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.

Understanding Your Customer

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

This sounds simple -- after all, if you have customers, so you already know how to help them solve their problems.

But, take a moment to think about it.

For example, do you sell to founders, marketers, sales reps, HR managers?

Who makes the buying decisions at the company? 

Who has influence over the buying decision? 

Who is going to be the first person to test your free trial?

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 running things a certain way to use your product?

For example, do they need to have an online store built on Shopify?

Do they need to be running a newsletter on Mailchimp?

Do they need to be early stage company, choosing software to use in their business?

By understanding elements like these you can create content that becomes genuinely useful to your ideal customer at the right time in the buying process.

This is a fundamental part of content marketing, but often overlooked.

If your SaaS is designed for to help growth marketers with an advanced automation task, but you're writing generic listicles helping them understand the "five key benefits of SEO in 2020", then your customer isn't going to read or care about your content, no matter how 'good' it is.

They already know the benefits, they're focused on the level above that.

At some stage you'll end up creating top-of-the-funnel content that's designed to simply build awareness, but for most SaaS companies, you can start on that later than action-based content.

Help Your Customers Be Successful

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

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

The person who buys from you is a founder or department (marketing, sales, HR, accounting) manager who sets OKRs for their team.

You could help them do their job by creating content on:

  • OKR templates for marketing/sales/growth/HR/accounting, etc.
  • Recommendations of tools to help teams track OKRs
  • Guides to team accountability
  • Processes for onboarding new team members quickly

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

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.

Integrating 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.

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