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Content Marketing for SaaS Companies – Let’s Get It Right

Content Marketing for SaaS Companies – Let’s Get It Right

Cool, your Software as a Service (SaaS) is growing! You have applied all kinds of marketing tactics. SaaS content marketing is the next step. And it's an important step. The driver behind making your SaaS stand out in an ocean of similar SaaS companies. Powerful content won't just help you outperform your competition, but it will also keep the social engagement going, be the success factor in paid digital marketing campaigns, and be the number 1 way you will educate your ideal customers.

According to research done by CoBloom on 250 SaaS companies, the top 10% of SaaS blogs pulled in 45,700 organic search visits on average. A blog post brought in 573 visitors on average. These are staggering figures. The more relevant traffic a website can bring in, the more people it can convert.

Content marketing for SaaS companies is different than marketing in other industries and it's because:

  • You sell technology and services
  • Your sale numbers depend upon customer reviews
  • You acknowledge customer risk
  • Your marketing tactics value repeated customers 
  • Your marketing involves search engine optimization
  • Your marketing tactics educate prospects

Now the question is, how do you effectively use strategic content marketing for your SaaS product? It's tricky. The content strategy for a SaaS company differs greatly from the content strategy of other businesses.

At Orion, we've helped dozens of SaaS companies with scaling their content to the right audiences. Although we haven't created the content ourselves, we've picked up on what makes SaaS content marketing unique and challenging.

 

What Makes SaaS Content Marketing Different?

But is content marketing for SaaS really that different? Yes! It takes a completely different way of thinking for your marketing activities to succeed.

In this article, I will help you set up your content strategy for your SaaS product.

Funnel mapping

Software as a Service is usually subscription-based. In contrast to traditional products and webshops, it's vital to retain your customers.

The funnel, therefore, looks different for SaaS products. The following points should be the main focus of your content strategy.

  • Lead generation: Make sure you convert your ideal customers into leads. Own your own data & use premium (high-value, low salesy) content.
  • Sales: Make sure that the content helps to upsell your free-trials
  • Retention: Make sure that your paying customers continue to use your tool and therefore continue to pay.
  • Sales Cycle: Acknowledge that each phase of your buyer journey requires different content
  • Invest in quality: Have your content written and produced by professionals.

6 Steps For a Successful SaaS Content Marketing Strategy

Now that you know the importance of content marketing for SaaS businesses, let’s take a look at how you can successfully create a content marketing strategy in a cost-effective manner.

1. Identify the different avenues for your content marketing plan

As part of your content marketing plan, you can come up with different types of content through which you promote your SaaS business. There are eight popular types of content that you can create for your customers.


  • Blog posts
  • Ebooks
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Social media
  • Case studies
  • Templates
  • Infographics

For the sake of keeping things short, we’ll look at the 3 best content types that are worth incorporating in SaaS businesses.

1. Blog Posts

Blog posts are super important for SaaS businesses. If you haven't noticed already, you're reading a blog post yourself as we speak. Blog posts are posted on a website and you should regularly publish new content pieces in order to attract new visitors. Blog posts in the SaaS industry should offer valuable information. It should address the pain points of your visitors and offer valuable solutions. Blog posts should have an average length of 1,000 to 2,000 words.

Why blogs are important for SaaS companies?

Blog posts give companies a voice. It allows businesses to share ideas, share new products and services, and for discussing new industry trends. Blogging helps your customers understand your company's vision.

2. Ebooks

Ebooks basically serve as lead generation tools for SaaS companies. Website visitors can download an eBook after submitting their contact information. Ebooks are long-form content and are published less frequently than blog posts.

Why eBooks are important for SaaS companies?

Ebooks serve as lead magnets to attract prospects in both the consideration and awareness phase of your customer’s buyer’s journey.

3. Videos

Videos are more engaging than blog posts. In addition to that, video content is shareable across websites and social media platforms. With that being said, videos require more time and investment to produce. However, video content offers high ROI so it is worth incorporating in your SaaS business. 

Why videos are important for SaaS companies?

Using videos in your SaaS content marketing strategy is a great way of explaining the features and benefits of your software services. Video content also has a higher potential of grasping the attention of potential leads.

2. Conduct your research for the topics you will cover 

To figure out what topics you need to cover in your SaaS content marketing strategy, you need to first carry out in-depth keyword research and competitor analysis. 

To do this, you need the right research tools. Here are some of the most important tools that you can use for researching content topic ideas to cover:


  • Ahrefs: A tool that can help you research the right keywords to target in your content. It can also help you study your competitors, audit the SEO of your website, and help you identify topics that are trending in your industry.
  • Google Keyword Planner: A tool that can help you find related search phrases from your target search phrase. It can help you analyze the traffic a search phrase is generating, and tell you the competition and advertising cost of it.
  • SEMrush: A similar tool to Ahrefs that can help you with keyword research and in-depth competitor analysis.

You can use these tools to come up with a list of keywords around which you’ll come up with different topics that you’ll cover.

3. Split the topics into informational and transactional

While the tools we talked about earlier are great for topic research and competitor analysis, they won’t help you understand the search intent of those queries that you short-listed to come up with the topic ideas to cover. 

Figuring out the search intent is your job. Not being able to determine the search intent of a keyword can negatively harm your content strategy. 

You must put yourself in your audiences’ shoes to figure out the intent behind each search term. Figuring the search intent of keywords will help you understand whether the keyword is informational or transactional in nature. This is where we introduce the concept of TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU content.

TOFU

TOFU means the “Top-of-the-funnel”. In this part of the funnel, search queries and keywords are informational in nature. For this phase, you should create content providing information that helps your readers learn more about the topic. You shouldn’t focus on selling your products or services in this phase. This phase is perfect for brand-building for pushing your primary topic.

An example of a TOFU search phrase would be, “How do I make coffee?”. The searcher just wants information on the topic. They’re not necessarily looking to buy anything. 

MOFU

MOFU means the “Middle of the funnel”. This is the intent stage of your customer’s buying journey and product discovery. At this stage of the funnel, searchers already have knowledge about the topic. They just want to know how your SaaS product or service stands out from the rest and how it can solve their problems.

In this phase, you’ll need to drive a website visitor further down your sales funnel. To do that, you should cover topics such as guides, case studies, use cases, and other such content. Content topics covered in this phase will have a mix of both informational and transactional information. MOFU content sort of bridges the gap between the awareness and sales phase of your funnel.

An example of a MOFU search phrase would be, “Miami hotel rooms”. The searcher is looking for information regarding hotel rooms in Miami and will possibly consider renting.

BOFU

BOFU means “Bottom of the funnel”. In this phase, searchers will use search queries with the intent to buy your SaaS product or service. For this stage of the funnel, you’ll cover keywords that people will use when they are in the final stage of their decision-making process.  An example of a BOFU search phrase would be, “best plagiarism checker” or “free plagiarism checker”. At this stage of the funnel, the searcher has made up their mind and is looking to make a purchase. 

4. Choose who will write and create content for your SaaS

Once you’ve got your keywords and topics sorted out, you should start producing keyword-oriented content. To make the content creation process easier, you must set up some production procedures. Your content production process should include:

  • Develop a content calendar
  • Research topics to cover that are relevant to your target audience
  • Hire content creators
  • Proofread and edit content
  • Publish or schedule content

For each part of the content production process mentioned above, create a document. You can use project management platforms to collaborate and communicate with your content creation team. Teamwork Projects, ProofHub are just some of the many popular project management tools you can go for. When creating your content calendar, decide what type of content you want to cover and in what sequence. To attract a wider audience, consider creating a healthy mix of short and long-form content.

When hiring content creators such as freelancers, in-house content producers, or content marketing agencies, you should consider recruiting freelancers who have knowledge about your industry. The reason why you should go with talented freelancers is that they’ll charge you less than content marketing agencies and you’ll save a lot on seating costs. 

When sharing your content requirements with your team, make sure to set a goal for each piece. What do you want to achieve with your content? Do you want to improve brand awareness, get more leads, or simply want to educate your target audience about your SaaS company? When creating your content requirements, research the pain points of your audience to ensure that your content addresses their issues.

When scheduling content, you must make sure that you publish content frequently. You should focus on consistency. You must do some estimation to see how much content you’ll need to produce each month and then see how much content you can actually afford to produce with your team and resources.

5. Focus on formatting the content effectively

Creating content on a frequent basis is important for the success of Saas company’s online presence. Search engines give an edge to websites that publish new and up-to-date content on a frequent basis. That being said, while producing a lot of new content may not be that difficult, especially if you onboard freelancers but if your content is not formatted properly, your visitors will find it difficult to consume it. 

So now, we’ll focus on the concept of formatting content and how to do it properly. Here are some pointers that you should consider when formatting your content:

1. Keep your content paragraphs short

Shorter paragraphs make it easy to read and consume. People have short attention spans and short content makes it easy to retain information. So, make sure to break your content into smaller chunks by using subheads or even bulleted lists.

2. Leave some white space in your content

Don’t cram too much content that can overwhelm your readers. People don’t want to endlessly read your content. So, keep your content short and add appropriate white space. The reason why you should add white space is that it creates an illusion that your content is shorter than it really is.

3. Add visuals to your content

In addition to breaking your content up, don't forget to add visual images. 

Why images or visual content? Well, images not only increase the stay time of your visitors but visual aids are proven to improve learning by 400%. Visual content can also be processed 60,000 times faster than textual content.

4. Make content scannable

Readers don’t prefer reading the entire content piece to get the information they want. Most readers prefer skimming through the content to get relevant information. This is why you should consider making important phases and terms bold and don’t be afraid to use bullet points and underlines to make your content easily scannable.

5. Keep your content short

As humans, we can’t retain too much information at a time. This is why it is important to make your content short and to the point. This will make it easier for your reader to retain the information covered in your content.

6. Provide valuable information

You may choose to write short content, but if you omit to add relevant and useful information, your content won’t be able to rank on search engines like Google. Your content may consist of just 1000 words but it should offer useful well-researched information.

6. Publish the content

Creating content is one thing, but promoting it is another. We would suggest following the 80/20 rule content production and promotion rule. When you spend 20% writing content, you should spend 80% of your time promoting it. Nowadays, getting a content piece to rank on Google is not easy. Back in the day, a 700 word that you write would get ranked on Google within a few hours. But with immense competition, that has become impossible.

Google now only prefers ranking relevant and helpful content. You’ll need to put a lot of time and effort into content creation and promotion. So, once you create well-researched and structured content, you’ll want as many people to see it as possible.

What’s the point of creating amazing content if no one even sees it? You may have written a great SEO-optimized content piece, you’d still need to promote it massively. Promoting a content piece can be easy if you know what to do. Here are a few ways you can promote your content.

  • Make your content SEO friendly to get organic reach
  • Promote your content through paid marketing channels like Facebook Ads or Google Ads. 
  • Market your content on social media platforms 
  • Share your content in relevant social groups
  • Share your content through email marketing
  • Share content on forums like Reddit and Quora
  • Reach out to other relevant websites to ask for backlinks

You’ll need to put a lot of effort into promoting your SaaS content.

Bonus Saas Content Marketing Tip

Thought we’d just leave you there?

Let us share a bonus SaaS content marketing tip that we religiously use to help our clients. We’re talking about coming up with a content marketing distribution plan. A content distribution strategy basically helps you figure out how frequently and where you will publish and promote your content. You’ll need to address questions such as:

  • Which category will you publish your content in? Will you post them under resources, guides, or blogs?
  • Will your content be available for everyone or will you make it only available to premium subscribers?
  • Which third-party sites will you partner with and post your content as a guest blog?
  • Which social profile will you use to promote and distribute your content?

Publishing content to your website and promoting it on social media platforms is a time-consuming process. One way to save up time is to use a marketing automation platform such as Marketo, Eloqua, and HubSpot. Using automation tools, your content will get automatically published on your website and posted on your social media platforms. In case you want to go with the manual approach, here are different content types and the ideal distribution channel for each of them.

  1. Ebooks - Distribute eBooks through a dedicated landing page or gated form for which your visitors will have to provide their email to access it.
  2. Podcasts - Distribute podcasts through Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts. 
  3. Videos - Distribute video content through YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, or Twitch. 
  4. Infographics - Distribute infographics through your own blogs on your website or Pinterest.
  5. Case Studies - Distribute case studies through a dedicated page on your website.
  6. Blogs - Distribute blogs through the blog category on your website or through the daily newsletter.

Bonus Content Marketing Tools For SaaS

Publishing top-quality content in the SaaS industry is super important. Considering that you’ll need to publish your content on multiple channels to get the results you desire, doing everything manually will make things challenging and inevitably slow things down. Using the right content marketing tools will help you drive results quicker. Keeping that in mind, here are 3 of our favorite content marketing tools for SaaS businesses.

1. Ahrefs Content Explorer

Ahref is the best tool for keywords to cover. It is also a great tool to find trending content, link-building opportunities, and for exploring content topic ideas. It can help you analyze any website from any niche.

2. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is a popular tool for discovering popular topics. Similar to Ahref, it can also help you with competitor analysis. Its UI is quite simple and displays results that are easy to understand and convert into a strategy. It also offers various filters that can really help you narrow down your research.

3. Buffer

Buffer is a great social media automation tool. It can reduce the time you spend on social media by automatically scheduling posts to be shared across various social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others.

3 examples of brilliant content for SaaS companies

Content marketing is extremely popular among SaaS companies. Still, it is not easy to have your content perfectly match your target group and stand out.

We've listed a number of successful cases for inspiration.

HubSpot

One of the best-known examples when it comes to content marketing. They do just about everything and they do it RIGHT!

What you will find on their website:

  • Blogs
  • Whitepapers
  • Courses
  • Publications of (annual) surveys
  • Social media promotion
  • And countless other resources

Once downloaded - you also have to provide a lot of information about yourself and your company. Why do they do this?

 

 

Personalized Marketing Automation

Initially, you will receive a warm welcome email, after which the emails will become increasingly informative and sales-like.

Neil Patel

The KissMetrics blog (now merged with Neil Patel's website) is known for its extremely high-quality content including blogs and webinars.

Neil is an ex-Google employee and is an authority in the marketing world. 

On neilpatel.com you will find a super-strong blog about marketing, conversion optimization, online growth, etc.

 

 

You will clearly find the blogs here as an acquisition tool (lead generation) and subsequently, the webinars and the learning center are then used to ensure sales.

Moz

And last, but most certainly not least, you can't talk about SaaS content marketing if you haven't mentioned Moz. The blogs are extremely valuable and very in-depth. No superficial open doors, but concrete tips at an expert level. What is striking is the large number of experts who like to write guest blogs for Moz. These heavyweights provide useful insights and share cases that even seasoned marketers can learn from. In addition, they have a clear beginner guide to content marketing where you are trained,  step by step in the world of SEO or content marketing.

 

 

Tips For SaaS Content Marketing

1. SEO for SaaS is very important

The orientation phase is usually long and intensive for the target groups. Potential users google software solutions and then compare. Therefore, do extensive keyword research to see where the opportunities lie.  Brainstorm on which keywords you would like to be visible on. Think about which words potential customers Google when looking for your solution. Also, consider synonyms.

Map search volumes and competition. This can be done, for example, with the help of the Google Ads Keyword Planner. (Action item: create a top 10 keywords list)

Manually analyze your competition for the top 10 keywords. What are they doing well? Why do you think they are on page 1? What can you do better? Cluster keywords per subject and create specific pages and blogs for this.

2. Multiple touchpoints

Because potential customers will intensively compare SaaS products, it is important that you create multiple touchpoints.

Make sure you have an edge over the competition because the visitor has seen your brand and product a few times before via other channels. An example of a well-filled marketing funnel with multiple touchpoints:

  • An SEO blog that explains the problem and offers multiple solutions through useful information and use cases.
  • Retargeting on social media.
  • Be named in an overview blog (more on this later).
  • Google search ad aimed at your competitor's keyword.

3. Out-of-the-box content

Look beyond just blogs. You see that large parties such as HubSpot use all kinds of content to fill the whole funnel. They offer courses, webinars, and downloads to bring you in. An example of creative content is a quiz or a calculator. One of the best tools for this is Outgrow or Interact.

4. Free trials & freemium model

Free Trials - SaaS can not do without a free version to try temporarily. With a free trial, you have the option to test the entire tool with all its functionalities for a limited duration - usually 14 or sometimes 30 days.

A freemium model can be a good alternative. You can then use limited functionalities for an unlimited time. If you want all the features you will have to purchase a paid account.

Both have advantages and disadvantages, but clearly offer this free option throughout your content marketing.

5. Guest blogs and overviews

I found myself putting a lot of perceived value a SaaS brings by reading overview blogs that give their top X tools with a particular function. Many of these blogs are sponsored or work on an affiliate basis, which makes you wonder if their opinion is objective.

However, as a marketer, I acknowledge that a SaaS tool that puts a lot of effort into its marketing is ready for growth and that usually also says something about the status and quality of the product itself.  Consciously, but sometimes also unconsciously: the more often I read positive reactions from bloggers, the better.

Where can you make the most profit?

In 'regular' content marketing for traditional products and services, the focus of the content is on the acquisition. This appears to be different from SaaS products. SaaS has the most profit in step Monetization, or converting trials to paying customers. 

With these insights, it helps to create special content for this specific step. This should be educational content in which the extra benefits of a paid account of your SaaS become clear.

Nevertheless, content marketers of SaaS startups are mainly concerned with content for the first phase: Lead generation.

Conclusion

Content marketing for SaaS is in many ways different from the one-off sale of products or services. In the different phases of the customer journey, you need different forms of content.

And even if you have convinced a customer of your product and you finally receive the first payments, the battle is not over yet.

You have to keep the customer! So continue to offer added value by producing super valuable content in every phase of your buyer journey. And yes. Do create content that is for people who are already paid users of your SaaS because retention is very important.


Manno Notermans

Manno is a wanderer of the world looking to make an impact and change the world for the better. He has over 10 years of experience working in various marketing positions. Manno’s main focus the past few years has been accelerating the growth of businesses, increasing revenue, and profit with out-of-box creative ideas and implementations.