Content Marketing – What gets your attention?

As you read through this blog today, ask yourself this: What type of material/content usually sparks my interest in a particular product or service?

I mentioned in a previous post that on a daily basis I help my customers with their marketing and sales strategy. As our society adapts to the technology advancements and transformations today, companies need to stay on top of the latest trends to reach their target audiences. The lives of these companies depend on the reach and the level of ENGAGEMENT that the visitors to the websites and stores have with their CONTENT. I’m sure most of you have heard of the phrase, “Cash is king,” but what about “Content is king?”

Content Is King is an essay Bill Gates wrote back in 1996, which you can find here. Many of the things that are expressed in this essay still hold true to today’s marketing world. Content is the way that companies can educate new visitors to their website. The thing about content is that not every visitor is going to want to view the same material; the truth is everyone is at a different point in their buyer/researcher’s journey for the product or service. The difficult part of being a content marketer is the fact that you cannot please everyone, but we can get as close as we can through segmenting content into different categories like so:

Top of the funnel (TOFU.. no not the food)

Think of this type of content as rudimentary information that would be helpful for someone to understand what it is that your company has to offer. Looking beyond the About Us page that most websites have, what can the viewer gloss over to understand what it is that you do? Keep in mind that the viewer may not even realize they have a problem yet, and may have come across your website organically because they were trying to do some research on a particular topic. Examples of TOFU content could be an infographic, checklist, or a tip sheet.

Middle of the funnel (MOFU)

There will be those visitors that come to your website because they realize they have a problem. Maybe they were linked directly from another site that referenced your company’s site or came across through the search engine. What these visitors are looking for are material that can help them understand all the options that are out there and why your solution may be the best for them to go with. Having information that helps to further the understanding of where your company’s offering stands compared to competitors or other companies that the visitors know of will help position your solution as a top contender. Examples of MOFU can be case studies, eBooks, quizzes, webinars, and recorded videos from past events.

Bottom of the funnel (BOFU)

Those that have done the research and understand the differences between the products and services that you offer vs. competitors generally fall within this bucket of visitors. The type of content that can be offered here is offering different ways for your target audience to try the product or service, or to help further their understanding. Offering discount codes or a free trial gives a direct access for potential customers to try your offering. By positioning your sales representatives to be available to speak with potential customers to help answer questions and potentially close the deal is also considered a piece of content. In my day to day, I often have my email signature include my personal meetings link so that they can request to speak with me directly to learn more.

By planning out a content calendar and knowing what types of content a company should create puts them in a position to better qualify leads or contacts that are coming through their social media channels and website. If you take a look at a quick website I created through my work at, you’ll notice that a lot of the content that I have on there (though made up) create a path or journey for visitors to read and digest content, before being brought over to something called a landing page where in exchange for their personal information they can download a piece of gated content. Gated content essentially means that generally visitors are required to fill out a form with basic information such as their full name and email address to be able to view the materials on the website. Aside from just cookie tracking, companies can leverage this data and use all kinds of third party companies and their technology to now market and position better content in front of you. Whether it is promoting their latest blog to you through an email, or leveraging paid ads to pop up as you’re scrolling through Facebook, companies can now leverage your information to create a journey that can either annoy you or convince you to purchase their goods.

Survey results on most engaging types of content by CoSchedule

The reality is that once you have any sort of content live and on your website, you can start to think about how one might navigate their way to your site and start engaging with your content. There are so many ways to leverage social media and marketing software to position your content and to reach your target audience, but understanding how you can position your product or service is a huge component of a content marketer’s job. These are the challenges that many of the customers I work with have on a daily basis and I am always curious as to how different people like to engage with content. I personally am a fan of reading customer testimonials and watching videos of people who have done product/service reviews. This goes back to discussions around social media and how platforms like YouTube and Instagram has truly changed the way people engage with companies and products. These platform “influencers” definitely play a role in creating hype and interest in products.

So I’ll close by asking you this: What types of content have interested you to learn more or eventually seek to try a product or service and why in particular do you think it had that effect on you?


  1. Honestly, ever since Instagram has enabled the Shop Now button for product advertisements, I have been too concerned over the security implications of entering my credit card and personal info in the app. Similarly, I have a couple friends who are “influencers” that receive items for free in exchange for publicity on their accounts, but the truth is their “influence” lost its value to me once I learned that a lot of them just see being an “influencer” as a popularity contest than as a duty owed to their followers. I really like how you break down the marketing funnel and definitely find it useful as a budding digital entrepreneur. Content definitely is king, but I would stipulate that with: Content is king in the right context. I think that where many companies struggle today, is that they want to go viral without knowing what it means or whether or not their product is suited for a social media ad campaign leading to a lack of engagement. I think the key here is remembering the context of the platform you’re advertising on and your target audiences purchasing preferences. For example in B2B an account manager doesn’t want to see their wholesalers products over and over again necessarily.. Great post!

  2. As someone who recently launched a basic company website for inbound market testing, I found this post to be incredibly informative. I think you make a great point about creating a site “journey” for users that eventually maps to gated content elements – by effectively setting up checkpoints at each level of the funnel, you can increase the level of psychological commitment on the part of the user while weeding out those who will never actually convert.

    Although it’s a little outside of the “normal” e-commerce realm, I think inkbox’s site ( is a great example of quality content and content design. The home page with which the casual searcher interacts is a nice blend of attention-grabbing imagery and quotes, credibility-bestowing logos from reviewers, and a simple-to-understand overview of the company’s semi-permanent tattoo ink technology and application process. The rest of the site is designed to appeal to the repeat user and the uninitiated – regardless of experience level or pre-existing level of commitment to using inkbox, the user can spend a great deal of time scrolling through the site’s highly visual displays of potential tattoo options, featured artist pages, and slick videos. They do a great job of moving people through the content funnel in an organic way.

  3. I often complain about the amount of ads I get on Instagram, sometimes receiving some every 3 posts, and it wasn’t until a friend blatantly told me that i click on too many ads that I started realizing it was true. I fall prey to probably 3/10 ads that are usually based on the youtubers I follow and the content i sift through while surfing Instagram. It’s not usually until I’m a minute into browsing the ads website until I realize I just got got. I know I’ve learned about the funnel before but loved your refresher and think you put it into a very easy to understand format! As I mentioned in my post last week (and above!) I’m a huge youtube watcher of a lot of vloggers and self proclaimed “influencers”. While I neglect to buy or even search most of the products they promote and even skip through ads sometimes if everyone has done the same one, such as, I’m still a fan of their content and take their comments into mind for future purposes. I think youtube is a huge platform for sharing information and tips in a concise way that’s easier than having to buckle down and read a 30 page newsletter for one piece of information.

  4. cgriffith418 · ·

    Great post! I worked with a lot of content marketing during my internship this past summer and heard a lot about TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU, but honestly this post explained it in a much more understandable way than my bosses every did! I’m surprised to see that blogs takes the top stop on that infographic; I definitely would have expected it to be social media. I think e-newsletters are a really interesting one; I worked with them a lot and I found that even though they are ubiquitous content type, but for many companies, a lot could be done to make them more engaging and revenue-driving. Content is basically a necessity these days, as you mentioned, so I think as time goes on we’ll continue to see not only high content volume win, but also high quality content.

  5. mckeanlindsay · ·

    I didn’t know anything about the TOFU, MOFU, BOFU concepts so I appreciate you introducing me to a new concept. In terms of trying a new product or service, I always find myself most attracted by ads on Facebook or Instagram. When I’m browsing an app or website with a specific goal, I am much less perceptive to advertisements. However, when I’m aimlessly scrolling my social media accounts, it is easy for something novel to grab my attention. Now more than ever, an attractive ad image is capable to grab a consumer’s attention instantly. Additionally, now that ads are so data driven and tailored to the individual consumer, nearly everything that pops up on my news feed is relevant to my interests and demands. I think if a company is able to create a self-expressive connection with a viewer immediately through imaging then they have a good chance of translating that viewer into a consumer.

  6. kgcorrigan · ·

    I don’t know much about content marketing, so it was great to learn something from this post! Your explanations of TOFU, MOFU and BOFU are really clear and the examples you give for each made it easier to understand the differences. Personally, I tend to find a majority of new-to-me brands through social media (specifically Instagram), and if I end up looking into a product or service more closely, it’s usually because they reeled me in using engaging images or videos. I’ve become more skeptical about testimonials with the rise of social media influencers (are they really promoting something because they believe in it?), so in order for me to actually pull the plug and purchase something, I would want to do my own homework first rather than take someone else’s word for it.

  7. What a different world we live in today. Social media adds, digital content, things designed to grab my attention…simply don’t. When I was in undergrad 2006-2010, this sort of content and targeting had just emerged as a new technology….and it was usually delightfully off base. I think it the crux of the issue is that we interact with social media in two completely different ways. While I can’t speak accurately regarding the current way those in their late teens and early twenties are utilizing social media, I can say that those approaching or in their thirties are rather impervious to digital content advertising simply because other things grab our attention. This ultimately might have something to do with positioning. Perhaps us thirty-somethings are consuming and viewing content that is specific to us?

  8. adurney1 · ·

    Great insight on topics I did not know the names of. TOFU, MOFU and BOFU all are new terms to me, but thank you for the great explanation. It is amazing the power of ads in my feeds. I have found myself time and time again clicking on different Instagram ads. The methodology of the ads is very effective.

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