Content Marketing, Content Marketing for SaaS: Use Content to Drive ConversionsApril 26, 2021ZlatiReading time: Content marketing can be a powerful instrument to drive SaaS growth. If you’re a SaaS company looking to drive signups, content marketing can help you reach, educate, attract, and convert new users.Is SaaS Content Marketing Any Different?While content marketing works for most industries and vertices, there are some elements to SaaS businesses that should be addressed in your content strategy for it to be successful.One of the main elements of SaaS marketing is helping customers understand the product and the benefits of using it.With software-as-a-service solutions, the product is not physical, your prospects can’t visualize it, and the use cases may be endless. SaaS content marketing can help you educate customers on how your product can solve their problems, and nudge them to test out your solutions.Another challenge is the very nature of SaaS products – they are constantly changing.Most SaaS solutions and continuously adapting based on user feedback, developing new features and integrations. Each product update means the marketing channels should re-iterate the value proposition and the product specifics.The third challenge applies to new category creators and niche SaaS solutions. In such cases, the issue is the search demand – no one is searching for your product, because they don’t know it exists yet.Here again, content can help bridge the gap between users’ pain points and goals and your offer. By showing how your SaaS tool solves specific problems, it can engage wider audiences than just the people looking for your product.On the positive side, SaaS products have a significant benefit – they can put their tool in the hands of the user immediately. All the demos and free trials can feed a rich database of common questions, pain points, and feedback from actual users.Put this data to use and create content that can reduce friction and help users adopt your product faster.How to Create Content for SaaSSaaS Content marketing has to deliver results across several vectors:Create brand awareness and reach new audiencesEducate your customers and nudge them along their buyer journeyBuild credibility and trustGenerate leadsBefore you map out the topics in your editorial calendar and assign copywriting and design tasks, start with some research. This way you’ll be sure your content marketing investment will translate into MRR.Building a SaaS Content Strategy in 6 StepsHere are the 6 steps you need to take to build a solid content strategy for your SaaS brand:Define your goals and what success looks likeConsider your ideal customer profile and their information needsCheck the search demand for your core keywordsMap out the main topic areasMap out content for each of the stages of the user’s journeyPlan how each topic area supports your product and features pagesAs straightforward as these 6 steps are, they are more easily said than done. Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps. We’ll show you exactly how we build SaaS content strategies for our partners.1. Define SaaS Content Marketing Goals and ResultsFrom the get-go, you need to define what you’re trying to achieve and how you’d measure the efficiency of your content work.Naturally, the end goal is driving signups – getting new users to test and start using your SaaS solution.In some cases, though, you might have a particular interest in one possible application of your tool. These users might be booking more seats and using your service more extensively, or having higher customer lifetime value in other ways. Align your content marketing work with these goals. Create content geared for them, to attract and convert them at a higher rate. Understand what their information needs are and tailor the content to address them.When defining content marketing results, decide what KPIs are important for your business. It could be the number of conversions that have a touchpoint with your blog somewhere along the journey. Or the reduction in customer acquisition cost, the percentage of new visits from content, and the rankings on keywords that assist in conversions.When defining success metrics, keep in mind that they would look different for top-of-the-funnel content (TOFU) and bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU).Pieces of content that are catering to the SEE stage of the user journey will likely not perform well for conversion KPIs. Their value would be in expanding your audience (that you can later retarget on social media) and in building brand awareness. The performance of BOFU content, on the other hand, should be measured by how it assists conversions.2. Pile Up User-Focused Content IdeasWhen planning your SaaS content strategy, try to keep in mind how this product solves your buyer persona’s problems. Next, communicate this in content – video, user-generated, use cases, or blog articles.Especially with SaaS content, it’s good to remember that you’re sitting on a treasure trove of content ideas just because of the data you have of people interacting with your solution.The ways people discover your SaaS tool, the ways they use it, the problems it solves, the success stories it drives – all of these are relevant topics for your target audiences.Use this data to create content for your future customers. The added benefit is that you can tailor your content for paying customers, not for trial users.You can extract “discovery” content ideas for new users based on the profiles of your current users. Or prompt leads to make the next steps with practical use case information, based on your customer base experience. Create pain-point content to address your prospects’ needs and your users’ questions.Research how your existing users discovered you, what questions they had, what problem they needed to solve. You can survey them or interview them directly. You can also collect that information from client reviews and testimonials. Or even analyze your customer feedback on third-party review sites such as G2, Capterra, or Gartner Peer Insights.3. Identify the Search Demand for Your Core KeywordsTo make sure potential users discover your brand, your content needs to take into account how people search for you.Use keyword research tools to understand the search demand for your focus keywords. This way, you’d be able to create content that appears in front of people already looking for your solution.Check the search volume for variations of your main product descriptions. At the same time, keep an eye out for how competitive and how actionable these keywords are. Cluster keywords based on the user intent – Information, Consideration, Transaction – and then map them to TOFU or BOFU content topics.A common mistake with SaaS Search Engine Optimization is to use very generic descriptions of the product, such as “innovative platform,” “cutting edge solution,” etc. Instead, describe what you offer and be as clear and specific as possible.Another common issue with SaaS content marketing is having low search volume for your core keywords. This is especially common with SaaS trailblazers and new category creators.In such cases, make sure you get the biggest piece of the pie for the existing demand – carefully optimize your content and create high-performing landing pages for your focus keywords.Next, explore adjacent search intent keywords. Think of ways to “qualify” your audience and lean on keywords that could describe what they are searching for. It may not be your solution exactly, but the answer to the same pain point.4. Create Topic CustersOrganize your content ideas around several main topics. These would serve as your pillars – the informational areas you want to own and rank for in the search results.The pillar-cluster model was introduced by Hubspot in response to several major Google algorithm updates. The better search engines become at understanding text and semantic relevance, the more pointless it becomes to try and rank individual pages for specific keywords.Instead, content strategists identify several thematic hubs, i.e., “pillar pages.” Next, they research and brainstorm all related subtopics within the pillar, and plan separate pages for them.Each of the “cluster” pages links back to the “pillar page”, giving it link juice and signaling to the algorithm that this is the main page on the topic. In return, the pillar page links out to the cluster pages, so users can get more in-depth information on each of the sub-topics.There are multiple benefits to implementing the pillar-cluster model in SaaS Content Marketing:It helps your brand to build topical authority for key concepts relevant to your business, and faster.It provides users with comprehensive information on the topic they are searching for in the “pillar page”, as well as detailed and specific information on each aspect of that topic they might need information on. Site visitors can easily navigate and find other related content pieces, thereby improving the website’s user experience.It organically creates a clear, accessible, and well-linked internal structure for your website’s content. This makes it easier for search engines to understand and crawl your site correctly and rank the pages that answer best a search query.You can create TOFU and BOFU content in each of your pillars, addressing the information needs of your different audience segments. This way you can have top-of-the-funnel content for people at the discovery stage, and bottom-of-the-funnel content topics for people who are comparing their options.Let’s talk a bit more about the buyer’s journey and how to take it into account when building out your SaaS content strategy.5. Support the Buyer’s JourneyWorking with SaaS clients, we’ve replaced the classic conversion funnel concept with the buyer awareness matrix. We’ve discovered it helps us plan better content assets for users in various audience groups in different discovery stages.In a nutshell, the buyer awareness matrix is a framework that segments potential users into different groups based on their current awareness levels:Problem-unaware: Prospects who feel they have a problem but are not yet clear on what exactly is causing the problem and how to resolve it.Problem-aware: Prospects who are aware of their specific problem and searching for various potential solutions.Solution-aware: Prospects who are already researching your category of solutions.Product-aware: Prospects that have already discovered your brand, and are comparing it against other solutions in the same category.Here are some ways you can create content to reach specific audiences within the buyer awareness matrix:For SaaS companies, a way to drive growth using content marketing is to prioritize content that answers the questions of people who are already considering your specific product.The shortest path to get more sign-ups is to focus on the people who are ready to convert. In a sense, that means to flip the conversion funnel and start from the bottom up.Prioritize content that is directly related to your software features and use cases. Show your audience the benefits of using your product, the problems it solves, and the results it drives. This way you can influence your product-aware site visitors and nudge them towards a conversion. The goal is to get users to try the software and help them decide if it is right for them.One way of doing this is by discussing this content strategy with your sales team. They can give you actionable insights on what your prospective customers are looking for, their pain points, and questions. Use this data to create content that answers these questions and resolves the problems. This is the lowest hanging fruit for SaaS content marketing.Focussing on solution-aware and product-aware content will generate trial sign-ups and conversions to paying customers. Next, move up the funnel, or to the next quadrant of the buyer awareness matrix.Another important way SaaS content marketers can support growth is by generating demand. When you plan content for problem-unaware or problem-aware cohorts, you’re expanding your brand’s reach and attracting new audiences. Your content should resonate with your audience’s goals and problems, and educate them on the benefits of your broad product category.Sourcing and moderating user-generated content, client reviews, and testimonials can also support the buyer’s journey. Seeing how other users interact with your brand and make use of your SaaS solution helps speed up the user journey and remove friction.6. Plan How the Content Topics Will Support Your Money PagesSaaS content is a marketing channel, sure, but can also be seen as an instrument of SaaS SEO. So, when building your content strategy, keep in mind how these new content pages will support the pages that drive signups.For SaaS websites, the pages that monetize your traffic – the money pages – are often the pricing and features pages, integrations, API, alternatives, demos, and free trial pages.For example, if you have a page that describes the various integrations your SaaS solution has with CRMs, you can create content on the blog for each of these integrations, and link to your main integrations page. This way you’ll make sure that your most important pages that drive conversions will get enough relevant links. This helps users discover them more easily, and is also a signal to search engines for crawling and ranking.You can build mini-user journeys and plan a sequence of content pieces. For example, you can plan a discovery content piece, linking out to a consideration stage content piece, linking out to a high-conversion page on your site.By aligning content pages with your core product pages, you can nurture the leads generated from different blogs down the funnel with similar content.SaaS Content Marketing Examples to Borrow Ideas FromHere are some well-known SaaS brands that have content marketing to heart and are reaping the rewards. See how they reach and engage users, educate them on their pain points, and provide solutions.1. MozMoz is a classic example of how a brand can create thought leadership and build brand bias.Their Whiteboard Friday series demystifies Search Engine Optimization with useful, interesting, and crystal clear content. Plus it’s in video format! SEO tools and strategy is intimidating enough, but the whiteboard video format helps users at different levels learn and benefit from their content.2. HubspotHubspot’s diverse range of sales and marketing tools is an endless source for TOFU content topics. Their resources section covers marketing, sales, and service, all organized in pillar-cluster structures, so users can quickly find what they are looking for.Plus, they have tons of free assets – e-books, guides, templates, courses and certification, and more resources to help businesses grow.3. MarketMuseA Content Intelligence and Strategy Platform, MarketMuse algorithm analyzes millions of pages to uncover gaps and define opportunities for content creators.MarketMuse’s guides on content analysis, topic research, and content strategy are extremely thorough and insightful. By demonstrating thought leadership, the platform is steadily expanding its audience and building brand bias and loyalty.4. ZendeskTaking content marketing a step further is Zendesk. Their high-performing and well-organized blog covers various aspects of customer relationships and how the software can support them.On top of that, Zendesk’s investing in a lot of TOFU content, focused on the human aspect of customer service. The brand is creating a community around more personal topics, such as work trends, self-care, and work-life balance.5. MailchimpAnother stellar example of effective SaaS content marketing comes from Mailchimp.Their rich resources section is well organized to address various use cases and ideal customer profiles – from new users that are searching for 101’s, guides and tutorials, to developers who need specific information from the content library.The platform also offers an extensive template gallery to quickly onboard new users.6. UnbounceUnbounce software enables marketers to build efficient landing pages, so it’s no surprise that their resources section is dedicated to the art of making high-converting landing pages.They’ve split it into groups, based on the user journey. An endless template gallery fills up the BOFU section, while they’re also developing a lot of top-of-the-funnel content on landing page best practices and conversion optimization – courses, videos, and guides.7. VidyardVidyard has a very refreshing approach to SaaS content. The brand offer is very straightforward– easy, powerful video creation that drives results. It’s not surprising that they build their content strategy around video content.Vidyard is also known for deep-dive topics and long-form video content. Their great Chalk Talk series explores specific video marketing tactics in 5-10 minute videos. The Learn section also includes video inspiration, many webinars and events, an annual Video in Business benchmark report with industry insights, and much more.SaaS Content Marketing Tools and TemplatesHere are some essential tools and resources to get you started creating your SaaS Content library.First off, start by building your ideal customer profiles. Here is a free template we use to identify buyer personas – you can make a copy of it and use it for your own research.Keyword ResearchNext, research your target keywords and identify opportunities for content. Consider how people are discovering you – what they are looking for when they land on your website or app. Don’t forget to also check what keywords your competitors are targeting.Use Google Search Console to measure your site’s organic traffic and performance. Page by page, see what queries people searched to find your content.Use a keyword research tool, such as Ahrefs, SemRush, or even Google Keyword Planner, to identify keywords that have high volumes, high clicks per search, and low difficulty. Keep in mind each tool collects and analyzes data a bit differently, so the metrics they show would vary. For example, we compared the keyword difficulty scores of some of the popular tools and concluded that Ahrefs’ methodology is based primarily on the number of backlinks, so the results are a bit off.Keyword research tools can provide insights about the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for the keyword you’re researching. SERP analysis can help you better understand what the competition is, and also explore the search intent – is this keyword relevant to your users, are they looking for information, or are comparing their options and ready to convert.Here’s a link to Hop Online’s keyword research template that you can copy and start using.SaaS Content Calendar TemplateNext, plan the content pieces you will produce and put them down in an editorial calendar. This way you’ll have a clear idea of what work needs to be done when and can start organizing the content production.The editorial calendar includes the suggested topic and focuses keyword, but also the ideal customer you’re targeting with this piece, their stage in the buyer’s journey, which pillar does this piece of content belongs to, and what you want the user to do next.Here is an editorial calendar template you can use – simply copy it and start planning your work.Content BriefsWith the action plan ready and set in the editorial calendar, the next step is to research the individual content pieces. To make sure the copywriter creates useful, engaging, and SEO-optimized content, provide them with a clear plan – the content brief.Besides the word count, the content brief should include information on who you’re targeting – your target persona and their stage in the buyer’s journey. It should include keyword research, as well as what the search intent is for these queries. Top-performing content, information, and inspiration resources are also helpful. The plan for the article should give information of what internal links should be included to and from this piece of content, taking into account the topic pillar and the product pages it can support.Here is a checklist of all the elements you need to include in your content briefs to guide your writers.Get the Most Out of Your SaaS ContentWith the right tools, a clear plan, and your eyes on your goal, a SaaS content marketing strategy can help you drive signups and scale growth. With targeted content, you can address and engage your audience and nudge them further down the buyer’s journey.This 6-step guide on SaaS content strategy should get you set and ready to start creating content asap. Get ideas from some brilliant brands that use SaaS content to generate growth. Make the best of the tools, templates, and resources available to kick off your SaaS content marketing project. We’re here to help.While working on your editorial calendar, keep an eye out for bottom-of-the-funnel content opportunities. Attract the right visitors to your website with useful landing pages, personalized to meet their information needs. Start by taking a look at these must-have landing pages on any B2B SaaS website.