Top of Funnel Content

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by Foti Panagiotakopoulos Founder at GrowthMentor

Table of Contents

The best way to picture your sales funnel is as the sum of three distinct parts: the top funnel, middle funnel, and bottom funnel (let’s not forget the dark funnel as well). Each section is designed to bring in leads at different stages of their buyer journey—from awareness to consideration to decision.

By the time a lead reaches the bottom of your funnel, they should be ready to buy. But getting them there can be tricky. Here, we’ll look at how top-of-the-funnel (ToFu) content can be used to generate high-quality leads.

What Is Top of the Funnel Content?

Top of the funnel (ToFu) content is content that attracts and engages leads who are in the early stages of their buyer journey. It’s designed to generate awareness of a problem or need, and to introduce leads to potential solutions (like yours).

ToFu content is usually informational and relatively general in nature. It’s not designed to sell a specific product or service, but rather to generate interest in what you have to offer.

Generally, ToFu content…

  • targets a broad audience.
  • provides answers, templates, examples, or solutions.
  • aims to generate leads rather than sell to them.
  • directs leads on to the middle of the funnel (MoFu) content.

Top of the Funnel Content Examples

Top of the funnel content can take many forms, including blog posts, videos, infographics, Tweets, e-books, and more. The thing that unites this wide range of content is the intent behind it—to raise awareness of a problem or need and introduce potential solutions.

You can do this through:

  • Data (e.g., statistics, facts, definitions, and research summaries)
  • Actionable Insights (e.g., tips, best practices, guides, and tools)
  • Tutorials and Demonstrations (e.g, how-to’s, examples, explainer videos)

Here are a few real-world top of the funnel content examples to illustrate the points we’ve covered so far:

Paleo Diet Beginner Guide From Nerd Fitness

This hefty blog post from Nerd Fitness titled “Paleo Diet Beginner Guide” ranks on page one of Google for “paleo diet guide”. Everything from the title to the content is designed to attract people interested in learning more about the paleo diet (i.e., leads) before they commit.

SEO Templates From Backlinko

Brian Dean at Backlinko published these free templates for beginner SEOs who are looking to streamline their processes. These top of funnel leads may later become members of Backlinko’s paid SEO training.

Gamification Statistics Infographic By JoyTunes

Simply by JoyTunes is a series of apps that make learning a new instrument fun and easy. They published this highly shareable infographic to attract people searching for data on gamification in education

The Purpose Of Top Of Funnel Content

ToFu content serves three main purposes:

  1. Educate your audience. Users stumble upon top of funnel content when they have burning questions. Your first goal is to answer them.
  2. Raise brand awareness. ToFu content builds audience trust by branding your company as knowledgeable and helpful.
  3. Generate new leads. Much of your traffic will get the information they need and move on. But some of it will travel further down your funnel, such as by joining your email list.

Your top of the funnel audience isn’t looking to buy right now. That’s why the main goals at this stage don’t include making sales. 

Instead, you are helping them out for free so that your brand will be at the top of their mind when they do need your services.

What Is Top of the Funnel Marketing?

Top of funnel marketing is planning and executing a content strategy to reach audiences at the top of your sales funnel.

ToFu marketing includes…

  • researching audience needs.
  • creating engaging and genuinely helpful content.
  • working out a way to move people down your funnel.

Tips For Finding Top of the Funnel Topics

If you’re struggling to think of ToFu topics to cover in your marketing, give these strategies a try:

Perform Long Tail Keyword Research

Top of the funnel content doesn’t usually target high competition keywords with strong buyer intent. Instead, it aims for long tail keywords with informational search intent.

For example, let’s say you’re a content marketing agency trying to create ToFu content. Instead of targeting a high buyer intent keyword like “content marketing services”, you might target an informational keyword, such as:

  • “what is a content marketing strategy”
  • “content marketing tips”
  • “what is content marketing”

To find long tail keywords, you can use a free “tool” like Google’s suggested searches or an actual paid tool like Ahrefs or Ubersuggest.

Look For Common Questions in Online Forums

Online forums like Quora and Reddit are both great places to find questions people are asking about your industry. These questions are also often perfect topics to cover in your top of the funnel content.

To find questions, simply search for relevant terms and see what comes up. For example, when you search for “SEO” in Quora, you get results like this:

  • “What are the basics of SEO?”
  • “What are the main SEO techniques?”
  • “Do you do SEO on a whole website or a single page?”

Content that answers these questions would be perfect for the top of your sales funnel.

Solve Audience Problems

Top of funnel content should be helpful and actionable. Brainstorm the biggest problems that your target audience has. Then, all you need to do is create templates, tools, or tutorials to solve them.

For a great example, look no further than Zillow’s Zestimate tool. A Zestimate is basically an estimate of a home’s value that Zillow comes up with using a proprietary formula. It solves a  big problem for people in the market for a new home, since they can use the tool to get an idea of how much a particular property is worth.

Learn Top Of Funnel Strategies From The Best

Now that you know what top of funnel content is, it’s time to start planning yours strategically.

Growth Mentor connects entrepreneurs like you with the top 3% of startup and marketing mentors on the planet. Get started today to chat with a mentor who can teach you their path to success with strategic funnel marketing.

Suggested mentors to help you make sense of Top of Funnel Content

Vassilena Valchanova

Digital Strategist & Trainer - Passionate about Content Marketing and CRO

I’ve spent more than a decade in digital marketing, with a primary focus in e-commerce and SaaS. My last role at a B2C SaaS startup with more than 500,000 registered users. Then I decided to go solo and work as an independent consultant on other exciting projects – and I always like to see new ones!

Matthew Kay

Growth Marketing and SEO

Growth-minded marketer with a proven track record and years of experience driving positive outcomes across digital channels. Pursuing excellence every day in SEO, email marketing, web design, and beyond.

Austin Mullins

Enterprise SEO & Content Marketer | Founder @ Conversion Media

Let’s grow your traffic, leads, and revenue – I focus on helping innovative companies leverage Content Marketing & SEO to achieve sustainable growth.

Olga Mykhoparkina

Founder at Quoleady

With 10+ years of experience in SaaS content marketing, I can help you set up a blog content production system that drives evergreen organic traffic and generates sign-ups for your SaaS.

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