How To Create An Online Journey Map

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One of most notable philosophies from Simon Sinek is “Always Start With Why“. This concept is pertinent to online journey maps because of its deeply rooted foundation in human nature. When it comes to creating content for your target audience, starting with why can address a number of tasks and objectives.

Statistically speaking, most people make decisions based on why, such as: 

  • Why is this beneficial? 
  • Why is this the best choice? 
  • Why should I purchase this item? 
  • Why not?

The list can — literally — go on forever due to its innate relationship with self-interest. Creating a journey map for your online community can help you leverage that play on human nature. Once you have identified your target audience, developed your content creation process and created your online personas.

It’s time to strategically map out your journey maps in a way that makes sales process convenient for your target audience no matter where they are in the marketing funnel. You want to be able to address the needs of your target audience on every level when it comes to researching, making choices and providing an omnipresent value. 

Creating journey maps can be broken down into three facets: 

  1. Search & Gather Journey Maps
  2. Purpose Driven Journey Maps
  3. Interdependent Journey Maps

Creating journey maps for your online community goes way farther than just social media and email. Your journey maps should include a mix of SEO, paid advertising and PR. 

A great example of this are hospitals and health clinics. They serve a community, are a haven for research and want to attract the best doctors/physicians. To paint a picture, creating an online journey map for your business will require you to prioritize your content creation efforts across multiple fronts. 

RELATED: What Is The Content Iteration Process & Why Is It Important?

A hospital’s main content focus might be:

  • 40% patient advocacy
  • 20% spent on attracting top talent (doctors, nurses, research, etc.)
  • 20% community outreach
  • 20% extra allotted time for marketing team projects

Let’s take a closer look at the three facets below. 

Search & Gather’ Journey Maps

‘Search & Gather’ journey maps are for people who are collecting information for a number of different purposes. They could be researching a given topic, looking for a phone number/email or looking for a point of contact for networking. Creating these types of journey maps are beneficial because you want to be at the top level position when it comes helping people address a need or task.

SEO plays a major role in ‘Search & Gather’ journey maps as well. We see this play out with the amount of free information that is being produced online. Even if a person, doesn’t decide to purchase your product or service. Being a source of reliable information is almost as effective as trading your time for a dollar amount.

‘Search & Gather’ journey maps are considered the pinnacle of the sales/marketing funnel. They are a great way to build brand value and lead ‘Search & Gatherers’ down a path to next step, which are ‘Purpose Driven’ journey maps.

Purpose Driven’ Journey Maps

‘Purpose Driven’ journey maps are for people who have already gathered information and are ready to act on a given task or need. This could be making a purchase, hiring someone for service or reaching out to a business on a personal level. All of this depends on what they may be trying to achieve at any given moment.

‘Purpose Driven’ maps hold a lot of value given that it’s based on brand affinity. If your business is operating from a reputable position and a person has been engaging with your content, half the battle is won. Now, it’s about follow through and placing content where it’s needed most.

A great example of this is Amazon, the online retailer places information on a top layer, and every layer after that provides everything you need to know about a ‘theoretical’ purchase (estimated arrival time, price, customer reviews, related products, etc.)

An effective ‘Purpose Driven’ journey map is a great way to gather data and study your target audiences behavior. Which leads into the next step in the process ‘Interdependent’ journey maps.

Interdependent’ Journey Maps

The Internet as a whole is an interdependent marketplace. What would the Internet be without people? Vice Versa? This same concept can be applied to your ‘Interdependent’ journey maps. Mainly meaning, what are people doing while gathering information, addressing needs and completing tasks by way of your content, products or services.

That’s the role content consumption plays in our target audience’s lives. Are they home? On the way to work? Lunch break? Evenings?

‘Interdependent’ journey maps are a great way to tailor your content to the needs of your target audiences. Producing an omnipresent values requires your content to be accessible across all platforms, channels and mediums. The real play on human nature is knowing where to focus your energy to produce the most value.


Having an idea about how your target audience consumes content daily can help your to better develop your journey maps. From gathering information, addressing needs and meeting people where they live. Will allow you to set priorities around your content.

The best way to create value is knowing where value needs to be created. This can be achieved through research and a solid digital strategy. Journey maps are a great way to refine your approach and increase your odds of online success.

RELATED: How To Build Your Content Dream Team

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12 thoughts on “How To Create An Online Journey Map

  1. Pingback: How To Align Content Strategy With Your Business Goals – 227 | Social+Digital

  2. Pingback: How To Create Content Using Online Journey Maps – 227 | Social+Digital

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