In the Software as a Service (SaaS) landscape, having a content marketing strategy is one of the critical tools that businesses can use to attract potential customers to their website and products. The right content speaks to the search engines and tells them where to rank your site when people are looking for your brand.
92% of marketers say that content is an essential business asset.
What’s more, in an area as complex as SaaS, content also helps customers or clients to understand the benefits of your products or services. SaaS content marketing tells your customers what they can get from your offering, with an insight into features, usability, and performance.
The question is, how do SaaS businesses construct a content marketing plan that allows them to speak to their target clients in the right language?
Here’s your guide to creating a content marketing strategy for SaaS and software brands.
How to Build Your Content Marketing Strategy
Your website’s content is only as good as the strategy behind it.
Creating a constant flow of high-quality content means answering the right questions about your business, marketplace, and target audience.
The following steps will get you on the right track.
- Decide Who You’re Writing For
The first step in any effective content marketing strategy is knowing who you’re writing for. Your audience is unique, with their own needs, expectations, and requirements.
For instance, when HubSpot writes its blog, it focuses heavily on answering the questions that people with interest in marketing SaaS tools might have. There’s a strong focus on templates and visual content to guide learners who prefer to have graphical support, as well as plenty of statistics and insights for businesses who need to prove the value of a marketing SaaS to their stakeholders:
If you’re not immediately sure who you’re writing for, start by building out a selection of user personas. Gather all the information you have from conversations with clients, marketing analytics, and more, and ask yourself:
- Who am I speaking to?
- What are their needs?
- What are their pain points?
- What kind of role do they have at work?
- What is their education level?
- What is their income level?
- Where are they from?
Each of these questions will help you to get a deeper insight into the customers you’re actually connecting with. Offering things like a free trial of your software to customers in exchange for feedback and reviews will also provide you with more in-depth information about who your customers are and what they need from you.
- Know What You Will Write About
For SaaS companies, a blog is more than just a publication; it’s an ever-expanding library of information that your customers can use to explore your value and understand your product.
Most of the content that you create for your SaaS website will be driven by a combination of insights, including:
- Keyword research: Looking at the keywords that are trending in your industry will give you an idea of what customers are searching for. Start by looking at what comes up when you type a descriptor for your software into Google. Scrolling to the bottom of the search results will give you a list of some of the primary searches that people are making:
- Sales and marketing information: Your sales team will be able to gather questions and comments from the customers that they interact with. This information will be great for informing your content strategy. At the same time, your marketing experts can examine what competitors in your space are writing about through tools like Buzzsumo.com.
- Reviews and testimonials: SaaS companies have a unique opportunity to collect more feedback from their customers than most brands. That’s because you can offer free trials and test-runs of your software in exchange for reviews and information. Let people test out your product and see what they have to say about it.
Different kinds of research will inform specific points in your content funnel. For instance:
- Top of the funnel: Use keyword research to address high-level information and introduce new people to your brand. For example, Wistia has a blog post covering how to shoot video with an iPhone.
- Middle of the funnel: Use keyword research along with sales/marketing insights to tie customer problems to the solution you can offer. For instance, Wistia has a post highlighting how to use video with marketing automation.
- Bottom of the funnel: Use sales/marketing information and customer feedback to write about your product. For instance, Wistia offers an insight into how companies can become more productive with the Wistia plugin for Trello.
- Select a Variety of Content Types
Written content might be the most common form of marketing assets in the SaaS space, but it’s not the only option. As you’ll see by looking at SaaS companies like Intercom, it’s possible to create content in a range of formats to speak to your target audience. For instance, as well as hosting an active blog, Intercom also publishes case studies, whitepapers, infographics, and even videos:
Figuring out what kind of blend of content you’re going to produce for your SaaS brand is simple enough. All you need to do is ask yourself what kind of budget you have to work with, and what type of information your audience responds best to.
If you have the cash to experiment with video, then this could be a particularly useful area for SaaS companies to look into. Marketers that use video grow their revenue 49% faster than non-video users. Additionally, video can be a good way to explain complicated topics like how to use a piece of software in an easy-to-consume format. You can guide someone through a process with a video step-by-step, without having to handle thousands of words and images.
- Choose When You’re Going to Publish
A lot of companies in the content marketing world worry that they’re not publishing enough information for their customers. However, posting too much at once can be a dangerous mistake too. Sometimes, particularly in a space as complex as SaaS, you need to give your customers time to enjoy what you’ve written before you bring out the next piece of content.
The truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for building the perfect content marketing calendar. You’ll need to think carefully about your budgeting constraints, and how hungry your clients are for information. Often, it’s a good idea to start with a single article or two a week and see how your customers respond. If they’re constantly commenting on your page and asking for more content or asking on social media when your next blog will come out, ramp up production.
The more you connect with your audience and build a happy community of fans, the more you may find that you can increase your publishing strategy without worrying about overwhelming your audience. For instance, Hootsuite sometimes publishes several blogs in a single day.
Some SaaS brands will also find that their demand for content changes at different times in the year. When new ideas begin to trend, or certain events emerge for your industry, it might be useful to take advantage of the momentum and publish more.
- Think About Distribution
Next, perhaps one of the most important parts of building an effective content marketing strategy is knowing how you’re going to distribute your content to the masses. Content isn’t an “if you build it, they will come” concept. You’ll need to get out there and share your content with the world.
There are various ways you can do this, including:
- Using SEO: Building your impact on the organic search market is one of the easiest ways to improve the performance of your blog. Using strategies like internal linking to make it easier for search engines to understand your website, technical SEO strategies, and keyword optimization will all boost your chances of being found in the search engines. Since many SaaS customers will be looking for answers to their questions on Google, it makes sense to create content that they’ll find on the search. For instance, Hubspot has an article on the best email marketing services that place it in the search engines for people in search of email marketing software:
- Getting involved with communities: For SaaS brands, getting involved with a community to promote your content doesn’t just mean having a social media presence on Facebook and LinkedIn. You can also take to some of the lesser-known environments on the web to answer common SaaS questions. For instance, try answering customer questions and linking people back to your content on Quora, or in the subreddits that are related to your software.
- Email marketing: With a little luck, you’ll already have an excellent email list of people who have signed up for test-runs of your service, or information about your software. Email marketing is a great way to nurture your audience and keep them up to date about the content that you’re creating. You can even encourage organic sharing of your content via email by offering your loyal customers discounts on their subscription when they bring new people to your business through referrals. Remember, email has an ROI of around 4400%.
There are many different ways that you can get your content marketing out into the world for people to take advantage of. Sometimes, even appearing on other people’s websites with guest blogs is an excellent way to highlight the value of your SaaS brand. Just remember that whichever promotional channels you use, you’ll need to measure the results that you get from them. Tracking your traffic and conversions will help you to see which campaigns you should continue to invest in.
- Decide How Often to Update your Strategy
Companies in the software and SaaS industries know first-hand just how dynamic and fast-paced the business world can be. The needs of customers and clients change rapidly with the arrival of new technology and innovations. As a business leader, it will be up to you to make sure that you’re ahead of the curve. The ability to keep your finger on the pulse will be essential in your marketing campaigns too.
While content marketing has been around for quite some time in the promotional world, the way that we create and share content has changed drastically. In days gone by, people published dozens of keyword-stuffed pieces of 500-word content and waited for the organic traffic to roll in. Today, you can’t use the same approach and expect positive results. You need to create long pieces of engaging content that speak to your target audience. In some cases, this also means experimenting with different forms of content, from video and infographics to podcasts.
When you’re building out your content calendar, ask yourself how frequently you should be coming back to update your campaign. If you’re tracking your results effectively, every six months or so you should have an insight into what’s working and what isn’t so that you can adjust accordingly.
Managing Your Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of the most valuable tools a SaaS or software company can access. However, it will only work for your business if you know how to use it properly.
Set-it-and-forget-it content marketing isn’t something that works anymore. You’ll need to get to know your audience and figure out what works for them if you want your assets to make an impact. Remember, keep an eye on what’s working in your content marketing strategy, and adjust your campaigns as often as you need to.