Some days ago, I conversed with Georgios Chasiotis on LinkedIn. Few hours before that chat, we were total strangers on different continents.
Yet, his very first words to me were so friendly: “Hey, Victor, Thanks man. Appreciate it.”
So how did I, a Nigerian-based SaaS content strategist, become friends with someone in Thessaloniki (Greece), 3,714.9 miles apart?
It began with one link
Yup, link to one excellent content piece.
Midway into the article, Sujan linked to the definition of PLG by its pioneers, OpenView Partners, which I went on to visit out of curiosity.
While browsing their site, I found Georgios’ awesome content piece. Great title, so I clicked. Excellent content, so I traced him down to LinkedIn and connected.
Today I’m his fan. And even though I never set out to be, I journeyed through 5 different links just to find him.
Now, what if he didn’t have that one excellent content piece published?
Apparently, we would’ve remained over 3k miles apart from each other, not knowing if we exist on earth.
That’s how powerful great SaaS content can be. Each one’s link is universal. It journeys with your product’s unique story to places beyond your imagination.
However, people will only journey across several links (like I did) to locate your SaaS business via content if that piece is well-thought-out and excellent.
Yours should be no different. And I’ll tell you why.
Why Must Every SaaS Content Piece Be Well-Thought-Out and Excellent?
I put that question back to Giorgios Chasiotis. He’s the Managing Director at MINUTTIA – a content & SEO agency for SaaS and tech brands:
He is correct.
Your SaaS product won’t generate fans (and customers ultimately) via content marketing if you’re rehearsing what’s already existing.
Rest assured, this resource has you covered on all that.
Chapter 1: The Real Power of Content Marketing for SaaS
When content is armed with a helpful, inspiring story of your SaaS product, it’ll take your brand’s message far, bringing new fans and customers from near and far.
But to crush SaaS content marketing, each piece must contribute as blocks contribute to building a house.
No matter its height, houses are built one block at a time. One supports the other until eventually, they combine to hold the roof, which then shields it from rain.
The same is true of great content marketing for SaaS.
One content piece has to support the next until, eventually, they combine to help you reach, convert, and retain customers for your product over the longest period possible.
And just as you won’t jeopardize your life by using a weak foundation and low-quality blocks to erect a ten-story building, you shouldn’t try to grow your business without solid content marketing.
The foundation (or strategy) has to be top-notch. Each published content piece must be well-thought-out and excellent.
That way, a link to each one becomes truly universal – going and shared at places unimagined, making friends, and bringing new customers to you predictably.
This Isn’t Another Rehearse of What You’ve Heard About SaaS CM
I. Mean. Every. Word. Of. That.
Many so-called “experts, “and marketing “gurus” talk about SaaS CM. But, save for folks at agencies like Animalz, GetCodeless, GrowthSupply, and few others I know truly work the talk, the rest is noise.
Some write about it mostly to promote their SaaS product. Others are digital marketing generalists who do everything under the sun for a buck.
Look, anything that’s paramount to business success needs some specialized skills explicitly honed for it.
If you consider content marketing paramount to the success of your SaaS product, then you need experts who’re narrowed on its nitty-gritty.
Yup, I’ll one day get above the level of the folks at Animalz and others, as I’m aiming to become of one the world’s best SaaS content marketers.
Still, right now, I know what great CM for SaaS should be today.
What Great CM for SaaS Should Be
It should ignite the path for growth today.
It should gradually build your SaaS brand to achieve topical authority or become a category creator, thereby setting it up for sustained success.
And most importantly, it should predictably pull in ready-to-buy leads into your sales funnels for an extended period, if not forever.
In summary, great SaaS CM turns on the ignition of your growth engine, strokes gear one, and throttles you towards ARRs with profitable margins.
Stick to the end of this resource. You’ll learn the steps to achieve all that (and more).
That’s a promise.
Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day, But From Day One I Believe it Had a Foundation
Even if I’m wrong about Rome having a foundation from day one, in SaaS CM, I’m unapologetically right.
You WILL NOT achieve success overnight. You MUST, however, have the structure to facilitate success from day one.
You need a strong foundation – a strategy.
In every worthwhile endeavor, rigorous preparation is key to success in many, if not all.
SaaS content marketing is no exception to that. Hence, the following quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln should also be your declaration:
“If I had 8 hours to cut down a tree, I’ll spend the first 6 hours sharpening my ax.”Attributed to Abraham Lincoln.
Those 6 out of 8 hours is a call to have a strategy.
Great SaaS CM isn’t about writing and publishing lots of long-form content here and there. It’s about piecing a puzzle together.
Your puzzle board is your strategy.
The pieces that make up the puzzle are your content pieces. Start from the puzzle board, the beginning – your strategy, but have your endgame in mind.
– Impressive: Harnessing the Power of SaaS Content Marketing
Chapter 2: What Strategy is Best for SaaS Content Marketing?
One that works. Simple and short.
And the one that’ll work will be unique to you. Not some copied, rehearsed tactics scattered around the web.
If you just copy anything that’s readily out there on the web, anybody can do the same – including your competitors.
Yes, there are principles to follow. But you must get creative and add your innovative touch.
This is one area most SaaS companies miss entirely.
It makes sense to step back and critically imagine why you’re in business, the unique attributes that’ll make you exciting in the eyes of your target audience, and the angles to present your product’s messaging from.
Knowing these things is half the battle because they give you focus and clarity.
You can’t give what you don’t have.
When you have clarity about your product’s unique values, it’s easier to communicate it to people, who will, in turn, see why they’re better off using your product.
Imagine if I wrote this piece in my native Nigerian language – Annang.
I bet you wouldn’t even know what the title meant, let alone clicking on it.
That’s why clarity matters. It helps you communicate values in exciting, relatable ways people will understand, get inspired, and take action.
However, we must start from the very beginning. The puzzle board to hold all the pieces together.
Why is having a strategy important for igniting SaaS Growth through content marketing?
I asked the CMO of PitchGround, Jakub Zajíček. He said:
What CM Strategy Do I Recommend for SaaS Brands to Drive Growth Today and Tomorrow?
This strategy kills three birds with one stone:
First, it fires your brand to build topical authority for key concepts relevant to your business or to become a new category creator.
Second, it gives your site an excellent, accessible, and well-linked internal structure, making it smooth for search engines to understand and crawl your site correctly.
The second benefit also has another advantage.
With an excellent, internal link structure, your site visitors can easily navigate and find other related content pieces, thereby improving customer experience.
Finally, and most importantly, it enables you to piece a puzzle of relevant TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU content pieces together to pull in highly-targeted visitors into your sales funnels.
I may sound biased, but I’m not just saying this because the CTCS is my area of strength.
I’ve carefully observed successful SaaS companies subtly use this strategy to ignite and drive growth over long periods.
I’ll start with the SaaS company whose research gave birth to “topic clusters SEO” – where I coined the content topic clusters strategy from.
For example, take the following screenshots from a blog by them published to drive authority for the topic: “marketing case studies.”
Title of the blog (content keywords is relevant to this topic):
Targeted topic and linked MOFU piece (lead magnet):
Related, well-linked articles to pull readers who may not be ready to take action into their sales funnel:
Even for the best hunters, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to kill a bird with one bullet.
Are you one person on earth who’ll reject the opportunity to kill three birds with one bullet, using the content topic clusters strategy?
Hence, why I recommend you hop on this strategy, power your SaaS content marketing, and start growing your SaaS business today.
As you saw from HubSpot’s example, this strategy gives your website this kind of structure:
With CTCS, every topic you aim to build authority around contributes to propelling the primary concept or category you’re positioning your SaaS brand for.
For example, HubSpot uses it to dominate the Inbound Marketing concept.
Drift also used this strategy to launch and dominate the Conversational Marketing concept.
And most recently, OpenView Partners is doing the same to push the Product-Led Growth, PLG, concept.
This strategy works, and there’s a reason for that.
By its very nature, it forces you to think outside the box (better if you can think like there’s no box).
The steps involved are:
1. Decide on an idea or new category you want your SaaS product positioned for.
2. Research relevant topics and concepts you’ll leverage to propagate your idea or push your new category into the limelight.
3. For each topic or concept, research the keywords around them.
4. Then, outline content titles for relevant keywords to form a strong, well-linked internal structure for each topic or concept.
Like the image below shows:
The content topic clusters strategy, CTCS, works.
Give it a try, and I promise you won’t regret it. Download the complete SaaS CTCS guide below:
Alfred Lua: How I Plan And Create SEO Topic Clusters.
Chapter 3: Who Will Enjoy Your SaaS Content Marketing?
If no one enjoys your content marketing, no one will be inspired to take action.
You may have clarity about why you’re in business and in your head, know what to tell people about your product. Your strategy could be spot on, of course, it should be.
However, if you’re talking to the wrong people, it’s as good as not even wasting your time talking.
Everyone isn’t your customer. Even if everyone could eventually become your customer, not all of them will at the same time.
So, step back again and answer the following questions.
Who needs your SaaS product the most? Who could be using your SaaS product but are yet to realize it?
Where do you find them? What language and story will resonate with them?
Don’t let the acronyms, “B2B” or “B2C” clutter your thinking.
You’re selling to real people. So your CM must appeal to people.
It must be entertaining. It must be enjoyable. But for that to happen, you need to know those who will consume your content. At least to a reasonable extent.
Here’s where you conduct in-depth customer research to gain knowledge of what’s important to them, understand user intent, challenges, goals, etc.
And, most importantly, get insights into the kind of stories that will inspire them to take action, try your product, and become customers.
It involves a lot of brainstorming. That’s inevitable.
Powered By Search: Our Process for Implementing B2B SaaS Buyer Personas That Actually Work.
Neil Patel: How to Get Into the Minds of B2B SaaS Customers.
Chapter 4: How Will CM Power Your SaaS Sales Funnel?
You and I won’t care so much about content marketing if it didn’t have a profound impact on growing SaaS businesses.
In short, CM remains one of the most viable ways to fill up the SaaS sales funnel with prospects and ready-to-buy leads.
I like to keep stats away from my pieces, but these were too glaring.
According to Kapost, content marketing generates 7.8x more site traffic than any other channel.
Also, research by HubSpot revealed that CM has 62% lower costs in acquiring customers when compared to outbound marketing.
No wonder 89% of the world’s biggest SaaS companies have a blog (just 11% of them don’t have).
If you employ the CTCS to your SaaS CM and perform averagely, you could still generate as much as 573 organic search visitors/month – the industry’s average.
However, the problem shouldn’t be only how to generate traffic, but how to channel that traffic into your sales funnels and drive sales.
That is key.
If you manage to convert the industry’s average of 573 organic visitors/month at the average SaaS conversion rate of 3-5%, you’ll be looking at getting 17-28 conversions/month.
Done consistently, without an alarming churn rate, that’s not too shabby for an average performance.
But how exactly will that happen?
By intentionally writing, publishing, and linking relevant content pieces. Keeping the various stages of the sales funnel in mind. And considering the buyers’ journey.
Stages of the SaaS Sales Funnel
Theoretically, the SaaS buyers’ journey includes three stages, as shown below:
According to the image above, create informational content pieces, which targets people early in their buying journey.
These articles will populate the awareness stage of your sales funnels, called top-of-the-funnel, TOFU.
For these, keep the content purely educational, subtly introducing your product where possible.
However, you won’t educate people and let them go. So write TOFU pieces in ways that inspire people to consider looking at your MOFU pieces or subscribing to your newsletter.
MOFU content pieces are usually giveaways offered to readers to convert them into leads and begin building relationships with them over email sequences or drip campaigns.
These could be content upgrades, whitepapers, case studies, research reports, etc.
Finally, you have BOFU (bottom-of-the-funnel) content pieces. Create these content pieces to capture people who have made up their minds to buy.
In reality, keywords for BOFU articles are usually very competitive to rank for because many companies bid for them.
While it’s great to create them anyway, better if you can capture prospects with your TOFU and MOFU content pieces, using email or drip nurturing to close them into customers.
That way, they get to receive your BOFU content pieces via email, saving you the headache of struggling to rank for over-competitive keywords.
Aligning the SaaS Sales Funnel with Content
Another reason why I recommend the CTCS to power your SaaS CM is that it helps you align content pieces around a topic with your sales funnels.
This is necessary, as it enables you to envision how content pieces link-up around key topics you leverage to pull in prospects into your sales funnels.
As the image below illustrates.
Seeing the SaaS Funnel From Prospects’ Perspective
Prospects shouldn’t feel like you only educate or entertain them with your content pieces to pull them into your sales funnel.
Nobody talks about this, yet we all know customers repel sales tactics.
Thus, understanding the different perspectives between you and potential customers helps you to go one step ahead of them.
This is paramount because when you’re one step ahead of prospects, you’ll be delighting them as customers when they’ll be feeling like they’re taking reasonable actions.
As the graphic below illustrates:
Crazy Egg: Are You Optimizing Your SaaS Conversion Funnel.
OpenView Partners: The Ultimate SaaS Sales Funnel Guide.
Neil Patel: 5 Ways Data Improves Your SaaS Conversion Funnel.
Chapter 5: Who Will Write Your SaaS Content Pieces?
We’ve got to one area of SaaS CM executives wrongly think anybody can handle.
If you’ve followed me up to this point, you’ll by now agree that SaaS CM requires some high level of expertise.
And yes, it does.
I don’t mean having MBAs or the likes, but depending on who will use your product, a writer with those qualifications isn’t out of place.
Basically, whoever is going to write your blogs must know how to write. I say “how to write” for lack of better words.
Easy as it may sound, it’s not easy to find people who can turn words into art pieces on a blank canvas. Put simply; good writing is an art.
And like artists, each one has an area of specialization.
Hence, better you go for writers who specialize in SaaS.
Can I Find Good SaaS Writers on Content Farms?
I won’t place my bet on that.
You may find cheap (and sometimes good) options on content farms like UpWork, Crowd Content, iWriter, etc., but I don’t recommend them.
I don’t have anything against these platforms.
The problem is that finding great writers for your brand in those places could be akin to searching for a pin a haystack.
And there’s proof for why I think so.
GetCodeless bought content from these content farms to run an experiment of how good they were for writing SaaS-specific content.
You guessed right.
They all flopped in key areas critical to SaaS CM’s success:
So Where Do You Find Great SaaS Writers?
First, even in SaaS writing, charity begins at home.
So, if anyone on your founding team can write very well, one of you (or all of you) should be the ones telling stories of your product.
In that case, you can hire an excellent copyeditor to put your content pieces in shape.
As per expert opinion on the importance of copyediting from the CEO of Top Notch Edits, Rennie Sanusi:
However, if you’re feeling confident, use Grammarly (who subtly used the content topic clusters strategy to cross 20 million users) to edit content pieces yourselves.
If no one on your team can write well, or have the time for it, hire experts. Don’t cut corners here.
When looking for who to write your SaaS content, go for the best. It pays in the long-term.
Like you, people will only share a content piece or remember the brand behind one if it made sense and resonated with them.
Like in the screenshot below:
Why Should You Refute Hiring Just About Any Writer?
Brad Smith, CEO of one of the top SaaS content marketing agencies, Codeless, provides an answer to that:
As a humblebrag, you can work with me to strategize, plan, create, and promote your SaaS content marketing.
But, why should you look my way?
I love SaaS businesses. Crafting and promoting their stories to people who need to hear them gives me joy.
And for each project I take on, my goal is to sit in that sweet spot, connecting SaaS brands to their ideal customers through content marketing.
At that sweet spot, both SaaS brands and customers are happy – all you have are smiles.
It’s why I’m the smiling SaaS content strategist, storyteller, and copywriter.
Looking for more reasons to work with me?
One: I engineered this guide. Two: I developed the SaaS Content Topic Clusters Strategy, CTCS, guide linked below:
Finally, I’ve also examined and detailed examples of SaaS companies driving growth, using the topic clusters model.
Chapter 6: How Will You Distribute Your SaaS Content Marketing?
If you write great CM pieces or have exciting stories about your product yet fail to distribute it well, you’re doing the world and yourself disfavor.
Potential customers need to hear your story and find your content pieces to learn about you and your product.
There’s no point in doing SaaS CM if you won’t distribute.
Distributing your content pieces and pushing your product’s story to as far as it can go is as important as your strategy. If not more.
It’s so paramount to every successful endeavor (not just SaaS products) the most-selling book of all time – the Bible has three parables on this subject alone.
“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, so those who come in may see the light.”–The Bible.
So, Where Are the Best Places to Promote Your SaaS Blogs?
Where your customers hangout. Where your potential customers can find them.
Simple and short.
Do your potential customers start finding the problems your SaaS product solves on the search engines?
Then, you need to prioritize SEO and search ads.
Do they hangout on social media?
Build an organic audience on those platforms and use social media ads, as needed.
Are there industry blogs they frequent?
Use display ads, or seek partnerships with such domains to get your story to the right people.
Are there influencers who have your target audience among their loyal followers?
Seek partnerships with them, or use influencer marketing.
Do you have an email list?
Of course, charity begins at home. Promote your content with everything you have in-house.
Promote. Promote. Promote.
If creating an excellent content piece is akin to buying a car, fueling it is like promotion.
If you run out of gas, get more, but ensure you drive your content pieces to where potential customers can and will find it.
Backlinko: 21 Ways to Promote Your Blog (in 2019).
Chapter 7: How Will You Measure Your SaaS Content Marketing Efforts?
You may not be able to directly measure the impact of SaaS content marketing on driving sales.
And that’s because it’s normal for potential customers to read your content pieces and not convert immediately into paying subscribers.
Someone could read your article, learn about your product and your brand, then go straight to your website two months later and become a customer.
Hence, you need to have a holistic view of your entire brand and sales performance to measure the real value CM brings to your business.
However, you can track attributions.
And the best place to start is to run your blog in a sub-folder instead of a subdomain.
When you have your blog in a sub-folder, it’s much easier to attribute new product subscribers from content in Google Analytics.
Another important SaaS CM measurement tactic is to keep track of all your blog and lead magnet sign-ups.
That way, as blog subscribers become new customers over email sequences or drip campaigns, you know it all came from your blogs.
Lastly, since content marketing is a significant source of website traffic, a steady shoot in your traffic numbers is a clear indication that your CM is performing.
How to Measure the Business Impact of SaaS Content Marketing from Website Traffic
You can’t measure intangible things like brand-building. Yet, excellent content marketing plays a critical role in boosting a SaaS brand.
But, that you cannot measure the impact of CM on brand-building, and shouldn’t try to do so with metrics, you can use traffic scores to measure how your CM is performing.
The best explanation I’ve found comes from Jennifer Yesbeck, a former Marketing Manager at Alexa.
Her recommendations were as follows:
“To attach numbers to each piece of content you create, consider working backward through the sales funnel.
If it takes 10 leads to generate a $10,000 sale, and 1,000 website visitors to generate a lead, then you can report that each lead is worth $1,000, and each website visitor is worth $10.
This data can help your team set traffic and lead generation goals to move customers deeper into the funnel.”
Foundation Inc.: A B2B SaaS Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing Metrics.
Digital Uncovered: How to Define SaaS Content Marketing KPIs.
SaaS content marketing works. Most successful SaaS products lean on CM to ignite growth, and they still rely on it sustain it.
Each content piece has something universally attached to it – its link. Anyone can share it, link back to it, or reference it. All of which are actions that promote your brand or product in one way or another.
The next two things you need to drive growth with CM are excellent SaaS writers and distribution tactics that ensure potential customers find your content pieces.
Finally, and most importantly, the strategy employed is what drives the most best-performing SaaS CM ever known.
Hence, you should start there – the puzzle board – the strategy.
And I recommend you use the Content Topic Clusters Strategy, CTCS, for your SaaS CM.
Grab a copy by clicking on the book’s image below.