Content marketing consists of many complex terms, including funnel marketing and content types for each funnel stage. Top of the funnel content is for individuals at the initial phase of the buyer journey.
Read more about other parts of the funnel here.
Top-of-funnel content reaches a wide range of potential customers and builds brand awareness. Top-of-funnel content doesn’t sell but aims to educate, entertain, and address common questions.
From the moment you become aware of a business to the action taken of buying a product or service, you’re part of a buyers funnel. The buyers funnel — also known as the marketing funnel or buyer’s journey — illustrates the steps someone needs to take before they become a customer of a business.
It’s called a funnel due to the cone shape, which starts at the widest point and then narrows down as the potential customer makes their way down the buyer journey.
At the top of the funnel, the cone shape is at its widest point. This is known as the ‘awareness’ stage, and during this stage, a business will often reach a larger audience compared to subsequent phases.
The content funnel (source)
As mentioned earlier, top-of-funnel content is not created to persuade, sell, or pitch a business to the prospect. Within a content marketing strategy, top-of-funnel content aims to introduce as many potential customers to the business and eventually push them down the buyers funnel. The goals of top-of-funnel content often include:
It’s vital to attract and engage as many potential customers as possible at the top of the funnel stage, as this will feed down to the middle and bottom of the funnel. The more people a business can attract with content, the more they will have more prospective customers.
Businesses can achieve these goals by creating value-rich, educational, and engaging content at the top of the buyer funnel.
Brooks Brothers (source)
Content on a clothing brand’s website can be more than what’s for purchase. This article is top-of-funnel, as it’s purely informational and answers the question a visitor might have.
When someone types up ‘How to tie a tie’ on a search engine, they’re looking for an answer to their problem and are probably not looking to browse for new clothing items. However, by clicking on this article, they have now been introduced to the business and what they have to offer.
If the article is informative, engaging, and well-written, the visitor is more likely to have a positive impression of the business. They’ll also be more likely to stay on the website and potentially browse the products and other pages. Other benefits of a how-to article include:
SchaeferArt’s Youtube channel (source)
With the rise of social media and various multimedia platforms, top-of-funnel content is no longer just for websites. YouTube is a platform that allows users to browse entertaining content, learn a new skill, or catch up on what’s happening around the world — and it’s an excellent way to showcase top-of-funnel content.
When someone types up ‘Learn how to draw’ on Youtube, SchaeferArt’s videos are one of the first to appear. While he’s not directly selling anything during the video, users who watch his videos and enjoy his teaching style will often search his name up on search engines or read his video description. There, he’s linked his website and Etsy artwork store.
High-value and educational content shows the audience that the business or brand knows what they’re talking about. Displaying it in a video format can also highly engage and capture the audience’s attention. Other benefits of educational videos include:
Sometimes, entertaining and bite-sized content can go a long way. ‘Snackable’ content is designed to be short-form, easy to understand, and straightforward. This makes it an excellent option for top-of-funnel content as it quickly engages the reader and promotes shareability.
Canva is a graphic design platform enabling creators to produce various visual content. While it may seem odd to include a post about quotes, this quick and easy blog post is part of Canva’s design inspiration content. Each quote is also displayed as a template that the reader can quickly use if they like the design.
Fun and snackable content that entertains can help create a strong connection between the reader and the brand. Content doesn’t always have to be serious to engage visitors and leave them wanting more. Other benefits of snackable content include:
There is no one type of top-of-funnel content. Because building audience awareness can be incredibly diverse and occur across multiple platforms, there are many types of top-of-funnel content. These include:
Each of these types of content may be slightly different, but they all have one thing in common — the content educates, informs, and entertains without pushing sales.
While you want to target as broad an audience base as possible with top-of-funnel content, it’s still crucial that the people clicking on your website and platforms are part of your target audience.
Before you start brainstorming ideas for any top-of-funnel content, you might want to think about your ‘ideal customer.’ What is their age range? Are there specific demographics you want to target? What are their interests and hobbies?
From there, you can begin to be specific about their online behaviors and how they might come across your content and business. Are they more likely to consume visual or audio content? What type of language and tone would they resonate with? Are they active on social media?
Once you’ve formed a rough idea of the type of prospective customers you want to target, start brainstorming top-of-funnel content ideas. Here are some prompts that can help get you started.
Every customer will have pain points, and they’ll be searching for answers or solutions. These will vary greatly depending on your industry and the demographic you are targeting. While you don’t want to exploit their pain points, it’s crucial to determine what they are so you can create content around what they’re looking for.
For example, a haircare company might understand that their ideal customer struggles with the time and cost required to maintain their hair daily. They’ll then be able to create content around this pain point, such as ‘How to get shiny and soft hair on a budget’ or ‘10 award-winning hair care products under $20’.
While it might seem counterproductive to write about subjects slightly out of your niche, this can help increase your reach and audience. You don’t only have to create content about your industry!
For example, a cleaning service company doesn’t have to produce content that’s all about cleaning. Their target audience is also likely to be interested in decluttering, making their home cozy and inviting, eco-friendly cleaning products, or furniture upkeep.
An excellent way to organize your top-of-funnel content is within content buckets. Content buckets segregate content into different topics that speak to a different aspect of a business and fit into the overarching brand message. Having multiple content buckets is integral to a well-rounded content marketing strategy.
For example, you might have four different content buckets within your top-of-funnel content: content to entertain, content to inform and educate, content to inspire, and content to create conversations. Each of these buckets can attract a different audience group, which helps diversify your prospective customers.
Top-of-funnel content increases awareness, reach, and engagement through informative and educational content.
Understanding what top-of-funnel content is, is essential for a content marketing strategy. It allows for the production of content that effectively attracts the target audience for any business.