SaaS Marketing

Content Marketing for SaaS: The 9-Step Guide

Toni Koraza
February 4, 2023
Content Marketing for SaaS: The 9-Step Guide

Think about some of the best SaaS tools.

I bet your first thought of one of these: Ahrefs, HubSpot, Trello, Slack, or maybe even Salesforce and Monday.com

What is the one thing common in all these SaaS brands?

They have a stellar content marketing strategy. Not only do they get millions of views on their blogs every month, but they are deemed as authority in their niche because of their content. All this helps attract quality leads and smoothen out the sales process. If you’re a thought leader, people will ask you to help them out.

How can you replicate such results to grow your SaaS?

As the leading link-building and SaaS SEO agency, we have helped SaaS clients like Postalytics increase their organic traffic by 28 times in no time. We know how to get results from content marketing, and we’re ready to share our insights with you today.

What We'll Cover:

What is SaaS Content Marketing?

SaaS content marketing is a long-term strategy that is aimed at attracting, educating, converting, and retaining customers for your SaaS business with the help of unique content that is created and promoted on a consistent basis. 

This could mean answering questions like:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What kind of content will appeal to them? Which channels should we promote this content to better reach out to them?
  • What does the word “consistent” mean for our brand? Does it mean producing an article every week or more?
  • How are we planning to create content for each stage of the funnel? Should we focus on a particular stage more than the others?

You can even find out the answers to these questions by observing the best players in your niche. But more on that later.

Why is SaaS Content Marketing Important?

While content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, it generates over three times as many leads. If that’s not enough to convince you, here are some other results you can expect through content marketing:

  • You increase brand awareness and authority by creating quality content that helps alleviate your target audience’s pain points. 
  • Through SEO (Search Engine Optimization), you can improve your search engine rankings due to increased visibility and high CTRs (Click Through Rates)
  • Your brand can become the authority leader in your niche.
  • It helps you build valuable relationships with your customers and target audience and improves word-of-mouth marketing.
  • SaaS content marketing is cost-effective compared to other traditional strategies, and you keep getting results from it even in the long run. For example, a popular article you created can generate leads even two years after its publishing date.
  • You can improve conversions with a strategy that does not feel pushy. 

What makes SaaS Content Marketing Different?

Here are five reasons SaaS content marketing is more complex and different:

  1. B2B SaaS and even complex SaaS products have long sales cycles and often involve many decision-makers so you need to have a set content strategy for the different stages.
  2. As the SaaS model is based on recurring payments, you need to retain your customers and provide helpful content to them continuously.
  3. Because your product is intangible, your SaaS content marketing strategy must address buyer hesitation and common queries.
  4. As your business is online, prospective buyers search for your product or services on engines such as Google, making SEO a very important part of your content strategy.
  5. As there is a lot of competition in the SaaS field, you need to build trust and credibility in your brand with content marketing.

How to Create an Effective SaaS Content Marketing Strategy in 9 Steps

The following nine steps will help you direct your SaaS content marketing strategy and figure out the kind of content you’ll need to create and why. Let’s get started.

1. Define your goals and objectives

Without a specific goal or objective in mind, your team will be left making haywire content, and the result will be no conversions.

Here are some overall SaaS marketing goals you can build up on:

a graph content marketing goals

Define your objectives first. These objectives could be:

  • Increasing ranking on search engines and improving brand visibility
  • Driving more traffic to your website, blog, and social media profiles
  • Building trust and credibility by showing your expertise in the field
  • Getting backlinks from authority sites
  • Lead generation and nurturing
  • Increasing free trials and then converting them into paid customers
  • Engaging existing customers

Once you have defined your overall objective, you can then proceed with defining a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound) goal.

For example, if your overall objective for this quarter is “getting backlinks from authority sites,” a SMART goal would be:

 Getting 20 backlinks from authority sites (with a DR above 70) for the keyword ‘project management’ in this quarter.

You can create goals for all your objectives and track them with relevant KPIs. These KPIs could be organic traffic for blogs, free trial registrations, demo requests, search engine rankings, downloads for lead magnets, newsletter subscribers, and so on.

2. Identify your Ideal Customer Profile

Audience research is how you understand your ideal customer’s pain points, goals, questions, and thinking process. Once you have this knowledge, you can create content that hits the mark and helps improve your conversion rate.

To form an ideal customer profile, you can get answers to the following questions:

  • Which kind of companies/individuals do we target?
  • What is the approximate budget of the user?
  • Which other SaaS products do these users utilize? Can we help integrate those with our tool?
  • What problems are they looking to solve?
  • On what content/social platforms are they most active?
  • Which content formats do they ideally prefer?
  • Which websites/social media profiles do they regularly follow?
  • What are their demographics (age, gender, income, etc.) and psychographics (goals, interests, motivations, etc.)

Here are four ways you can find the answers to all these questions:

Actively participate in online communities where your target audience is active, like Quora, Reddit threads, LinkedIn groups, etc. 

Get in touch with those teams that interact with customers daily like sales teams, customer support teams, product teams, etc. and get data on existing customers from them. 

Distribute surveys and conduct interviews with existing customers to get to know them better.

Conduct competitor research and find out the kind of customers they are targeting. You can do this by taking a look at the kind of articles they’re publishing, the kind of audience that is interacting with their content, and so on.

How does this help? Let’s look at Slack’s example. They cater to different customer segments and teams like engineering, project management, sales, etc.

screenshot at Slack’s example. They cater to different customer segments and teams like engineering, project management, sales

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In this case, they know they need to build content for all these customer profiles. This is evident from their blog filter functionality.

screenshot Slack Filter content just for you.

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3. Consider the type of content you are going to create

Before finding out the topics and keywords you want to rank for, you should first think about the types of content you should create. Let’s explore the different content formats that SaaS companies ideally use.

Blog Posts: Most SaaS companies have now realized the importance of blog posts not only in converting prospects but also in attracting them. In such a scenario, you're losing out if you’re just creating articles on product updates and things related to the company. Because think about it. Your prospects may not even be aware of your tool. Instead, they are actively searching for information on your niche. That’s what you should be targeting.

Shopify is one SaaS brand that creates blog posts for the entire customer journey that add value to the reader.

screenshot Shopify.

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Use case pages: These pages show your prospects who your product is for and how they can use it. It’s a great way to showcase product features that are beneficial for different customer profiles and personalize the experience for them. Here’s how Databox shows different use cases for its product on the website.

screenshot Databox platform.

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Social media posts: Maybe your audience is searching for relevant keywords to your niche on YouTube, or they are actively engaging with a competitor on Instagram. With Shopify going viral on TikTok and Canva making a name for itself on Instagram, one thing is for sure. Social media marketing is not just for ecommerce brands or beauty brands. Before you get started with this format, understand the types of content that do well on each platform and how you can best cater to your audience.

For example, here’s one post by Hootsuite that is fun and yet relatable to its target audience (social media managers)

screenshot Instagram post by Hootsuite.

Image source

Comparison pages: If you’re not creating content for customers who are on the verge of making a purchase, you’re losing customers to the competition. With so many SaaS tools in the market, your prospects would definitely be comparing your tool with others. So, how do you present your tool in a great light? The answer is comparison pages. While these pages may not get a lot of traffic like your blog posts, the conversion rate would be a lot better since the person is almost ready to purchase and just needs that little push.

Look how HubSpot’s comparison page ranks in the first place when a user types “Hubspot vs Salesforce”

screenshot of a google search  hubspot vs salesforce

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Another way to find valuable content for your audience is by looking at the kind of content your competitors are creating.

4. Identify keywords to target

To get your content to rank higher, you need to find the keywords your target audience is searching for. While some companies start with topics and then search for keywords, some follow the other way around.

Whichever route you choose, make sure you subscribe to keyword research tools like Ahrefs. You can even supplement with a free tool like Google’s Keyword Planner.

Let’s take the example of a project management tool to understand how to go forward with the research.

Type in the term “project management” in your tool.

screenshot Ahrefs search Type in the term “project management” in your tool

You can even add modifiers/filters to find keywords for different buyer stages. These could include guide, tutorial, how, why, what, examples, tools, etc.

screenshot Ahrefs add modifiers/filters to find keywords

You can even play around with the “Keyword Difficulty” part to find easier topics or keywords that you can target for your content strategy.

Once you have a ready list of keywords, you can omit all the keywords that may be repetitive and start creating topic ideas around those keywords.

You can also follow the alternate approach of making a list of topic ideas first that are relevant to your target audience. You can then find keywords for that particular topic in the tool.

Here are some best practices you can follow while conducting keyword research:

  • If you are just starting, prioritize creating content around less difficult keywords as you can realistically rank for them.
  • Make sure you use the keyword in the blog title and URL. Also, keep your URLs short and simple so that Google can understand what your content is about.
  • Include secondary long-tail keywords in your content. This will strengthen your blog posts, and you can even build topic clusters with these keywords.
  • If you use a keyword for a certain topic, ensure that the topic matches the search intent. For example, when people search for “project management best practices”, they want to get information on how they can manage projects efficiently. If you talk about your product exclusively in that article, you’ll see a lot of bounce rates.

5. Define your metrics

You may have published dozens of blog posts or created a lot of different content in the form of videos for YouTube, reels for Instagram, or ebooks. But how do you measure whether these efforts bring results to your business?

After all, you don’t want to keep spending money on content marketing campaigns that aren’t working for your brand. To evaluate your campaign performance, here are some metrics you must include in your tracking process:

  • The number of free trial registrations you’re getting. You can segregate the requests coming from your blog or resource guides to determine your content’s effectiveness.
  • Monthly traffic you’re getting for your blog page, use case page, and where it comes from.
  • Do you see an increase in organic rankings because of your SaaS content marketing efforts? Has your website’s overall rank improved? Has any of your blogs reached the first few SERPs?
  • Is your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) at par? How does this cost compare with the returns you’re getting from acquiring each customer?
  • Do you notice an uptick in the backlinks you’re getting? Are you getting backlinks from any quality sites?

How do you improve these metrics?

Many SaaS companies like HubSpot and Webflow improve their conversions by offering free resources in their articles. Take HubSpot’s recently published article “How to create a social media calendar to plan your content?”

At the beginning and the end of the article, they have a unique CTA.

screenshot Hubspot. What is best social media calender

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When someone clicks on this free resource link, they are redirected to a page where they are asked to fill out a form with their email address.

HubSpot can then use this email address for retargeting purposes. And the best part? They know what the audience is interested in because they opted for a specific resource.

While you may not have the bandwidth to create such free resources for each article you post, you can experiment with these for a few articles and see how it goes.

6. Map out your content calendar

Creating quality posts must be the goal. But as important is consistency when it comes to SEO and ranking.

This gives a sign to search engines and your audience that your brand is a reliable and active source when it comes to sharing credible information. This helps improve your domain authority and rankings.

So, how many blogs should you post every week?

Comparison of how small blogs and large blogs differ in ogranic traffic and brand awareness

According to HubSpot, here’s the answer:

So, are you doomed if you do not have the resources right now to create 3 or 4 quality articles every week?

Take a look at these figures by Backlinko.

screenshot figures by Backlinko

They managed to cross 1 million unique visits to their blog. And they have just published 52 articles over five years.

While you might want to push the pedal on publishing more content, you can start slow but produce quality content that can get more backlinks from authority sites.

On to the more important part. What details should you add to your content calendar?

  • Blog title
  • Content goal
  • Search intent and funnel stage
  • Target keywords
  • Content type and structure
  • Word Count
  • Author details
  • Deadline for different stages (writing, editing, and publishing)
  • Call to action 
  • Promotion channels and frequency

You can create this calendar in a Google spreadsheet or tools such as Trello and CoSchedule.

This calendar also helps give your team and freelancers a sense of direction and the schedule they will have to follow to meet those milestones.

7. Outline your distribution strategy

You have written a high-quality blog with relevant keywords and SEO practices. But what next? Will that article get visitors without any kind of promotion?

Maybe you will but if you really want your article to reach a lot of people, you need to spend time working on the distribution strategy. After all, what’s the meaning of spending 10 hours working on an article just to have a few people read it? 

Here are three ways you can distribute your content:

  • Owned channels: These are channels that belong to your business like your social media profiles, mailing list, podcasts, etc.
  • Earned or shared channels: These channels are owned by third parties such as reviews sites, forums like Reddit and ProductHunt, news websites, websites that you can guest post on, etc.
  • Paid channels: These platforms or people will promote your content for a fee. For example, ads or social media influencers.

If you’re thinking you need a lot of resources to stay active on different platforms, let me correct you with an example.

Buffer published this blog post a few days ago.

screenshot Buffer published blog post 7 Social Media Predictions for 2023 (according to experts)

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The next day, they created this Twitter thread around the same topic.

screenshot of a Buffer Tweet

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At the end of that thread, they also shared the link to their blog post in case someone wants to read about it in-depth.

screenshot of a Buffer Tweet

Instead of just copy-pasting the link to the blog post on social media, they respected the needs of the platform and created an engaging thread for the readers.

In a similar way, they created a carousel for Instagram on the same topic.

screenshot of a Buffer Instagram post 7 social media predictions for 2023

Image source

What can SaaS companies learn from this? That you can repurpose content instead of creating new things for all your platforms. But while doing it, make sure you are following the best practices for each platform so that your post does not go unnoticed.

8. Execute and optimize

Your content strategy is ready! Now you need to put it into action. 

Whether you’re outsourcing the content or creating it in-house, make sure you have guidelines in place for quality content creation. You can do this in three ways.

- Provide them benchmarks for each content. This could mean sharing with them the links of blogs you look up to or the articles that are already ranking for that particular keyword.

- Share a content structure for each article. This results in lesser edits later on and your writer and editor are both on the same page.

- Create checklists. For example, here are some things you could have in your checklist:

  • Add 10 examples
  • Add a link to one case study
  • Paragraphs of no more than 5 lines
  • Include statistics
  • Make use of images
  • Achieve a Grammarly score of 90

You can then look into how your team is performing and if you could optimize any stage of the content marketing process.

9. Monitor results and iterate as you go

To ensure that your marketing investment is giving you returns, you need to track the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you established while setting your goals. 

You can use analytics software like Google Analytics to draw these insights monthly or quarterly and have a team meeting to discuss where you went wrong or how to improve on these metrics.

You can even identify the content types or topics generating the best results and see what you’re doing differently for these topics. You can then create templates from these articles to replicate this success with other content.

You can opt for a content refresh for the articles that aren’t performing as well. This could mean adding new insights, removing parts that are not relevant, adding visuals, etc. This helps keep your content updated and improve your rankings.

Here's a helpful guide if you decide to move ahead with this strategy. 

Final Thoughts

Gone are the days when it was important just to have a brilliant SaaS product. With so many SaaS businesses in every niche today, you need a great content marketing strategy that helps you reach many people and move them through the conversion funnel.

With the above steps, you’ll be able to decide the kind of content types you should be focusing on, the topic ideas that will bring the best results, and how you can promote and distribute this content on different platforms.

If you do not have resources or time on your hands to try out different strategies, you can reach out to us at MADX. With our experience of working with different SaaS companies and helping them achieve amazing results, we can help you formulate a content marketing strategy that will meet your desired goals.

Read more about SaaS:

The most critical stages of the SaaS sales process

How to effectively measure ROI for SEO?

SaaS conversion rate: Industry averages and tips to improve

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