November 17, 2020

Simple Content Marketing Playbook for SaaS

Content marketing is an awesome way for SaaS companies to get in front of people who have problems you can solve.

Content helps you grow traffic to your website and the CPA decreases over time the longer your content lives on your site, unlike channels like ads where you'll always have to keep paying.

You can show people step-by-step processes to solving problems they're having in their life and business, and more importantly, show them how to solve them with tools you created specifically for them. 

It doesn't need to be complicated.

You don't need to buy courses or spend months learning.

Creating good content for your SaaS is fundamentally simple.

All you need to do is understand who your buyer is and create content that's useful and actionable.

Here are the considerations and steps you can take to:

  1. Come up with validated content ideas
  2. Create content that stands out
  3. Add value to your customers' lives

Sounds good?

Let's dive in.

How Important is Content Marketing for SaaS Companies?

If you have a good product, know who your customer is, and know how to reach them without content, you can build a successful company.

But, you'll always need to continue with paid ads, cold email, or running your LinkedIn outreach campaigns.

The best part about content marketing and SEO is that you're creating assets that will stay valuable for your ideal customers.

Over time, they'll appreciate in value. They'll bring in more traffic, and help you get more customers.

Understanding Your Customer

Firstly, you need to know who your customer is and what they care about.

That's who you're writing for.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Who exactly do you sell to?
  • What jobs do you help them do with your software?
  • Who makes the buying decisions at the company? 
  • Who has other influence over the buying decision?
  • Who is going to be the first person to try your software?

You need to create content for those people.

Help them learn more about the things they want to learn. Help them solve their problems.

Know the Prerequisites to Using Your Software

Next, you need to understand the stage someone is at when they decide they need a tool like yours.

  • Do they need to be an expert in their field to use your product?
  • Do they need to have particular problems?
  • Do they need to already be using aparticular tech stack?
  • Do they need to be early stage company, choosing software to use in their business, or an established, profitable company?

By understanding elements like these you can create content that becomes genuinely useful to your ideal customer. It'll help them find your product at the right time in the buying process.

This is a fundamental part of content marketing for SaaS companies, but it's often overlooked.

Here's a practical example:

Your SaaS helps growth marketers with an advanced task. They're advanced growth marketers, with 3-5 years of experience. To get in front of them, you'll need to create content that an advanced marketer actually wants to read. You can't create generic articles aimed at someone brand new to marketing.

Bad article: Top 10 Reasons SEO is Good For Your Business

Better article: How to Leverage Heat Maps to Continuously Improve Your Content

See the difference?

It's always easy to go with generic, easy to write articles. In most cases, they'll be cheaper to write as well as your writers won't need any particular expertise.

But, even if your content ends up ranking #1, it'll be for keywords and topics that your ideal customer will never search for.

Having that deep understanding of your ideal customer and their motivations will help you come up with interesting content ideas that they genuinely want to read, and will help you get your business in front of buyers at the right time.

Once you figure out what your customers are doing on a day-to-day basis, and create content that can help them level-up in their role and get better results. If your assumptions are correct, your content will be genuinely useful for them. Another side-benefit is that advanced topics often have lower competition because less people are writing about them.

At some stage you'll end up creating top-of-the-funnel content that's designed to simply build awareness (similar to our "Bad article" above, but for most SaaS companies, that's more of a long-term play as you expand in your product category.

Help Your Customers Be Successful

If you want endless content ideas that your ideal customers love, find out what helps them do their job more easily and improve their results.

As an example, let's imagine a SaaS tool that helps teams set and track OKRs. 

The person who buys from you is a founder or head of department (marketing, sales, etc.) who sets OKRs for their team.

You could help them do their job by creating blog posts like :

  • OKR templates for marketers
  • Best tools to help teams track OKRs
  • Guides to remote team accountability
  • How to onboard new team members quickly

They're all things most people in that position would be happy to hear advice and best practices on.

This is particularly good for SaaS companies with a freemium plan because you can effectively convince people to start using your free software

They'll trust you as the expert in their industry and when they need a paid tool, they'll turn to you.

Give Your Knowledge Away for Free

One easy win with content is to give away the existing knowledge you have of your industry, tactics, or processes for free.

Examples of this in practice for you to check out would be:

The key thing these ideas have in common is that they can usually be implemented with or without their tool. The best practices they recommend are tool agnostic. But, there will always be advice on how to implement your learnings in their software.

The free content will help them use your software more effectively.

Essentially, by giving people useful things for free that help them do their job more effectively, they'll come back to you when they need your paid service.

How to Integrate Your SaaS Into Your Blog Posts

The great part about content marketing for SaaS is that you can integrate your product into content in a natural, useful way. You get the chance to show off how your software can help people solve real problems.

Let's take a look at how.

1. Show off (Useful) Features

Let's say your SaaS is an email marketing tool that your customers can use to create unique templates.

If you write a blog post on a topic like "How to Design an Engaging Newsletter Template", you'll be able to talk about:

  • Newsletter design best practices
  • Ideas to increase the email CTR
  • Examples of templates that work

Then, for each of those steps, you can add screenshots and steps to executing those ideas using your software.

Depending on how your software works, you could even provide a cloneable email template that someone can instantly start using.

The blog post will be valuable thanks to the genuinely useful information you're sharing, and by adding those extra steps showing how to use your product to solve their problem, it'll add extra value and encourage someone to go ahead and sign up to your SaaS.

Chances are, it'll also be valuable to existing customers who find new ways to improve their workflow using your tool.

2. Screenshots and Real Examples

As well as telling your readers how they can do things with your product, show them.

It's a major advantage SaaS companies have other media or service companies when it comes to content marketing.

Your content can be unique from any other similar posts out there.

If you write a guide to email marketing you can use real examples from your own product to help show steps and best-practices.

Your content will be more actionable, and more useful than competing content that can't show those processes in action.

It's another easy way to show off your product without getting on a demo call with someone.

3. Highlight Useful Integrations

Most SaaS buyers also use other tools to manage their business.

To help show how your software will fit into their workflow, showcase how they can use your tool in combination with other popular tools.

For example, if you have an Asana or Trello integration, show how someone can use it.

If you integrate with Zapier, you'll be able to connect with potentially thousands of other useful tools. Find out what software your customers use, and ensure you highlight how you integrate with those in your content wherever relevant.

There are no rules to how you can show integrations. Sometimes they're relevant, and sometimes they're not.

Show them off where you feel they'll add real value to your blog posts.

Don't Invent Things

Creating good content doesn't need to be difficult.

Figure out what your customers are already looking for help with. Ask them directly (free). Use tools like Ahrefs ($99/month)or SEMrush (95/month). Use Google Keyword Planner (free).

Create genuinely useful content.

That means you need to get into details on the topics you're writing about. Don't write content that your customers can't take action from.

Exercise: Optimizing Past Content

As a simple way to start, take a look at your existing content.

Go through each blog post and look for three places where it would make sense to:

  • Show a product screenshot to help someone understand a point
  • Highlight how a product feature can help solve a problem you're talking about
  • Highlight an integration with a popular tool your customers use

If done well, your article won't read like a sales pitch. 

The extra sprinkle of details will help link the content back to your business and help it drive conversions.

The secret to good SaaS blog posts is mixing informational content with real examples using your software (or related tools).

You'll make the content genuinely useful for someone, and it'll stand out from competing content ranking in Google.

Recent articles you might enjoy