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SaaS content creation: Writing and research
Today, coming up with new and exciting ideas for SaaS content creation isn't a walk in the park. As a content marketer, you get new ideas thrown your way on a daily basis, with the expectation to come up with something on-the-spot that’s unique and better than your competition.
The good news is that you’re not alone. In fact, almost 54% of B2B content marketers find that creating valuable content is a challenge they consistently face.
That’s not to say you aren’t capable, but coming up with a revolutionary plan out of thin air is nearly impossible. The trick to creating an effective content strategy is striking a balance between research and thought leadership. While SEO and content marketing best practices are important to keep in mind, you can leverage the knowledge you already have to come up with valuable and unique content. Throughout this blog, we’ll show you how.
Quick wins before you get started
Before you start writing, you need to understand WHO you are writing for. If your business doesn’t already have pre-defined ICP’s (ideal customer profiles), this is a good place to start. Narrow in on your audience, what are their hopes, needs and pains?
Use any hunches you might have about what content you think your audience will find most valuable. Would they resonate the most with blogs? Infographics? White papers? You might have to dig into some research or even interview some customers to fully grasp their psyche and patterns of behavior.
Map out any key pains or hopes from your research to generate relevant and valuable content ideas from your research. Following, you can couple these ideas with a solid data plan that accounts for search engine optimization (SEO).
It’s important to note that an effective content strategy for SaaS might take some time before you start seeing results. The good news is that if nothing seems to change, you can keep trying and optimizing your bank of content. Remember, there is no source of truth. Everybody has their secret sauce, you’ll need to find yours.
Get to the purpose of your content creation
When digging into your persona and audience research, use marketing leaderships as resources. They understand the client or product better than anyone at your company and should be able to help you narrow in on your focus.
Before you meet with them, collect a bank of questions to ask like:
- What are the main challenges our customers face on a daily basis?
- What do you like about the content we’ve produced in the past? What DON’T you like?
- What kind of content do you want to see more of?
- Are there any patterns you see when you interview customers?
Once your questions are answered, you can go back and conduct some research on your own. Maybe do the following:
- Follow online communities that relate to your industry of focus
- Browse Reddit conversations and use Quora to get inside the heads of your personas
- Look through your competitor’s content resources
- Go even DEEPER and look through the comment sections on their blogs and interactions on social media
Then, you can determine the purpose of your content strategy or campaign. To do this, you will have to choose how to move your prospects through your marketing funnel and ask WHY.
What do you want your audience to do after they engage with your content and what does your ideal customer want and need? Your goals might include:
- Attracting quality traffic
- Generating leads
- Driving conversions
- Or educating readers
You want to get to the root of your content’s purpose to help you build authority and generate more engagement.
What should you write about?
Step 1: BRAINSTORM
Before you conduct your SEO strategy, jot down a few ideas and brainstorm different topics you might write about.
You can use the following list to generate ideas:
- What are the latest trending topics in your industry?
- What topics are controversial?
- What problems do you think each persona faces?
- What are their fears?
- What products/services are you competing with?
- What are they writing about?
- How can you make it BETTER?
Then, you can start narrowing these topics down to generate the initial stages of your content plan. These tips might help:
- Create a balance between evergreen content and current events/ industry news
- Strike a balance between what you need to successfully start writing and what your business or client needs and their overall goal
Step 2: Integrate SEO
You can do as much SEO research and identify the keywords that you think are relevant, but at the end of the day, you need your client or marketing lead to buy into your strategy as well.
This is why keyword prioritizations are important, because it helps you establish how your marketing lead or client wants to portray the business. However, you will want to take their prioritizations with a grain of salt. Even if there is a certain topic they think is relevant if the audience won’t resonate with it, what’s the point?
This is why you will want to dig deeper into long-tail keywords or more specific keywords. Think about how niche topics will generate a stronger topic cluster for your strategy and overall thought leadership.
This is where a keyword or SEO tool like SEMrush can help you identify and explore different keywords for each stage of the funnel. SEMrush’s keyword magic tool is great for this. You can use it to either extend on a keyword, get more inspiration for your content and help searchers find your content.
Look at the intent behind keywords and topic clusters
“Because the intent behind a search is so important to your ranking potential, you need to be extra careful how you interpret the keywords you target.” -Hubspot
After you gather your keywords, try getting into your prospects’ head to look at the intent behind what they’re searching for. To do this, you can enter the keyword or question into the search engine yourself to see what you can find, make sure to address the problem the searcher intended to solve and get to the core of the “job to be done.”
Jobs to be Done Theory
The “Jobs to be Done” can help you drive your research even further. The core of the theory focuses on the notion that people buy products and services to get a job done.
The theory was derived from observing customers at McDonald’s who consumed milkshakes for breakfast from Clayton Christensen and his team. They discovered that customers were buying the milkshake to stave off hunger until lunch and offered an enjoyable and easily consumable breakfast in comparison to other foods like bagels.
To use this theory, you will have to dig even further into your ICP’s to understand what “job” they are trying to account for.
SaaS content creation needs a framework
After you’ve gathered your research, it’s time to start writing. Keep in mind that you will want to organize the structure of your content for skimmers. This means you’ll have to:
- Use bullet points
- Leverage subheads
- Embolden or italicize the text you want your readers to focus on
- Place the most important information in the beginning, the middle and the end of your content
- Use facts and figures to support your hypothesis and explain WHY they matter
Remember, you are writing for humans, so not just for the purpose of ranking higher on a SERP. Instead of stuffing your content with keywords, dive into how a real person would talk. Take into account:
- How your reader might FEEL after reading your content
- The clarity of your points and explanations
- Ask if a piece would even resonate with your reader before you start writing
- ALWAYS have another person look over your work and gather feedback
Sometimes less is more
Establishing a valuable content plan can be overwhelming, but try to narrow it down as much as you can.
You don’t have to include everything, get to the meat of what you are trying to convey and the problems you are trying to solve. While you may find one fact interesting, consider what value and support it brings to the overall message of your piece.
Sometimes acknowledging what not to include and cutting something out is almost as important as the due diligence you conduct upfront.