ToFu, MoFu, BoFu: Marketing Acronyms That Help PRs

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This is a guest post by Scott Yates. Scott is the CEO of BlogMutt, and is a former writer and PR pro. He also doesn’t like tofu.

In the same way that American Airlines and Alcoholics Anonymous are radically different yet share an acronym, now vegetarians and Asian bean curd fans need to share the word “tofu” with marketers using “ToFu.”

ToFu MoFu BoFu - PR

It’s short for “Top of Funnel” and MoFu and BoFu then are the middle and bottom of the funnel. It’s the shorthand way of talking about prospects, and where they are in the decision making process. No matter what a company is selling, there are people who are in some stage of making a buying decision, and in nearly all cases the prospects can be divided into those three groups.

How does this relate to PR?

Well, there once was a time when PR was just related to the interplay between an organization and the press. We don’t have to tell you that those days are over. The “press” has been completely turned inside out, so now one customer review on Amazon can have as much impact as a story on the NBC Nightly News.

Where success in the old days was clipping out a newspaper article with a favorable mention and taking it to your boss, now PR professionals need to show success that is tightly integrated with your organization’s overall growth goals in mind.

So, here are some tips for each stage of the funnel:

ToFu: The sweet spot for good PR

Dessert Tofu - ToFu

The greatest sales team in the world can’t close deals if they don’t have leads. Every organization needs prospective buyers to find out, at a minimum, the name of the company and what the company is selling.

If you are lucky enough to work for Burger King or Sony then your job is more nuanced. For most of us, the competition isn’t really other companies doing the same thing, it’s potential customers who just want to keep the status quo and not do anything different ever.

And those potential customers can keep the status quo if they don’t know there’s an alternative. That’s why your job is to do great PR. With tremendous effort, careful planning, and exuberant execution, you can pierce the bubble that people create around themselves and let them know that your solutions exist, and that they have a name. This blog is full of tips of how to do all that.

When you do, be sure to let your boss know. Do not tell your boss that you had a PR victory, even if you did. Say that you’ve helped fill that Top of the Funnel. That nuanced difference will make all the difference in the company’s view of you.

MoFu: Educate, inform, entertain

MoFu - PR and Sales

As someone who can write press releases, you’ve probably also been asked to write blog posts.


It’s true, writing blog posts is an entirely different animal, and if you can’t do it, fear not! There are content writing services out there.

But don’t underestimate the power of a blog. There are three things that a blog can help you with that nothing else comes close to:

  1. Search. All the experts are very clear that blogging is really the only “trick” left in the world of Search Engine Optimization.
  2. Small Talk. Prospective customers want to know if you are able to solve their problems, but they also want to know that you are friendly and accessible. When you meet someone in person you don’t launch into a sales pitch… you make some small talk first. A blog is the internet version of that.
  3. Currency. Many prospects, when comparing you to competitors, just want to see that you are active and engaged in your business. If your competitor’s blog is three months out of date and you blogged yesterday, you have a huge leg up.

It’s not classic PR, but if you can help those prospects move through the Middle of the Funnel with some great content, you’ll be a valuable part of this crucial aspect of your company’s sales funnel.

BoFu: Best tip you’ll read all week

BoFu - Marketing Acronyms for PR

Traditionally PR is not involved in closing the sale. That’s just the way it is.

Want to be a standout PR person beloved by the sales team? Here’s a tip that will make you a hero.

Once a month or so, just wander over to the desk of a salesperson and ask them this question: “What’s an objection that you get in the sales process, and what’s your response?”

Why do you want to know that? Here’s why: The objection — with a bit of editing — will make a fabulous blog headline. The answer — with your deft hands at the keyboard — will make a great blog post.

When the salesperson sees that post, they will look so smart and they will give you lots of credit. Try it just once, and you’ll be hooked.

Image: Vegan Feast Catering , yoppy, Charlene Mullenweg, (Creative Commons)

About Brian Conlin

Brian Conlin is a content marketing manager for Cision. A former journalist, he enjoys researching and developing accessible content. When not writing, you will find him watching baseball and college basketball, sampling craft beer and enjoying Baltimore. Find him on Twitter @BrianConlin13.

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