There will always be pressure to quickly turn brand awareness into direct action, but with 47% of engaged audiences still often needing to see between 3 and 5 pieces of content or information from a company before conversion (HubSpot), the middle of the funnel is where the real battle for hearts and minds is won.

Let’s be honest from the start; getting this right takes time and effort. However, without a strong middle-of-funnel strategy, you are asking prospects to take a much greater risk, without full information. It is a leap of faith most consumers won’t take when buying for themselves, so in a B2B setting when it is an individual who is accountable for what are often high-cost, low frequency buying decisions the case for their decision needs to be solid.

What is middle of the funnel content

It has been election season, so let’s borrow one of the most enduring soundbites of the last thirty years – the middle of the funnel is about “education, education, education”.

The middle of the funnel is where you need to educate, inform and interest your audience with a wide range of regular, pertinent, high-quality content. This builds and substantiates the credibility and authority of a brand, helping move a buyer along the funnel that eventually leads to a conversion.

This can come in a range of formats, from the tried and trusted case studies and testimonials to the use of podcasts, video interviews and webinar series that invite active engagement between the brand and its interested stakeholders.

In the right place at the right time

Creating the content is only part of the work – the next key task is to place that content in spaces that interested prospects will see it.

This is where the PESO model can help to determine how to approach a middle of the funnel strategy, by categorising the different kinds of content that can be created and how it can be distributed into the wider world.

PESO is shorthand for:

Paid media: all the content that can only be seen with budget investment

Earned media: positive content that is earned through regular contact with the media eco-system, from publication platforms, to customer review sites, and third-party endorsements

Shared media: much harder to control and anticipate, but this is what happens to your content once it is out in the world.

Owned media: all the proprietary content that you create and host on your own controlled platforms, such as product or service data sheets, EPDs

PESO scaled

Now you have determined what form content can take, you can start to develop what the content will deliver to the audience. As a starting point try to answer these questions:

Where does the expertise of your brand lie?

What can your products and services do that other brands in your competitor category cannot?

What challenge does the application of your product or service solve for a customer?

Most importantly – how can you substantiate the assertions with real world evidence or third-party endorsement?

Pique interest

The next step is how to communicate this in an interesting way. It needs to be noted that Google has made high-quality content its top-ranking criterion for search engine optimisation, meaning there isn’t yet an AI substitute for interesting, authentic content.

Think of it this way – why should someone spend time reading something you have spent no time writing?

This doesn’t mean that you need to write an academic essay every week on an obscure subject only your customers are interested in. Google is also encouraging the proliferation of interactive and video led content, which offers different ways to create, engage and distribute content.

Interview-led content, for example, can help achieve a range of content outcomes.

Interviewing an expert from your company on a particular issue can generate:


1. Video content that can be clipped for use on social media

2. Audio content that can also be clipped and used on web pages

3. The transcriptions can be used as the basis of social media posts and blog content

4. The key points of the interview can be the basis of designed creative

5. Use the interview content to find a real-life example of a satisfied customer or actual case study


You can quickly develop a plan that ensure the engaging, useful, interesting middle of the funnel content can keep coming.

The middle of the funnel in the real world

So, this is all very neat and straightforward and working from theoretical frameworks can keep someone busy all year round – but it means nothing once you’re out in the actual world, right?

Well, let’s take a very interactive example of the entire marketing funnel in action – a company stand at an exhibition, because construction and industrial brands love an exhibition stand – to demonstrate how a missing middle of funnel function has a very real impact

The top of the funnel is the visible stand with the company name at the top. The bottom of the funnel is a troop of salespeople all wearing matching corporate t-shirts, and a huge smile (at the start of day one at least), ready to speak to all the exhibition footfall that comes their way.

Afterall, an exhibition stand should at the very least provide access to a knowledgeable audience, that if not already engaged with your brand, then at least aware of the kind of services and products that are on offer.

The trouble is too many companies spend a lot of their marketing budget on the top and bottom elements and completely forget the middle bit of the funnel: what are you trying to say to this exhibition audience that is going to inform, educate or interest them?

Think about the last industry exhibition you attended. If it was a key show on the calendar, all the big players in your sector were there, with the event almost set up like the entire sector marketplace come to life.


1. What do you remember most from the show?

2. What did you learn about an issue that is affecting your business and who educated you?

3. Did you look them up after the show?

4. Did you make a note to return to their product or services next time you need to make a buying decision?


Now think about your own brand’s presence at an exhibition. What conversation are your salespeople going to be able to have with a passing delegate?

If you have not considered this fully, all you have invested a sizeable chunk of your time and financial resources in is an expensive piece of carpet to keep your salespeople on for an entire week.

Be the resource you think your industry is missing

With a blank sheet of paper and a clock ticking, developing a sustainable middle of the funnel approach can be daunting – and can lead you to ‘looking over the garden fence’ to see what your nearest peers are getting up to, just to try and emulate them. But don’t fall into that trap in panic.

Take a breath and ask yourself a question to find some clarity: what resource is your industry missing?

Can you use your middle-of-funnel content to fill a gap in knowledge, or to start a conversation about an issue that isn’t being given enough thought by the wider sector? The advantage to this approach is if your brand is able to say something original, it is not just potential leads working their way towards a purchase that will be interested – news media and other content providers will want a fresh perspective for their own use.

Use your opportunity to be seen as an industry educator and expert and let the marketing and media eco-system start to bring prospects to you.

Furthermore, this approach just might give your sales team enough to say to turn polite conversations into potential conversions next time your brand sets up shop at a sizeable exhibition.

Anthony Walker

PR Director