Ben Young
Ben Young
November 4, 2022
Software as a service companies (SAAS) see content marketing as a go to strategy. Content marketing is using content to deliver on marketing objectives. For SAAS this is ideal, because it enables them to engage customers close to the purchase. Potential customers can quickly buy or try the software with a few clicks from content.
Before you go any further, I recommend these articles if you are new to SAAS content marketing.

Tangential topics which may also be helpful:

 

The best SAAS companies keep the customer at heart, everything is about the customer

For an effective content marketing program for SAAS, the customer must be kept front and centre. Who are they, where are they, what are the questions or problems they face. Drilling in and keeping this ideal customer profile front and centre is vital for success.

For example, a B2B SAAS company after profiling their customer, realized that most were doing their research before they got into the office. So they focused on content that was appealing at that time of day, to appear.

That knowledge of their customer gave them an unfair advantage, to then exploit through content marketing.

The art of executing on content marketing can also yield and uncover insights itself. Through seeing what content engages, when and where. So companies should remain open minded as to their content blueprint and listen to the market. As their strategy unfolds.

 

Different types of content marketing

Most often when people refer to content marketing for SAAS they are referring to blog posts and thought leadership.

This does extend to:

  • Whitepapers
  • Social media, posting on Twitter, LinkedIn and others.
  • Video
  • Podcasts
  • Newsletters

An effective strategy might include any one or combination of the above types. Blog posts is a common place to start, because it is easy to create, improve and customers can navigate from a blog post to explore the product, or to take any next step.

A good analogy for this is that the customer is already in the store, so the hard part is done, it’s now about converting them.

 

Content distribution

It is not enough to just create the content, SAAS businesses need to get enough eyeballs on that content to be effective. Thus they turn to content distribution to help bring in potential prospects.

The typical types of content distribution are:

  • SEO, ensuring that customers can find the content in search engines
  • Social media, proactively reaching out to and building an audience
  • Native advertising, leveraging paid advertising to drive clicks
  • PPC, leveraging paid search advertising to drive clicks
  • Newsletter sponsorships, reaching niche audiences through sponsorships

When it comes to optimizing distribution, analytics is very helpful. Enabling marketers to see how engaging the clicks are that each platform sends.

Quite often, Search is the most effective form of content distribution. And that’s because by the time a customer has searched something, they have higher intent. So search optimized content enables SAAS companies to capture those with high intent.

However, it is not infallible. By the time someone is searching, they may have a preference for another brand. Some customers may have already opted for an alternative solution before searching. And finally, it can be limited in scale.

Thus SAAS companies need to go above and beyond, to build an audience or community around their content. That builds awareness and educates potential customers as to their proposition. This is why many SAAS companies adopt the other content distribution tactics, to bring in potential customers.

 

What is the most effective content format?

The most effective content format is article + video together. Nudge data has uncovered that this creates the most engagement for SAAS companies. And the reason is, it gives the customer choice, choice to read at their own speed, or to watch and learn. Or both.

Maximizing choice for the customer, means they can engage as much as they want, and increased engagement leads to higher conversion rates.

 

Bring an iterative approach, start small

Building out a content program is iterative. Do not fret about going off the deep end with high production and heavy investment. Start small, start simple and iterate from there.

Think of your content as a business asset. Which it is. An asset that you create, grow and nurture over time. It needs maintenance & improvements. This approach means you can be agile and respond as you learn more about what is resonating with customers.

Keep analytics at your fingertips, to see what is working. And where you need to improve. It can be daunting to look at competitors, who already have a lot of content, and in-depth articles. But that’s not where you are, you are starting out. Keep that in mind.

It is a lot easier to create a beautiful long form piece of content, once you already have the basics tried and tested elsewhere.

One of the benefits of content marketing is that it works 24/7 for you. Even for resource constrained teams, the content Is working, even when your team isn’t.

Expectation setting for stakeholders

Content marketing is not an overnight success, ideally you need to think and plan in a minimum of 9 month increments. 3 months to get started, 3 months running as normal, 3 months iterating on your learnings. It takes time to see the results.

That’s not to say you won’t see results straight away, you will. But to the full effect of your work, it takes some time for it to pay off.

In terms of scale, you also need to set expectations. If you have a target of 100 leads from your content, set a target of 20,000 people engaging in your content. That’s a low conversion rate of 0.5%. But gives you a margin of safety and time to learn and improve.

It also sets the right expectation with stakeholders, just getting 100 people to do something, may not change the world overnight. But 100 people everyday might.

 



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