ToFu Content: Building Awareness at the Top of the Sales Funnel

ToFu content is crucial for developing brand image and attracting potential customers. But how to create it? We know how!

Categories: Industry Insights, Articles about SEO, Content

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You’re a business owner looking over your sales data with a mix of frustration and confusion.

Your products are better, and you’ve got the data to back it up, yet the numbers tell a disappointing story. Sales are low, much lower than you expected.

After digging deeper, you uncover the problem: potential customers don’t even know your company exists. It feels like you’re the best-kept secret in your industry.

That’s where the pivotal role of Top of the Funnel (ToFu) content comes into play. Sure, having a superior product is crucial, but if potential customers are unaware of its existence, how will you ever sell it?

This guide will walk you through the process of creating ToFu content that raises awareness about your brand and guides customers from discovery to purchase.

Smart SEO strategies will help you ensure that it reaches your target audience, turning potential awareness into actual visibility.

Keep reading to discover key steps to get your business noticed and boost your sales.

💡 Key Takeaways
  • At the Top of the Funnel (ToFu) stage, the focus is on generating awareness and education, not immediate sales. Valuable and relevant content tailored to this stage can make a strong first impression and attract potential customers.
  • Effective ToFu content strategies include utilizing SEO, creating diverse content types like blog posts, infographics, and videos, and aligning content with Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines to build trust and authority with audiences.
  • The most effective forms of ToFu content are referral marketing, events marketing, and content marketing. These methods showcase a company’s expertise and can significantly enhance brand visibility and engagement at the awareness stage.
See also  ToFu, MoFu, BoFu Explored: A Guide to SEO-Friendly Sales Funnel

What is the Awareness Stage?

The awareness stage marks the beginning of the customer journey. It’s where prospective customers first become aware of a problem or need and start looking for solutions.

They might not fully understand their issue or recognize the best path forward. Instead, they seek information, guidance, and education rather than a sales pitch.

This initial phase is crucial for brands because it’s where you can make a meaningful first impression.

You can position your brand as a knowledgeable and trustworthy source by providing valuable and relevant information.

It’s not about showcasing your product’s features or benefits just yet but about aligning with the informational needs of your potential customers.

What are Top of Funnel Marketing Goals?

At the ToFu stage, marketing goals are designed to grab attention and engage viewers rather than push for immediate sales. Key objectives include:

1.Increasing Brand Awareness: The aim is to spread the word about your brand.

2.Educating Your Audience: Your content should directly address the common questions or challenges your target audience faces.

3.Building Trust: Creating ToFu content can help position your brand as a thought leader and reliable source of information.

4.Generating Leads: You can encourage potential customers to engage more deeply with your brand by signing up for a newsletter or downloading an eBook.

Statistics show that a majority of buyers find content that educates and doesn’t attempt to ‘sell’ to the reader to be more effective.

Types Of ToFu Content

There are various content types to choose from at the Top of the Funnel stage.

The most popular types of ToFu content include:

 Blog Posts and Articles These are foundational ToFu content pieces designed to educate and solve common problems. For example, a home renovation company can write a blog post on small home renovation ideas to maximize space.

Here’s an example. The educational content offers value and insight to readers looking for information and ideas to improve their living situation without pushing for a sale. This aligns with the ToFu goal of building awareness and providing helpful, relevant information to a broad audience.

It may not be the highest-quality article on this subject, but it still manages to rank in the 11th position for ‘small home renovations ideas to maximize space’.

 Infographics These visual content pieces can simplify complex information, making it easy for the audience to understand and share. A nutritionist might create an infographic showing a “Balanced Diet Chart” to attract individuals looking to improve their dietary habits.

 Videos Videos are highly engaging and can convey a lot of information in a short amount of time. A software company, for example, might produce videos on the importance of cybersecurity measures.

This video explains how hackers and security experts can use AI. It doesn’t even mention IBM’s products. Instead, it showcases the company’s expertise and plants a seed in audiences’ minds.

Well, if hackers can use AI now to become better at their jobs… perhaps I should do something about it or at least read more about this topic.
 eBooks and Guides These in-depth resources offer comprehensive insights into specific topics, positioning your brand as an authority. For instance, an SEO agency might publish a guide titled  ToFu, MoFu, BoFu Explored: A Guide to SEO-Friendly Sales Funnel.

 Social Media Posts Engaging and informative posts can drive traffic to your website and other ToFu content. An interior design firm could use Instagram to share design tips and behind-the-scenes looks at project processes, engaging potential customers looking for design inspiration.

Okay, but what are the most effective ToFu content forms?

The three best-performing ToFu content types are:

  • Referral marketing (case studies, testimonials, peer review sites, and word-of-mouth)
  • Events marketing (conferences, webinars, trade shows, and other events)
  • Content marketing: (e-books, reports, white papers, and similar content forms)

As you can see, it’s a good idea to focus on tactics that showcase the expertise of your company.

In the context of online marketing, it probably doesn’t come off as a surprise to any digital marketing pros – these three categories are highly effective in developing your digital PR, so they will be great for the first point of contact with your potential buyers.

The Importance of E-E-A-T for ToFu Content

Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines prioritize E-E-A-T – expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness to determine content quality.

We always repeat this: aligning your content with E-E-A-T signals is an excellent way to make your brand stand out.

This model evaluates content based on the creator’s knowledge and firsthand experience, their credibility, and the accuracy of the information provided.

The addition of “experience” in December 2022 highlights the importance of personal or practical insights, particularly in niche subjects or product reviews.

For my money, E-E-A-T is the most valuable guideline Google has ever given us. Similar to the Helpful Content Update (HCU) rolled out in September 2023, it provides us with a bit more insight into what actually matters to the algorithm that determines which position sites occupy in SERPs.

Przemyslaw Puternicki
Content Specialist

Aligning with E-E-A-T standards is a must if you want to improve search ranking.

This is going to sound like Google, but please don’t do E-E-A-T for Google and search ranking – instead, do it for yourself and your visitors. Show that behind this content stands a real person. Use this opportunity to promote yourself, build trust, and make the content more human, especially now in the era of AI. And don’t get me wrong – use AI as much as you want, but use it wisely as a tool that helps you in work on a daily basis.

Krzysztof Kilewski
Head of SEO at NoN Agency

SEO Strategies for Top-of-the-Funnel Content

Mastering SEO for ToFu content can help you ensure that your content not only meets the eye but captivates your audience’s mind from the get-go.

The ToFu section is often referred to as the best-performing while MoFu is the most problematic.

Still, even though ToFu content is better understood than MoFu and BoFu, it doesn’t mean that there’s no room for further improvement. So, let’s go through the nitty-gritty of boosting your ToFu content’s online presence.

Keyword Research

While conducting keyword research for the ToFU content, consider what your audience wants to know. Let’s say your business is all about healthy snacks.

Instead of using a keyword like “buy healthy snacks online,” which is for people ready to buy, use “healthy snack ideas,” “best snacks for energy,” or “easy healthy snacks for work.”

Additionally, informational keywords often start with what, why, how, and so on.

These are the kinds of searches people do when they’re just starting to look for information.

Tools such as Ahrefs, Semrush, or AnswerThePublic can help you find out what questions people are asking about your topic. If you create content that fully answers the query, you will connect with people who are just starting to explore the topic.

Search Intent

  • Creating H1 and H2 tags that mirror actual questions typed by your audience is a direct hit.

    With Google’s emphasis on understanding user intent through algorithms like BERT, structuring your content to answer specific queries can substantially boost your visibility in SERPs.

  • Different search intents align with different types of content. Informational queries, typical of ToFu searchers, are best served by white papers, guides, and articles.

    Recognize the type of content that fits the intent behind the search. For instance, a query starting with “how to” aligns perfectly with a detailed tutorial or step-by-step guide.

    Do not limit yourself to articles – content is more, it can be illustration, infographic, cheatsheet, PDF, or video. Align your content to what’s in TOP search results and make sure it’s helpful and easy to digest.

    Krzysztof Kilewski
    Head of SEO at NoN Agency

  • Create a web of content around core topics (pillar content) and related subtopics (content cluster), ensuring thorough coverage.

    This approach demonstrates your knowledge to your audience but also signals to search engines the breadth and depth of your expertise, potentially improving your ranking for various related queries.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO is your content’s wardrobe, crucial for making the right first impression. It’s where the rubber meets the road in SEO optimization.

  • Create meta titles and descriptions that pack a punch, embedding long-tail keywords for that SEO juice. Think of them as your content’s elevator pitch to both search engines and searchers.

    Keep the title short: concise and precise. If possible make it stand out (try to use numbers, brackets, maybe emoji) or a bit controversial - but for God's sake please do not create click-baits. A clean and understandable title is better than too long and overthought.

    Krzysztof Kilewski
    Head of SEO at NoN Agency

  • Internal links with anchor texts rich in keywords will guide users further down the conversion funnel while spreading link equity throughout your site.

Quality & Engagement

How to make your content stand out in the sea of AI-generated articles?

Well-researched pieces showcase your authority. Back up claims with data and expert opinions to bolster your content’s credibility.

Remember E-E-A-T? Create author pages to show your audience and Google that your opinions hold weight.

The example on the right clearly shows the expertise and experience of the article’s reviewer.

The shelf life of content is dynamic. Regularly update your ToFu pieces with the latest information, maintaining their relevance and ranking potential – and let your audience know about it, just as in the image below.

Multimedia

Multimedia elements can make your content more engaging and provide additional value for the users.

  • Integrate relevant images and videos into your content. It’s about serving both the bots and human aesthetics. Sure, you can use free stock image websites such as Unsplash, Pixabay, Pexels, or Freepik, but that’s not all.

    But, you could use tools such as ElevenLabs to allow your audience to listen to your articles or FlexClip to create videos that would enrich your content.

  • Tools like interactive infographics or calculators enrich user experience and, more importantly, make your content more linkable.

How to Identify ToFu Content Ideas

What are the ways to find those perfect ToFu content ideas that will really click with your audience?

Social Media

Use Instagram polls, Twitter Q&As, or LinkedIn posts to ask what your followers are curious about. You can easily learn about what sparks their interest and find inspiration for the next content pieces.

Blog Comments

Your blog comments are little nuggets of gold – well, at least some of them. Tools like Disqus can help you keep track of the conversations happening there. Your audience might signal directly what you could write about next.

People Also Ask Section

Have you ever noticed how Google tries to finish your sentences as you type? That’s a treasure trove of content ideas in the making. The “People Also Ask” section is pretty much Google telling you what your audience wants to know.

Innovative ToFu Content Strategies for Lead Generation

Standing out from the crowd – it’s something that every single company attempts, and… well, not all of them succeed. Physics or something. Okay, but how do you actually do it?

Storytelling

Humanize your brand through storytelling. Narratives that reflect real-life scenarios, triumphs, and even challenges resonate well with audiences.

Sharing stories about how your products or services have made a difference can forge deeper connections without making it a sales pitch.

It’s about illustrating the ‘why’ behind your brand. This approach increases engagement and subtly positions your offerings as solutions within compelling stories.

Webinars and Live Sessions

Unlike static posts or articles, webinars, and live Q&A sessions provide real-time engagement and the opportunity for the audience to have their questions addressed on the spot.

It establishes your brand as an approachable authority in your field. Promote these sessions across your channels to draw in an audience looking to learn and interact.

User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC), like customer reviews, social media posts, or blog contributions, provides authentic insights into the user experience with your brand.

It not only enriches your ToFu content pool with diverse perspectives but also builds trust through real-world endorsements – and that’s essential for SEO. You can encourage UGC by creating hashtags, hosting contests, or featuring user stories on your platforms.

Implement Interactive Content

You can use quizzes and polls to engage your audience and get personal insights or advice. This will make your content more interactive and helps you learn what your audience likes and needs.

You can then use this data to refine your marketing strategies and tailor your follow-up content to meet their needs better.

Content Collaborations

Consider collaborating with influencers (Influence.co or BuzzSumo), and industry experts (HARO), or complementary brands to co-create content. These partnerships can vault your content into new audiences and lend additional credibility to your brand.

If possible, try to do meaningful collabs with micro-influencers. Although much smaller in scale, they usually have a very dedicated audience that deeply respects them. Getting in their good graces can help you tap into a whole new consumer group much more easily than with macro-influencers.

Maksym Szumiłowicz
Content Writer

Conclusion

ToFu content is crucial for attracting potential customers by providing valuable information and building brand awareness without pushing for sales. You position your brand as a trusted authority by creating content that answers your audience’s questions and needs.

Effective SEO strategies, diverse content formats such as blog articles, infographics, and videos, and adherence to E-E-A-T principles ensure your content engages and reaches the right audience.

Do you know what else can help you reach your audience? Links. And we know all about links. If you need help with any SEO matters – contact us!

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