looking at the top-ranking SERPs, we can get stuck. Walk away from that. Give yourself a second and trust in yourself that you will be guided by Google’s EAT,” said Alexandra Pielusko. 

Featured Guests 

Garrett Sussman, Demand Generation Manager, iPullRank

Garrett Sussman is Demand Generation Manager at iPullRank. He hosts the SEO Weekly and the Rankable Podcast and has developed content strategies across multiple SaaS companies.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Alexandra Pielusko, Director of Content Strategy, iPullRank

Alexandra Pielusko serves as Director of Content Strategy at iPullRank. Through cross-functional collaboration, SEO-driven research, a keen understanding of personas, and a knack for telling a good story, she leads iPullRank’s content team in developing 10x content for their clients.

You can find out more about her on LinkedIn.


Here are the main takeaways of this webinar on user navigational intent and content mapping:

  • Content mapping means showing the right piece of content to the right person at the right time. In other words, the goal of content mapping is to target buyer personas and buyers’ lifecycle stages. Be as specific as possible — try to create content to meet the search intent of various buyer personas and buyer lifecycle stages to attract and retain clients.
  • Look at your current resources and create a holistic content mapping strategy. Consider your target audience and other factors you may not have considered before. How are you researching keywords and user search intent? Do you need additional resources to help you conduct research?
  • Use content marketing tools to produce high-quality content. These tools will help you capture user transactional intent and map content. Choose a tool that lets you optimize content, capture user intent, perform keyword research, and compare your content to your competitors’. 
  • Get rid of the fluff and step back from your work from time to time.


Check out the resources mentioned in the webinar on user intent and content mapping: