written by
Dayana Mayfield

From Awareness to Conversion: B2B Content Marketing Funnel Guide

Content Marketing Lead Generation 10 min read

The B2B buying process is complicated. The average number of interactions required to convert a customer has recently jumped from 17 to 27! Fortunately, your B2B content marketing funnel can handle many interactions on autopilot.

A great funnel generates, nurtures, and converts leads—allowing buyers to self-serve the entire journey, or reach out to sales when they’re ready.

Your funnel also ensures that you’re not just driving traffic. SEO rankings mean nothing if you’re not capturing leads and bringing in new customers.

This guide to B2B content marketing funnels covers the strategies, ideas, and tools you need.

Table of contents:

B2B content marketing funnel essentials

To create an effective B2B content marketing funnel, you need these key elements:

  • Content for every funnel stage
  • The right content channels and formats
  • Software for producing content and tracking results

Below, we dive into these essentials in more detail.

Content for every funnel stage

At a high level, every B2B content marketing funnel has 3 stages:

  1. Top of funnel - Content relevant to your target audience and your topic, but not your product specifically.
  2. Middle of funnel - Content relevant to the problems your product solves and the results your product delivers.
  3. Bottom of funnel - Content relevant to searching and choosing a solution.
content marketing funnel
How The Buyer's Journey Aligns with Your Content Marketing Funnel

Defining these stages for your unique industry, business, and buying cycle is important. You need to determine the content your audience needs in each stage.

For example, if you’re selling a CRM, the funnel stages might look like this:

  1. Top of funnel - Learning about lead generation, revenue growth strategy, retention, and aquisition.
  2. Middle of funnel - Researching lead capture, CRM automation campaigns, and CRM best practices.
  3. Bottom of funnel - Vetting CRM software, features, competitors, integrations, and implementation.

When you understand your funnel stages, creating content that will impact your bottom line is easier.

The right content channels and formats

You need the right channels and content to match to create a winning B2B content marketing funnel.

Here are the most popular B2B marketing channels (with the top formats for each):

  • SEO - Blog posts, landing pages, ungated ebooks, content libraries, and free online toolkits (with optimized landing pages)
  • PPC - Search ads, display ads, and social media ads
  • LinkedIn - Carousels, text-based posts, short-form videos, images, live video interviews
  • Virtual events - Webinars, tutorials, interviews, conferences, summits, and panels
  • Lead magnets - Ebooks, templates, swipe files, quizzes, assessments, audits, checklists, email courses, and video courses
  • Conversational marketing - Automated chatbot sequences for collecting leads, nurturing leads, and sharing content assets at scale

Software for producing content and tracking results

You also need the right software to supercharge your content team’s productivity and track ROI.

StoryChief is a content collaboration platform that offers:

Later on in this article, we’ll dive into how you can manage your B2B content marketing funnel with StoryChief. But for now, note that the software you use is a major component of funnel success.

Without the right tools, your team will struggle with manual work and inefficient processes. If your content is spread in different project management software, docs, and platforms, not only will your productivity suffer, but it will be nearly impossible to report on the success of your content.

45 ideas for every stage of your B2B content marketing funnel

Below, we’ve got dozens of ideas that can work a variety of content channels and formats.

Top-of-funnel (TOFU) content ideas

For all of these top-of-funnel content ideas, make sure to apply them to your target audience. For example, if the idea is “top challenges” and your target audience is office managers, the content idea would be “top challenges for office managers.”

Remember that in the world of B2B, you’re speaking to professionals. So your TOFU content should be relevant to their roles. What do they want to achieve in their current job? What do they want their career to look like? Anything that helps them solve problems in their day-to-day work life and the plan for the future is fair game.

Also, remember that with these ideas, you don’t necessarily have to create all of the content from scratch. You can also curate it. For instance, instead of creating a course to help office managers advance in their careers, you could write an article with a list of top-notch professional development resources, like courses, forums, and job boards.

TOFU ideas:

  1. Top challenges
  2. Common goals and objectives
  3. Productivity trends
  4. Professional development resources
  5. Top lessons learned from pros (that match your target customer)
  6. Best sources of inspiration for fresh ideas and approaches
  7. Best influencers or content creators to follow
  8. Top frameworks, methods, or strategies
  9. Checklists for popular projects or tasks
  10. Answers to frequently asked questions
  11. Guidance on how to solve a common problem
  12. Tutorials on common tasks
  13. Examples of great work relating to their job (copy, design, or task organization examples)
  14. Quotes relating to their job or core responsibilities
  15. Templates to help them achieve a task faster

Examples of great TOFU content

This Toptal blog post on UX design for Gen Z is a great example of top-of-funnel content because it solves a specific problem (how do you design for the Gen Z aesthetic?) for a specific audience (UX designers).

YouTube is full of great top-of-funnel content. For example, this video on customer success certifications and courses helps new CSMs understand what sort of training they need to enter the industry. It serves as a clear, straightforward answer to a common question.

To create your own TOFU content, start by listing out all of the questions and pain points your customers have. Then address the top issues in terms of commonality and severity.

Middle-of-funnel (MOFU) content ideas

These middle-of-funnel content ideas can help you meet the needs of buyers who know they have a problem and know that solutions exist—but are unsure which solutions are right for them.

When people are solution-aware but not yet provider-aware, they need a variety of resources to help them figure out which solutions are right for them. Articles, videos, and social posts on the different types of solutions can be very helpful to your target audience.

MOFU ideas:

  1. The benefits of your product category or topic
  2. Different types of relevant products or services and how to select the right one
  3. The benefits of using a product or solution like yours
  4. The possible ROI of using a product or solution like yours
  5. Tutorials on how to use your category of products
  6. A roundup list of essential products and services to manage their role better
  7. How to outsource effectively
  8. How to budget and prioritize the products and services they need
  9. How to consolidate their tech stack relating to your product category
  10. Tips for managing a team
  11. Tips for reporting on the success of their role
  12. Tips for getting buy-in on new initiatives
  13. Tips for prioritizing and organizing their work
  14. Tips for collaborating with a critical department or executive
  15. How to assess their needs and requirements

Examples of great MOFU content

Gong is a popular revenue intelligence platform. In the resources section of their website, they have a Revenue Intelligence Maturity Assessment that helps revenue leaders assess their current sophistication regarding how they manage deals, operate as a team, use software, research their market, and more.

Quiz takers can discover where they fall on the maturity scale: Emerging, Developing, Transforming, and Transcending.

Whether or not they choose Gong, this quiz will help them better understand their current strengths and weaknesses. It’s a perfect example of middle-of-funnel content because it generates leads and helps them discover the help they need. The quiz makes leads better equipped to make a buying decision and naturally progresses them down the funnel.

This blog post on the different types of marketing software is another great example of B2B middle-of-funnel content.

Bottom-of-funnel (BOFU) content ideas

With these bottom-of-funnel content ideas, you can help customers make the right decision. At this stage of the funnel, you should act as a trusted advisor. A great salesperson doesn’t try to push their product but rather asks the right questions to check if the person is a fit for the solution. In the same vein, you should serve as the buyer’s guide and walk them through the process of vetting and choosing a solution.

BOFU ideas:

  1. Competitor comparisons
  2. Competitor alternative roundups
  3. Case studies
  4. Behind-the-scenes tips and advice from your team
  5. Why your company offers a certain product or service
  6. The average ROI of your product or service
  7. How to calculate the ROI of your product or service
  8. The emotional ROI of your product or service (or the ROI that’s hard to track)
  9. Demos of your product or service
  10. Your onboarding or implementation process
  11. The systems or workflows your company integrates with
  12. Tips on how customers can make the most out of your product or service
  13. The ideal times and situations to implement your product or service
  14. Implementation advice from your customers
  15. How to vet and purchase your product or service

Examples of great BOFU content

Looking for an easy SEO win? Write alternatives articles for all of your competitors. This blog from HelpScout targets the keyphrase “Intercom alternatives.” It’s a great example of BOFU content because it takes provider-aware buyers and makes them aware of your solution (not just your competitor’s solution).

TravelPerk has an ebook that walks customers through how to choose a travel management solution. With this type of content, you want to be careful to be helpful and informative, not overly salesy or fluffy. One look at the table of contents and you can see that it’s a comprehensive buyer’s guide.

If your B2B product or service is also a considered purchase that affects many different people in your company, consider copying this example and coming up with an ebook that helps buyers understand what features and elements to check for (and why).

Check out these B2B content marketing ideas for even more inspiration, and grab our free content marketing toolkit to bring in more leads.

5 smart ways you can manage your B2B content funnel with StoryChief

The StoryChief platform covers the entire content marketing funnel for B2B, from creation and collaboration to publishing and ROI analysis.

1. Content collaboration, briefing and approval

Thanks to the built-in content collaboration feature, you can brief and assign content creators, then review and approve their work.

You can speed up your briefing process by creating templates for different editorial briefs, or let our AI Power Mode generate a content brief for you. The AI-generated content brief covers: Topic, Audience, Objective, Tone of voice, Key points to cover.

2. SEO optimization

StoryChief offers built-in optimization tools to check SEO and readability. We include actionable tips to improve your scores. This serves as a great way to manage remote writers and ensure that they’re creating content up to your standards.

3. Multichannel content publishing

With StoryChief, you can publish to multiple channels in a single click. This means that there’s no more copying and pasting content from Google Docs to your CMS or social channels. Publish to your blog, Medium, your email marketing software, and your social media channels from one central location.

Plus, you can send content to small groups of email contacts and Slack as part of your employee advocacy process.

4. Evergreen content promotion

It’s also easy to set up evergreen content promotion. Let’s say you’ve just created a new guide you want to promote for the entire year. You can set up social media posts in your content calendar and easily adjust the different versions for each platform.

5. Content funnel analytics

StoryChief also offers analytics and reporting on your blog content, social media, and other channels.

Set up custom fields for each stage of your B2B content marketing funnel and then assign those as tags for every piece of content. Then, you’ll automatically collect insights into top-performing content, views, and engagement for each funnel stage.

Turning your knowledge into practice

To create a funnel that attracts, nurtures, and converts leads, you need not only the right content, but the right tools. Ready to optimize your B2B content funnel? Create and analyze content with StoryChief.