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It’s pretty much a given that if you have a SaaS product, content marketing will play a role in your overall marketing strategy.
That said, content marketing has shifted dramatically over the years. It’s no longer as easy as writing a few good articles and driving tons of traffic to your site.
Not only is there an overwhelming amount of content out there (ranging from “very good” to “shockingly terrible,”), there are also so many different types of content that you could possibly be creating.
So, it can be a challenge to narrow your focus enough to do any of them really well.
I’ve been creating and implementing content marketing strategy for over 6 years, working with established,”lifestyle” SaaS companies as well as new, growing startups.
I currently head up content marketing for Canny, a B2B SaaS tool (did I mention we’re a small team of only seven, and are completely bootstrapped and profitable?).
In this article, I’ll be going over my top content marketing tips for SaaS businesses in 2020, and giving clear examples and takeaways for each.
Creating great content is always the goal.
But, creating great content for the sake of great content shouldn’t be your main focus.
Before you devote your time and energy to establishing an Instagram presence, or writing lengthy blog articles, or creating time-consuming YouTube videos, take a step back and figure out where your target audience goes to consume content.
You can easily define your customer persona and their preferences by using a template like the one below.
Getting clear on where your customers are, and what kind of content they prefer, should be at the forefront of your SaaS marketing strategy. This involves a bit of research, a bit of talking to you existing (or ideal) customers, and, in all honesty, a bit of trial and error.
The conclusions you draw will depend on what type of SaaS tool you’re building. You might have users that are very solution-focused, and want content that answers questions or solves problems.
Or, your audience might be doing less question-based, solution-driven research, and so it would make less sense to create this type of content.
I’ll use Canny as an example:
Canny is a B2B SaaS tool that allows companies to track, manage and prioritize customer feedback. Our audience is made up primarily of other SaaS companies looking to gain insight into what customers think about their product, and what they’d like to see built.
However, not every business knows they’d benefit from a customer feedback tool. Plenty of businesses don’t even know such a thing exists. Ultimately, they might not be spending their time researching customer feedback tools.
So, while we’re focusing on creating solution-driven content (i.e., articles that cover why you should be collecting customer feedback), it’s also important for us to create content in the spaces our target customer (SaaS founders and product managers) spend time.
So, this looks like doing podcast episodes, featuring our founders’ story on other blogs, and so on. It’s about figuring out where our potential customers are, and making sure we have a presence there.
Branding shouldn’t just be reserved for your logo and copy on your landing site. Your brand should be reflected in the content you create.
If you’re a SaaS business, you’ve likely given a lot of thought to the look and feel of your tool. So, it’s important to establish the same brand guidelines for the content you create.
This isn’t just reflected in how you write articles or what your blog looks like.
It can be tempting to create content that you feel like you’re “supposed” to create. But, it’ll likely feel inauthentic and like a chore to produce.
Instead, focus on content that feels like it authentically captures who you are as a company, your story, and the unique way you can deliver value.
Help define your content creation strategy by creating a plan with the template below.
This will help ensure that all of your content will have a goal or objective, and you'll know exactly how to create and promote it.
You can’t have a conversation about content marketing without bringing in SEO.
On a practical level, take time to consider both content that is SEO-driven, as well as brand-building content. If you are writing blog content, an SEO strategy will be critical.
You’re likely doing keyword research and determining how you can position your blog to best appeal to relevant organic search traffic.
I won’t tell you not to do that. You should definitely do that. But the waters get murky when it comes to mixing SEO strategy with brand-building content.
Brand-building content doesn’t always align with SEO goals.
You might have a great, unique, inspirational startup story to tell. Or, your company culture is really something to be proud of.
But, let’s say you’ve built a great meditation app. Your potential target customers are not necessarily out there searching for startup stories. Instead, they’re searching for the best meditation apps, tools to help them feel calmer, ways to be more focused.
So, your long-tail SEO strategy will be around creating content that appeals to these types of organic search terms. That’s a given. But this doesn’t mean neglecting your startup story.
The audience for this content might also be interested in your meditation app. It just means that this content might be separate from your SEO-driven content.
Balance the two. While they’re not mutually exclusive, it’s not necessary that all brand building content be SEO-driven, or vice-versa.
Also, think about where it’s best to place your brand-building content versus your SEO content. The former might be better served as a discussion point for podcast episodes, the focus of your Instagram, or guest articles. The latter might fit best on your blog, to drive traffic to your site.
The two content types aren’t at odds—they just require slightly different approaches.
The thing about video is that it can be incredibly time-consuming, slick, and expertly-produced. And, it can also be exactly none of those things.
Creating video content can be a sticking point for brands, especially in the SaaS and tech spaces where it’s harder to just shoot some quick, pretty footage and call it a day.
There’s a tendency to feel like video needs to perfect in order to be a worthwhile content type to pursue. And, perfect video content is a lot of work.
But, I’m sure you’re familiar with Whiteboard Fridays—and if you are, you’re aware of how effective low-production value video content can be. The content and subject matter being discussed isn’t low effort at all, but it’s video in its most MVP form.
For example, Canny put together this video for our Changelog feature:
A couple of props, our team, and very limited time and money spent.
All this to say: If you have topics that would be well-suited to video, think about how you can do it in a way that’s lightweight, easy to put together, and fast.
Most people don’t want to read a wall of text. It doesn’t matter how great and informative something is.
So, take time to think through your strategy for creating visual content.
For the first point, think about how you can create visuals to accompany your written content. It breaks it up, and makes it more engaging.
Here’s an example of an associated image for an article we published on the Canny blog. It’s a standalone graphic, and it also complements the article
Tools like Visme (and resources like the Visme visual learning center) make it easy to do this without an in-house graphic design team, so the idea of creating your own visuals doesn’t need to be intimidating.
It also doesn’t need to be a time-consuming process—you can create an infographic in less time than it takes to finish a meeting.
Visual-first content also is perfect for content that does “double-duty,” and can be repurposed on multiple channels—see tip #6 for more ideas on how this works.
Creating great content can take a lot of effort. It takes time to plan, organize, produce, and distribute. Wouldn’t it be great if you could do less, and get more out of it?
Creating content with the aim of repurposing it on various channels and in various forms is critical here.
This doesn’t mean being lazy with your content. It just means thinking through the various ways one theme or subject could play to multiple channels or formats successfully.
The key here is to think through your approach beforehand, not after. It’s not about shoehorning content where it doesn’t fit. Instead, it’s about creating a plan for a specific topic that includes multiple formats from the get-go.
To ensure you have enough content, consider outsourcing content writing and creation if you need to. Working with a managed content writing service like GodotMedia or working with freelance writer platforms like Narrato.io are both good options.
Your SaaS content marketing strategy will continue to grow and evolve as your product becomes more established, and you learn more about your customer base.
If you’re looking for more deep-dives into specific marketing topics, checking out more of Visme’s digital marketing resources is a good next step.
That said—it’s a process, and you’ll continually refine where you put your efforts, based on what’s working and what isn’t.
The best way forward, as with any strategy, is clearly defining your goals, what actions you’re putting into place, and how you’ll measure success—and then rolling up your sleeves and getting started.