There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for content marketing.
The type of content your website should provide to your customers should depend on what they want to buy and how much time they want to spend reading your site before they buy or move on.
In today’s digital age, the opportunities to sell are endless. There are so many different types of content that you can create and offer to your audience. In this blog, we’ll focus on the content that targets individuals or businesses that…
- May not be aware of their need for your product or service
- Need to engage more with your brand before they click “buy”
But first, let’s talk about how this audience is different from others you market to and why they require different kinds of content.
Why Offer Different Types of Content For Each Stage of the Sales Funnel
Each customer that will eventually buy your service or product has their own journey that starts at awareness of your brand and moves to being an active promoter of your brand.
In marketing, this customer journey is called the sales funnel. It has three stages:
- Top of funnel
- Middle of funnel
- Bottom of funnel
Top of Funnel (TOFU)
Top of funnel (or TOFU for short) is the stage where prospects become aware of their problem and your solution.
They must become aware that you exist.
You want them to engage with your content.
And to get them to do that at this stage, your content should be freely available.
In other words, it should be ungated – while still having the option to provide their email for more information.
Middle of Funnel (MOFU)
Middle of the funnel (or MOFU for short) is the stage where prospects become customers. It’s all about conversion here! At this stage, content might look like providing a free resource in exchange for your customer’s email or selling your customer a product or service.
Bottom of Funnel (BOFU)
Bottom of funnel (or BOFU for short) is the stage where customers become excited about working with you. By this time, they will:
- Ascend through your different offerings
- Be ready to buy higher-value content
- Advocate/promote your brand to their network
The Purpose of Top of Funnel Content
The value and purpose of content needs to change at each stage. And the first stage, TOFU has the widest audience. The goal of top of funnel content is to build, connect, and interact with your audience.
In dating terms, this is making eye contact and asking that person out for coffee. It’s safe and non-committal. It’s just expressing interest and seeing where it takes you!
Different Types of Top of Funnel Content To Offer
Here are some different types of top funnel content that will help you make a great first impression with your audience.
Highly competitive companies in nearly every industry incorporate blogging into their overall marketing strategy. Although it’s not an exact science, you can follow these simple guidelines to make very effective blogs. Plus, blogs are one of the most versatile examples of TOFU content. Here are some blog content ideas.
1. Company News
Your company is accomplishing amazing things that set you apart from your competitors. Blogs are the place to show that off! Celebrate your hard work, explain difficult decisions, and discuss your growth and major milestones.
If your audience is captivated by your story, they’ll want to learn more, engage, and cheer your company on.
2. Product Announcements
Speaking of company news, blogs are a great way to announce the launch of new products. This might include:
- Software announcements
- New updates
- Added service offerings
A blog post lets you go beyond a general product description. It gives space for you to tell a story with more detail. How did you identify the need? What inspired its design? How will/have customers’ lives changed because of the new product?
3. Cornerstone Blogs
Cornerstone blogs are articles your audience will want to refer back to time and time again. Just like we pin important posts to the top of our Facebook pages, cornerstone blogs are substantial and noteworthy.
A great cornerstone blog will be:
- All-inclusive of your entire process
- Approximately 3 times the length of a normal blog (2,500 or more words)
- Filled with crosslinks that lead customers to your other content
Everyone wants to use the best products and services possible. But the average person will not have time to do all the research themselves to find the right solution for them. Save your audience time (which they’ll appreciate) by doing a comparison blog.
For example, to write about “what’s the best project management software?”, you could:
- Pick 2 of the most popular contenders
- Compare and contrast product features
- Note their reviews
- Talk about ease of use and customer support
This is extremely common for software.
Comparison blogs aren’t the only way to save people time. How-tos are also really valuable for this! Give a quick and easy tutorial on how to do something. To make your post even more valuable, include screenshots or photos of the process and mention anything your company offers that can make it even easier.
6. Quiz or Survey
Nothing says engagement like an interactive blog post. Include a quiz or survey in your next blog. Here are some ideas for making it fun and useful:
- Keep it short and sweet with 10 questions or less and 3-6 options per question
- Include a text box on surveys where your audience can ask questions
- Make it easy to read by pairing text responses with images
- Provide a next step by including a call to action at the end
With a quiz, you’ll increase engagement and learn more about your target audience. It’s a win-win!
Another type of blog that has lots of value is a Question and Answer (Q&A) post. This is where you go over questions your customer asks (or what you think they’ll ask). Here are a few ideas:
- After you’ve collected survey results, duplicate that content by turning the responses into a Q&A blog
- Create a Q&A blog from frequently asked questions about products or services – “6 Questions We Get About [Your Product]”
- Conduct an interview-style Q&A with an expert from your team
Q&As help resolve common questions and draw awareness to your products and services.
Wikis are a straightforward repository of useful information that your audience can turn to for facts and definitions in your company’s industry. While every type of blog content we’ve discussed so far should be written with your brand voice, Wikis should be written with a more logical tone. WikiCFO is an example of a wiki from The Strategic CFO.
Some people prefer listening over reading – they may learn auditorily. That’s where audio content comes in.
Podcasts are quickly gaining popularity and are a great way to fit lots of information into an easily digestible format.
Every email on your email list is not created equal. Some people who are in the top of your sales funnel might not make it to the middle. Email content helps you rebuild your targeting list by pulling in possible leads.
10. Email Newsletters
Keep your company visible by showing up regularly in your audience’s inbox with a roundup of content. Here are some best practices for making an email newsletter your audience will look forward to:
- Don’t spam their inbox
- Have an eye-catching subject line
- Highlight your other recent content
- Give email-exclusive offers
Well-crafted email newsletters have the power to bring people from TOFU through MOFU to BOFU.
You know what they say… “An image is worth a thousand words”. Image content can communicate so much about your company with just one glance. Plus, get double the visibility by reposting images from your blog onto Pinterest. Here are a few kinds of image content.
It’s time for a brand photoshoot! Photo content can give your audience greater insight into the personality of your company. Take photos to:
- Display a product
- Demonstrate a process
- Introduce members of your team
(If you’re searching for some talented corporate photographers, reach out to us here to connect with our photography partners.)
Try overlaying an image with an inspiring quote – especially ones from your own brand! Your audience will start to picture you as an authority figure and leader. If you’ve been quoted, you’re legit and on a fast path to becoming an authority leader.
Reading through a long detailed process description or trying to visualize complex stats is confusing and boring. Don’t be boring. Keep your audience’s attention with clear infographics instead. They’ll be engaged and ready to learn more. Here is an example of an infographic we created.
Does your company have expert knowledge that your audience will benefit from? Turn it into learning content through webinars or a video series.
14. Video Series
Create a company YouTube channel! There, you can post a series of videos where you teach your audience. To get the most out of a YouTube video series, include links to your other content in the video’s description and embed those videos into blog posts.
Webinars are a more interactive type of learning content. Your audience will be able to tune in live, ask questions, and get specific feedback. Increased engagement means more opportunities for you to show the value of your products or services.
Aside from learning content, video can also do so much more for your marketing strategy. Here are some different types of top of funnel content to create from videos.
(We have a number of incredibly talented videographers that we’ve partnered with. If you’re looking to up your video game, reach out to us here to get connected to our partners.)
16. Short Video (< 10 minutes)
In 10 minutes or less, you can:
- Demonstrate a problem that your company solves
- Flaunt a product or service
- Show a compilation of testimonials
17. Long Video (> 10 minutes)
Use videos that run longer than 10 minutes for more detailed story-telling like:
- Vlogs (video blogs)
- A case study or success story
- Behind the scenes footage
To keep your audience’s attention, your video should get more interesting as it gets longer. Introduce at the start that something exciting will be revealed at the end. And then deliver on that promise.
Channel your collaborative side by recording an interview with a team member or someone from your business network. Also look out for opportunities to be interviewed by other companies to get even more visibility.
Diversify your reach with outside content like magazine articles, press releases, and Q&A forums.
19. Magazine Articles
Being featured in a magazine article will build trust and recognition for your brand. Identify some popular magazines that get a lot of traffic, and then pitch your story!
PLUS since most magazines also publish their articles online, you’ll have the added benefit of growing your back-link network to increase your website’s SEO.
20. Press Releases
Need some help pitching your story to magazines? Press releases can help grab the attention of journalists and media outlets so you’ll be more likely to get on their radar. Press releases spark curiosity in a broad audience and give them a reason to visit your website, find your other content, or try out your products.
(We’ve recently partnered with an incredible boutique PR agency that customizes solutions for each of their clients. If you’d like a warm introduction, reach out to us here.)
21. Q&A Forums
Now more than ever, people are spending an unprecedented amount of time on their social media. Take advantage of their undivided attention by showing up regularly with awesome content in their feeds.
22. Social Media Posts
Each social network has their own content style. With all that variety, you can post about the same topics on different platforms while still making it look like different content.
23. Facebook Group
Leverage Facebook groups to engage with your audience on a whole new level. Being part of a Facebook group helps people feel more connected to your brand and each other – making them one step closer to reaching the BOFU.
24. Facebook or Instagram Live
Interaction gets even better when the experience is happening live. Your audience doesn’t even need to leave their home to have face-to-face access to you. Show a live demo, interview, or Q&A! Host the live content with collaborators in your network to reach an even broader audience.
24. IGTV (< 5 minutes)
Instagram introduced IGTV last year, making it a hot new avenue to post your content. The best part is, you don’t need expensive professional equipment to shoot your content. The platform is meant to be made right from your phone.
26. Social Media Advertising
What most people don’t know is that when you do social media advertising, your ads can appear outside of social media networks. When you take out a Facebook ad, it can appear in the New York Times or Wall Street Journal. Take advantage of this extra visibility!
Finally, there are different types of top of funnel content that can exist right on your website and require little to no updating. These are things like online calculators, product or services pages, and microsites.
One kind of TOFU website content is a calculator – like the calculators found here. Many mortgage lenders have calculators on their websites. If done well, it can act as a lead generator to get a mortgage quote.
28. Product / Service Pages
Does your website have seperate pages for each of its products or services? This is a great way to expand your content and make it easier for your customers to find you online. Check out FocusCopy’s tips for updating your website copy to make your products and services pages work well at the top of your marketing funnel.
Microsites are great ways to capture more attention and direct them to your website. It’s usually a single page or cluster of pages meant to complement a specific activity.
One of our favorite recent use of microsites is Tulsa advocating to Tesla to build a plant in their city. So they created TulsaSaysYes.com.
While that’s enough to at least put a case together for Tesla to consider Tulsa, they took it one step further. They created AustinSaysNo.com.
The results… Elon Musk himself said this:
We had a great visit with @elonmusk yesterday talking @Tesla in Tulsa!— Governor Kevin Stitt (@GovStitt) July 4, 2020
Oklahoma is the right place for Tesla and I thank all of the Oklahomans who have shown their overwhelming support. Keep it up! #Tulsa4Tesla pic.twitter.com/eVhIeCIvwv
While this campaign only had a target audience of one, it was extremely effective and targeted.
What Types of Content Are You Working On?
These 29 different types of top of funnel content are just the start. There are so many varieties of content for different stages of the sales funnel. What kinds of content is your company working on now? Creating content consistently can be a lot to keep up with. If your team is looking to grow your visibility by outsourcing your content writing, FocusCopy can help.