Striking Strategic Balance: How much Top-of-Funnel Content is Enough?



Explore the ideal balance for top, middle, and bottom-funnel content, and gain insights to steer your marketing efforts in the right direction. Read on for a practical guide to optimizing your content mix and setting the stage for marketing success.

By Brittany Lieu, Marketing Consultant at Heinz Marketing

A client recently asked me, “How much time and effort should we be investing in top-of-funnel content?”

My response: “No less than you are investing in mid and lower-funnel content. Although it is not the direct catalyst to conversion, top-of-funnel content plays a pivotal role in sparking interest and guiding consideration at the beginning of your prospect’s buying journey” 

Reflecting on this conversation made me think. Is there a golden ratio of top, middle, and bottom funnel content?

Before we answer this question, let’s define what top-of-funnel (TOFU) content is and isn’t.

What Is Top-of-Funnel Content?

Top of funnel refers to the earliest stage of the customer journey. Content created in alignment with this stage is meant to resonate with prospects that are pain or problem-aware. 

A good way I like to think of it is, top of funnel content is what prospects are consuming as they loosen from the status quo and start to commit to change. In the world of search, these prospects would likely fall in the informational intent bucket of all the search intent types below. 

Types of Search Intent:

  • Navigational Intent: users are looking to find a specific page
  • Informational Intent: uses want to learn more about a specific topic or idea
  • Commercial Intent: users are actively researching before making a purchase decision
  • Transactional Intent: users are ready to make the purchase or specific action

What does this mean? Prospects are ready to learn what your brand has to share. At this stage of the funnel or customer journey, your goal should be to create visibility and establish credibility as an expert voice in your respective industry. 

Top-of-funnel content IS:

  • Informative and educational, providing value without requiring immediate commitment 
  • Positioned to address pain points or challenges faced by your target audience
  • Come in a variety of format types to speak to every key buyer personas

Top-of-funnel content is NOT:

  • Overly promotional or sales-pitchy
  • Brand or product-centric, avoid mention of specific offerings 
  • Gated or limited in access, avoid creating hurdles like form fills to access the content

The Golden Ratio?

Enter the 40-40-20 rule. In my search to answer the question posed earlier – “Is there a golden ratio of top, middle, and bottom funnel content?” I stumbled upon the idea of a 40-40-20 breakdown. 

This framework suggests allocating 40% of your resources to developing top-of-funnel content, 40% to middle-funnel content and 20% to bottom-funnel content. 

Looking at the shape of a traditional marketing funnel, the width of the funnel starts at its largest and decreases in size as you move downward. With that visual in mind, we can make a claim for why content for higher stages of the funnel may require more of your team’s time in creation. 

As an avenue to attract and nurture leads as a part of the long-term buyers journey, TOFU content needs to span multiple topic areas at a high volume to stay top of mind for prospects. In turn, this also means you and your team need to constantly dedicate time to thinking about and working on what content needs to be produced next. 

This rule, at the most, should serve as a reminder that top-of-funnel content matters. Although I wouldn’t go splitting hairs trying to perfect your top, middle and bottom funnel content distribution, I would use this rule as loose guidance as you continue to adapt your content strategy

Top of Funnel Content Matters!

In summary, finding the right mix of top, middle, and bottom-funnel content is like creating a recipe – it’s all about balance. While top-of-funnel content may not be the grand finale with prospects, think of it as the friendly usher at the beginning of your customer’s journey. As we close, remember to give that top-of-funnel content the attention it deserves to set the stage for marketing success.