Content marketing is a natural part of every marketing activity. In an online marketing environment or even a ‘’phygital’’ or hybrid one, what can differentiate a brand and drive further impact is content that converts, engages and stays in the minds of target customers.
A good content marketing strategy can drive inbound marketing efforts. In fact, leading brands that have spent years establishing a solid content marketing foundation via well researched blogs, informative collaterals and even interactive content like podcasts and webinars experience a good balance of inbound ROI.
The First Step Lies in Optimizing your Top of the Funnel Content
The first step for any successful content marketing plan lies in building out a strong messaging that can add value and educate your target audience with the aim of creating awareness and attracting them to your brand’s website and other social media pages.
The most common types of content that can drive interest in this stage include blogs, infographics, industry updates and trends, whitepapers and how-tos.
Seeing how content styles are evolving along with an emphasis on creating different types of content to suit multiple online platforms and multiple user needs, there is a lot more that content marketers need to do to drive top of the funnel engagement.
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A Few Top of the Funnel Content Fundamentals to Keep in Mind:
Top of the Funnel Content is Meant to Drive Interest and Awareness
Top of the funnel content marketing efforts can drive inbound marketing. The effort at this stage does not focus on pushing target audiences to instantly purchase anything, it does not drive pricing or product comparison information: it is meant to purely get potential customers to know more about a brand and to keep the brand in their mind for the mid to long-term.
The focus for top of the funnel content marketing should revolve around providing real answers to actual problems your target audiences are dealing with at any given point of time.
You Must Identify your Top of the Funnel Goals
Any proven marketing plan consists of dividing your content marketing initiatives to drive top of the funnel, middle of the funnel and bottom of the funnel leads – all with the goal of getting them to successfully move forward in their buying journey and convert into paying customers.
Using the right metrics to track this output is one way of establishing a stronger content marketing strategy. The main step here includes knowing what goals you want to achieve with your top of the funnel content.
Mapping specific goals to your top of the funnel content based on your overall brand goals can help drive the right strategy and plans.
For instance, marketers or brands who are new entrants to a particular segment would need to use their top of the funnel content to drive better website SEO strategies to increase their online search results, they need to identify the kind of keywords they want to rank for and build content around that, for starters.
Some of the typical top of the funnel content goals involve driving inbound leads, dominating search results vis a vis competitors, influencing organic website traffic, enhancing website engagement with the right tactics, getting visitors to subscribe to blogs or newsletters and driving them to engage more with your content across your website and social media pages.
Applying specific measurable goals to each of these can help track performance and ensure marketing teams are consistent in their efforts.
A Few Key Elements to Boost your Top of the Funnel Content Plan
Top of the funnel content needs to serve a wider audience. Yet, marketing leaders who drive this step with better data and insights can ensure they cast a net over wide yet relevant audience set.
To drive effectiveness, any B2B top of the funnel content needs to:
Be clear, consistent and comprehensive:
Your audience today is always-online and always connected and therefore exposed to far too many brand messages across online media channels. A clear, consistent content plan that follows an overarching theme and brand image can create the right brand recall value and drive interest more effectively. Your reader here should be able to come away with a proper, comprehensive understanding of who you are, what your brand does, how it can help them.
Be relatable and honest:
Even in business-to-business, at the end of the day, its businesses selling to a bunch of individual people. Every audience set and potential customer will have a different understanding and interpretation of the marketplace, use your content to add value and information that they may not have come across before without using industry jargon and unnecessary buzzwords.
Have a differentiator:
Following the typical list of content marketing must-dos will only lead to one thing – more noise in the market. Content marketers who have a strong command of the base fundamentals of a good top of the funnel content marketing plan should further impact by identifying ‘’what can make their content look different and stand out from the crowd.”
There are several ways for content marketing teams to do this today, churning out interactive articles with short video snippets for instance, using your blog pages to run polls and surveys, asking the customer what it is they want to read more on, are just some.
Every brand needs to use their data to identify how often they should post content and to also understand what kind of content they should post more of.
For marketers who drive inbound engagement with their blogs, updating the blog on a regular basis, at least weekly if not daily is a given. For product based marketers who cater to very specific audiences and niches, well researched in-depth articles that take longer to build might warrant a different kind of frequency.
Sport a strong visual dependency:
In a marketplace that is bursting with constant content updates and social media posts, getting your audience to notice you demands a different approach: one that helps balance adequate amounts of text based features with visual dependency.
A good focus on visual engagement (your graphics, infographics, videos, audios, etc) can also enhance search results and get your brand to rank for images that perform well.
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Final takeaways to consider
Your top of the funnel content marketing is an important part of your overall B2B marketing strategy. While enhancing your search results and driving online engagement, it also allows marketers to drive consistent lead pipelines.
Your users and potential customers will find you online a lot more easily if your top of the funnel content is mapped keeping marketing and business goals in mind, keep in mind – most potential customers are looking for information at this stage and don’t want to be marketed to sold to.
This is what content marketers and marketing leaders need to consider when driving or enhancing their top of the funnel content plans.
A good top of the funnel content marketing strategy can uphold brand integrity while creating a robust feedback loop to drive SEO-Engagement-Conversion, if done right.