Whether you’re an established corporation or a brand-new startup, knowing where to invest your content marketing efforts can be challenging. Should you be trying to build brand awareness? Or is it more important to focus on converting as many leads as possible?

Unfortunately, there’s no straightforward answer to these questions. Every business is unique, so no two content marketing strategies will look exactly the same. But the good news is that we have a simple framework that will help you strike the right balance of content for your brand. We’ll guide you through each step in this post.

What is a Content Marketing Funnel?

Before we share our framework, it’s essential to understand how a content marketing funnel works. A content marketing funnel is a roadmap for systematically attracting new prospects and turning them into leads through various types of content.

While every team’s approach may look slightly different, here’s a brief overview of the main stages of the funnel.

Top of Funnel (TOFU)

The goal of TOFU content is to generate awareness. At this stage, you want to draw prospects in—whether it’s by addressing a problem they’re trying to solve or answering a question they have. Examples of TOFU content include:

  • Social media posts
  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Email newsletters

Middle of Funnel (MOFU)

The goal of MOFU content is consideration. Once a prospect is aware of your brand, make it clear that your product or service may offer a solution to their problem or question. This is a great time to provide content with value, whether that’s in the form of data or social proof. Examples of MOFU content include:  

  • Case studies
  • Whitepapers
  • Ebooks
  • Data-driven reports

Bottom of Funnel (BOFU)

The goal of BOFU content is to help prospects come to a decision. At this point, it’s clear that they’re interested in your company and may want more in-depth information about the product or service to close the deal. Examples of BOFU content include:  

  • Customer help center
  • Exclusive or personalized content
  • Product demos and tutorials
  • Online courses

4 Steps To Create The Right Content For Your Brand

Now that we have a solid understanding of the content marketing funnel, let’s explore a framework to help you create the right content for your brand.

1. Define the Stages of Your Funnel

As we mentioned before, every company’s approach to its content marketing funnel may vary. So before you do anything else, sit down with your team and clearly define every stage. Specifically, there are two areas that you need clarity around:

  • The goal of every stage. What is the intention of every funnel stage? The answer will depend on your industry, who your customers are, and what you want to accomplish. For example, a new B2B brand may believe the goal of MOFU content is to nurture trust with prospects. An established B2C brand, on the other hand, may use MOFU content for customer relationship management purposes.
  • The types of content for every stage. Align with your team on what kind of content you think makes sense for each stage. Some content marketing teams may view ebooks as TOFU content, while others use them as a MOFU tactic. Understanding how content types map to the funnel will make planning easier.

2. Identify Your Goals

Once you’ve established your content marketing funnel, it’s time to identify your goals. It’s important to be honest with yourself at this stage. Of course, every company wants to close as many deals as possible. But if you’re a relatively new brand with few prospects in the pipeline, investing a ton of resources into BOFU content doesn't make sense.

According to Content Marketing Institute, you have to tie your goals to the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to get the most out of your content marketing strategy. For instance, if your goal is to drive more traffic to your blog, your KPIs can revolve around the number of unique visits per month or the percentage of returning readers. So take the time to translate your goals into measurable objectives.

3. Map Out Your Plan

Now it’s time to put all the pieces together. Take a look at your goals and KPIs and map them back to your content marketing funnel. Let’s say you work for a well-established B2B brand that wants to convert more leads into customers. In this case, you may want to create a strategy that focuses heavily on MOFU and BOFU content. Your plan should be able to answer questions like:

  • Why is this the best approach to meet our KPIs?
  • What is the timeline for this strategy?
  • What is the cadence of MOFU and BOFU content we want to create?
  • How will we ensure that our TOFU content isn’t neglected?

Also, don’t be afraid to experiment with your approach along the way. Over time, you may find that you have to adjust the distribution of content or change up your original timeline—these types of tweaks are totally normal and to be expected.

4. Track Progress

Once you set your plan in motion, it’s critical to track your progress. To access the most impactful data, we encourage every content marketing team to invest in a Content Intelligence platform. And we’re not alone in thinking this. Gartner’s 2019 Marketing Technology Survey found that almost half of their respondents expect analytics to be one of the top three most important technologies available.

With a platform like Knotch, you’ll be able to connect your various types of content to specific outcomes. Specifically, you’ll be able to gauge:

  • How people feel about your brand when they engage with your content
  • Whether a piece of content is compelling enough for the reader to engage with other content or take high-value actions that impact the business
  • How your content contributes to audience growth through lead generation

By tracking these metrics over time, you’ll be able to identify if the content you’re creating—whether it’s at the TOFU, MOFU, or BOFU stage—is producing the desired impact.

When it comes to content marketing, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. Take the time to work through this framework and identify the right path for your brand. If you’re looking for access to more in-depth, personalized insights to take your content marketing strategy to the next level, request a demo here.