How Strong ToFu Content Rocks Linkbuilding & Sales
Do you like cold soup? How about cold calls?
I can almost hear you thinking “not really” — and as you’d expect, no one does. Your customers are wising up to warmer approaches and becoming increasingly immune to cold calls, ads, and even email outreach.
Kevin Dorsey — an InsideSales Top 10 Sales Leader, LinkedIn Top Sales Voice 2020, Salesforce Top 16 Sales Influencers to Follow, and VP of Inside Sales at PatientPop Inc. — agrees that cold calls will get really difficult in the next few years.
Already, brands big and small are getting slapped with fines and backlash for unsolicited selling. The only way your brand can effectively reach and convert your audience is if you’re able to capture and retain their attention with well-crafted Top of the Funnel (ToFu) content.
Keep reading to learn actionable ToFu strategies that generate more SaaS links and sales.
What is ToFu content?
I’m assuming you’re aware of the typical customer journey along the conversion funnel. It essentially looks like this:
So, ToFu content is all about generating brand visibility on Google search and social media, and educating and entertaining the visitors that land on your website.
When crafted well, ToFu content helps create a strong first impression on cold visitors by providing them with relevant and helpful information, retaining them on your website, and ultimately nudging them to drip down to the next (consideration) stage of the funnel.
Examples of ToFu content include in-depth blog posts, how-to guides, appealing infographics, explainer YouTube videos, etc.
(PS: the article you’re reading is an example of ToFu content!)
Whereas, middle and bottom of the funnel (aka MoFu and BoFu) content includes more salesy stuff like:
- MoFu: Webinars, eBooks, templates, etc.
- BoFu: Case studies, success stories, product demos, etc.
With the basics in place, let’s look into some of the top ToFu content strategies that work well for SaaS brands.
ToFu strategies that generate more sales
Here are a couple of strategies that’ll help you create ToFu content that ranks on the first page of Google, drives click-throughs, and converts those visitors into customers.
1. Focus on the deliverable, not the service
Yes, having a powerful value proposition is essential. But many brands get stuck on their value propositions, which won’t lead to a win when it comes to attracting people with content.
For example, let’s say you want more eyeballs on your AI tool that uses predictive analytics to help marketers increase conversions, minimize churn, etc.
If the bulk of the content you produce is on core predictive analytics and AI — highly technical stuff most executives don’t give two hoots about — then you’re not going to attract, let alone retain or convert your audience.
You need to flip the switch and look at the outcome that your tool delivers. What will your audience get? What is your brand going to do for them? It’s the same concept for ToFu content.
Your ideal customer profiles (ICPs) are often not aware of the what and how of your service, so it's not a great talking point. And there's no point targeting those keywords as there's little-to-no search volume.
In short, niche-specific SaaS brands should produce content, not around their actual service but the problems they solve. This means comprehensive blog posts packed with actionable advice, easy-to-read listicles, or data-driven infographics.
Make your audience more aware of how they can solve a given problem, and then subtly slip in your tool. This strategy works better if you want your content to convert.
Speaking of keywords…
2. Find the right keywords
Continuing along the same lines, you need to find the right keywords (in terms of search intent) for your ToFu content.
Consider the AI tool example. Yes, people do search for “how to use predictive analytics”, but in terms of intent, these users are less likely to lead to sales than ones who search for “how to reduce customer churn”. That’s because people who have more intent to convert would search for answers to their actual problem, and may not know the technical solutions that’ll help them get there.
Plus, if you compare the search volume for “how to use predictive analytics” (i.e. your service) vs. “how to reduce customer churn” (i.e. your solution), the numbers favor the latter.
Another hint: to compare the conversion intent of keywords, look at the ad CPC (the higher, the better).
Now, long-tail keywords work great here. These usually consist of four or more words, and tend to have direct questions such as “how to do X” or “what X should I use”.
The specificity of long-tail keywords means they have a lower search volume, but they attract high-intent cold traffic that’s willing to warm up — if served high-quality ToFu content. Long-tail keywords convert 2.5x more than short (aka head) keywords.
So in our example, people might search for something like “how to reduce customer churn in marketing operations” if they have a high conversion intent.
ToFu strategies that generate more links
If your focus is on earning more links, consider the following couple of strategies that are proven to drive high-quality inbound links, particularly for SaaS and eCommerce brands.
1. Create pillar articles
Unless you’re new to marketing, you’re aware of the content topic cluster model.
It comprises three key elements: a central pillar page (the ultimate, most comprehensive content piece on the topic), the cluster content (individual articles covering each subtopic), and strategic internal links between the cluster content and the central pillar article to tie all of it together.
This strategy is working well for brands like HubSpot, Ahrefs, Byrdie, and many more.
Because by individually covering every topic under a broad subject, organizing the content for easy navigation, and contextually linking the articles to the pillar post, the pillar-cluster combo serves to build an impressive repository of content to educate and retain prospects.
It’s one of the best ways for SaaS brands to showcase their expertise and authority on the subject, instilling trust in their audience.
Besides, it's much easier to build backlinks to pillar content pieces (listicles, ultimate guides, etc.) than it is to BoFu or promotional pieces. Google loves internal links and long-form content, so the pillar page doesn’t just provide a great experience for visitors — it tells Google that your website is a relevant and reliable source.
Typeform's Brand Awareness pillar page is a fine example of a pillar page done right: it’s easy to navigate, appealing, and extensive.
Here are the high-level steps involved in building a pillar-cluster content model on your website:
- Research topics and concepts you wish to rank for.
- List the keywords (both head and long-tail) and questions people ask on the topic.
- Create super-comprehensive pillar content (the ultimate guide), covering all keywords and questions, sparing no expense.
- Create corresponding cluster content pieces on each subtopic.
- Link each cluster content piece to the pillar page (and to each other, contextually) and vice versa.
- Promote the pillar page like there’s no tomorrow.
- Frequently update the pillar content to keep it evergreen.
Here’s a great guide to dive deep into these steps.
2. Focus on Link Asset Strategy
Another great way to generate high-quality links is to use the link asset strategy. We implemented this strategy for Amerisleep, a high-growth eCommerce furniture brand, and scaled their link building to a whole new level.
Here’s essentially how it works:
After creating “linkable content” aka “link assets” around the sleep and wellness niche (the client’s forte), we designed a link-building campaign to link to the client's best work. This involved building SEO links to the client's landing pages and ToFu content. We also worked to get the client PR links to increase their PR foundation.
The client’s referring domains stood at 3,879 in April 2020, and by August 2021, it hit 11,261. That's a 290% increase in referring domains, along with a 400% increase in organic traffic.
Keep fun at the top
Don’t forget the fun part in “top of the funnel”.
That is, the best part about ToFu content is how you can have so many interesting topics to touch upon, but at the same time, you can still serve your target audience in a way that benefits them, optimize the content for link and lead generation, and ultimately, realize long-term ROI.
Oh, and if your ToFu content is bland — like the tofu people eat — you’re not going to see any tangible results. For it to drive real results, it needs to be tangy.
Need help with that? With Mediaberry’s carefully vetted content chefs and a relationship-based link-building approach, we can cook some scrumptious ToFu content and distribute it on high-authority, relevant publications to earn juicy links and leads for your brand.
Check out our scalable content and link-building services to learn more!