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How to write technical content for SaaS products
Writing technical content for SaaS products is no easy feat. It’s hard to make technical stuff interesting enough for people to read.
You must strike a balance between making it specific, accessible, and understandable. Because it’s technical, it can be easy to lean too far into the depth of the features, but it’s also important to talk about the benefits of those features in a digestible way.
After writing technical content for dozens of software companies, here are some tips for writing good, valuable content, regardless of your specific technical expertise.
5 key things to keep in mind when writing valuable technical content for SaaS products
1. Product messaging & positioning is crucial
The first thing you should consider before putting out your content is your messaging & positioning. How is your SaaS product positioned in the market compared to competitors? What about your brand and offering will your messaging reflect? How will you sound when you talk about your brand?
All of this should be identified to have consistent messaging each time you talk about your product. This should also include features and reasons to believe in or trust in your product and include any stats or evidence you have to share to support your claims.
2. Focus on the gains
When you’re writing technical content for SaaS products, it’s important to identify what’s in it for your audience. This ensures they have a full understanding of what it is, how to use it, and what they can gain from it. Once you’ve captured their attention with how they stand to benefit, provide it by following up with the more technical aspects and features of the product.
In this case, you should start with the gains and benefits and then dive into the features. This is a great way to build trust with your audience, so the focus is on them and not your product, and it shows you understand what you’re solving for and how it helps solve day-to-day pains. All of this should be included in your messaging & positioning.
See an example of a feature-focused blog –it’s a little technical but also incorporates benefits to explain what’s in it for the users.
3. Consider your audience
Is the audience of the content you’re creating a technical audience that has experience with tech every day, or not so much? This can vary depending on the specific persona you’re targeting with a specific piece of content, but use this to inform how technical your piece can get.
If you’re writing to technical experts, developers, etc., you should be very technical in your content. Alternatively, if you’re writing to general (not-so-technical) managers, etc., then make sure you’re speaking their language to the point where they understand your product (without so many technical nuances or details).
See an example of a blog that could have been very technical here, but it was stripped down for a particularly less technical audience –as you can see, it still discusses benefits and features.
Here is an example of a technical Help Center piece that walks users through the product’s functionality. As you can see, it’s easy to read and easy to follow. No fluff :)
4. Encourage the experts to write
If you are a product expert or developer, you should be putting out your own content, as technical writing allows you to share your expertise as a thought leader (being a product expert, developer, etc.) and translate that information for the reader. This is instrumental in the tech world, where prospects may not understand what your product does or how it works. As the expert, you’re the best one to communicate this.
Here is an example of a very technical blog written by an expert for a very technical audience –as you can see, it uses very technical language that the audience of this piece will know.
5. Use your resources
If you’re a writer or marketer taking on highly technical SaaS product messaging, don’t let your (possible) lack of knowledge stop you from creating valuable, informed content. If you’re not a technical person or product expert, it’s important to use the sources of information available to you to ensure accuracy and clarity for the audience you’re writing to.
For example, I’m not a technical expert, so whenever I’m writing this type of content, I need to “interview” or extract information from the technical product experts on their team and, through my own research to produce something valuable and digestible for the reader.
See an example of product release notes here –as you can see, it focuses on benefits while sharing specifics about the product and features being released.
Additionally, you can see an example of a product release blog here –as you can see, it’s simple, to the point, and talks about the benefits and features again.
Tips for executing your technical content
- Understand the purpose –before writing any content, think about your piece's true job to be done to ensure you’re adding the most value. Does your content have a purpose, or are you just writing just to write?
- Answer questions –a good way to produce great content is to answer prospect questions. What are they wondering about? What are they asking about? How can you answer their questions? As stated above, this could be very technical content about your product and how it works, or it could simply be less technical and more about the benefits of your product.
- Cut the fluff; clarity is key –like any content, but especially content for software products, it’s important to cut the fluff. No BS. No generic stuff. Be clear and keep your audience in mind. No one wants to read something that rambles with no substance, particularly in SaaS. Ask yourself–is every sentence of your content serving a specific purpose? If not, cut it down. Every word should count.
- Make it readable –all content should be readable and digestible, no matter how technical. As mentioned above, write in simple terms and cut the fluff. Using specific industry terms is great, but it’s important to consider if your target audience will understand them or if you need to provide additional context or definitions. For example, your less technical audience may not understand the technical nuances, but your more technical audience will, so you should use those terms. Remember not to overcomplicate things if you don’t need to. Readable content should also include clear headers for readers who want to skim.
- Add visuals –depending on the topic you’re writing, it’s often very helpful to include a visual, especially if you’re talking about your software product. Visuals can include demos, screengrabs of your product, as well as graphs or other images to create the full picture of what you’re talking about. Videos and demos are the most important visuals you could leverage for your product. Seeing is believing :)
- Proof is important –in the spirit of seeing is believing, proof is essential when talking about or showcasing your software product. This could be in the form of data and numbers, but testimonials and customer case studies should also back it up.
- Nail your voice –lastly, remember that your content and messaging should be consistent with your overall brand voice.
Wrapping it up
Technical content doesn’t have to be boring. Remember to communicate your product's or solution's benefits first and then get specific with the features. Your content can (and will) vary depending on your audience, just make sure it’s clear and backed by proof and visuals. Once you have your (product) messaging down, your technical content (and any content) should be much easier to create.