Top, Middle, and Bottom of the Funnel Content—What Does It All Mean?!

Top, Middle, and Bottom of the Funnel Content—What Does It All Mean?!

Content marketing is at the forefront of digital advertising and marketers need to constantly reinvent their approach to attract new leads or convert existing ones. This is best done by creating a solid marketing funnel and leading your audience through a proverbial “journey” with your brand. But how do you do that practically? Funneling is a marketing term used to describe the individual customer’s relationship with your brand. 

Marketers often use terms like the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel to refer to the content they’re currently marketing. But what does this all mean in reality and how can you learn to create your marketing funnels? Let’s start from the top and make our way to the bottom of the funnel to get a better understanding of the process.

Content Marketing Funnels 101

What is a marketing funnel? A marketing funnel is best described by referring to its modern-day advertisement counterpart – the customer’s journey. “Funneling” a customer means to bring them from the status of a cold lead to the status of a customer or a brand ambassador. A popular funneling model called AIDA was coined in the late 20th century and consists of four stages:

  • Attention – customers are becoming aware of your products

  • Interest – customers are interested in your products

  • Desire – customers want to buy your products

  • Action – customers buy your products

This model, while antiquated by today’s digital marketing standards, has been expanded into what we know as a “marketing funnel”, consisting of six stages:

  • Awareness - customers are becoming aware of your products

  • Interest - customers are interested in your products

  • Consideration – customers are considering your products

  • Intent – customers intend to buy your products

  • Evaluation – customers are comparing your products to others

  • Purchase – customers buy your products

In content marketing, it’s good to separate your content into three distinct stages based on these six elements. Doing so will help you create more focused content which will help lead certain people through your funnel, from awareness to purchase. It is a simple but effective model which has served businesses for years and will undoubtedly continue to do so for years to come. So, what types of content should you create in each of these three stages?


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Top Content Funnel

The top of the content funnel is reserved for cold leads or people who have no prior knowledge or contact with your brand. Targeting and acquiring these leads will require you to be very persuasive in your sales pitches and present them with value for their time and money. 

The goal of your content at this stage is to improve your site’s SEO and raise engagement through search engines. Here are some content types worth exploring for cold lead acquisition:

  • Various types of blog publications

  • Social media content

  • Explainer videos, how-to guides, and free eBooks

  • PPC ads in search engines

Middle Content Funnel

You’ve collected contact details from a few hundred leads through your blog posts and paid ads – now what? These leads are now considered “warm” and are ready to be placed in the middle of your content funnel. 

You will have to shift your focus from convincing them of your brand’s value to presenting them with why your products are so useful. You want to educate your leads, not brainwash them. In general, you shouldn’t go too hard with your sales pitch just yet and keep your message informative and diplomatic. Here are the content types you can try creating at this stage:

  • Scheduled email newsletters with valuable content

  • PDFs and eBook publications with statistical data

  • Case studies, testimonials, and social proof content

  • Infographics and other visual data

  • Expert opinions and reviews of your products

Bottom Content Funnel

The bottom of the content funnel is reserved for leads that are an inch away from purchasing your products. At this point, you need to put very little effort into convincing people “why” they should buy something from your website. 

Your focus should be entirely on buying “now”, with purchase incentives, discounts, and offers galore. It’s very important that you remain as professional and reserved as you did in the previous content funnel stages. Don’t change your voice or content style now because it might alienate your leads. Here’s what you should create now:

  • Exclusive limited-time purchase offers

  • Presenting your pricing model with first-time discounts

  • Offering a free demo, trial, or sample of your product

  • Comparison charts of your products against others

  • Use cases and scenarios ideal for your product

Learning to Funnel Content for your Marketing Efforts

When you break things down, content funnels are nothing more than a sequence of different content pieces meant for the same customers at different time intervals. You’ll want to present cold leads with one type of content and existing customers with another at the same time, for example. 

Learning to organize your content marketing efforts into separate funnels will take a bit of time but you’ll effectively open the door for content automation. Once you’ve set up your funnels, you’ll be able to focus on retargeting, remarketing, and data analysis instead of manual audience outreach. Once that happens, you’ll fully understand the value of funneling and how it can help your brand succeed in the market.