What is SaaS content marketing? Is it important for your SaaS company? And what do you need to know? We dive into in all of these items in this in-depth SaaS Content Marketing guide.
What is SaaS content?
SaaS content is content created and used to accomplish a marketing goal for your SaaS brand. Such goals can include promoting your business, product, raising awareness, generating leads, nurturing leads, educating, inspiring or engaging your audience, supporting or training your users, etc.
Types of Content
The types of content are endless. Some examples of content include:
- Blog post
- Images and “creative”
- Video content of many sorts (tutorials, interviews, brand videos, social videos, live videos, events, etc.)
- Email marketing
- Lead magnets
- Social media content (in many forms)
- Written tutorials
- Video tutorials
- and more
What is SaaS Content Marketing?
It is the strategic and intentional act of creating and distributing high-quality content through the appropriate channels at the appropriate frequency to the right audience. All of this is done to achieve your marketing goals.
You can tell from our definition that content marketing isn’t just creating random content for anyone. Its also not randomly distributing it to everyone everywhere.
It is the opposite.
Content marketing ideally should be a strategic process that follows a well-developed content strategy. And it should also work harmoniously with your larger SaaS marketing strategy.
Let’s break it down into pieces.
- Appropriate content is carefully and purposefully created
- It covers specific topics for a specific target audience
- The content is made to provide specific information, answer specific questions and address specific needs
- That audience also consumes it on specific channels so it needs to be put on the correct channels
Is content marketing important for a SaaS company?
When we say there are a lot of SaaS companies out there we aren’t joking. The number of SaaS solutions continues to grow.
According to an article by Ascendix, there were about 25,000 SaaS companies globally in 2021. That number is largely concentrated in the United States, where there are 15,000 companies.
And the number of SaaS solutions companies use is growing as well.
According to a HubSpot report, organizations used an average of 80 SaaS apps in 2020. This number has grown 10x since 2015.
So with competition amongst SaaS companies and products growing the importance of SaaS marketing is increasingly growing.
But the question remains, is content marketing, specifically, important to your success as a SaaS company?
And the answer is: yes, you bet it is.
Why content marketing is critical
With a solid content marketing strategy and effective content marketing your SaaS company can thrive. When done right, content drives organic growth, builds brand awareness, converts your potential customers, nurtures and converts leads, and then helps retain those customers after the sale.
So I will repeat it again: content marketing is highly important to your SaaS company.
The main reason is that effective content marketing and SEO have the ability to produce consistent and substantial traffic to your SaaS site.
Hitting your organic traffic goals is not just tough but close to impossible without content. This is especially true as a new site and brand. Effective content marketing can help get your organic traffic machine pumping.
Here’s a few statistics that are fairly eye opening.
- Animalz’ Content Marketing Benchmark Report found that “85.19% of all blog traffic came from organic search.” Further, they found large blogs get 89% of their traffic from search.
- In Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing report, CMI found that marketers reported the following positive results from their content marketing efforts: 83% said it created brand awareness, 77% said it built credibility and trust, 72% said it helped to educate audiences, 63% said it helped build loyalty with existing clients, and 67% said it helped generate demand/leads.
- And Mike Sonders, head of marketing at Rainforest QA did a research study that showed organic search was by far (and consistently) the largest source of traffic, new visitors and leads for SaaS businesses outside of direct traffic.
- According to a 2022 study by Semrush, 97% of companies do content marketing and 57% report having a documented content marketing strategy. The same report also noted that 73% of the surveyed companies spend up to 70% of their marketing budget on content marketing.
- According to Hubspot’s 2021 Not Another State of Marketing Report, “82% of marketers are actively using content marketing“.
The key takeaway is that for companies big and small, b2b marketers are using SaaS content marketing. This is because if done effectively content drives organic traffic to their sites, generates leads, creates brand awareness, educates audiences and help build credibility, trust and loyalty. And it should be used as a major focus to effectively market your SaaS product.
Critical Components of SaaS Content Marketing
Content marketing encompasses many components. Discussing each of them in detail is beyond the scope of this particular blog post. But we outline the major components briefly and provide links to more detail where available.
Know Your Target Audience
Knowing who your ideal customer is is the first step to creating content that resonates with them. Knowing who your customer is will also direct your SaaS content marketing strategy, which we discuss below.
Your content needs to speak to your target audience. It needs to engage them and help them solve their problems, all while leading them to your product as the solution.
Here are some broad questions to get you started thinking about your audience and developing a buyer persona m.
Who are they? What is the problem they are trying to solve? What are their challenges, needs and priorities? What do they care about? Where do they get their information? How do they make decisions?
These are some of the many things you should know about your audience before creating content.
A good place to start is determining whether your target audience is a consumer or a business. B2B SaaS content marketing will differ from that of consumer marketing.
Develop a Thoughtful SaaS Content Marketing Strategy & Plan
Your SaaS content marketing strategy is what will guide your overall direction.
What do you want your content marketing effort to achieve? What content and what channels will be used to reach which audience?
Creating a thoughtful strategy will also help you to create the tactical content plan for your SaaS brand.
It is also important to note that both your strategy and plan can and should be dynamic. In other words, it shouldn’t be set in stone. Once you start collecting data and tracking your content marketing metrics you should make adjustments to consistently optimize it.
So yes, adjustments are good. But not creating a strategy will most likely lead to lackluster performance. So you need to have a strategy in place before you jump in.
Your strategy and plan should include what you want to achieve and how you will achieve it.
This includes targets (goals), a plan of action for how you will achieve it, and how you will measure your effectiveness (what are your content marketing metrics).
Focus on Producing High Quality Content
Every content piece needs to be high quality. We define this as follows. Good, great, amazing (add your favorite adjective here) content can be defined as high-quality content that is relevant to the target audience and provides them with (a lot of) value.
In other words do waste your time creating junk content just for the sake of content creation You need to produce valuable content if you want to see results. Every piece of content needs to be valuable to your audience. Add value or don’t do it at all.
Valuable content is the result of understanding what your audience needs. Its also the diligent content marketing effort to produce valuable content that truly addresses those needs.
So it doesn’t matter what you are creating. It could be blog posts, an e-book, content for social media, funnel content, video content, email content, etc. It all needs to be high quality.
You should always be creating people-first, high-value content.
Create Content People Are Searching For
Creating content is a good start. But its not about just creating any content. Afterall, if no one cares about the content you create and no one is looking for it then it is not going to do much to help you.
Thats why it is critical to create good content that people care about. In other words, create high quality content that people are actively searching for. Content that people actually want.
This is the content that will provide value to your target audience. And this is the content, that if done right, will capture, nurture and convert your leads.
This is because the content answers their pressing questions. It gives them the information they need to make a decision. It increases the chances of customer success. And it provides helpful insights and support.
Simply put, you are addressing the questions and challenges that a potential customers has. At the same time you are proving your value to your potential customer.
Focus on effective content types
Content marketing is an important part of your overall marketing strategy. Similarly, the types of content which you produce are important to your overall content strategy.
Miné Salkin of Semrush did a study in 2022 entitled “40+ Content Marketing Statistics to Power Your 2022 Strategy (also referenced above). In that study the percentage of respondents from all industries, including SaaS, reported their most effective types of content were:
- Video (37%)
- Blog posts (36%)
- Success stories (22%)
Other high performing content types that rounded out the top five included case studies (16%) and webinars (16%).
Reinforcing these findings was Hubspot’s 2021 Not Another State of Marketing Report (also referenced above). This study found similar findings with video, blogs, infographics, case studies and interviews rounding out the top 5 used content types.
Tie Your SaaS Content Marketing to SEO
We just mentioned how and why its important to create content your customers are searching for. The other key benefit of this practice is that it helps with your SaaS SEO efforts. And SEO leads to more organic traffic and exposure to customers.
So if your content strategy involves blog posts and other organic content then your SEO and content marketing efforts should work harmoniously.
To do this you should perform a comprehensive keyword research exercise.
But please note, keyword research today is more than just finding high volume keywords. SEO optimized content creation is more about creating a series of disconnected blog posts that each have a high search volume keyword. Rather, it is about understanding topics, creating topic clusters and doing content creation to build your content for those specific topics.
These practices will build your authority and expertise with search engines (as well as potential customers). This will lead to better search rankings, which lead to more organic traffic and potential customers.
Don’t Forget About Referrals
Quality content production takes time and effort. You want to make sure you are maximizing the results of your work. Mentions and backlinks help to promote your content, build awareness for your brand, and strengthen your SEO results. In turn, dedicate time on active promotion and referral generation in order to boost your results.
Track The Performance of Your Content
When it comes to performance tracking there are a million tools you can pick from. We won’t dive into tracking too much here, but the key takeaway is to make sure you are tracking the performance of your campaigns. Whether you are using only Google Analytics or a complex set-up is not as relevant to this article. Whatever it is, you want to make sure you can track the performance of your campaigns down to individual content pieces.
Determine how you will best execute your SaaS Content Marketing plan
You can choose to do the work in-house, work with a SaaS content marketing agency, or a combination of both.
Content Marketing Agencies are useful regardless of the size or stage of your SaaS business.
Smaller companies with less resources may find it easier to outsource their SaaS content marketing efforts to an agency or at least use an agency to supplement their team. This allows them to start faster and execute content marketing without (or limiting) the need of hiring and onboarding in-house staff dedicated to the effort.
Larger, more established SaaS companies will usually have resources in-house to do content marketing. But even these companies will many times supplement their in-house team with an agency.
The key take-away is that a SaaS marketing agency can be helpful both to get you started and to help you when the content demand becomes too great for your in-house team.