April 8

45 comments

SaaS Content Writing: How to Nail it, Get Endless Reads (and Leads)

By Victor Eduoh

April 8, 2020


It’s one thing to put in sweat and blood, coding, designing, and launching yet another SaaS tool. 

Unfortunately, it’s another ball game, and an even harder struggle, surviving amidst over 7,000 other SaaS products hustling for the same customers as you.

The same is true of SaaS content writing or call it, creating content to promote your SaaS product.

Yes, you – like anyone else, can express some ideas in writing, which explains why over 10 million new blog posts get published per day. 

The hard question, however, is, does what you write to spread the message of “your amazing tool,” engage readers, and generate leads?

Most often than not, the answer is a painful no. 

In short, a whopping 94% of all the millions of posts published daily don’t even get a single person linking to them, according to Backlinko & BuzzSumo’s study

It doesn’t have to be that way. 

Take me, for example. 

I wasn’t born with a pen in my mouth; neither is English my mother tongue. 

But, one way or another, you found this content, and you’re still reading it. 

And out of the blue, people take the time to email me just to thank and appreciate me for my work: 

Source

Well, without any attempt to brag, that shows I know one or two things about SaaS content writing, right? 

Maybe yes, but I’ll tell you the truth.

I, like other amazing SaaS writers you admire, learned to write.

So, I’d not waste your time, fluffing you with statistics on writing amazing content for your SaaS tool. 

Instead, this post will pull down the curtains and show you exactly how I create timeless SaaS content pieces, using them to attract engaged readers and generate leads for myself and my clients.

Take note, however, to eventually achieve desired results, everything I do works because I anchor it on content marketing exclusive to SaaS.

If you enjoy any part of this post (or my process), all I ask in return is that you leave me a comment. It’d make my day.

What is SaaS Content Writing?

To truly understand SaaS content writing, you need to truly understand what SaaS is (because most people have it twisted). 

And for that, my simplest definition comes from George Reith. In defining what SaaS is, George said: 

Simple as it may sound, that definition is what improved my SaaS writing skills tremendously into what it is today. 

How? You ask. 

Well, it gave me (and should give you) an excellent answer to the question, what is SaaS content writing

It is the process of expressing and showing how someone can quickly use your software through an easy-to-access online portal to solve their problems, without wasting time and money buying a disk or license key. 

Take only these three things out of that definition, and you, too, will nail writing about your product, get endless reads, and leads: 

[1] express and show [2] how someone can quickly solve their problems using your software [3] without wasting their time and money.

Whenever I write or embark on any form of strategic SaaS content creation to promote a product, I ALWAYS keep those three things in mind. 

Let me now show exactly how I (and you can) do it.  

Firstly, Great SaaS Content Starts With a Mindset Shift

For me, acquiring any great skill starts with a mindset shift. 

And for that, I owe my always-improving SaaS writing skills to the Bible verse of Mark 2:22

“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.”

In a nutshell, to improve my skills, this is what I did (and you should, too):

I stripped myself off of what people have endlessly propagated and accepted to be the ultimate formulas required to create great content. 

Many of such formulas abound on the web, but I’d just highlight a few.

Notable Content Writing Formulas

Enchanting Marketing talked rigorously about the FAB (Features – Advantages – Benefits) and PAS (Problem – Agitate – Solution) formulas. 

No doubt, those were amazing postulations many people still leverage today, as it looked a cut above the AIDA formula developed in 1921.

However, not only were the FAB & PAS formulas published by Henneke way back in 2013, they weren’t specific to the SaaS industry, and were generally for copywriting purposes. 

Henneke even knew these formulas weren’t cast in stone, no wonder in the same article, she said:

“No copywriting formula can guarantee that your copy will sell.”

I do draw some ideas from them, but I never rely on them. 

A More Recent (and Better) SaaS Writing Formula

Upscope, an onboarding and customer support software, observed that the FAB and PAS formulas weren’t all that reliable to create promotional SaaS content. 

So, they came up with theirs called the APP (Agree, Promise, and Preview) formula

Pardeep Kullar, Upscope’s Co-Founder, explained that they examined their internal processes, leveraged this expert opinion by internet marketing mogul, Brian Dean:

Then, they merged both with what resembles Joe Sugarman’s slippery slope (which I profoundly agree with), to develop their SaaS writing process.

Pardeep summed up like this:

Upscope’s SaaS writing process makes sense, but similar to others, it has three pillars and misses out a fourth pillar, which has really helped me. 

So, I developed my own SaaS writing process hinged on four pillars.

My 3 (plus 1) Pillars for Writing SaaS Content

Personally, SaaS content writing works when I concentrate solely on using it to: 

[1] express and show [2] how someone can quickly solve their problems using a client’s software [3] without wasting their time and money.

So, added to those three necessary ingredients I use to create all my SaaS content pieces, including this one you’re reading, I have the fourth pillar: 

Massive promotion. 

Let’s face it, without some form of promotion in one way or another, and you wouldn’t have found this content piece. 

Express and Show 

This one comes directly from what I believe was one of Medium’s most-liked articles of 2019, “Write to express, Not to Impress.” 

It was by one of my content marketing tutors, Ali Messe. 

Ali’s article drew from a piece by HelpScout in 2015, which pointed out that: 

“Thesaurus carpet-bombings and long-winded sentences are commonly mistaken for fine writing because they feel authoritative and intellectual.

But they’re just masks; effective writing is lean, clean, and easy to read.”

Gregory Ciotti.

Look, your portfolio can do the heavy lifting of all your university degrees and high-level tech expertise from the products you’ve built.

However, you don’t need to rehearse or impress your achievements on people when writing. 

Keep those for your next academic paper. 

If you want to engage people and get them to consider your software product through your content, you need to express yourself and show them that you care. 

That’s exactly what I do. 

It’s no different from what I’m doing here – expressing and showing you how I write for SaaS. 

Make it conversational. 

Write like you talk and don’t tell people your product can do this or that. 

Show them.

Help Someone Quickly Solve a Problem, Using Your Product

When you demo your product for, say, enterprise clients, do you bring 10-15 of them on the same video call at once?

You don’t. 

So, when you write, why do you try to appeal to all your demographics at once?

Because it’s only logical to do so, you say. 

It doesn’t work that way. I say this because it never worked for me. 

Logic (because we all do things with emotion before logic) and mass appeal aren’t things I aim for when writing for a SaaS product. 

They aren’t what I’m doing with this one you’re reading either.

My best SaaS content pieces – the ones I consider timeless – all had one thing in common: They stirred positive emotions by making “my reader” feel helped. 

Take note, I didn’t say my readers, but “my reader.”

In creating any SaaS content piece, I focus exclusively on stirring helpful emotion for just one person. 

Privy.com’s CMO, Dave Gerhardt, highlights the significance of doing just that:

Dave
Source.

For me, I take it even farther from Dave’s recommendation.

When writing each content piece, I don’t write for all my target audiences.

And not even my entire demographics. 

I pick one person out of the three customer avatars I run my business with and write exclusively for him/her. 

Take this one you’re reading, for example. 

I wrote it to help the customer avatar below: 

The first paragraph for this article was a hook for Zuhailo‘s 8th attribute (from the avatar above):

“It’s one thing to put in sweat and blood, coding, designing, and launching yet another SaaS tool.”

Why?

Because I know he craves to be a serial entrepreneur, works on many projects at once, but struggles to acquire customers when writing about one of his “amazing tools.” 

The rest of this content up to this point, and to the end of it, is doing the same thing:

I’m conversing with Zuhailo and helping him to write better SaaS content, by expressing myself and showing him how I do it. 

So when next you want to write about your SaaS product, pick one person, focus exclusively on that one person, and talk to them. 

Many people concentrate on appealing to all their demographics, but it’s wrong.

And don’t take that from me, but form Copyblogger’s Sonia Simone:

It’s common sense – something that’s very scarce these days. 

You can’t kill two birds with one stone; neither will you catch one rat if you chase two at the same time, right? 

In the same vein, you can’t appeal to multiple people with one content piece.

Does that mean only one person will read your content?

No. 

However, only one person reads your content at a given time. 

So, of all the people you’d love to read what you write, who comes closest?

Pick that one person and use your next SaaS content piece to show him/her how your product can help him/her. 

Stir up so much emotion in him/her, express yourself, and show them you care enough, and thousands of others will, too. 

Don’t Waste their Time & Money

If you don’t have something to express yourself about, if you don’t have anything valuable to show someone, if you don’t know how someone wants to feel, why bother writing in the first place?

Yes, your reader won’t spend money to read such content, but they’d spend time.

Time is money.

I never write a content piece if I don’t have something my target reader will find valuable. 

Take this content you’re reading, for example. 

Here’s why I decided to write it: 

First, I created a massive guide to help my ideal reader – Zuhailo, crush SaaS content marketing

Then, I developed a unique strategy, called the SaaS Content Topic Clusters Strategy, CTCS, to help him align his tactics and plans. 

I also showed him how Grammarly and other SaaS companies are using the topic clusters strategy I shared with him to get amazing results. 

Finally, I wrote this one you’re reading to help him create the individual content pieces that power that strategy and tactics. 

Makes sense?

If I don’t have something valuable to express, show, or I don’t see any positive emotion I can stir up in Zuhailo; I never waste his time. 

Because if I do that, he will not find my next content valuable.

And he may take the business I’m trying to get him to consider me for elsewhere. 

But as you can see, by focusing on just Zuhailo, Deborah loved what I was doing and emailed in: 

Source.

Finally, to ensure each content piece I write doesn’t waste Zuhailo and other people’s time (and money), I infuse three things in them: 

Educate, entertain, and inspire

Again, Dave has something to say about that:

Dave
Source.

So far, has this content piece done any of the three for you?

Good. 

Do the same when next you write content for your SaaS product. 

Promote it Massively

All the content writing formulas I’ve highlighted in this post didn’t talk about promoting what you write. 

That’s a huge oversight I never take for granted. 

Maybe it’s because my site is new (5 months old, as at this writing) and still struggles to get thousands of visitors. 

But again, it’s common sense to take promotion seriously, as Luke 11:33 rightly captures:

“No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.”

When I write content, I don’t bury it in my blog, hoping my ideal reader(s) will magically find it. 

I promote it massively. 

Most experts advise spending 20% of your time writing and 80% promoting your content. 

Me? 

I differ. 

I put in 101% attention and care, writing every SaaS content piece. 

Still, I promote it forever and ever, whenever I find the slightest opportunity to do so. 

For example, my case study on Grammarly’s marketing strategy didn’t automatically ascend to Google’s No.2 ranking for the keywords, “grammarly marketing strategy:”

Source: Google.

Neither do I believe I earned a Google search snippet for “grammarly target audience” because it provided the most logical answer: 

Source: Google.

Yes, all those things contributed.

But, if I didn’t promote it massively to get backlinks through every ethical means conceivable, including cold pitching influencers to feature it in their SaaS newsletters, Google wouldn’t have ranked it: 

Source.

And that completes my 3 (plus 1) pillars of SaaS content writing

Have you found them helpful?

Please, leave a comment on this post, it’d make my entire week ????

SaaS Companies with Great SaaS Content

I want to leave you with some inspiration. 

To do that, I’ll point you in the direction of SaaS companies creating amazing, timeless, customer- and fans-generating content. 

Also, I didn’t want my biases to get in the way. 

So, I polled three Slack communities I follow closely, including the one hosted by Animalz (a top content marketing agency) where the creme de la creme of SaaS content marketers gather. 

Across these communities, I asked, “in your opinion, which SaaS companies do you find the most engaging content…?”

Source.

I selected those SaaS companies where the person who nominated them took the time to praise their content in detail. And they include: 

1. Drift (the overwhelming favorite)

Another person, Nina P., said this about Drift’s blog: 

Lastly, Justin Thomas said this about Drift:

2. Crossbeam

3. Trello

 4. Zendesk

5. Restaurant365 

6. UberSuggest

7. ClickUp

8. Ahrefs (Won the most detailed review)

Should You Hire SaaS Freelance Writers?

It depends. 

Firstly, answer these questions. 

Do you have the time investment needed to do the heavy lifting of researching your ideal customer(s), and crafting content about your SaaS product in a story-like, entertaining manner for them?

Okay, you can create engaging stories; that’s good.

But do you have the skill to optimize it for the search engines, back it up with a suitable strategy, promote it to reach the right audience(s), as well as other SaaS content marketing expertise required?

If you answered yes to those questions, go ahead and write about your SaaS products by yourself. 

No one can passionately talk about your story like you. 

But if you answered no to any of them, consider outsourcing your entire SaaS content marketing to experienced hands. 

Okay, you’ve decided to outsource your SaaS content writing, where to?

Content-farm freelancers?

I don’t recommend that. 

Of course, with serious digging, you can find some good ones on content farms, but that’d be like finding a pin in a haystack, as data shows. 

Codeless bought content from the most famous content farms to experiment with how good they were at SaaS content writing

The results weren’t anything to write home about: 

saas writing

Source

So, I asked Brad Smith, the CEO of Codeless (another reputable content marketing firm) why it wasn’t a good idea to hire just about any freelancer:

So, if hiring freelancers at content farms isn’t recommended, what qualities should you look out for in SaaS content writers?

Good question. 

Four Qualities of Excellent SaaS Writers

For content marketing to work in driving adoption or growth for your SaaS tool, exceptional writing will play an indispensable role. 

Let’s face it; almost all forms of content creation need some kind of writing. Ads, blogs, ebooks, whitepapers, web/email/landing page copy. Even videos need written scripts.  

Thus, choosing SaaS writers for your tool isn’t something you relegate to the back. 

It needs to be at the forefront of critical decisions you make for your business. 

And that begs the question, what qualities should I look out for when hiring SaaS writers? 

Good question. 

Here are my everyday recommendations of the qualities a great SaaS writer should have. 

Business Know-how

Data shows that content marketing generates 7.8x more leads than other marketing channels. 

Based on that, a writer should have the business know-how needed to understand how your content marketing strategy will align with your business goals. 

Better if they can create the strategy themselves or interpret and refine an existing one to help you reach the right audience and drive sustainable growth. 

Product Storytelling

What’s the one thing human beings never outgrow? 

Stories. 

We fall for them every single time because they open us to worlds; only our imagination could reach. 

If you find writers who can distill boring technical topics about your SaaS product in electrifying stories, and connect them to your overarching content strategy, keep them close. 

Copywriting Skills

Anybody can create content. 

Unfortunately, not everyone can create content that leaves your reader looking for the next engagement or subscriber button. 

Copywriting for SaaS content creation isn’t something you grasp from the top of your head. 

It’s a skill one horns based on consistent practice. 

A lot goes into it, but it’s best to see if someone you’re considering has the requisite SaaS content writing copy skills. 

To do that, examine something they wrote in the past, or give them a trial test, put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer and imagine the action the copy prompts you to take.  

However, on a general note, look out for people who can write as they converse, use power words, and keep readers glued to their content until the very end. 

Curiosity

Finally, the fourth quality someone you consider hiring as your SaaS content writer is curiosity. 

By that, I mean someone who never stops asking the right questions, challenging the norm, and brainstorming new ideas for growth.  

Simon Zaku said it excellently:

Conclusion

If you leave this article, feeling more confident about creating better content for SaaS product…

I’d be a happy man. 

That’s why I showed you how I get the most bang, writing every content piece with just one person in mind, and how my 3 (plus 1) pillars guide me to create timeless SaaS content pieces.

Furthermore, I went as far as polling tens of professional content marketers in search of SaaS companies you can draw inspiration from.  

Finally, I listed the qualities you should look out for if you decide to hire someone to handle your SaaS content writing

So, did you, in any way, find this article useful? 

Please, just leave me a comment. It’d make my entire week ????.

Victor Eduoh

About the author

Founder, Lead Strategist @VEC. Thinker, reader, words-crafter, and husband to Omosede. Besides crafting product-led stories, I love scouting and grooming rare marketing talents.

  • A great read Victor, thank you. And the points you make are both pertinent to SaaS content and to anyone who wants to sell and persuade with words.

  • Great advice all around. 99% of this extends far beyond SaaS. Most blogs, especially those in a business-related niche, would benefit from these ideas. Many of these principles (customer personas, the importance of promotion, etc.) are precisely those that I learned in startup programs, and I have found them invaluable in my writing.
    An article like this – describing those ideas specifically for writing – is an excellent resource. Thanks!

  • Please tell me that youre heading to keep this up! Its so beneficial and so important. I cant wait to read more from you. I just feel like you know so a lot and know how to make people listen to what you have to say. This blog is just also cool to be missed. Fantastic stuff, actually. Please, PLEASE keep it up!

  • I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is an issue that too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy that I came across this in my search for something concerning this.

  • I haven’t read a lot of them, but this is the best article on SaaS Content Writing I’ve seen. It’s brilliant. As a Christian, I like the Scripture you use also.

    I think it gives me the structure I need to write good SaaS Web Content. It does sound like a lot of work. Thank you very much!

  • This is fabulous and helpful for anyone to learn SaaS content writing easily, thank you for this.
    You are a great writer

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