SaaS content marketing is unique because the end users of your software engage with you daily through micro interactions. Whether the software is something that’s used in the course of a person’s workday, a tool for personal development, or simply for entertainment, we’re actually selling content to help them save time/money, or improve their quality of life.
It’s a natural progression–if we’re trying to sell content to a person/company, we might as well use content to achieve the goal.
Furthermore, content takes on a secondary role in the SaaS industry as a mechanism for ”stickiness,” or the hold a company has on their clients.
Want to keep that Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) up? Provide continuous value, and answer the question, “What have you done for me lately?”
Content is not only a natural fit, it is an extremely cheap tool to reach the intended outcome.
Everyday SaaS Content
We call blogs BUMs or Basic Units of Measurement. Blogs serve as the most elemental building block of content, because the effort and cost of producing a blog is quite low, blogs allow you to react to timely events developing within your industry, the performance of this type of content is almost completely within your control, and it’s easy to parse out into other content.
SaaS Blogs are also easy to distribute. You have a lot of vehicles to get a blog to your target audience.
From a blog, you can create a lot of content like a white paper, an ebook (like this one), a video, and a podcast episode.
Here is what a SaaS blog is:
- Conversational – Written to your audience.
- Answers a question – One your audience may have.
- About the audience – The hero of the story should be the reader.
- Optimized for search engines – There is no reason to write a blog that isn’t.
- Mostly entertaining, but can be educational.
Here is what a SaaS blog is not:
- Complicated – An everyday reader should be able to understand the concept.
- About the company – That’s for press releases or news.
- Long – Although a blog should be at least 1,000 words, content with significantly larger word countst may be better suited as an ebook or other form of content.
When creating blogs for the SaaS industry, make sure to follow all standard SEO best practices. Even if you already dominate the target keyword, it’ll never hurt to optimize a blog to maintain your rank.
SaaS Video Content
The hottest basic form of SaaS content is video. The second largest search engine after Google general search is YouTube. The world is tuning into online video and setting unprecedented watch time records. People don’t read as much as they used to. These are simple facts, not really marketing advice, but shouldn’t be ignored when developing content.
Creating videos is a more skilled labor than writing a blog, and they are generally more expensive to develop. If you don’t have an in-depth blog strategy, I don’t suggest starting with video development. Instead, consider transforming a few successful blogs into video content. There are many services designed to take the written words of a blog and transpose them into a video.
What’s better than a blog you can read? A blog you can read or watch.
Here is what a video is:
- Produced – Audiences of all ages expect high production value.
- Concise – Try to keep them under a couple minutes for easy distribution.
- Visual – Ok this seems simple, but remember PowerPoint rules apply here. Show don’t tell.
Here is what a video is not:
- Only published on social media – Link back to your site, where your video should be embedded or even hosted.
- Just a Screen Share – Put time into animating an intro or a few bits in the middle.
Although podcasts have been around for decades, podcasts have boomed in the past year or two, and they aren’t slowing down. What’s better than reading a blog or watching that blog unfold as a video? How about listening to it while you drive, or eat, or shower.
The industrial world has proven its propensity for convenience over and over again. It’s our natural inclination to seek the “path of least resistance.”
On the content front, that’s why podcasts are so popular. It’s the most convenient form of content to consume. It’s both educational and entertaining for the consumer and it’s fairly easy to produce for the creator.
Why Podcasts are good for the SaaS industry:
Your software likely accomplishes one specific goal for your customers, it’s a more convenient way to get something done. That’s the nature of all software, isn’t it? It places you at the intersection of being a subject matter expert in the area of your software and how to make a target audience’s life more convenient.
Most people would gladly surrender an hour a week to learn about how they can be better at their job or passion, and as a SaaS provider in a likely niche industry, you’re perfectly positioned to fill that need.
Here is what a SaaS Podcast is:
- A Thoughtful Length – Is your audience listening on their commute, lunch break, or on the weekend? Tailor your episode length to fit your audience’s availability.
- Entertaining – Even though you’re likely educating, you must entertain someone while they listen. Have a fun host.
- Regularly Produced – Make a schedule and stick to it. People rely on their content schedule.
- CTA rich – Placing a call to action as a commercial inside your podcast to contact you, visit your website, or consume some other piece of content.
Here is what a SaaS Podcast isn’t:
- Promotional – Your podcast isn’t about your business. It’s about your audience.
- Cheap – Although it’s not an expensive endeavor, having a pro edit the audio will keep your pod from sounding cheap.
- Only on one streaming service – Give your audience several different ways to consume your podcast, and yes—embed it on your site if you can.
Before you move forward with a vast SaaS content marketing plan for your company, do your SEO homework.
We tell our clients that content has two purposes: organic and media.
Everytime you produce a piece of content that will live on your website, ask yourself how you can optimize it for search engines. Even if that piece of content exists only as a reason to reach out to a prospect or delight a current client, there’s no reason it shouldn’t bring organic traffic to your site as well.
Google is the single-largest source of website referral in the world. Don’t block it from referring traffic to you.
Spend some time researching the keywords that would be the most profitable for your business. We advise hiring a pro to do this for you, but if you’re cash-strapped, use some of the free tools out there to see what keywords you already rank on and those your competitors do as well.
Cross reference those keywords with what happy clients say about your company. Do they say something like:
“Really love (blank) solution. It saves me time when filing my taxes for my company.”
Do you already rank at the first spot for “business tax filing software?”
Try to focus on a small number of keywords that are at the bottom of the funnel, or the terms people would search if they were looking for your solutions directly. Then branch out.
Find keywords that have a low ranking difficulty. You can do this by using free SEO tools or, like we said before, hiring a pro to help.
As we venture into the weeds, it’s crucial to mention Pillar Pages. These are pages on your website that serve a single purpose, to help you rank on one very targeted bottom of the funnel keyword phrase.
These pages are often a bit longer and have multiple graphics. Pillar pages are the pages you’ll link to internally from blogs and other pieces of content that reference the target keyword phrase on the pillar page.
Think of your content as a giant web made up of interlinking clusters. At the center of each cluster should be a pillar page and all your content should stem from that page. A blog that fits the broader category of the pillar page should link to it.
These pages also make great backlink offers for other sites. If you can convince another site to link to yours try to get that link to a pillar page.
You can have as many pillar pages as you want, but we suggest at least 1 for every 4 target long tail keyword phrases.
A Word About Attribution
Ungated, front-facing content makes attribution difficult. Let’s say someone shares a snippet of your podcast on LinkedIn, another person sees it and forwards it to yet a third person. This person visits your site directly, reads a blog, and fills out a contact form.
A traditional attribution model wouldn’t capture the whole story here. It would attribute the lead to direct traffic. This may drive you crazy as a marketer, but it shouldn’t paralyze you or keep you from producing this type of content. Humans rarely take action in predictable, consistent ways.
With outward-facing content, a rising tide raises all ships. By making content that is valuable, easily consumed, and easily shared, you’ll make it easier for people to interact with your content, even if they do so beyond the vision of your attribution model.