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Using Content for Top-of-Funnel Marketing (Plus Examples)

Posted by Ali Schwanke on July 12, 2023
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What does your content have to say? Does it answer your audience’s most burning questions? Does it bring them value after they read, watch, or listen to it?

Delivering value via content is especially important at the beginning of the customer journey — when prospects are just getting to know you and learning how you can solve their problems.

At this stage of the relationship, people want resources, education, proof, opinions, and insight to help them make decisions.

But how do you make sure your top-of-funnel (ToFu) content delivers that value?

Figuring it out can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why we put together this list of our favorite examples of awareness content to show you how it’s done.

Before we dive in, let’s take a look at how a funnel should work, and why ToFu content is so important.

Quick recap: how a B2B marketing funnel works

A B2B marketing funnel is a framework that outlines the stages a potential customer goes through from initial awareness to purchase. It starts with the top of the funnel (ToFu), where awareness content plays a crucial role. 

  • The process starts with lead generation at the top of the funnel, where businesses use various strategies to attract prospects. This stage is about broad reach and educating customers. 
  • As you move down the funnel, the focus shifts to nurturing these leads by providing more specific information and solutions.
  • The bottom of the funnel is where leads are ready for conversion into customers. Here, the strategies are tailored to prompt a purchase decision.

Content serves as the backbone of a B2B marketing funnel, guiding prospects at each stage toward conversion. The definition of success at each stage varies, but the overall aim is to move leads from the top to the bottom of the funnel effectively.

Today we're taking a closer look at ToFu content, AKA the first impression you make with your audience.

What does ToFu content do?

ToFu content is designed to provide value to prospects and help them understand how a particular brand can solve their problems. It should entertain, educate, and inspire readers to take action.

By creating compelling ToFu content, companies can open the door to building long-lasting relationships with customers who are genuinely excited about their products or services.

ToFu content doesn’t just answer your readers’ questions, it invites them to get to know your brand and suggests solutions to their problems.

Doing ToFu content effectively in the age of AI

These days, AI can speed up the content creation process, allowing you to focus on strategy aspect of it. However, don't forget the strategy part of that — with so many people using AI, there's been a colossal increase in written content, most of which doesn't give readers any extra value compared to what's already out there. 

That's why originality and expert opinion matter so much more lately, and why we always recommend thought leadership to our clients as the crux of a successful content strategy. 

Successful B2B companies use top-of-funnel content like thought leadership at the awareness stage to grow a qualified audience, build authority and trust, and introduce their expertise and perspective.

Here’s how seven SaaS companies did just that:

Click to request the B2B SaaS Marketing Guide to Growth

7 Examples of ToFu Content From Our Favorite SaaS Companies

Examples of effective ToFu content include opinion pieces, entertaining social media posts, informative infographics, comprehensive guides, engaging podcasts, motivating videos, and industry-focused webinars. Let's take a look at what some of these might look like.

1. The Ahrefs blog

Ahrefs blog, helps its readers get better at search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing. Its opinion pieces — written by marketers and industry experts — are a smorgasbord of content that its target audience could get lost in for hours.

Screenshot of Ahrefs blog page

As an SEO company, their articles are no doubt optimized for search. So, it’s no surprise they have top-ranking articles for terms like build long tail keywords, how to do SEO optimization, and basic SEO guidelines.

Screenshot of Ahrefs SERP top result for how to do seo optimization

Fun fact: Ahrefs also has a dedicated product blog that connects with its customers.

2. Later Media’s Instagram

Later Media’s Instagram account is bright and fun to look at. With sharable and eye-catching content, their posts provide entertainment and value all in one. Check out one of Screen Time, their weekly social media news show, which helps brands level-up their social media marketing strategies.

Screenshot of Later Media's Instagram feed

3. HotSchedules’ Pitfalls of a Restaurant Shift Infographic

HotSchedules, a cloud-based restaurant management platform, created this infographic to repurpose in a number of ways (on their blog, social media, in email, and more). Their goal was to show restaurants the value of their tool by speaking to one of their biggest pain points: poorly managed shifts.

Screenshot of HotSchedule's restaurant shift infographic

4. CoSchedule’s Guides

CoSchedule uses its guides to answer some of the most burning questions in the marketing industry — How do I get started with agile marketing? and How do I create a marketing strategy? There are only two of them on the whole site, but they’re thorough.

By aligning their products as solutions, CoSchedule is able to capture the attention of their target market and position themselves as an expert in marketing project management.

Side-by-side screenshots of CoSchedule's marketing guides


5. Basecamp’s The Rework Podcast

Podcasts are an excellent way to establish trust and authority with an audience. Basecamp uses the power of outside experts, storytelling, and entertainment to connect with its target market in their podcast The Rework Podcast.

Screenshot of Basecamp's podcast landing page

6. Simple Strat's HubSpot Hacks YouTube Channel

Okay, this is self-promotional, but the example holds. HubSpot Hacks is the YouTube channel run by Simple Strat, and it serves as a clear example of top-of-funnel (ToFu) video content. 

The channel offers valuable, easily digestible video content that tackles common challenges and questions related to using HubSpot. By providing actionable tips, how-to guides, and insights based on our own expertise with HubSpot, the channel educates and engages potential clients at the awareness stage. 

As we move into 2024, this channel has grown to the point that it helps drive leads for Simple Strat's HubSpot consulting services — HubSpot users watch these tutorials until they feel confident in our ability to add value to their business through HubSpot.


7. CompanyCam’s Webinars

CompanyCam, an app that helps contractors manage field work, hosts regular webinars focused on their industry. They bring in partners to help them deliver information to their viewers that goes beyond their expertise in managing job sites — like marketing and sales tips, business savvy, and crisis management.

Screenshot of CompanyCam's webinars


You can create great ToFu content too

Done right, top-of-funnel content opens the door to building and nurturing a relationship that not only results in a purchase, but breeds a customer that’s excited about your product.

The first step in getting started in your own ToFu content journey is to build a strategy. Decide who your best audience is and do all you can to learn about their biggest challenges and how they seek out solutions. That will help you determine what your top-of-funnel (ToFu) content needs to say and how it needs to make your audience feel.

Once you've crafted your ToFu strategy, it's time to create compelling content that addresses your audience's challenges and presents your solutions effectively. If you don't have the time to get this done with your team's current bandwidth, we're here to help.

Posted in Content Marketing, SaaS Marketing