Ultimate Marketing Playbook: Content Mapping, Topical Maps and Keyword Compilation


Understanding Content and Topical Maps

A content map is an essential tool in the creation of a comprehensive marketing playbook. It outlines the type of content to produce at different stages of the buyer’s journey. At the same time, a topical map focuses on the different topic areas that your content should cover to satisfy your target audience’s needs and queries. These two elements work in tandem to create a focused and effective content strategy.

content and topical maps

Creating a Content Map

The creation of a content map requires a clear understanding of your target audience and their journey. Each stage of the buyer’s journey – awareness, consideration, and decision – necessitates different types of content.

In the awareness stage, potential customers are experiencing and expressing symptoms of a problem or opportunity. They are researching to understand, frame and give a name to their problem. Content types that work best at this stage include eBooks, expert content, white papers, and educational content.

In the consideration stage, prospects have clearly defined and given a name to their problem or opportunity. They are committed to researching and understanding all of the available approaches and/or methods to solving their defined problem or opportunity. Product webinars, case studies, comparison white papers, and expert guides are useful forms of content at this stage.

In the decision stage, customers have decided on their solution strategy, method, or approach. They are compiling a long list of all possible vendors and products in their solution strategy. Vendor comparisons, product literature, case studies, trial download, and live demos are effective forms of content at this stage.

How to create a Content map? Lets look at basic example of a Content map

This map is for a hypothetical digital marketing agency and it’s structured around the three stages of the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration, and decision. Please note, HTML doesn’t support tabular data very well, so I would recommend using a more suitable program like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets for creating your actual content map.

Example table on Google sheets  : https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1mReBPZEdwO4MoAmWA3YPmv5ZcU6MUK0q3XFEZMQCK_8/edit?usp=sharing

Buyer’s Journey Stage Content Type Topic Keywords Target Audience Distribution Channels Responsible Team Member Deadline
Awareness Ebook Introduction to Digital Marketing Digital marketing basics, getting started with digital marketing Small business owners Email, Website, Social media John Doe 1st July, 2023
Awareness Blog post Understanding SEO SEO basics, what is SEO, why is SEO important Website owners, Bloggers Website, SEO Jane Doe 8th July, 2023
Consideration Webinar Comparing Different Digital Marketing Strategies Digital marketing strategies, SEO vs PPC, content marketing vs social media marketing Marketing managers, Business owners Email, Website, Social media John Doe 15th July, 2023
Consideration Case study How SEO Helped Business X Increase Traffic SEO case study, benefits of SEO, SEO success story Business owners, SEO practitioners Email, Website, SEO Jane Doe 22nd July, 2023
Decision Product comparison guide Our Digital Marketing Services vs Competitor’s Services Digital marketing services comparison, best digital marketing services Potential clients Email, Website, Social media John Doe 29th July, 2023
Decision Free consultation Personalised Marketing Strategy Planning Free marketing consultation, personalised marketing strategy Potential clients Email, Website, Social media Jane Doe 5th August, 2023

Example table on Google sheets  : https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1mReBPZEdwO4MoAmWA3YPmv5ZcU6MUK0q3XFEZMQCK_8/edit?usp=sharing

This more detailed table allows for a comprehensive overview of the content strategy, assigning responsibilities, defining distribution channels, and setting clear deadlines for execution. Each piece of content can be tracked from inception to distribution, ensuring a well-orchestrated and efficient content marketing effort.

Developing a Topical Map

A topical map, on the other hand, involves clustering related topics and subtopics around a specific keyword or keyphrase. It’s a way of organising your content to cover a topic in depth, which can help establish your website as an authority on that topic.

Creating a topical map starts with identifying a broad topic that’s relevant to your business and target audience. Then, generate a list of related subtopics that fall under the umbrella of the broad topic. Each subtopic should be an aspect of the main topic that you could cover in a piece of content.

For example, if you’re a digital marketing agency, your broad topic could be ‘digital marketing strategies’. Subtopics might include ‘SEO strategies’, ‘PPC advertising’, ‘content marketing’, ‘social media marketing’, and ’email marketing’.

How to create a topical map? Here is a basic example of a Topical Map.

Step 1:

The keyword and subject for your topical map are Digital Marketing, an encompassing term for the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, primarily on the internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium.

Primary Sections:

1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
2. Content Marketing
3. Social Media Marketing
4. Email Marketing
5. Digital Advertising

Subtopics or Nouns:

Sections Subtopics
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Keyword Research
  • On-page SEO
  • Off-page SEO
  • Technical SEO
  • Local SEO
Content Marketing
  • Blogging
  • Infographics
  • Webinars
  • E-books
  • Case Studies
Social Media Marketing
  • Facebook Marketing
  • Twitter Marketing
  • LinkedIn Marketing
  • Instagram Marketing
  • YouTube Marketing
Email Marketing
  • Email Campaigns
  • Newsletters
  • Drip Campaigns
  • Transactional Emails
  • Mobile Optimised Emails
Digital Advertising
  • Pay-Per-Click Advertising
  • Display Advertising
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Video Advertising
  • Retargeting/Remarketing

Step 2:

Semantic Graph/Table:

Node/Subtopic Edge/Relationship Node/Subtopic
Keyword Research Leads to On-page SEO
On-page SEO Enhanced by Technical SEO
Technical SEO Supports Local SEO
Blogging Complements Infographics
Infographics Augments Webinars
Facebook Marketing Complements Twitter Marketing
Twitter Marketing Can be coordinated with LinkedIn Marketing
Email Campaigns Lead to Newsletters
Newsletters Can be followed by Drip Campaigns
Pay-Per-Click Advertising Linked with Display Advertising

Step 3:

Mind Map:

Central Point: Digital Marketing


1. SEO
– Keyword Research
– On-page SEO
– Off-page SEO
– Technical SEO
– Local SEO

2. Content Marketing
– Blogging
– Infographics
– Webinars
– E-books
– Case Studies

3. Social Media Marketing
– Facebook Marketing
– Twitter Marketing
– LinkedIn Marketing
– Instagram Marketing
– YouTube Marketing

4. Email Marketing
– Email Campaigns
– Newsletters
– Drip Campaigns
– Transactional Emails
– Mobile Optimised Emails

5. Digital Advertising
– Pay-Per-Click Advertising
– Display Advertising
– Social Media Advertising
– Video Advertising
– Retargeting/Remarketing

Step 4:

Upon reviewing, your topical map appears to cover most of the crucial aspects of digital marketing. However, there are some areas where you could potentially expand, such as inclusion of newer platforms and techniques in social media marketing (like TikTok Marketing or Influencer Marketing), and considering other types of digital marketing like Affiliate Marketing or Mobile Marketing.

Step 5:

Once your topical map is in place, it can be used as a guide for generating content on various aspects of digital marketing. For instance, the subtopics under SEO could be used to create in-depth articles or blog posts about each aspect of SEO, explaining what it is, why it’s important, and providing tips for how to do it effectively. Similarly, the subtopics under Email Marketing could be used to create a series of instructional videos or how-to guides on setting up and running successful email marketing campaigns. Linking between related

Compiling Keywords and Phrases

Keywords and phrases are the specific terms that people type into search engines. They are the bridge between what people are searching for and the content you provide to fill that need. Your goal in ranking for these keywords is to attract organic traffic to your site.

The initial step in compiling keywords is conducting keyword research. There are several keyword research tools available, including SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Moz’s Keyword Explorer. These tools can help you find the most relevant keywords for your content based on factors like search volume, keyword difficulty, and relevance to your business.

When selecting keywords, it’s important to consider both head terms and long-tail keywords. Head terms are usually shorter and more generic, while long-tail keywords are longer phrases that are more specific. While head terms generally have a higher search volume, long-tail keywords can provide more targeted traffic and often have less competition.

Remember to include a mix of these keywords in your content to cater to a range of search intents. Also, consider semantic keywords – these are variations or related words that help search engines understand the context of your content.

There are various tools available which can help with your process of compliling keywords and phrase targets.  We’ve listed a few here,  please note some require a subscription while others are free :

  • Moz: A comprehensive resource for all things SEO, including keywords.
  • SEMrush: An excellent tool for keyword research and competitor analysis.
  • Ahrefs: Another robust tool for SEO and keyword research, especially known for its backlink analysis capabilities.
  • Google Search Console: This free tool from Google provides insights into how your website is performing in Google search, including data on keywords.
  • Google Keyword Planner: Part of Google Ads, this tool can provide keyword ideas and help you build search network campaigns.
  • WordStream: Known for their online marketing advice and free keyword tool.
  • Ubersuggest: A free keyword tool by Neil Patel, a leading online marketing expert.
  • Answer the Public: This tool visualises search questions and suggested autocomplete searches in an image called a search cloud.
  • Keyword Tool: An online keyword research instrument that uses Google Autocomplete to generate hundreds of relevant long-tail keywords.

Here are some authoritative websites and tools that provide deeper insights, including Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI):

  • Twinword Ideas: Provides AI-powered keyword research and offers an LSI graph tool that allows you to see the relationships between keywords.
  • Clearscope: An advanced tool that uses AI to offer keyword and content suggestions based on what’s already ranking in Google.
  • MarketMuse: Utilises AI and machine learning to analyse topics and keywords, helping you create better content.
  • Searchmetrics: Provides SEO and content marketing suite which includes keyword research, competitive analysis, and content optimisation tools.
  • TextOptimizer: Helps to improve your text content for SEO by suggesting keywords and topics based on the semantic analysis.
  • LSIGraph: A dedicated tool for generating LSI keywords related to your main keyword.
  • CognitiveSEO: Offers a suite of SEO tools, including a keyword tool and content optimiser.
  • Topic: Provides an outline for your content that includes the questions your audience is asking and the semantically-related keywords you should include.

We’ve also compiled a list of tools that may assist in content checking and optimisation :

  • Frase: Assists in creating SEO-optimised content by analysing top-performing web pages for a particular keyword.
  • Surfer SEO: Offers a full SEO suite, but it’s most known for its on-page SEO analysis and recommendations.
  • Siteliner: A website analysis tool that allows you to identify issues such as duplicate content and broken links.
  • PageOptimizer Pro: Provides on-page SEO recommendations based on the top-ranking pages for a given keyword.
  • Outwrite: An advanced grammar checker that not only corrects errors, but also improves your writing style for better readability and engagement.
  • Copywritely: A content optimisation software that checks for SEO friendliness, grammar mistakes, and plagiarism.
  • Hemingway App: A tool that helps make your writing clear and bold by highlighting lengthy, complex sentences and common errors.
  • Grammarly: While known for its grammar checking capabilities, Grammarly also offers style and tone suggestions to make your content more engaging.

Implementing Your Marketing Playbook

Once your content map, topical map, and keywords are in place, it’s time to implement your marketing playbook. Start by creating content based on your maps and keywords. Make sure your content is high-quality, informative, and adds value to your target audience.

Utilise SEO best practices when creating your content. Include your chosen keywords in the title, headings, body text, meta description, and URL where possible, without sacrificing readability and natural language.

Promote your content through various channels such as social media, email newsletters, and online advertising. Remember, producing great content is just half the battle – getting it in front of your target audience is the other half.

Measure the performance of your content. Use tools like Google Analytics to track metrics like page views, time on page, and bounce rate. Regularly reviewing these metrics will provide insight into which pieces of content are performing well and which may need tweaking.

Refining Your Strategy

Effective marketing is never a set-it-and-forget-it endeavour. Regularly review your content map, topical map, and keywords to ensure they are still relevant and meeting your objectives. As you gain more insights from your analytics and feedback from your audience, adjust your strategy as necessary.

Remember, creating a marketing playbook is about more than just driving traffic. It’s about attracting the right traffic that will engage with your content and ultimately convert into leads and customers.


Creating a content map, a topical map, and compiling keywords for your marketing playbook can be a substantial task, but the rewards are worth it. With these tools in hand, you’ll have a strategic guide that will help you create effective content, attract your target audience, and achieve your marketing goals.