How to Develop a SaaS Content Marketing Strategy [The Ultimate Build-Out]
View my original article here.
SaaS companies, in particular, use content in their marketing funnels to educate, expand, and convert their web traffic. However, as content marketing becomes more popular, cutting through the noise is more challenging than ever.
It’s easy to spend thousands on content creation. But without a content marketing strategy, many SaaS founders give up long before enjoying the fruits of their labor.
Content marketing isn’t like pay-per-click or other advertisements; it combines investment with time to achieve results. And as SaaS companies begin investing in this marketing strategy, it’s essential to understand that a little planning — and patience — goes a long way.
Content marketing means having a strategy and consistently dedicating resources to it for the long-term. While you might spend time publishing content for your SaaS, your content creation and marketing strategy are essential for success.
Things to Think About for Your Content Creation Strategy
Marketing the content is crucial. But you need content to market first. This is where a SaaS content creation strategy will guide your efforts.
Here are some questions to consider as you determine which content you’ll create:
- Who is your content for? Who are the specific groups of people you’re trying to reach? Segment your audience and create content for a single member of each audience.
- What does your audience want to see? Which topics will you cover? Think about how you will provide value.
- When should you publish? Is once a week often enough? Think about the frequency you should publish to maintain engagement and provide consistent value.
- Where will your traffic come from? Will you focus on organic or paid search? Also, consider using guest posts and emails.
- What are your goals? How will you accomplish those goals with content? Keep your SaaS’s objectives in mind as you create a content marketing strategy for your SaaS.
- Which SaaS content marketing tools will you use? Are you familiar with any content marketing strategy tools? Later in this article, I’ll list some tools to support or automate several legs of your overall strategy.
Let’s discuss how to answer these questions a bit more in-depth.
1. The Who
Is a fisherman who casts a net out into the ocean likely to catch the massive trophy fish he wants? Of course not.
He’ll pull in anything in front of the net.
But what if he uses a fish finder, bait, and a sturdy rod to find, attract, and land a prize fish? He bypasses the small tuna and targets the catch of his life!
The same goes for your content. You’ll use your content strategy to target your ideal users. So keep these people in mind as you’re planning content.
Segment your audience. Then, find a real member of each segment. Determine their pain points, and learn how you can give them value in your content.
Take a moment and think about who you want to consume your content. These are real people.
Maybe you have an ideal customer you’ve been working with for a while. Or perhaps you’ve been following someone on LinkedIn and think they’d be awesome to work with.
Regardless of who these people are, create a comprehensive content strategy to cover their pain-points. But keep in mind, your personas should be attached to real people you’re targeting.
There are a number of ways you can learn more about your ideal user. From sending out a questionnaire to striking up a conversation, it’s never a bad idea to engage with current users and potential users to learn how your SaaS can appeal to them.
2. The What
So what’s the best way to choose blog post topics for a SaaS? Well, regardless of the content format, the best blog post topics work off one another. They should interconnect to form a full-fledged content marketing strategy with SEO best practices in mind.
Consider your blog an ever-growing source of information and inspiration. As you cover more topics, you’ll go more in-depth about the core topics that intrigue your audience.
Conduct keyword research and include keywords in your content where applicable. Of course, the name of the game isn’t saturation. Sprinkle keywords in without making it too obvious.
Build upon topics, covering them completely. You can even create content surrounding the same topic for weeks on end at times. The goal here is to cover these topics from every angle.
Since you want your SaaS to appear in search engines, it doesn’t matter if you’re covering the same topic. Search engines will give web traffic the right content without forcing them to sift through your other content covering a similar topic.
The majority of your blog post topics should include keyword research and feedback. Keyword research will help you determine entry points for your web traffic.
You’ll determine which keywords will get you web traffic into the top and middle of your marketing funnel. The topics you’ll cover in the top of your funnel should address high-level topics. You’re increasing awareness of your brand at this point.
Through the middle of your funnel, you can tie common customer problems to the solution you offer. This is where you’ll begin incorporating feedback from your sales and support team.
For the bottom of your marketing funnel, speak with your sales and support team. Use this feedback to determine what will convert your leads after you’ve nurtured them. This stage will involve content specifically highlighting your product.
3. The Frequency
Is there such a thing as publishing too often? The short answer is “yes.” But let’s cover this a bit more in-depth.
The main goal of your content is to provide value — value attracts, maintains, and retains SaaS users. However, if you’re publishing too often, you’re probably publishing short or fluff-filled content that lacks value.
Don’t do that.
Instead, create a publishing schedule you can adhere to without violating your budget.
Regardless of what you can afford, scaling publishing volume is challenging.
As you publish more, you’ll likely have to sacrifice quality. And as your standards drop, so does your audience.
Depending on your capacity or budget, these are the publishing schedules we use while planning our clients’ publishing frequency:
- 1 article/week
- 1 lead generation ebook/quarter
Small Business Level:
- 2 articles/week
- 1 ebook/quarter
- 4 articles/week
- 2 ebooks/quarter
Then, of course, we market the content.
While the Startup Level might seem inadequate, you’ll publish 52 articles annually. Even though publishing more high-quality posts is better, posting an article per week is a good place to start.
In the graph pictured above, you can see the indexed traffic grows with more posts. However, if there aren’t enough hours in a week to create content or you don’t have the budget, posting once a week or even once every two weeks can still bring results.
4. The Where
Think about where you’ll get your traffic. With any SaaS content marketing strategy, recurring acquisition channels play a key role. Sure, you can find new users with a Reddit or Indie Hackers post. But these aren’t the most reliable channels.
While some channels can push viewers to your content, the main channels SaaS content creation strategies can find long-term success with include organic search, email lists, and groups.
Organic search is usually the main priority for any SaaS company. Well, at least it should be. And why not? As you gain traction in search engines, you establish and expand your company’s audience and reach.
To achieve optimized results in search engines, here’s what you’ll need to consider:
- External Linking: External links, also known as “outbound links,” are links from other websites (ideally, authoritative) that increase your site’s authority and web traffic organically. Generally speaking, these links require some outreach to establish relationships. However, these links can improve your organic search and help your content reach people outside your immediate audience.
- Content Competitiveness: Analyze your competition. See what they’re posting to rank on search engines. Keep in mind, longer content usually outperforms shorter pieces. Despite Seth Godin’s success publishing short blog articles, long-form content pieces can include more long-tail keywords. These long-form pieces give you the chance to cover topics in their totality, helping your SaaS to stand out amidst the noise.
- Content Saturation: You could be publishing too often. If this is the case, your site could suffer from content saturation. This is a rather tedious fix, involving deleting, refreshing, or repurposing content that’s not getting traffic. However, it’s essential if you’re looking to achieve the best SaaS SEO possible.
- Internal Linking: A SaaS SEO strategy should include internal linking throughout its site. Each post should be internally linked to related posts. This tells search engines your content is relevant and organizes your content in a way that decreases your bounce rate.
- Technical SEO: If you’re not familiar with technical SEO, you can also hire an SEO consultant. This involves handling your site structure, navigation bar, meta descriptions, canonical links, and more.
Consider your email list as your personal marketing channel. These lists help SaaS companies keep in touch with users, as well as work leads through a marketing funnel. Here are the emails SaaS founders find the most success with:
- Weekly Value-Driven Newsletter: Maintain engagement with your readers by sending out a weekly content newsletter.
- Product Update Emails: Keep your users up to date on your software. You can use these emails to show how your SaaS solves common problems.
- Free Email Course: You can incorporate a pop-up on your site to offer a free email course. This is one way to generate leads for the top of your marketing funnel. These email courses don’t have to be lengthy. However, the key here is to provide free value.
- Subscriber Welcome Series: Use these emails to welcome your new users and explain your product. You’ll elaborate on what your software does and how your users can get the most of it.
- Trial Onboarding Series: These emails should include helpful documentation and content to welcome, educate, and inspire your users.
- Recurring Emails: You can automate these emails in accordance with user usage. Use these emails to encourage and guide users towards getting as much value from your SaaS as possible.
Social media is always a component of content marketing for SaaS companies. But it doesn’t always involve paid promotion.
Groups on social media platforms encourage SaaS founders to connect, engage, and share with their users. However, these groups can also generate leads for your funnel, as well.
LinkedIn and Facebook offer some of the most commonly used group options. Both platforms can be leveraged as part of a SaaS content sharing strategy to encourage engagement and conversions as you build a community.
Some of the most successful SaaS groups forge communities around common interests or problems. They use the qualities of their ideal customers to create a group composed of targeted leads.
So what’s the difference between using Facebook and LinkedIn for group creation?
Well, Facebook has more users (2.5 billion monthly active users) and encourages personal connections. On the other hand, Linked is more for professionals (and has 675 million members spread across 200 countries and regions worldwide) and promotes professional networking.
You can also promote your content in other popular groups. If your users are particularly active in a certain group, reach out to the admins and ask if you can post. Most admins will let you include their groups in your content promotion strategy, as long as your content adds value to their groups, of course.
5. The Influencers
It’s easy to roll our eyes at influencer marketing. That is, if we don’t look at the facts first.
Influencers can play a significant role in sharing content and reaching potential users. Influencer Marketing Hub conducted a survey in 2019 to show the success some businesses experience through influencer marketing.
Only the bottom 25 percent of businesses failed to generate revenue through influencer marketing. The top 13 percent of businesses earned $20 or more for every $1 they spent.
However, most businesses are earning $5.20 for every $1 they’re spending.
Still, this is impressive when considering the minimal effort outreach requires.
But how do you find influencers for SaaS?
Well, the easiest method is to search for people in your field. You can use related hashtags and key search terms to find these influencers on social media platforms.
Once you find them, you can send a cold pitch either in their comments or direct message them. If you’re not having luck with influencers, try establishing a relationship with them first.
Comment on, share, and post their content. This is a small investment of time that could prove beneficial when it comes time to request a share.
I’ll list a few tools towards the end of this article to help you find influencers for your SaaS.
6. The Goals
You can travel without a destination. But where are you really going? The same goes for content marketing.
Determine your short- and long-term goals before you set out to accomplish them. This will encourage you to work on your SaaS marketing long-term.
Are you looking for more traffic? Email subscribers for your marketing funnel? To increase awareness through your blog?
Set KPIs to measure your success; it’s not all about conversions, especially when your SaaS is just beginning with content marketing.
Your blog doesn’t necessarily have to promote growth. Instead, it can inform people about your SaaS product.
Sometimes, a blog highlights problems potential users didn’t even know they had, positioning the SaaS as a solution.
You could use content to urge web traffic to subscribe for more value. Or this content can push web traffic towards some other action that leads them further into your funnel.
Most readers won’t convert the first time they come to your site. However, many will be ready at a later date.
7. The How
Content marketing tools cover several avenues. Between SEO and research, content creation, email, promotion and conversion, workflow, automation, and analytics tools, it’s essential to determine how you’ll create, promote, and track your efforts.
So let’s talk about SaaS content marketing tools.
SEO & Research
- Ahrefs: The industry standard for tracking links and conducting keyword research.
- Google Search Console: Suite of helpful tools from Google, including tools for checking duplicate metadata, the number of pages you’ve indexed, security issues, and more.
- Moz: Used by SEOs everywhere for tracking rankings for target keywords.
- Penguin Tool: Tool to determine whether your site has been penalized by Panda, Penguin, or Google.
- Clearscope: Perfect for conducting keyword research and optimizing your content.
- Search Analytics for Sheets: Add-on that allows you to see Google Search Console data from more than 90 days ago.
- KeywordTool.io: Used for keyword recommendations.
- WooRank: Tool to analyze your page’s basic SEO metrics and other helpful information, including competitor analysis.
- AnswerThePublic.com: Great for finding long-tail keywords and common questions you can answer.
- SEO Monitor: One-stop dashboard to monitor your SaaS’s SEO performance.
- BuzzSumo: Analyze successful content and social shares for link outreach.
- SEObility: User-friendly site auditor tool.
- Clearbit: Keep track of customer interaction and learn more about your users.
- Website Penalty Indicator: Tool that reveals Google penalties.
- Yoast SEO Plugin: A super popular SEO WordPress plugin.
Content Creation & Hosting
- Adobe Spark: Quick content creation software to combine text, images, and video content for improvements in your storytelling.
- Fotor: Photo editing, photo effects, and image retouching with templates and tools.
- Quotes Cover: Free digital content creation tool to create quote graphics great for social media.
- Quip: Ideal for collaborative content creation.
- Google Drive: Great for collaborative content creation with permissions settings.
- SketchDeck: Professional outsourced design resources.
- Snappa: Web app that offers a drag and drop image editor to add and edit effects.
- DraftSend: Create and share interactive presentations.
- Lumen5: Powerful tool that uses artificial intelligence to help you create videos from your textual content.
- WordPress: Our favorite content management system for SaaS blogs.
- Cloudflare: Our preferred hosting.
- Boomerang: Great for short stop motion videos to share on Instagram and other social media platforms.
- Wistia: Excellent video hosting platform.
- Canva: Go-to design resource for many SaaS startup founders.
- Visme: Templates, charts, and widgets to create infographics with ease.
- Loom: Free screen and video recording software, perfect for creating knowledge base video content.
- Constant Contact: Easy to use, beginner-friendly email marketing service.
- SendInBlue: Complete sales and marketing toolbox to grow, sell, and engage.
- Customer.io: Perfect for sending targeted emails, push notifications, and SMS to lower churn, create stronger relationships, and drive subscriptions.
- Campaign Monitor: Straightforward email creation, marketing, and automation tools.
- GetResponse: Email marketing software for growing your audience, promoting your SaaS, and converting leads.
Promotion & Conversion
- Sumo: Free tool (optional paid) to grow and contact your list of emails.
- Quuu Promote: Promote social media shares from real people across Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
- Drift: Simple (and free) live chat tool to connect your sales team with future customers.
- Bitly: Tool to create powerful, recognizable, click-worthy short links.
- Intercom: Customer messaging apps for sales, marketing, and support, connected on one platform.
- Buffer: Automated social media sharing tool.
- Sprout Social: Platform to understand and reach your audience as you engage your community and measure performance.
- SocialBee.io: Cheaper social media sharing tool.
- Copper: CRM for G Suite.
- Hubspot: Free(ish) CRM.
- Airtable: Part spreadsheet, part database, and entirely flexible to make organizing work easy.
- Nintex: Powerful and easy-to-use workflow automation software.
- Coschedule: Software to organize your marketing.
- Kissflow: Digital workplace that allows you to optimize, manage, and track your workflow.
- Zapier: Easy automation that moves information between your web apps automatically.
- ProcessMaker: Workflow automation platform helps design and deploy automated workflows for digital agility.
- Trello: Boards, lists, and cards to organize and prioritize projects with flexibility in mind.
- Teamwork: Work and project management tool that helps teams improve collaboration, visibility, and accountability for optimized results.
- Google Analytics: Free tool to gain a deeper understanding of your customers through data analysis.
- ChartMogul: Subscription data platform that helps to consolidate and clean revenue data, then analyze it.
- ProfitWell: Subscription software that uses analytics to help SaaS companies achieve faster recurring revenue growth.
- Amplitude: Uncover customer data to build better product experiences, optimized to convert and retain your users.
- Baremetrics: Offers metrics, dunning, and engagement tools for SaaS and subscription businesses.
- Insight: Provides live dashboards to monitor your SaaS’s data at all times.
- Segment: Customer data platform that brings customer data together for the entire team to access.
- MainMetrics: Connect a Braintree account and monitor key SaaS metrics like monthly recurring revenue, revenue growth rate, MRR churn, lifetime value, and more.
Content marketing takes dedication, it’s not a one-and-done process. To continue learning about content marketing solutions for SaaS and tech companies, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter.