If you run a SaaS business and you’re thinking about ways to grow, there are a few paths that you can take. Running paid initiatives such as PPC and Facebook Ads works as long as you keep spending. However, there is a more sustainable method that proves a better ROI over time – SaaS content marketing.
Some of the biggest names in the SaaS industry have been built from the ground up with nothing but content. Businesses such as HubSpot, Canva, Drift, Ahrefs, and others are living proof that content marketing can bring not only organic traffic but also new customers and revenue.
Wondering what it takes to get there? Here are some proven tips if you’re itching to enter the world of SaaS content marketing.
#1. Determine Your Goal(s)
No successful company mentioned above started out creating content for the sake of creating content. While writing is nice and getting more organic traffic is nice, you should determine a hard goal that you want to reach with SaaS content marketing. Examples include:
- Getting more organic traffic from SEO
- Increasing non-branded search
- Outranking the competition for your desired keywords
- Increasing your conversions from organic traffic
- Covering a certain topic cluster
- And others.
Based on the goal you set for yourself, you will have the option of choosing different SaaS content marketing techniques. For example, if your main aim is to increase organic traffic, you will write for high-volume keywords that have more potential for grabbing traffic from the first page of search results.
Moreover, if your aim is to drive conversions, you will focus on keywords with lower search volume and a higher likelihood of converting from a visitor to a customer or even a free trial user.
If you’re not happy with the progress on your SaaS content marketing initiatives, there’s a good chance that you didn’t set the right goals or you chose the wrong methods for achieving those that you set.
If you’ve never done content marketing before, this is where you’ll need help from an experienced content strategist or an agency. There are countless courses on how to write content that ranks. Yet, none will tell you the exact goals you need to set and the methods you need to use to achieve them.
#2. Study Your Competition (if You Can)
The beauty of SaaS content marketing is that there is so much data out there that all you have to do is take it. With other strategies, it can be hard to determine what the competition is up to. When it comes to SEO and content, you can look up a competitor’s website in a tool such as Ahrefs and you’ll know what they’re doing within minutes.
With just one SEO tool such as Ahrefs or SEMRush, you can find out…
- What your competitors’ most successful pages are in terms of organic traffic
- Which keywords they rank for
- Which pages they build links to
- When they started working on their content and SEO
- How much traffic they get and to which pages
- Which websites they get links from and through which methods
- And much, much more.
Before doing any work of your own, it’s a great idea to research the competition and find out which tactic(s) they are using for SaaS content marketing. You can learn which methods to replicate and what you can use on your own.
Perhaps even more importantly, you’ll learn to choose your battles. If your competitors rank for a competitive keyword with an amazing piece of content, you’ll know which keywords to avoid right off the bat, without wasting precious time and money.
If you have a blog with a decent size, Ahrefs offers a tool called Content Gap, which shows you what type of content you can create when it weighs your website against your competitors.
If You’re Starting in a Brand New Niche
Say that you’re lucky enough to have no competitors in your niche. This is both good and terrifying at the same time because there’s no one to compare yourself to in terms of content marketing.
In this case, start doing old-school keyword research manually to find keywords worth pursuing. If you’re lacking ideas, talk to your customers and write down the expressions that they are using. Leverage the power of online communities such as Quora and Reddit to find great topics and potentially keywords to write about.
And if a keyword is showing no data at all, don’t stress about it. There are plenty of examples of keywords with zero search volume driving results. With no data to guide you, think about solving your customers’ pain points first and then everything else.
#3. Play the Long Game
Want to know one thing all SaaS content marketing giants have in common? The content they create rarely stays the same for long.
Search engines are like living organisms because they depend on human input. One keyword could be hugely popular one month and then get no traffic the following month. One month you’re ranking at #2 with no effort and then 5 competitors create better content and you’re all the way on page 2 of search results.
There are two lessons to be learned here.
One, keep an eye on the keywords you write content for. The metrics change all the time and many times, there are major spikes and drops. A keyword that was unimportant last quarter may bring in tons of MRR this quarter.
Second, never let your guard down. As you’re spying on the competition, remember that they can spy on you just as easily. Always make sure to prune, edit and refresh your best content to stay relevant and maintain your good rankings – or climb even further up the ladder.
The best SaaS brands make sure that they’re constantly updating their content. As Google keeps changing their algorithms and your competitors keep upgrading the content they write, it’s always a great idea to keep your content fresh, even if it means just changing the year from 2021 to 2022 in the title.
#4. Play the Long Game Part 2
Most experienced SEOs will tell you that achieving any success with content marketing will take at least 3 months. And that’s provided that you have some online presence and a relatively established blog that just needs a boost in content and rankings.
If you’re just getting started with a new blog, it can take a few months longer. Search engines are smart and they crawl your website based on how often you publish new content and refresh your old posts. The more frequently you post, the more often your website gets crawled. With a new website, it can take a bit longer for new content to rank.
And there is the big question of topical authority. If you have a website on sneakers and you’re writing on a new pair of Nikes launched in 2022, your chances of ranking are amazing when compared to a brand new website that never wrote on sneakers before.
In other words, websites that have more content on a certain topic and cover a wide variety of subtopics have an easier time ranking for new content. Put simply, the more you write about something, the better you’ll perform when writing about a new subtopic related to the main one.
Put all of this together and we come to one conclusion – give your SaaS content marketing strategy a few months to kick in before you start analyzing your results. The less content you already have, the more time it will take for the strategy to show results.
#5. Backlinks Still Matter
Writing content is just one part of SaaS content marketing. If you look into the top websites ranking for your most desirable keywords, you’ll notice one pattern.
They all have a large number of backlinks pointing to those pages.
And even in 2022, search engines still consider backlinks as one of the most powerful ranking signals, probably the most important one after content quality. This means that even if you have the best, most helpful piece of content on a certain topic, it still may not rank because it has no backlinks pointing to it.
There are some major conclusions you can draw here.
- Backlinks are expensive, no matter which way you build them. If a competitor page for the same keyword has hundreds of backlinks, it may not be worth going after. With the average price of a link going into hundreds of dollars, this can be an expensive endeavor.
- Backlinks matter, but quality matters more. Google will still favour better, more helpful content when compared with useless content with more backlinks. If your competitors have fluffy content with tons of backlinks, compete with quality.
- Track your competitors’ backlinks. The pages that have the most backlinks pointing to them are money pages that bring in new traffic and customers. If they’re spending thousands on these pages, it’s worth looking into those keywords and tackling them yourself.
However, instead of focusing on backlinks first, try to create the best, most useful content possible. If it needs a push later to start ranking, you can think about building backlinks.
#6. Each Piece of Content Has a Different Place in the Sales Funnel
Not everything you write will bring immediate revenue. And that’s okay.
Judging every piece of content on its ability to bring conversions is like asking an SUV to win Formula 1 races. Sure, both a Formula 1 car and an SUV are vehicles, but each has its own purpose. It’s pretty similar to content.
When creating a content strategy for a SaaS company from scratch, this is how I define the sales funnel:
Problem unaware – these customers are not aware that they have a problem with a certain point. For example, you could be selling a CRM tool for real estate agents and content in this category is top-of-the-funnel and talks about broader topics such as data and automation in real estate. The aim of content in this stage of the sales funnel is not to sell, it is to educate.
Problem aware – these customers know that they need a CRM in their real estate agency and they’re actively researching the best ways to solve it. The best content for this stage of the sales funnel is how-to articles and guides. At this point, you can get somewhat sales-y with your content, but not too much. You’re still educating first.
Solution unaware – these readers know that there is a CRM tool for real estate agencies, they just haven’t heard about yours yet. At this stage, you can dig into listicles, tool comparisons, and the bottom of the funnel type of keywords. You can and should aim to sell at this stage of the funnel.
Solution aware – these are readers that know what problem they have, what tool solves it and they are familiar with your CRM for real estate agencies. They are most likely returning to your blog rather than reading it for the first time. Feel free to offer comparisons with other tools, guides on how to use your tool, and explanations on how it helps for specific use cases. This is the kind of content that aims to convert.
Ideally, you want to create all types of SaaS content to cover the entire sales funnel and achieve great overall results. However, you may not have the capacity to do it internally or the funds to outsource it, so you’ll have to choose one or two types of content.
The important thing is to choose the kind of content that best suits your overall business goals.
There’s a good reason why content marketing is such a popular way to grow SaaS businesses. This has been true for years now and it doesn’t seem like anything is going to change any time soon. Great quality content will always find a way to readers’ devices, hearts, and minds and the great news is, there is a content playbook for almost every SaaS niche under the sun. As long as you focus on being helpful and genuine, your SaaS content marketing strategy is bound to be a success.