Content Marketing for SaaS – 101

If you are a SaaS, you have every reason to build a content strategy early on. First, inbound marketing is a major user acquisition channel in the SaaS...

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If you are a SaaS, you have every reason to build a content strategy early on. First, inbound marketing is a major user acquisition channel in the SaaS industry. Second, since your revenue is subscription-based, you need content to retain your users. Third, it is usually less costly and always less pushy than outbound marketing. You can even start your content strategy prior to your product launch, in order to raise interest around the pain point you’re addressing. Here are a few tips to start your content marketing strategy:

Define your strategy

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Your content strategy should be adapted to your product and general marketing efforts. There are basically three easy ways to help you define which content will be the most efficient:

  • Benchmark your competitors: it’s an easy way to get inspiration, see which contents work best (in terms of engagement or shares) and be motivated to be better!
  • Assess keywords: your content should be optimized for search engines to reach your target audience. There are plenty of tools to help you on that matter.
  • Talk to your customers: they can tell you what topics they need advice on – it will give you content ideas for acquiring and nurturing them.

These assets will help you define formats of your content, topics to address, resources to allow to content production and distribution channels to opt for. Keep in mind that your content should be valuable to your customers at each stage of their purchasing cycle.
Note that the three tips are inter-connected: you can analyze your competitors’ keywords using Google Adwords, for instance.
More on how to define your strategy on this great blog post (by Moz).

Start your blog

Blogging And Writing For Website
You don’t have to necessarily write long-copy, your blog can host videos, slides, any kind of formats. Having a blog is a way to gather all your content in one place and to keep control over your conversion goals.
No matter what CMS you choose, you must keep in mind that your blog needs to be easily readable, SEO optimized (you can use tools like Moz or Scribe and use plugins like Yoast for WordPress) and have a clear call-to-action (there are 2 that are pretty basic: sign up / try your product and subscribe to your blog’s newsletter digest).

Finally, make sure you track your blog’s efficiency using Google Analytics and funnel-analysis tools (Heap Analytics, Mixpanel, Kissmetrics).
Once you have it, you can start producing and distributing content according to your strategy. Should you write it yourself? Well, it depends on how much ROI you get from the time you spend on it. If you feel like you can’t do it but want to test your strategy, you can hire freelance content writers (although I strongly recommend you opt for in-house).
If you wonder how to find content ideas, take a look here (blog post by Mention).

If you want to work well with your copywriters, I put together some slides for you.

Build your distribution channels

Content Blog Blogging Idea Media Internet Email Concept

A nice article is pretty much worth nothing if no one reads it. You should put time and efforts in becoming a thought leader on your topic and be well-known on existing communities as a smart content provider.

  • Owned distribution: your own social media channels (Twitter, Linkedin etc), newsletter, curation newsletter (SaaSClub is actually a curation newsletter powered by eFounders)
  • Earned distribution: online communities and forums (Quora…), sharing platforms (HackerNews, Growth Hackers…), Linkedin / Facebook / Google + groups.
  • Guest posts: you can write articles on other SaaS’ blogs in order to get their audience to know more about you, and vice versa (remember this is still inbound marketing, not advertising!) It is a great way to share audiences and content production efforts. Other blogs are written by people: talk to them 😉

More on content distribution strategy and tools on this awesome blog post by Kissmetrics.

A few things to keep in mind:

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  • There is no silver bullet: content takes time, it’s a long-trend initiative. This is wonderfully explained by Moz on this “Whiteboard Friday” video called “The Greatest Misconception in Content Marketing
  • Distributing your content takes 10 times more efforts than writing it. I’m saying that because I hear it a lot: if you are not a writer yourself, you might think it’s the most challenging part. Well, it’s not: distributing your content to the right audience is.
  • Content marketing should be conversion-driven without forgetting editorial quality. Being SEO-friendly does not mean you should forget about writing good stuff, your customers will enjoy your content only if it’s high quality.

I hope these few introductory tips will help you take the leap towards content marketing!

Resources:

Human Resources And Self-development. Modern Business

There are a million resources on content marketing for SaaS. I chose 4, just like that:

  • Smartest blog post on SaaS, including content marketing:

http://tomtunguz.com/categories/content-marketing/

  • Guide to strategic writing, a.k.a my personal bible:

http://bloggerjet.com/guide-to-strategic-writing/

  • Never get dry from content ideas thanks to:

http://refugeeks.com/content-ideaS/

  • Content marketing for B2B framework, cristal clear:

http://clementvouillon.com/article/content-marketing-framework-for-b2b-startups/

Really cools SaaS blogs to read:

  • Buffer
  • Intercom
  • Co Schedule
  • Unbounce
  • Hubspot
  • Kissmetrics
  • Mention

Really cool SaaS content people to follow:

Kevan from Buffer

Paul Jarvis

Shannon from CloudPeeps

Garett Moon from Co-schedule

Noah Kagan from OkDork

Cara Hogan from Insight Squared

by Rachel Vanier

Rachel Vanier is Content marketing & Communications manager at eFounders startup studio. She curates SaaSClub, a weekly newsletter dedicated to SaaS.

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