It’s easy to sell to people in your target audience who are interested in your product or service.
However, there are also those who are not thinking about you at all. In fact, they don’t even know about what you have to offer, unless you let them.
If only you capture their attention and make them aware of your brand, you have a shot at making them interested. At the very least, you can have a place in their memory for when they decide to purchase.
So how can you expose these prospects to your brand? The answer is top funnel content. In this guide, I’ll walk you through an overview of top of the funnel content, and the types of top funnel content you need to know.
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What Is Top Funnel Content?
When it comes to writing content for a business, you may feel inclined to write only on promotional topics. The topics which somehow give you the opportunity to mention the business, the product or the service.
While it’s a good strategy to follow in the beginning, there are 3 problems you’d run into sooner or later:
Limited Ideas: Promotional topics are limited in number. Once you have covered all the use cases, features or other angles associated with your product or service, you are at the risk of running out of new ideas to write about.
Limited Thought Leadership: You would be giving your prospects the impression that you don’t have a holistic understanding or consideration for their needs.
In fact, they may doubt that you have any expertise outside of what your product does. It would seem like you don’t care about them, but only about selling to them.
Limited Reach: As I mentioned in the introduction, you would be limiting your reach to only those in your target market who are already interested or actively looking for what you sell.
In other words, you would be losing people who may turn into leads or customers later, once they are aware of the problem your business solves for them.
The solution to all these challenges is top funnel content. It’s the content related to topics which are relevant to your target audience, with no subtle or explicit insertion of your brand.
The intention behind top of the funnel content is purely to educate, entertain or inspire. It’s not to sell your product or service.
By creating content on topics which truly help or solve problems for your audience, you gain their trust and establish your thought leadership.
In addition, the more top funnel content pages on your website on different topics, the more exposure your website is likely to get in search engines when people search for those topics.
In other words, you would be getting your brand in front of searchers. You would be building authority because you’re giving answers and forging trust.
The result? An increase in relevant traffic, a part of which can be turned into leads and then sales.
Types Of Top Funnel Content
Any type of content can be considered as top of the funnel content if it meets all of the following conditions:
- It educates, inspires or entertains your target audience.
- It isn’t about mentioning your product or service.
- It is related to what your business does, offers or makes.
The focus is on developing trust and establishing yourself as an expert in the overall subject or industry your business operates in.
Here are some major categories which fall mainly under the umbrella of top funnel content.
Answers To Common Questions
You can write loads of top funnel content pieces by addressing the questions and concerns your prospects might have.
As I mentioned, these aren’t the questions about your product or service in particular. Rather, these are the questions with regard to problems that your expertise can solve.
For example, let’s say you’re selling a skincare product. So one of your prospects may have a question like how much water they should drink every day to maintain a healthy skin.
So if you write a really good, research-backed article on this topic, it would make for a great piece of top of the funnel content.
While it will not mention your skincare cream, it would still contribute to your thought leadership and authority on the subject of skincare.
Industry Research & Future Trends
Conducting or compiling the latest research studies or trends in your niche is one the best ways to create top funnel content.
While you can collect statistics from other sources, conducting your own research is a more impactful approach.
However, it’s not going to be easy. From planning and outreach to data presentation and distribution, original research takes serious time and effort.
That’s why if you can pull it off, the payoff is huge. Research-backed data goes a long way in positioning your brand as an authority and garner a truck-load of remarkable shares and backlinks.
For example, consider the annual blogging survey by Andy Crestodina. Each year, he conducts a survey to ask 1000+ bloggers some basic questions about their content and process.
This information is then converted to engaging visual data with great insights, like the one shown in the image below.
The research was published first on HubSpot. Since then, it gained 2000+ shares and 100+ backlinks in just a few months.
A compilation of the most useful or popular resources in your industry is another great form of top of the funnel content.
These resources can be tips, hacks, products, ideas, books, experts, tools, blogs or anything else valuable for your target audience to find organized in one place. Here’s an example from SalesForce blog.
As you can see, the headline promises 8 solid tips to help their target audience. The main focus is to help and be found when someone searches for terms like “productive salespeople” in a search engine.
A guide or tutorial is top of the funnel content in its purest, selfless and most valuable form. It shows your audience how to solve a problem or achieve a desired outcome, all without expecting anything in return.
For example, consider Wrike’s guide to project management. This in-depth resource helps both beginning and experienced professionals in the field of project management improve their knowledge.
This classic top of the funnel content helps position Wrike as a trusted, industry expert. There’s no promotion of any kind or even mention of Wrike’s products or services within the contents of this guide.
Interviewing experts in your industry is another great way to create top-funnel content. You can then share the conversation as a blog post, video or podcast episode on your website.
Talking to industry leaders helps you get a fresh perspective to provide for your audience. For example, consider my interview with Ben Sailer, inbound marketing director at CoSchedule.
Apart from providing value to your audience, expert interviews help you build relevant relationships in your industry and pave the way for mutually beneficial growth opportunities.
As you can see, there are many ways to implement top of the funnel content. Just keep in mind that it’s all about your prospects, not you. If your target audience doesn't connect to your content, it won’t work.
Ensure that you are providing useful answers to actual problems that keep your readers awake at night.
By creating purposeful top funnel content, you will be able to avoid funnel leaks and pass on the best opportunities down the remaining funnel.
Did I miss anything? What type of top funnel content you create? Do you have any questions or comments? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.