Every software company has a unique set of challenges their users face before joining a paid plan.
The only problem? Easing users through those challenges one-by-one is a mammoth task. (And that’s if you have any leads, in the first place.)
There’s one thing that can come to your rescue: a solid SaaS content marketing strategy.
With one, you’re able to use content to attract your target users. Plus, you’ll guide the majority of potential users through your sales funnel—without asking your sales reps to get involved. That leaves more time for them to close bigger deals.
Ready? Let’s get to it.
Table of Contents
Why Do I Need a SaaS Content Marketing Strategy, Anyway?
You might be wondering why content is important for SaaS.
Surely you should focus on sales and product sign ups? They are the things contributing to your bottom line.
But content marketing can help your brand’s growth—especially in the early stages—and contribute directly to those sales and revenue targets. It’s the fuel you’ll need to drive potential users to your website, which will turn into sales and sign-ups.
Let’s take a look at why content marketing is so important for SaaS companies to master.
1. Content is the centerpiece of modern digital marketing
Content helps support nearly every other digital marketing strategy.
Email? You need content. Social media? The perfect place to share your content. Search rankings? Yup, you guessed it: you need content.
This boils down to one simple fact: digital users don’t just want to buy things. They also want to learn and solve their problems.
Your content can help them to do that when their problems are within your industry or niche.
And although blog posts are a key content marketing asset, they’re not the only one. Content such as explainer videos, infographics, interactive quizzes, and images are often a part of SaaS marketing strategies.
2. Content increases awareness of your company and your software
A strong content marketing strategy can help your company grow by building awareness of your brand.
Not convinced? Consider this: SaaS companies that leverage content marketing see 30% higher growth rates than those that don’t.
A great example of this is when SaaS company Whale Pages used content to build their brand awareness and grow their audience. This included interviewing industry specialists, and piggybacking off their authority when they shared the content with their audiences.
The result: Whale Pages hit 10,000 page views from a standing start of zero… in just 30 days.
3. It’s great for SEO
Make no mistake: if your SaaS company is going to be a success, you need to be visible on search engines.
Content marketing is the perfect play to help you get there. In fact, a Google spokesperson even said it themselves when asked what is the search engine’s main ranking criteria:
“It is content. And it’s links pointing to your site”.
You need to create great content on your site and promote it to build links. When you do that, you’ll start to see traffic coming from search engines as people look for answers to the questions, problems and pain points your SaaS content solves.
4. You can convert more visitors
Visitors to your website will get to know your SaaS brand once you commit to publishing content on a regular basis.
Take SaaS brand Ahrefs, for example. They’ve built an entire community around their content. People become fans of the brand as they consume their content. They drive almost 400,000 visitors to their site from their blog posts alone—and that’s not taking their YouTube channel into account.
It’s not just raving fans you’ll get from content, though. Research shows that 47% of B2B consumers read 3-5 blog posts or pieces of content before speaking to a salesperson.
If your content is targeted to the right topics, there’s a greater chance your visitors will be so engaged that they’ll eventually become customers—like SaaS brand Chanty, who used content marketing to grow from zero to 10,000 leads within two years.
5. One-time visitors get a reason to come back
If a visitor isn’t quite ready to convert to a customer, your content can still be effective—especially if they’re in the research or consideration stage of their journey.
That’s because engaging content gives them a reason to return, such as:
- To be entertained
- To learn something new
- To solve a pain point they’re facing
The key here is to encourage users to sign up to your email list so you can keep them engaged.
Try using lead magnets such as content upgrades—offering a free resource in exchange for a user’s email address—to build a list of followers, and send them your new content to drive return visits to your site.
6. Content is more cost-effective than other types of marketing
There’s no doubt that content marketing is time-intensive. It takes almost four hours to write a blog post, on average.
But SaaS companies typically see a good return on investment on their content marketing strategies. It has been voted the best marketing channel in terms of ROI—beating email, social media, and influencer marketing:
The best part? You can also repurpose your content for use on other platforms, which makes it more useful, scalable, and cost-effective.
You don’t need to start from scratch every time. You can take an existing piece and turn it into something else—like a video, infographic, or podcast script.
How to Create a SaaS Content Marketing Strategy
It’s one thing to know you need to do content marketing and another thing to do it well. You need a plan of action on how you’ll create content because, without a strategy in place, your content marketing efforts are doomed to fail.
You won’t know why you’re creating content, nor how to do it effectively…which defeats the entire point.
Here’s how to create an effective content marketing strategy for your SaaS company.
1. Determine your goals
What do you want to achieve with your SaaS content?
The answer should be the underlying foundations of your new content marketing strategy. It’s the reason why you’re investing time and cash into creating content; the goal you want to achieve with your content.
Most often, that’s to:
- Drive more signups to your software
- Increase free trial sign-ups of your product
- Increase page visits to your “pricing” or “features” pages
- Boost the number of product demonstration sign-ups
- Convert more users on your free plan to premium
- Lower your churn rate by retaining more users
Whatever your goal, it should always be front of mind when planning your content. You can plan your strategy around that—and make sure your content actually moves the needle for your SaaS brand (rather than just look pretty on your website.)
2. Know your target audience
The key to great content marketing is to know who you’re creating it for.
To do this, you’ll need an ideal customer profile (also known as a “buyer persona.”) This is a fictional idea of what your dream customer or client would be, based on data you’ve got about the people already on your customer list.
- Company size (including employee count)
- Their software budgets
- Their location
- Who purchases new software
You’ll then need to align your content activity towards this ideal customer. After all, it doesn’t make sense to create content for tiny B2B businesses if your target buyer is a multi-million dollar company. Similarly, it’s not smart to create content with GBP pricing if you only operate in the U.S.
The most important thing to note is that this buyer persona should be based around your target customer—your content is the fuel to get more sign-ups, product demonstrations, and premium plan users. It’s those people you want to be attracting.
3. Determine the best content format for your audience
It’s important to know your audience and the content they’re looking for. But if it’s not presented in a way they enjoy, they’re not going to consume it.
That’s why the content format is a big consideration.
If your user is in the detail, in-depth blog posts and case studies might be the way to go. However, if they’re time-poor, or you know they have an hour-long commute every day, perhaps videos or podcasts are more suited to getting your message across.
When you’re just starting to piece together your SaaS content marketing strategy, the key is to try a few different content formats. Create three pieces of content around the same topic, each with a different format—like a blog post, video, and podcast, for example.
See which ones get the most engagement… and then do more of them.
4. Get buy-in from your team
You’ll have a hard time creating great content if your team doesn’t support it.
Why? Because you don’t always know your target user best. Sales and customer support departments likely know the content your existing buyers are screaming out for. You’re missing a goldmine by failing to get them involved in your SaaS content marketing strategy.
The easiest way to do this is by demonstrating the value of the content. Use average order value (AOV) or customer lifetime value (CLV) data to map out your content’s forecasted returns. That way, you can provide a measure of the return on investment that they’ll jump on-board with.
If you’re in the startup stage (and therefore have little to no current data), use industry-relevant SaaS content marketing case studies to build your case.
One more thing to remember: take the strategy and the relevant information to the right people.
The stakeholders who sign off on finances will be interested in returns, whereas account managers may also be interested in retention and potential leads. Tweak your approach so all of your departments buy-in to your new strategy.
5. Develop your writing process
We mentioned earlier that content creation can be time-consuming.
Sometimes, you can stare at an empty Word doc for hours on end as your creativity seemingly deserts you. But it can help to have a tried and tested writing method built into your content marketing strategy.
Kevin Payne’s process, for example, involves “brain dumping” ideas, before organizing them into a more cohesive piece:
- Choose a topic and identify existing content by doing a Google search
- Make notes and jot down all the ideas you can in 10 minutes
- Create a basic outline and arrange your notes into sections
- Take a break and then write your draft
- Take another break before coming back and editing your content
- Format and optimize the content before publishing
Creating a process acts as a workflow for your team to use. You’ll know exactly which steps to take when you’re creating content, preventing important steps from getting missed out.
Those missing steps are what could stop you from meeting your goals—and your new content marketing strategy flopping on its face.
6. Create a content calendar
A content calendar is a really helpful way to set out a clear roadmap of content you’ll be producing as part of your strategy. It should be a living, breathing document that’s constantly updated as you conceive new ideas and create new content.
A content calendar is your roadmap for content you’ll create over the coming months.
Your content calendar can be something as simple as a spreadsheet or Google Doc. For each piece, include the following information:
- Content title/topic
- The author responsible for creating the content
- Any keywords you’re focusing on
- Any notes on structure or formatting
- The deadlines for drafts and assets
- Status (e.g. in draft, awaiting optimization, published)
- Target publishing/go-live date
For more flexibility and collaboration, consider a tool like CoSchedule which can help you create content calendars.
You could also use project management tools such as Airtable or Basecamp to create your content calendar and delegate tasks to your team.
In 55% of organizations, the content calendar is managed by just one person… but 90% of companies believe there’d be a positive impact if more people contributed. So, use your colleagues to help ideate and refine your content ideas.
Make sure you share the calendar’s location and provide access to key stakeholders so that you can collaborate effectively. (Remember: their buy-in is crucial.)
7. Align your content with your marketing funnel
You’ve already got a sales funnel that users pass through on their journey to becoming a paying customer.
This is the foundation of your new SaaS content marketing strategy. Each stage is geared towards a specific person—you can capture them (and get in the front of their mind) when they’re looking for help.
We can break this down into three main stages:
- Top of the funnel: Here, your target users are beginning to look for products related to an issue they’re solving. Your content should make them aware of their problem and how you may be able to help.
- Middle of the funnel: They’ve decided to act on their pain point; now they’re looking for which software will help them do it. Your content should prove to them that yours is the best option.
- Bottom of the funnel: They need one final nudge to buy. This type of content helps turn those leads into customers.
This funnel illustrates the idea effectively:
Remember: your content marketing goal might relate to existing customers.
If you want to reduce churn, for example, you’ll also need to create loyalty-driven content, designed to retain your customers and keep them interested in your products. You can do this by sharing hints, tips, and hacks on how to get the most out of your software.
8. Get clear on content promotion
Great content will only get you so far. You need to promote that content for it to be a success.
After all, who’s going to see it if you don’t promote it?
The problem is: many companies just share a link to their content on their social media channels… and that’s it.
While this is good practice, it’s not enough on its own—especially if you’re a startup SaaS brand without many engaged followers.
A plan on how you’ll promote your content is a core part of each strategy. That might include:
- Sharing it with the subscribers on your email list to encourage repeat visits, build customer relationships, and increase retention
- Pitching it to other sites and ask them to link to your content, which helps to start building links for SEO
- Creating press releases to distribute your own research or data and build brand awareness
- Asking influencers and sources used in your content to share it with their own audiences
Regardless of which promotion channels you’re using, remember that great content isn’t actually great if nobody lays their eyes on it.
9. Report on your results
You don’t really know how well you’re doing unless you put in place a robust reporting template, right from day one.
Your goals and KPIs—those you identified in step one—should form the basis of your reporting and how you measure the success of your strategy. Each piece of content should be created with at least one of these goals in mind, hence why you need to assess whether you’re actually achieving them with your content.
(For example, if you’re creating a piece of content with the aim of driving product trial signups, make sure you measure signups as a conversion metric for that article.)
Build reporting into your content marketing workflow, and judge whether you’re on the right track. If not, you’ll need to pivot and go back through these steps.
It’s time-heavy but makes sure you’re not wasting time and money into a SaaS content marketing strategy that doesn’t pay off.
5 Bonus Tips for Implementing Your New SaaS Content Marketing Strategy
Once your strategy is planned, the goals agreed, and you know how to report on results, it’s time to get going.
Here are five bonus tips to help skyrocket your SaaS content marketing efforts.
1. Involve SEO, sales, and customer service departments
We’ve briefly touched on the fact that you’ll need buy-in from your team to get started with your new content strategy. But your job doesn’t stop once they’re approving of your plan. You should involve them right the way through.
Because they know specific areas of your business that you don’t. Sure, you’ll know your typical sales funnel—yet your customer service reps can highlight things you haven’t noticed.
Here’s a rundown of the departments you should include in your SaaS content marketing strategy:
- SEO: They’re responsible for helping your content rank in search engines. They can support you by providing industry-relevant keywords and content topics to cover, ensuring the content is effectively optimized when it’s published, and also by promoting that content. This makes sure you’re not falling on deaf ears.
- Sales: Your reps are the people closest to your customers, and are responsible for converting the leads you pass through. Sales teams can support you by ensuring your BOFU content answers common objections or questions that leads have before they convert. This will often help alleviate some of the pressure on them; they can point leads in the direction of the content you create to address these concerns.
- Customer service: You might also want to consult account managers or your organization’s customer relations department. They will have an idea of any pain points, snags, or FAQs your users have. You can then use these to create content to solve these problems (and improve customer happiness and retention.)
2. Focus on quality, not quantity
It can be tempting to push out as much content as physically possible. You want to put the pedal to the metal and get tons of sign-ups for your software, right?
That isn’t always the smartest way to go.
Your key focus for any content marketing strategy should be on quality, rather than quantity.
Ensure every piece you publish is the best it can be—and ideally, better than any of the current resources available on that topic.
If you publish once or twice a month, then let it be. It’s much better to publish fewer in-depth articles than to churn out dozens of poor-quality, unhelpful posts.
It’s also worth noting that long-form content tends to rank better in search engines. Research shows that the average position one result has almost 2,000 words:
That’s because longer content tends to cover a topic more in-depth and is, therefore, more engaging… which is a key SEO ranking signal.
However, don’t just write thousands of words for the sake of it. A common mistake content marketers make is to write poor-quality “filler” content just to hit a word count. Cut out the fluff and make sure everything you include adds some value to your reader.
3. Be consistent (and persistent)
It’s not uncommon for SaaS marketers to create great content and expect results immediately.
But, the truth is: it can take six months to see results from content marketing. And even then, it’s likely not the results you’re expecting.
Realistically speaking, you’re looking at a long-term marketing plan. It takes a while for Google to pick up your content, and for you to start building an audience. Your readers will convert only once you’ve built trust with them.
That’s why it’s crucial not to expect too much, too soon.
Yes, it can be demoralizing when you hit publish and a slow trickle of visitors skim your post… but content marketing takes time. You have to be persistent to see the benefits, but have faith in your strategy and tweak as you go.
4. Boost authority with statistics and data
These days, fake news is a serious problem for marketers. This stems from social media, where there were 200 million monthly engagements with fake news stories recorded—on Facebook alone.
People don’t trust things they read online.
That’s why every piece of content you’re creating needs to be factually correct and data-driven. The easiest way to do this is by doing plenty of research and using data within your content to prove what you’re telling your readers is true.
Readers relate data, charts, and graphs to science, and therefore consider the information to be more trustworthy.
This trust element is crucial; it’s a key part of any sales decision.
Here are some resources to start with:
- Google Public Datasets
- Typing “[industry] + statistics” into Google
In short: you won’t get the results you’re expecting from your SaaS content marketing strategy if you’re not making it easy for readers to trust what you’re saying.
(Bonus: backing up your claims with data has an impact on your SEO, too. Search engines want to show the best, most authoritative, and most trustworthy results. By using data to bring your content to life, you can establish authority and expertise in your industry—which is a known ranking factor.)
5. Set up Google Analytics to track conversions accurately
Conversions are proof that your content marketing is working properly.
A “conversion” can be anything from email sign-ups to free trial accounts. Yet to track them accurately (and prove you’re getting a return on your investment), you need to set up your Google Analytics account properly.
The first step to doing this is to create Goals for your conversions:
However, most content marketers fail to track conversions because of the default reporting setup inside Google Analytics.
They use a last-touch attribution model, which means that if someone visits a blog post, then a pricing page, the pricing page would get 100% of the credit.
This can make it look as though your content doesn’t generate any conversions—when in fact it does play a significant part in a user’s journey to becoming a customer. Chances are, they wouldn’t have converted if they didn’t see that first blog post.
To be able to effectively report on your content marketing strategy, you can use the model comparison tool in Google Analytics.
You can find this in the Conversions tab by hitting Multi-Channel Funnels, and then Top Conversion Path.
Add “Landing Page URL Path” as your secondary dimension to see which pages a customer lands on before they continue to purchase:
Ready to get tons of new users with your SaaS content strategy?
Content marketing isn’t a quick play and it won’t instantly take your SaaS company to the top.
But it is a reliable, proven, and sustainable way to grow a software company.
Alongside traditional sales and marketing, and perhaps some paid media in the beginning, content marketing is a foolproof way to build a steady army of fans and customers.
To see success, you have to do it well. Follow the tips in this guide to build a strong strategy, and use the bonus pointers to ensure your content is the best of the best. Tweak your content as you go, based on your data.
It’s the best way to make sure you’re investing in a SaaS content marketing strategy with long-term growth.