SaaS content marketing is not a new concept by any means. I bet every SaaS brand has a blog and some sort of social media presence. Or at least, they know they should.
But here’s the thing. It’s one thing to create a blog and social media posts and another thing to create content that helps you achieve organizational goals. Anyone can create a blog, but only smart marketers can attribute specific sales to their blog.
A robust SaaS content marketing strategy will help you create valuable content that will move your business forward. It’s not just a matter of doing it because everyone else is.
This guide will show you to create killer content marketing campaigns that generate a positive ROI.
What is SaaS Content Marketing?
SaaS content marketing is the strategic creation and distribution of tailored content. This content is designed to inform, engage, and educate prospective buyers about market solutions to their problems.
Given the subscriptive nature of the SaaS model, the goal isn’t hard-selling online products but brand awareness and relationship building. Essentially, you want to constantly demonstrate the value of your product to retain users and optimize your annual recurring revenue (ARR).
But there are many different types of content you can use. So let’s look at the most common and useful types of content used by SaaS marketing teams to engage and educate potential customers:
Blogging is the most popular type of content marketing. This happens both on your site and through guest posting.
About 98% of SaaS companies use blogs to educate leads, position brands as industry authorities, and improve website ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). That includes major SaaS brands like Shopify.
Plus, an in-depth blog is a link magnet. It’ll attract backlinks which will boost your site’s performance on search engines.
For example, Ahrefs churns crazy amounts of video content each month. And they distribute this content across their YouTube channel. They also upload it alongside relevant blog posts, which can help boost time-on-page.
Creating video content is affordable with today’s smartphone capabilities. Videos are also a great way to build personalized relationships, putting faces to the brand.
The popularity of podcasts has been growing for several years now. According to Statista, only 22% of Americans knew what podcasting was in 2006. That number increased to 78% in 2021.
The above chart shows the steady growth of global podcast listeners. By 2024, there will be an estimated 504.9 million podcast listeners worldwide.
Two factors make podcasts a perfect channel for educating qualified leads: one, 78% of listeners tune into podcasts to acquire new knowledge, and two, the long-form format. Most podcast episodes are between 20 to 40 minutes in length. People can listen to them on their daily commute or while doing chores.
Another interesting thing is that podcasting is still considered a blue ocean. So there isn’t much competition in podcasting compared to something like blogging. That means you can make significant strides faster with a value-packed niche podcast.
Other types of SaaS inbound marketing content are webinars, white papers, case studies, and templates.
5 Reasons Content Marketing for SaaS Is So Important
SaaS products are different from other industries. Likewise, their marketing requires different strategies to be effective. Let’s explore these differences to understand why content marketing is uniquely vital to SaaS.
- SaaS products are intangible and require more convincing than tangible products to demonstrate their value. Top-performing companies like Salesforce spend 46% of their annual recurring revenue on marketing, including inbound content like product roundups and reviews that help potential customers make purchasing decisions.
- SaaS products are subscription-based, and customer retention is a key driving factor. You can reduce customer churn and increase retention by 32% by providing self-help content like tutorials, product demos, and webinars. Email marketing is also essential because it helps you keep that relationship with the customers going to maintain a strong customer-lifetime value.
- SaaS marketing budgets are higher than traditional marketing budgets, with an average of 26% of the annual recurring revenue (ARR). Content marketing saves businesses as much as 62% in marketing costs compared to traditional, outbound marketing, providing more bang for the buck. This is one of the key areas where we see a significant difference between SaaS marketing and other types of marketing.
- The SaaS and technology industries are constantly evolving, and their customers need to keep up with new information. 36% of SaaS companies use blog posts to provide educational content to help customers improve their knowledge and skill set, building loyalty and establishing brand authority.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical for the success of every SaaS. 75% of searchers don’t scroll past the first results page. SEO content helps improve your rank in organic searches by keeping audiences engaged with your website.
Now that you understand the benefits of content marketing, we will look at how you can create an effective strategy around it.
How To Build an Effective SaaS Content Marketing Strategy
Creating a winning content marketing strategy is the key to scaling your SaaS business. But crafting compelling and relevant content alone won’t cut it. To truly drive conversions and sales, you need a solid plan in place.
Your strategy needs to focus on aligning your business goals and identifying the right content and channels.
In other words, it’s time to think beyond just creating content and focus on developing a comprehensive strategy that will take your SaaS business to new heights. Follow these steps to achieve that:
1. Understand Your Target Audience
You already have an idea of who your target audience is. But having an idea is totally different from understanding your customers. To grow your SaaS business, you need to master the latter.
Let’s say your SaaS product is a recruitment tool. The target customer is the owner of a talent agency or the human resource executive. That’s a good start, but you must dive deeper.
Conducting audience research and creating comprehensive buyer personas helps you understand the people you’re creating content for. It details their goals, frustrations, purchasing ability, and more.
The B2B persona above highlights the customer’s responsibilities, goals, challenges, purchasing power, and the type of content to use.
B2B marketers must build more than one buyer persona because their sales process is longer than B2C companies and involves multiple people. The HR manager you targeted for your recruitment software may not be the decision maker. So you need to create another persona for the decision maker and a different content plan for them.
Using the earlier example of the recruitment software, you may create a best practices webinar for recruitment officers, a product roundup video or blog post for the HR manager, and case studies for the decision maker.
The bottom line is you must understand your ideal customers to create relevant content that will drive you closer to your ultimate goal.
I recommend mapping your customer journey. Journey maps allow you to experience how customers move through your sales funnel and identify potential pitfalls. You can create valuable content for each part of the journey to encourage conversion and retention.
2. Determine Your Campaign Goals
Buyer personas answer who you’re creating content for. However, you must also answer why you are creating content. Determining your SaaS inbound marketing goals helps you pick suitable content types and marketing channels to achieve organizational objectives.
Check out this chart showing the different types of SaaS content marketing goals.
Brand awareness and lead generation are the top two content marketing goals for SaaS.
Brand awareness puts your SaaS on the map. If no one knows your business exists, they can’t buy your products. It’s that simple, really.
Blogging and video marketing are both great at building brand awareness. Target informational keywords for this purpose.
My recommendation is to combine both blogging and video marketing for quick results. Blogging helps you bring prospects to your website, while video marketing is easily consumed and shared on social media. You can also showcase brand personality and build relationships faster with behind-the-brand videos.
For example, the video titled ‘Before Toggl, Tracking Time Was…’ introduces the time tracking software Toggl track in a fun and visually appealing way.
Whatever the goal is for your content marketing, you’ll always want your leads to move down the sales funnel. This is where lead generation and nurturing now kick in.
Content like eBooks, quizzes, and webinars are great for generating leads because they contain information prospects may find beneficial. You can share these content assets in exchange for the users’ email addresses. This allows prospects to get a valuable asset they need, and you’ll get their contact details to nurture this relationship.
Ebooks like the example above are popular pieces of content B2B SaaS marketers use to generate leads. Because creating eBooks is expensive and time-consuming, many lead capture forms ask for business contacts to determine the validity of interest.
Although it is fourth on the list, retaining existing customers is as important as acquiring new ones. The Pareto principle for customer success states that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers.
Keeping repeat and loyal customers happy comes down to customer experience. In addition to excellent customer service, content like how-to guides or tutorials will keep your customers engaged with accessible, up-to-date information.
Codecademy’s online resource center is a perfect example of customer retention content. It has documents for different scripting languages, videos, and cheat sheets.
Note that any piece of content can achieve your digital marketing goals. For instance, a podcast with a high-profile personality can generate new interest and leads, as well as an eBook. Blog posts by partners or affiliates can increase awareness of your brand among their audiences.
What does that mean? Don’t just focus on one type of content. Diversify your content marketing efforts to maximize your ROI.
3. Create a Content Creation Process
Still, you must consistently release content to keep your audiences engaged and your organic rankings high.
At Crunch Marketing, we produce more than 50 pieces of high-quality content per week. The process is smooth and efficient because we have systems and processes in place. In my guide on SaaS content production, I shared the systems you need to put in place to produce content at scale without compromising on quality.
Here’s the summary of what you need for an efficient content creation process:
- Create a knowledge base – this should contain all the vital resources your writers and editors will need.
- Hire experienced writers and editors – you may need to train the staff a bit to get them accustomed to your specific brand guidelines.
- Invest in a content management system – this helps with tracking the whole process.
- Conduct keyword research and create the content – finally, do your keyword research and start producing the content creation.
I highly recommend going through that article on SaaS content production for the full details. For example, you’ll learn how to discover content ideas from industry trends and news alerts. I also share some of the steps we take to hire the right writers and the tools required for each step of the content creation process.
Sounds like too much work? It is, but it doesn’t have to be. You can start small by focusing on one topic cluster at a time.
But if you’d rather not go through the headache, contact our team, and we’ll create a foolproof content roadmap for your brand, showing you where the biggest opportunities lie. We can also help you create a complete content marketing funnel, from onsite content to guest posting.
Our experts have helped SaaS brands like Shift4Shop, Surfer, and Writer achieve impressive results, as shown above.
4. Build a SaaS Content Distribution Strategy
Content distribution involves publishing and promoting content on various platforms. You might be wondering why you need a distribution strategy. Can’t you just post your how-to tutorial on Instagram and call it a day?
You can, but your content won’t’ perform as well as you want it to. It needs to get in front of the right audience as much as possible.
Without an effective way to reach prospective customers, content creation becomes useless.
There are three primary distribution models:
- Owned distribution through channels that belong to your business
- Earned/Shared distribution through third-party channels
- Paid distribution through channels you pay for, such as influencer content
Each distribution model has its pros and cons. For instance, paid channels deliver results quickly, but they can get expensive really fast. So unless you have an unlimited marketing budget, you can’t fully rely on paid channels.
Owned platforms like email drive organic and sustainable business growth, but it takes a long time. Shared platforms increase your audience, but you don’t own the content you post on them.
A determining factor of content distribution is your target market. To get your content in front of your potential clients, you must know where they spend most of their time.
Your audience research and buyer persona should have information on customers’ preferred channels. You may also want to customize your content for each channel. For example, you can customize your latest blog and optimize it for LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and email if those are the popular channels among your target audience.
So, you’ll create a Slideshare for LinkedIn, a short post or thread for Twitter, and a video for your YouTube channel. Distribution will boost the performance and ROI of each content piece produced.
5. Measure Your Results and Adjust Your Strategy
To prove your content strategy is working, you must put in place measures to monitor the performance of your campaigns. The specific SaaS marketing metrics you track depend on your goals. For instance, if your goal is lead generation, you must include email list opt-in rates as a key performance indicator (KPI).
The primary content metrics you should be tracking are as follows:
- Click-through rate: measures the relevance of your content by the number of CTA clicks on an email marketing campaign, Google ad, or landing page.
- Time Spent on Page: measures how engaging your content is using the time people spend on content pages. The longer, the better. If you have a high bounce rate, audit your content and website to identify the issue.
- Web traffic: measures content performance by the number of visitors to your web pages.
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC): measure the financial performance of a campaign by comparing the cost of marketing to the number of acquired customers.
Content marketing analytics tools help content marketers track and understand content performance. For example, Google Search Console and Google Analytics can help you monitor your traffic and bounce rate. You can see how customers engage and consume content and identify areas for improvement. Knowing where traffic comes from and the type of content that drives organic traffic, you can optimize those channels and content.
Without tracking your analytics, you risk wasting resources on marketing that doesn’t work.
5 Tips To Boost Your SaaS Content Marketing Strategy
With a solid marketing strategy in place, you are well on your way to growing your SaaS business organically and sustainably. But there’s always something more you can do to edge out your competition. Here are five tips to supercharge your SaaS content marketing efforts.
1. Hire the Right People
Content marketing is time-intensive work. Whatever size your SaaS business is, you will need a dedicated team to ensure your content marketing efforts pay off.
Ideally, your content team should include the following roles:
- Writers – create written content like blog posts, eBooks
- Designers – create visual content like images, charts, infographics
- Editors – review and polish content
- Marketers – promote and distribute content
- Strategists – create content marketing strategies; conduct research and audits.
- SEO specialists – ensure website and content are optimized to rank high on SERPs
- Project manager – oversees content team and activities
The makeup of your content marketing team depends on your budget and needs. New SaaS will probably only have a project manager and writers, relying on SaaS content tools.
Alternatively, you could outsource your content campaigns to a reputable SaaS content marketing agency. These agencies have teams of experienced strategists, writers, editors, etc., which allows you to focus on other parts of your business. Best of all, you can leverage their established processes, expertise, and relationships for your campaigns.
2. Leverage Automation Tools
There are many tools to help you at various stages of the content creation process. These can be especially helpful for small or startup SaaS that can’t hire a complete content marketing team.
Marketers can deploy SaaS marketing automation for email marketing, market research, workflow management, content writing, and more.
One of our favorite content automation tools is Trello, a Kanban-style project management tool. It allows you to manage content workflow by moving task cards between lists. With an in-built automation system, you can set up ruled-based on calendar commands.
Another favorite automated tool is Frase, a content writing software. It has an in-built AI writing tool to help generate original content and article outlines. You can also plan and optimize content for SEO with headings and keyword suggestions.
Email marketing tools like Mailshake automates email outreach, writing, and scheduling. With templates and personalization at scale, you can send prospecting messages and email campaigns with a click of a button.
Some honorable mentions – CoSchedule, Ahref Content Explorer, and Canva. CoSchedule is an editorial content calendar that allows bloggers to plan and schedule social media posts.
Ahrefs Content Explorer is a content ideation and keyword research tool that lets you discover top-performing content and topics. Canva is a graphic design tool for social media posts and infographics.
3. Prioritize Content Quality, Not Quantity
In content marketing, quality beats quantity every time. In fact, it is one of the key factors Google uses to determine your rank for a search query. So, what constitutes a quality piece of content?
Relevance – there are different ways to look at relevance, but I want to focus on search intent. What’s the user intent behind the keyword you are targeting? Unless you get the intent right, you risk creating an irrelevant piece of content. So research your topic/target keyword and look at the ranking content. Does it have informational, commercial, transactional, or navigational intent?
Engaging – quality content is engaging. Your topic should be interesting, and your copy easy to read. Posts full of technical jargon are difficult to read. Use a conversational tone and proofread your posts for typos or grammatical mistakes.
Attractive – how your content looks (structurally and visually) impacts the perceived quality. You may have well-written and relevant content, but your website won’t rank if the layout is confusing.
Use high-quality images and topic headings to make your long-form content more engaging. Also, use harmonious color schemes and structure your site for intuitive navigation.
4. Keep an Eye on Your Competition
Researching your competitors’ content is a great way to get ideas for high-quality content and stay on top of topic trends.
What kinds of content are your rivals creating? Product roundups? Tutorial videos?
Also, analyze how they are using content. For instance, are they using podcasts for brand awareness or customer retention? And not just in-house podcasts. Founders and marketers are also known to make guest appearances on SaaS podcasts to boost brand awareness and attract leads.
Competitor analysis software like Buzzsumo provides data on your competitor’s top-performing content, keyword use, backlinks, social media, and PPC ads. Use these insights to stay ahead of your competition.
5. Update Existing Content Regularly
Unless your website is new, chances are you have pieces of content, some of which aren’t performing as well as you like. Content audits help identify content that needs to be improved or deleted. For instance, an audit can reveal content with broken links or site components not aligned with your SaaS SEO strategy.
You don’t always have to create new content to improve your organic rankings. Content audits provide insight into underperforming and outdated content, which can be repurposed, updated, and optimized to align with your content marketing process.
The quickest way to conduct an audit is with an online tool like SEMrush Content Audit. It automatically analyzes your entire website for SEO opportunities, not just your content.
As for the updates, I recommend updating your content at least once per year. Make sure all the concepts and data are up-to-date and relevant.
SaaS Content Marketing FAQ
SaaS content marketing is used by SaaS companies to attract, convert, and retain their target audience through the consistent creation and distribution of unique, valuable content. Effective content marketing builds customer trust, leading to higher customer retention.
The most effective SaaS content marketing channels are SEO, PPC, podcasting, and Youtube. Get in touch to learn how we’ve helped SaaS companies dominate the SERPs and scale to 500,000+ visitors a month.
Marketing for SaaS companies is a whole different ball game compared to other industries! The key to success is all about showing off the value of your on-demand products and ensuring the customer is always front and center.
That’s why SaaS marketing teams need to invest the time and money to build real connections with their target audience. And the best way to do that? Content marketing.
This guide covered all the must-know tips for creating killer content marketing campaigns for SaaS companies. We kicked things off by breaking down what content marketing is and giving you some examples of how it’s used in the SaaS world.
Then, you learned why a solid content marketing plan is essential and the five elements of a winning content strategy. Finally, we wrapped things up with some actionable advice to help you optimize your campaigns and get those conversions skyrocketing.
Just remember, building customer loyalty and trust takes time – don’t expect to see results overnight. But by following this guide, you’ll be able to create thought-leadership content that drives organic traffic, establishes your brand as a leader in the industry, and maximizes your conversion rates.
Nico is the founder of Crunch Marketing, a SaaS marketing agency. He works with enterprise SaaS clients like Writer, Right Inbox, and Surfer SEO, helping them scale lead generation globally across EMEA, APAC, and other regions.