Add value and deliver the right message to the right people at the right time with targeted content for your B2B nurture campaigns.
- 6 'dos' of content strategies & writing
- Balancing SEO & thought leadership
- Don't box yourself in
- Follow SEO best practices
- Value, value, value
- Testimonials & customer interviews
- Lead magnets
- 5 'don'ts' of content strategies & writing
- Lack of clarity or understanding on your topic
- SEO bad practices
- Not setting up nurture
- Not planning for the funnel
- Not sharing or promoting your content
- Final thoughts
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Your content marketing strategy is more than just a content calendar, and I think some people forget that. More thought needs to go into it beyond just creating a calendar and calling it done. From my experience working on dozens of content strategies for SaaS companies, here are some of my do’s and don’ts when building a content marketing strategy and writing for SaaS.
6 ‘dos’ of content strategies & writing for SaaS
There are several things that are essential for a successful and effective content strategy. Here are some things that I’ve seen work the best:
1. Balancing SEO & thought leadership
SEO and thought leadership are two ‘buckets’ of content I think should inform every strategy you create. The former is because SEO helps drive incredible organic growth –ranking on SERP and impacting organic traffic. The latter is because thought leadership can help build trust and authority in the space or industry your business is in. However when possible, it’s best if they are merged together in every piece you create.
To help you visualize this, here are a few examples of each.
As another example, this blog you are reading right now was originally created as a thought leadership piece, sharing knowledge on an important subject without much regard to SEO, and was then later optimized to include some SEO keywords. And, this blog here, was originally born from a keyword, yet written as a thought leadership piece (with SEO in mind).
Note: It’s helpful to have access to a subject matter expert (SME) when building and writing for SaaS so you can show up as an expert even if you’re not particularly familiar with the subject yourself. Without an SME, your SaaS content may be too generic.
Although through research you’ll often be able to produce well-rounded and SEO-friendly content, it will often be missing that insider information that makes a strong, unique thought leadership piece.
2. Don’t box yourself in
It’s easy to get into the rhythm of creating the same type of content. However, it’s important to have an open mind (and an open ear) about subjects you can cover and the types of content you can create. Don’t box yourself into just blogs and ebooks, use other types of content, and atomize your content. Think of other topics to cover in different ways so you stand out.
3. Follow SEO best practices
When writing for SEO, there’s more to consider than just a keyword. You can see more about this in my post on how to write an SEO-friendly blog, but here are a few key tips:
- The structure is so important –don’t ignore adding proper headers and a good format in your blog. It helps with readability.
- Write in searcher’s terms –what I mean here is, people may not be searching for “content marketing results”. Instead, they may be searching for “how do I get good results from content marketing?” Try to use natural language that people will be searching for (think about what you would Google yourself).
- Do your research –Always do a quick Google search and make sure your post not only is better structured than the ones there on page 1 but that it also provides more meaningful value so you can knock them out.
- Internal linking & topic clusters –Link building is a key part of SEO –you should have a balance of internal and external links in each post. Follow a topic cluster strategy and make sure to add appropriate internal links to other relevant content on your site. This helps Google crawl your website easier, and shows you know your stuff.
- Keyword focus –You should choose a small subset of top keywords you want to show up for and prioritize those in your strategy first. To start, you can focus on choosing a top 10. I like to choose 10 new keywords to write for, and 10 keywords we’re already ranking for that we can optimize.
- Expansion –As you learn new things, you should always revisit your keyword research, SEO strategy and plan frequently to make sure it's relevant to the current state of your company.
- Value –Don’t forget that value is just as important as your keywords when it comes to SEO.
4. Value, value, value
Expanding on my point on thought leadership from #1, you need to add as much value as you can through your SaaS content. It’s the best way to educate and show your expertise. Think about your ICP and personas’ pains, fears, and dreams. What are their challenges? What are their fears? What do they really want?
Note: Answering FAQs is a great way to get content ideas. You can start by asking the sales team for some examples so you can really answer your prospects' questions. If they’re asking, answer it!
Some people may not agree, but it’s great to write about your competitors too –like a “best X for X” post (see an example here). It shows you’re a trusted resource –and don’t be afraid to put yourself on top –this way you can show up for things your prospects are already searching for, and they’ll appreciate you doing that research for them. Learn more about why you should do this here.
One more tip for creating value-add content –always, always, always review and quality check your work. Even a simple spell check goes a long way :)
5. Testimonials & customer interviews
As soon as you have built up a foundation of happy customers, reach out to them for interviews. The quotes and case studies that come from these interviews can not only give you more social proof for your business but also help marketing and sales efforts—–like launching a written testimonial story to paint the picture for prospects and what they can expect as a customer. And the best bonus –you can get killer content ideas from them.
As an example, I once interviewed a customer who said people like him in the industry were really in need of a guide and template to sell a solution to their board. What did we do? We created that for them. As a result, we saw a lot of relevant downloads and leads come in that we could then nurture further down the funnel.
6. Lead magnets
Lead magnets are important to plan for in your content strategy. Why? Because they generate leads!
Ebooks are great lead magnets to help build awareness and educate your audience. However, it’s important to make sure they add value and are worth reading. Though they typically target your audience in the awareness stage of the funnel, they can also be used to capture prospects in the consideration stage, like the example I gave above—built to help others share information about your solution with decision-makers.
Quizzes can also be a great source for getting new content leads and learning more about your industry that you can nurture and target better depending on their answers. In fact, we did this for a client recently and saw our content leads grow by 80%. (It’s also best to keep in mind where you put your quiz so it’s visible. We shared it on social media, added pop-ups to our website, and more in order to drive traffic).
There are so many lead magnet opportunities –ebooks, case studies, quizzes, templates, ROI calculators –and more.
5 ‘don’ts’ of content strategies & writing for SaaS
For every ‘do’ you can incorporate into your content strategy, there is a ‘don’t’ that it’ll be just as important to keep in mind. Here are some of the most common I’ve encountered:
1. Lack of clarity or understanding of your topic
Writing for SaaS can be tricky, but if you’re going to write on a topic it’s important that you understand it (or make it look like you do). Make sure you’re not using filler and generic words, as you’ll want to show up as an expert on that topic to gain trust and results from it.
2. SEO bad practices
SEO bad practices can break your content (literally). You can put in a lot of work into a post, but if you focus on the wrong things, it won’t go anywhere. Here are some tips to avoid bad SEO practices:
- No keyword stuffing –This means, don’t just add a random keyword into a post or sprinkle it throughout your article at random just because you want to rank for it. If it doesn’t make sense, don’t add it. Google will penalize you for it. Just focus on writing a good post and use variations of your focus keyword and you should see positive SERP results. See my points on black hat, gray hat, and white hat SEO here.
- Intent –Don’t ignore intent. Make sure you’re writing for the right funnel stage and level of intent of the keyword or topic you’re focused on. This means, don’t write an awareness piece for a bottom-of-funnel keyword (you can find example keywords in this blog).
- Don’t optimize just because –Make sure you have a purpose for what you’re doing and think about why a piece needs editing or optimizing. Are you optimizing to add more meaningful information or a better structure? Are you optimizing for a certain keyword? See our on-page SEO checklist blog here.
- Don’t attach a keyword just because –this goes back to my first point, don’t add just to add. If you’re writing a blog on a topic you don’t have a keyword for, it’s fine! Remember, it’s more important to add value. You can always let your post index without a specific keyword focus and see what Google does (sometimes your post shows up for words you weren’t expecting). In the same way, don’t just write content because you want to rank for a keyword without knowing that you can provide real value with it –do your research, ask SMEs, and add value.
- Avoid 404s –Do not let Google index your content and come up with a 404 page –you’ll lose your rankings (they may come back quickly, or they may take some time –but it’s a risk I recommend avoiding). If you need to remove a post, always be sure to set up a redirect pointing toward that piece’s pillar page or another relevant piece of content.
3. Not setting up nurture
When building a SaaS content strategy and creating content for your audience/prospects, you absolutely need to consider how you’re going to nurture them. This means you need to make sure you’re thinking about where your content lives in the funnel and what the “next step” looks like for someone reading it –think about how you can build a relationship with them and what else you can offer them.
4. Not planning for the funnel, or planning holistically
As mentioned above, a lack of planning for the full funnel doesn’t move any business anywhere. Make sure you have content planned for different personas at different stages of the funnel –so you have content for your full audience, as well as for the purposes of your nurture campaigns, sales team, and so on. Learn how to align your content with the SaaS buyer's journey here.
Note: Make sure to include a CTA in your content – all blogs should have a CTA or prompted action from the reader to drive them further. More on CTAs in this blog here.
Here is an example of what an inline CTA may look like.
5. Not sharing or promoting your content
Don’t just let your content sit on the blog or website. Waiting for traffic to come in from your eventual SERP rankings is not going to get you the results you’re looking for. You should find new ways to drive traffic to it. Here are some tips:
- Social –Share all content you publish on your social channels (if you don’t have a social media team, you can put your new content on an automatic posting schedule to share on your social media accounts (you could share when published, in 4 weeks, in 8 weeks, etc.) Here’s a guide to SaaS social media marketing if you’d like to learn more about what you can do on this channel.
- Email –You can also share new content in a quick email the second your content is published to help drive instant visibility. Something as simple as –”check out this new blog” and a link could go a long way here. However, if you can get more specific and segment your audience and send more tailored emails with the right content, that may yield better results.
- Newsletters –Share your content in a monthly general newsletter with your subscribers. Learn how to create engaging SaaS newsletters.
- Promotion & Syndication –Don’t forget your content strategy is typically a part of a larger marketing strategy. With so much content being created, you should always have something to share and somewhere to share it, and this may also require thinking about new ways and new mediums to share your content. Syndicate and promote your content in other spaces –through paid ads, other websites, press releases, and other PR opportunities. Think bigger than just your website. Here are 6 SaaS content promotion strategies to help get you started. You can also learn more about content syndication.
- Atomization –Content atomization means breaking down your content into smaller pieces. This works great for social sharing and even breaking a longer ebook down into smaller blog posts can lead to great results. Learn more about amplifying and atomizing your SaaS content.
Content strategies & writing for SaaS: final thoughts
There are so many tips and tricks to consider in order to create a solid SaaS content marketing strategy, including writing for SaaS so it truly makes an impact –for your audience and in your industry. However, you shouldn’t expect short-term results from your content. It won’t always make an impact right away –sometimes it takes a while to rank on SERP and gain the traction you want. But if you consistently follow a solid strategy and publishing schedule, all of your work and writing will pay off over time.
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With 4 years of experience in both B2B and B2C marketing, Jordan always makes an effort to become an expert in any topic she is given so she can produce high-quality content for Kalungi and our clients.