A Guide to SaaS Content Marketing
The goal of this piece is to help you ensure that your SaaS content marketing efforts deliver results. Baking in strong SEO helps avoid that scenario. Neglecting the above will most definitely ensure negligible traffic.
SaaS Content Marketing
Writing blogs represents a key element of most SaaS content marketing strategies for B2B SaaS startup websites. The topics covered in blogs can be wide-ranging; from product updates to general news to “How to” guides. However, a key component of any content strategy needs to be a regular production schedule of long-form blogs that have twin objectives.
1- They cover the topics your ideal customer profile (ICP) holds dear and add value by demonstrating expertise in terms of helping solve the challenges your ICP has (relating to your service offering).
2- They need to ensure you get decent eyeballs on the content by promoting it adequately while also ensuring that it is optimized for Search Engines (SEO).
SaaS Content Marketing - Topic Ideation
When it comes to choosing the topic, ideally you get suggestions from front-line salespeople who are speaking to prospects day in and day out.
What questions are prospects asking?
What are they not clear about?
Where are they confused?
What language are they using to discuss the problems they have?
Writing to help your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) overcome the key challenges they face represents a key element of most SaaS content marketing strategies.
Once you have the broad topic area you now need to distill it down to a few keywords.
What are the search terms they would likely use to try and find a solution to their problem?
Ideally, you isolate a 2-3 word target keyword to go after.
Using a worked example I am writing this blog about “saas content marketing”.
I have checked SEMRush [ahrefs Free Keyword Generator is a useful alternative] and it indicates there are 480 monthly searches and the keyword difficulty is 41 (on a scale of 1 to 100). I have deliberately not chosen “b2b content marketing” as the topic to write about, even though the search volumes are higher (1900/month) as the difficulty shoots up to 66%. As I am writing for a relatively new site (contento.io) with a low domain authority, we are unlikely to rank for keywords with significant competition so my goal is to identify a keyword with “decent volumes” and where competition is modest.
Aside from the SEO check, it is also a topic well aligned with what we offer here at Contento. Contento helps B2B SaaS companies create great websites and thus a content marketing strategy aligns well with that goal.
We want to help SaaS companies have a beautiful website, that is blazingly quick and also has decent traffic so ensuring decent SEO and a considered SaaS content marketing strategy aligns well. Thus educating marketing leaders as to how to produce great content aligns well with our brand and our vision.
Now we have a broad topic we can decide on a name/title for the blog. In this instance I have chosen the following:
A Guide to SaaS Content Marketing
We can of course spend a lot more time on finessing the title but this represents a good starter title for now.
Dropping the keyword ‘SaaS Content Marketing’ into Google and scrolling down the page to questions asked in the People also ask section helps me to ensure my content covers some of the key related topics. In this instance these questions relate to:
What is it, i.e. what is SaaS content marketing?
Why is it important?
How to write it?
So I’ll be sure to cover these questions in the content also.
What is SaaS Content Marketing?
SaaS content marketing is an approach designed to attract the right type of audience to your website by producing content that meets their needs and helps them with the challenges they face.
Why is SaaS Content Marketing Important?
Websites need traffic. You can either earn that traffic or pay for it. You earn traffic by creating high-quality content that addresses the challenges your personas have and demonstrates you have expertise in the area you are solving problems.
How to write it?
This short guide outlines the steps you need to take to ensure your SaaS Content Marketing aligns with best practice.
Now we have the title and keyword we need to ensure the following elements are optimized for SEO (on-site optimization).
The following is a simple initial checklist to help with on-site optimization. I need to populate these either on the page, or populate them in the SEO section of the Content Management System (CMS) for them to be effective.
Target Keyword = saas content marketing
Meta Title = Guide to SaaS Content Marketing
Meta Description = This short guide to SaaS Content Marketing explains what it is, why it is important, and how to write it.
H1 = Guide to SaaS Content Marketing
URL = /blog/saas-content-marketing
You’ll note a couple of things here
1- The consistency of the use of the keyword ‘saas content marketing’
2- The meta description addresses the 3 questions asked in Google ‘People Also Ask’
The content then needs to get written. Ideally, you are targeting 1500-2000 words as Google prefers “long-form content” over short-form. As Neil Patel of Uber Suggest argues “41% of the first page results on Google contained over 2000 words.” However, he does qualify this argument by stressing the importance of quality over quantity, suggesting that the goal should be to “give people what they want as quickly as possible.”
Tools like Grammarly can also help ensure you have no major spelling or grammatical errors. You can also run the content through tools like SEM Rush, and “SEO Writing Assistant” to help identify content tweaks that should help you with your ranking. You’ll also note I’ve included several paragraphs above that deal with ‘related questions’ as identified in my Google search.
Once the content is published you then need to undertake the following steps:
1- Go to Google Search Console and add the URL Request Index
2- Run this Google Search: site:contento.io “saas content marketing”
NB you’ll use your own site and keyword here.
This helps you find pages (ideally blogs) on your own site that relate to the keyword so you can get internal backlinks. When you find the phrase, you can then go to that page and add a new link on the keyword which now links to the brand-new page you’ve just created. If the Google results show no references you can try 2-word combinations e.g. saas content and you may then decide to edit the text, add a third word (in this instance ‘marketing’ and then add the link. These are essentially signals to Google that helps it crawl the site and more easily identify what the page is about.
3- It is then important to keep a list of all page and URL combinations so that when you write new blogs you are looking to add internal links where appropriate.
4- You can then track the keyword in SEMRush or aHRefs or equivalent to see if you can get a ranking for them.
5- If you can then get some external links from 3rd party sites using the same keyword and URL combination you’ll be helping the page further. There are tools like Respona which help with external link building (helping you to do some outreach to get backlinks to your content). I must confess I am very dubious about this step. As a busy Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) I have never once acted on an unsolicited email requesting I add a new section to a published piece and add a backlink to this 3rd party I’ve never heard of. However, one user of Respona suggested the approach can work when describing how he got to rank for a target keyword:
I looked at the top 10 ranking pages for our keyword and used Ahrefs to find their backlinks. Then, I reached out to those sites and told them we had a more up-to-date article than the one they were linking to. In some cases, I also invited them to join our affiliate program which was a good incentive! Most people ignored my emails or told me our DA was too low, but the handful of links we got gave us the boost we needed.”
Gavin Hammer, StoryPrompt
Some Notes of Caution
1- SEO is a complex area. Even if you do all of the above you may not rank well if the keyword is intensely competitive, you have low domain authority, or the site health is not good. This could be due to a really slow site or issues with your Content Management System (CMS).
2- With platforms like WordPress you’ll need to use Yoast to aid your SEO efforts.
The Role of the CMS
As mentioned, your CMS plays an important part in your SEO efforts. It is why tools like WordPress rely on dedicated plugins like Yoast to help ensure your CMS is not hampering your efforts. Google rewards fast sites that are well managed (using Search Console helps, as does fixing broken links etc). WordPress Issues as a result of the plugin ecosystem and underlying architecture means that WordPress is not an ideal platform if performance is a key driver.
Not all Content Management Systems deliver a great SEO offering which is one of the reasons we have built Contento. Taking a Headless CMS approach to website building helps your content efforts given the focus on performance and speed, and by layering in specific SEO elements we believe it offers an unparalleled approach to powering B2B SaaS websites.
Once you have published the content you need to put a promotion or ‘content amplification’ plan in place. These are some of the techniques I use:
1- Hello Bar on Home Page - I’ll look to add the new content piece to an Announcement Bar.
2- Signature File of Team Members - Again if there are a lot of emails being sent by colleagues adding the content to the Sig File helps get more eyeballs on it.
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3- Twitter Organic - I tend to focus more on promoting via individual accounts rather than commercial accounts. You can also pin the tweet at the top of your feed.
4- Linkedin Organic - I recommend adding a link from your company page as well as via personal accounts (especially those with decent follower numbers). NB Linkedin wants to keep traffic on the Linkedin site so it is advised to Link to the blog post from the Comments section and not the main post.
5- Direct emails (from the team) - The wider team can share new content directly with personalized emails especially when they can link content to known problems recipients have discussed.
6- Newsletters - If you have your own newsletter it is a natural place to distribute new content through. If not, many weekly / monthly newsletters contain sections for 3rd party content related to specific topics so seeking to get it published on these is valuable (gives you access to a new audience).
7- Drip Emails - As you craft drip email sequences for whitepaper downloads, high-quality content can be added to sequences where the subject matter aligns.
8- Medium - Finally, repurposing content via Medium can also give you access to an additional audience beyond the audience on your own site.
The goal of this piece is to help you ensure that your SaaS content marketing efforts are considered and deliver results. The aim is to avoid a short traffic spike for a few days and then for it to peter out into no page views. Baking in strong SEO helps you avoid that scenario. While it won’t guarantee results, you can be sure that neglecting the above will most definitely ensure negligible traffic to the content you produce.
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