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Digital Marketing 11 min read

Content Marketing in 2022: A Comprehensive Guide

Ayesha Renyard photo

Written by Ayesha Renyard

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Carolyn Noel photo

Expert reviewed by Carolyn Noel

Communications Coordinator @ Galactic Fed

Published 25 May 2022

While content marketing has been a marketing tactic for years, we still get asked all the time: what is content marketing?

If you’re looking for a definition, content marketing is the development and distribution of useful and relevant content to your target audience. 

Believe it or not, we’ve been exposed to content marketing for most of our lives, even before the internet existed—magazines, bus shelters, radio shows, movies, heck, even cereal boxes. For years, it’s been a go-to marketing tactic because it’s proven to work. 

Here’s an example of content marketing from the 1980s: Lego’s Brick Kicks magazine. It offers tips and designs so users can get the most enjoyment out of this iconic toy. 

Lego's Brick Kicks magazine masthead

Source: Bricklink

Why is Lego offering value for free? Because it helps the brand build relationships with their target audience—so the next time they’re ready to make a toy purchase, they’ll think of Lego. 

That’s the magic of content marketing. It’s a long-term strategy that builds loyalty with your consumers. (You scratch their back, they’ll scratch yours, right?)

There’s a caveat, though: customers will only find value in your content if it’s delivered to them at the right point of the buyer’s journey

If that sounds complicated, don’t worry. That’s why we’re here today. This comprehensive content marketing guide walks you through the marketing funnel and identifies the best types of content for each stage of the buyer’s journey. (Content marketing examples included!)

Move over Lego, there’s a new content marketing guru in town—and it’s you!

Meet the marketing funnel

To map out your content marketing strategy, you need to understand the marketing funnel. The marketing funnel describes the buyer’s journey with you from their first interaction with your brand to when they’re ready to make a purchase.

Once you understand the marketing funnel, you’ll know what types of content will be of most value to your target audience.

Marketing funnel

Source: Web Ascender

Let’s start with the basics: there are three main parts of the marketing funnel: the top of the funnel (TOFU), the middle of the funnel (MOFU), and the bottom of the funnel (BOFU). Each part of the funnel matches up with a stage in the buyer’s journey. At the top of the funnel, your audience is interacting with your brand for the first time. At the bottom of the funnel, your audience is ready to make a purchase (or perhaps even a repeat purchase). 

Now that you understand the marketing funnel, you can probably see why mapping out your content according to the buyer’s journey is important. Each stage has a different goal:

  • At the top of the funnel, you want to increase awareness 
  • At the middle of the funnel, you want to build trust and credibility
  • At the bottom of the funnel, you want to forge relationships and loyalty

What does valuable content look like at each of these stages? Let’s take a look, shall we? 

three persons with one man using magnifying glass gif

1. TOFU content marketing 

At the top of the marketing funnel, the goal of your content marketing is to build awareness of your brand. 

To create content that catches your target audience’s attention and creates awareness, it needs to be valuable to them. How do you create “valuable” TOFU content? 

Focus your content on their pain points, challenges, and questions. They may not even be aware of their problem, let alone know the solution they’re looking for. TOFU content marketing should build problem awareness, so you can eventually position your brand as the solution.

Let’s say you sell fanny packs. While they’re incredibly on- trend right now, some people may not be totally sold on bringing back this ’80s fashion staple. To promote your brand to these skeptical folks at the top of the funnel, you can’t blast them with your product. You need to educate them on why they’d want it.

So what’s so great about fanny packs? Well, fanny packs allow you to carry your essentials hands-free. For those who hate carrying bags or purses while running errands, traveling, or jogging, fanny packs could be a game-changer for them—and they don’t even know it yet! (As you can see from these search results.)Google search suggestions for runners carrying bag

Best types of content for TOFU content marketing

Because your content is educational, the types of content most suitable for TOFU content marketing are

  • Blog posts 
  • Infographics
  • Newsletters
  • Podcasts
  • E-books
  • Social media posts
  • Videos
  • Newsletters

To help you identify topics to cover, we recommend conducting SEO research and exploring long tail keywords. For example, if you Google “what is the purpose of fanny packs,” you can find inspiration in the “People also ask” section and the content in the SERPs. 

search results page for fanny packs query

Want a TOFU content marketing example? Let’s look at the top search result for the query above: Google search about the fanny pack

While this brand sells vegan accessories, their blog focuses on educating the reader on the benefits of fanny packs and the challenges they solve—not selling their product. 

Hozen blog post on fanny packs

This content marketing example is valuable because it provides an answer to a question clearly searched by many. (If it ranks first on the SERPs, it’s gotten the thumbs up by Google.) 

2. MOFU content marketing 

In the middle of the marketing funnel, your target audience is aware of your solution and is now considering it. (Okay, okay, fanny packs are admittedly convenient.) 

Your MOFU content marketing goal should be to offer credible and useful information to help them decide. If you can help them with their buyer research, they’ll trust your brand. (This will come in handy at the bottom of the funnel.)

So focus on educating your target audience about what features of functions to look for and how various features address their needs. At this stage, you can also start plugging what your business offers. 

Let’s say you sell running shoes, and you’ve already convinced your MOFU audience that running is good for the heart and soul. It’s time to educate them on finding the best running shoe for their needs. 

In this MOFU content marketing example, MEC created a how-to guide for choosing running shoes.

Clip from MEC’s how-to guide on choosing running shoes

They walk through the essential features based on the type of running you want to do and the shape of your feet, from cushioning to support and fabric. While they sell running shoes, they’re not pushing readers to buy their running shoes—yet. 

Best types of content for MOFU content marketing

Because you want to provide helpful information and build your brand’s credibility, the types of content most suitable for MOFU content marketing are

  • Blog posts 
  • How-to guides
  • How-to videos
  • Webinars
  • Checklists/worksheets
  • Case studies
  • Guest posting

Again, you can start with some SEO keyword research to identify topics to cover. This time though, explore long tail keywords that begin with “how.” For example: “How to choose the best running shoes for me.”

3. BOFU content marketing 

At the bottom of the marketing funnel, your target audience is convinced that your solution is what they need, and they’re ready to make a purchase. By now, you’ve built trust and demonstrated your credibility. 

But you may still need to convince them that your brand is the best provider of the solution. So the goal of your BOFU content marketing is to forge brand loyalty.

What does valuable content look like at this stage? It’s simple: you need to show off your brand’s value to them. Your central message should be your expertise, knowledge, and differentiating benefits of what you sell—no more beating around the bush. 

Let’s say you sell a project management tool, like Asana. At this point, your target audience already knows that they need this solution. Now, they’re considering different brands—aka you and your competitors.

Asana vs Monday Article

Use your BOFU content marketing to highlight why your solution is superior to others. In this content marketing example, Asana has built a landing page to compare the features you get in an Asana and Monday subscription. And from this table, it’s clear that Asana delivers more value.

Comparison table of Asana and Monday

Best types of content for BOFU content marketing

Because you want to forge relationships with your target audience and win them over, the types of content most suitable for BOFU content marketing are

  • Case studies 
  • Customer stories
  • Landing pages
  • User-generated content
  • Testimonials
  • Demos and product videos
  • Free trials

In this landing page example, Asana used other BOFU content marketing tactics to push conversions, such as social proof (user reviews and company logos), product screenshots, and a free trial. 

Reviews of Asana and Monday

To help position your brand against your competitors, we recommend conducting a competitor analysis. You’ll be able to identify where your brand stands out

Once you first convert your target audience, your job isn’t done! You should create BOFU content that serves to strengthen your relationships with them and increase their loyalty. Read our blogs on reducing customer churn and increasing customer lifetime value to find out more.

Ready to launch your content marketing strategy?

Mapping your content marketing strategy to hit every stage of the marketing funnel is the path to more leads and sales. Your target audience needs to be nurtured towards converting—and that requires valuable content every step of the way.

Now that you know what types of content you need to create, here’s how you can make the perfect content calendar

Voila: You’ve got everything you need to launch your content marketing strategy. But if you’ve got questions, reach out to us. Our team of experts is always here to support you.

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Ayesha Renyard photo

Ayesha Renyard

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed