Top of Funnel Content: The Ultimate Guide for Marketers

Content marketing is all about timing.

To build long-lasting customer relationships, you need to get the right piece of content, in front of the right people, at the right time. Moving prospects down the marketing funnel (or the more current marketing cyclone) requires the right form of content. Particularly when it comes to top of funnel content.

You can’t share a customer testimonial and expect your reader to be ready to buy, Johnny-on-the-spot. Like any relationship, your conversations should start small and work their way towards the deep end.

Your top of the funnel content (or ToFu), is the start of that journey.

Top of Funnel Content – Building Trust

At this stage of the funnel, your goal is to build trust and brand awareness. When it comes to content, the best way to build rapport with potential customers is to share value, no strings attached. Top of the funnel content should be attention-grabbing, relevant, and useful to your audience. Instead of brand-heavy sales pitches, offer knowledge, insight, and ways for readers to level-up their skills.

Unlike bottom of the funnel assets, ToFu content should dial in on your buyer’s interests, without pushing your products or services on them. With top of funnel content, you don’t want to come on too strong.

Instead, share consistent, useful, and ungated content with your audience. Doing so will position yourself a thought leader, a go-to resource and a participating member of the community. This engaging and buyer-centric top of funnel content comes in many shapes in forms, let’s break it down.

ToFu Blog Posts

Blog posts (like this one) are a great way to establish authority and build relevance in a short and snackable package. Articles can be easily shared by readers via social media and email, boosting your brand awareness. Best of all, you have creative liberty over the topics you write about giving you the freedom to position yourself as a thought leader on any subject.

ToFu Webinars

Arguably the most successful lead magnet of digital marketing, webinars are a great place to serve up value. Similar to a collegiate lecture, your attendees can participate as actively or passively as they like, with no pressure from sales. Providing free opportunities for viewers to learn new tools or skills will quickly build your authority.

One note about this method of content creation – webinars can take a significant investment of time and resources. You’ll need to create a compelling presentation, drum up interest among potential attendees and invest in software solutions to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Get the most out of your webinar investment by repurposing your content for blog posts, short social videos and email campaigns. And, of course, make any live webinar presentations available for later viewing so you can keep driving views long after the initial airing.

ToFu How-to Guides

Through step by step guidance, how-to guides can provide insight to solve industry problems, teach a new skill, or simply start a conversation. Successful content should be relevant to your audience without directly harping on your product or service, for example, “How to Attract Gen Zers to Your Blog.”

ToFu Videos

Much like webinars, videos serve up value in a format as easy as pie. Successful ToFu videos can range from tutorials, on-demand skill-building webinars, and viral content. Videos are as easy to share as they are to consume – making them a great asset for brand awareness.

These types of content don’t have to be huge investments. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have a big budget to work with. As long as you’ve got great, helpful information to share, you can create videos to build brand awareness and visibility without busting the budget.

Simple pro tips? Use natural lighting if you can’t pay for lighting or a professional studio and invest in a low-cost tripod to avoid a shaky picture. (Or lean your phone against a stack of books for a no-cost hack.)

ToFu Big Content

Big content includes anything that breaks the mold. Quizzes, free templates, infographics, and tools are all great uses of top of funnel big content. Providing a free resource or tool (like a subject line evaluator) is a great way to build authority with your community, offer something valuable and helpful, and keep your brand top of mind.

What Makes Good Top of Funnel Content?

At any stage of the funnel, great content is valuable, relevant, and straightforward.

Whether it’s a video, blog post, or infographic, successful content should be tailored to the pain-points and interests of your target audience. Above all, make sure your content is clear. Ensuring your audience can understand the topic of your content as well as the value it provides, will give your content the best chance to resonate with potential buyers.

Top of Funnel Content – Why it Matters

At the end of the day, our goal as marketers is to build long lasting customer relationships. The top of the funnel is our opportunity to lay down a foundation of trust and build a solid reputation.  As relationships mature, so should your content.

With each ToFu content piece, calls-to-actions can lead prospects to middle of the funnel content, and so on. As prospects migrate their way to down the funnel, your content marketing strategies should follow suit with more brand-focused pieces.

When a prospect fully descends the sales funnel and finds themselves in need of a tool, product or service like yours, you’ll be top of mind.