Let’s get something out of the way…
There are a lot of misconceptions people have about content marketing.
Content marketing is not launching a blog.
It’s not publishing a new post every day.
It’s not creating a viral meme.
And it’s not the same as copywriting!
Content marketing is the act of owning, as opposed to renting, media to generate a measurable impact on your business.
Content marketing is both content and advertising.
Content marketing is about becoming a publisher who creates content that drives results for the business.
With content marketing, you create great content people want to consume.
Here's an example of how GoPro makes interesting shots of adventurous videos.
You don’t do this to get likes, followers, comments, retweets, fans, sparkles, warcraft gold, Reddit upvotes, or digital friendship points.
You use content marketing and create a content strategy because it can generate a measurable and meaningful impact on your business.
In this article, you’ll learn how to create a robust content strategy that generates traffic, leads, and sales for any business. Plus, we’ve added our favorite content strategy template to combine all this information and create a plan that aligns with your business goals.
Top of Funnel Content
Goals & Metrics
The goals of top-of-funnel are acquiring new traffic, brand awareness, or segmenting visitors. And the metrics we use for those goals are the number of unique visitors, percent of new visitors, total new direct visitors, or building out your retargeting lists.
With your top-of-funnel content, you’re looking to attract many people. The top-of-funnel content ideas include:
- Mega Guides
- Power lists
- Case studies
- Curated resources
- YouTube videos
- Social Media
If you want examples and the formulas we use to create these types of content, check out our article on blog post templates.
The Top of Funnel Nudge
Once you’ve attracted traffic with your top-of-funnel content, it’s your job to move these users to the next funnel stage.
It’s your obvious call-to-action asking the user to move from the top of the funnel to the middle funnel. You want to keep your nudge in mind before creating your intermediate funnel content.
For example, if you created a walk-through, you would ask their email address. If they listen to your podcast, maybe you invite them to visit your website, call you, or subscribe. You want to create a clear call to action for the users at the end of whatever piece of content you choose.
At this point, you want to turn visitors into leads before you create your middle funnel content.
Possible nudges for your top-of-funnel content:
- Download a lead magnet
- Download an ebook or infographic
- Subscribe to your blog
- Subscribe to your channel
- Follow your social accounts
- Sign up for a demo
- Sign up for a webinar
- View another blog post or video
- Sign up for a free trial
- Sign up for a mini-course
Middle of Funnel Content
Goals & Metrics
With your middle-of-funnel content, you want to convert visitors at the top of the funnel into leads for your business.
In digital marketing, this usually means getting a user’s contact information so you can reach them again later on.
The simplest way is to ask for an email address (although some businesses may need more information to qualify their leads).
People don’t like giving away their contact information—you must make it worthwhile.
That’s what the middle of the funnel content is for.
Examples of middle funnel content:
The Middle of Funnel Nudge
This is the part where you move users from the middle of the funnel to the bottom funnel. Once you’ve acquired a lead, it’s time to turn those leads into customers.
Here are some possible nudges you can use in your middle-of-the-funnel content:
- Pitch of your main product
- Limited-time offer
- Limited-time bonuses
- Coupons or discounts
- Project proposals
When creating your middle funnel content, it should be in the context of moving users down to the next funnel phase.
Bottom of Funnel Content
Goals & Metrics
The goals are generally about maximizing your conversions and growing that conversion value. And the metrics that we monitor for those goals are average order value, revenue per visit, or SKUs sold.
All our work leading up to this point was to get them to convert. These are some examples of content that can help you achieve these bottom-funnel goals:
- Product Comparisons
- Sales Page
- Launches/Flash Sales
Bottom of Funnel Nudge
The bottom funnel nudge is retention and lifetime customer value. Once you’ve acquired a customer, you want to nudge them to increase the value you get from each user.
Here are some possible nudges for your bottom-funnel content:
- Cross-sells or upsells
- Order bumps
- Upgrade to a higher subscription plan
- Upgrade to an annual subscription
- Get referrals / invite other users
So, do keep this in mind when designing your bottom-funnel content.
Simplifying Your Message
Identify single-minded value props (SMVP).
- What problems, pain points, needs, or wants does your target audience have at each point?
- How do you solve it?
- Think user first: Explain what they’re getting, not what your company did.
Your SMVP depends on the persona and the funnel stage they’re in.
Repeat this exercise for your own business. Take each persona and map your SMVPs for each stage of the funnel.
At this point, you’ve learned everything you need to create a robust content marketing strategy.
However, content marketing is not a marketing channel in itself— it’s the primary component that feeds into all distribution channels.
Each distribution channel—email, social media, SEO, paid advertising—needs content to work.
Your content won’t reach its audience without these channels of distribution.
Content marketers usually have a broad knowledge of all marketing channels and dive deep into one of them.
Depending on your company's marketing goals, you can focus on any of these distribution channels.
Get Your Free Content Strategy Template Below
That’s it! You’ve learned the framework to create a robust content strategy that generates traffic, leads, and revenue. Here’s the summary of what to do next to get the most significant impact on your business:
- Create your target persona
- Identify your SMVPs for each stage of the funnel and each target persona
- Map out relevant content to use for each stage of the funnel
- Develop a content creation process to create, optimize, and distribute your content
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve already done more than 99% of people. Here is the last step for you to get started. There are a few mistakes we consistently see new content marketers make.
They spend time creating random pieces of content, only for it to be disjointed or not achieve their overall goals and KPIs.
These can set you back or slow your progression towards becoming a content marketing pro.
To be a successful content marketer, you must have a clear content marketing plan and execute that plan.
Because of the many forms content takes, this can be tricky, but if you plan and have a content strategy, you’ll know exactly what you’re doing.
We made a quick content strategy template so you can avoid these mistakes and start creating your well-documented strategy that drives traffic, leads, and sales.
You can download it below!