Sonan Insights

The Founder’s Guide to B2B SaaS Content Marketing

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Chapter 1

What is Content Marketing?

 

In the world of B2B, content marketing is king when it comes to long-term brand building. In the crowded world of outbound and performance marketing, an effective content strategy can set your brand apart. While many companies know this, it can be understandably confusing knowing where to start. Fundamentally, content marketing is a marketing strategy used to attract, engage, and retain an audience by creating and sharing content, such as relevant articles, videos, podcasts, and other media. This approach establishes expertise, promotes brand awareness, and keeps your business top of mind when it’s time to make a purchasing decision.

What Exactly is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is an umbrella term. It encompasses a variety of content that is produced to expose your brand to an audience—think blog posts, white papers, email newsletters, videos, social media, emails, etc. It is an extremely useful method of marketing that builds brand reputation and trust between businesses and customers. Perhaps the most important aspect of effective content marketing—it must be useful, digestible information that benefits the customer more than the business. Ultimately, if a customer thinks of you as a trustworthy partner that provides them value (for free) they’re much more likely to choose you when it comes time to purchase.

Why Does Content Marketing Matter to Me?

In the modern world of B2B business, content marketing is the most prevalent, budget-friendly way to get in front of your ideal clients and customers. Not to mention, there is clear competitive advantage to those who choose to implement a winning content marketing strategy. We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves. According to Mailchimp:

  • Businesses with blogs get 67%more leads than other companies.
  • 47%of buyers view 3 to 5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales representative.
  • Companies that use content marketing see approximately 30%higher growth rates than businesses not using it.

Seventy-two percent of business to business (B2B) marketers say content marketing increases engagement and the number of leads they generate.

Read more on the stages of content marketing and how to get started in this blog post.

 

Chapter 2

Content Marketing Benefits: Why Consider a Content Marketing Strategy?

 

Considering the benefits of content marketing? In the world of modern digital marketing, buyers can often be bombarded with options. They can compare and contrast alternatives faster than ever before, with ample information available and low friction. As a business growth leader, ensuring that you develop an awareness of what your brand stands for is key. The B2B buying cycle is often a lengthy one. In any given quarter, 95% of typical target buyers are not currently in-market. This presents both a massive challenge and opportunity. By focusing only on the bottom of your funnel, you can easily be bested by your competitors. That is where the benefits of a strong content marketing strategy come in.

Content for Awareness: Reaching Your Target Buyers

Large firms in the B2B SaaS space spend millions of dollars on the creation of strategic content. Examples such as Salesforce, HubSpot, and even LinkedIn with their Sales Navigator products come to mind. By engaging with their target audience through events, such as Dreamforce and Inbound, they’ve built their brands. Their audiences become aware of their products and services through information they enjoy.

In the world of B2B, this is often done poorly. How engaging is content that simply repeats product selling points? Instead, by creating content that is genuinely useful, you build trust. The emphasis should be on entertaining, educating, or helping visitors reach their goals.

This can take a variety of formats, from blog articles to videos, and live events. Effective content marketing can take many forms and exploring all the options is often key to developing a winning strategy. By strategically selecting the right medium and channel, you maximize your chances of developing a strong following and creating true value (and conversions).

As an example, let’s say your product helps companies monitor their website performance issues and downtime. By creating content around the most reliable hosting companies, or easiest to use content management systems, potential buyers are exposed to your brand. They may not need your product yet, but clearly, website reliability is top of mind. You now can interact with them further by encouraging them to follow you on social media or subscribe to your blog for future posts on the topic.

Content for Sales Enablement: Engaging With Prospects

In the long buying cycle of B2B, it is often helpful for business leaders to give their sales team content to connect with buyers for a deeper relationship. Instead of another follow-up, your sales team can now provide resources that are genuinely useful. This is called sales enablement content and can often be a huge differentiator. Buyers today are more information-hungry than ever before. By helping them through their buying journey, you can build trust and ultimately improve the likelihood of success.

Read how to measure tangible content marketing benefit results in this blog post.

 

Chapter 3

Targeted Content Marketing: What Groundwork is Required?

 

Upon implementing a targeted content marketing strategy, there are certain elements that should be in place for success. It is often easy to become consumed by creating content that serves no real purpose. Don’t get caught in the trap of producing content aimlessly. Instead, create a strategy, put in effort, and build a brand that generates results.

In this section, we will be outlining some of the essential components required to create an effective content strategy. This post aims to serve as a guide for some of the fundamental questions you should answer before implementing a content marketing strategy. We encourage readers to do a deep dive on all of the topics listed here.

Targeted Content Marketing –Defining Your Buyers Persona

As with any other form of marketing, you must understand the problem you are trying to solve. In the world of B2B, this can vary widely. Is your product or service for small business owners or enterprise customers? Are you looking to target buyers in a certain industry or geography perhaps? The more you analyze your current customers and establish a strong understanding of who most needs your product—the more effective your marketing will be.

For content marketing, clearly defining your buyer persona will also have a massive impact on your success. Tools such as SparkToro allow you to understand the demographics of users searching for a specific topic. By typing in a term, such as “accounting software” you will be able to see audience demographics, as well as the media sources they engage with. This can be extremely helpful in understanding their interests and the information they are taking in.

In the example of Sonan Digital, we aim to serve the founders and marketing executives of B2B SaaS companies in North America who are looking to implement content marketing.

We encourage you, the content marketing visionary, to take the time to execute this step carefully to see results. Lastly, one helpful resource at this stage is the free Buyer Persona Template from HubSpot.

Your Brand’s Positioning In The Market

Once you understand who you are looking to serve, you must understand how to position yourself in the market. It is easy to simply exist in a segment, but often buyers will not choose you without a compelling reason. Take a good look around. Google your product or service offering. By developing an understanding of what your competitors are doing (or not doing), you can create a positioning strategy.

This is no easy feat and will often take refinement over time. Ultimately you want to have a compelling answer to the question, “Why would anyone choose us?” From there, you can begin to communicate what makes your product unique.

Connecting it back to a content marketing strategy, you can begin to develop a plan to target your ideal audience. By understanding who you are trying to draw in, you can begin to produce content that resonates deeply with them.

As a resource for this section, we recommend checking out the book Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, by Ries and Trout. Typically, companies have one of three choices, be the best (Lamborghini), be the cheapest (Suzuki), or be different in an extremely specific and polarizing way (Jeep).

The Stages of Your Buyer’s Journey

In your content creation, it is often advisable to target each piece of content to a specific part of a buyer’s journey. From targeting someone who is newly aware of their problem, to someone contemplating solutions—the content itself is different. You want to understand your buyer’s journey as much as possible.

Looking at the example of accounting software, as an entrepreneur starts their business, they may be only using spreadsheets and realize they need a better system. They are now problem aware and have entered the awareness stage. Next, they’ll look for solutions and identify potential options, such as hiring a full-time bookkeeper, implementing desktop software, or using web-based software. They have entered the consideration stage and become solution aware. Once they have decided on a handful of web-based software options they will lastly look at how they compare. This is the final decision stage.

You can create content to serve your buyer across the entire journey, even into your sales or support team’s processes. Map out all the potential steps and understand the questions along the way. Define your buyer’s journey clearly.

Wondering how to optimize your website for content creation and establishing a CRM? Read this blog post.

 

Chapter 4

The Best B2B Content Marketing Strategies You Should Consider for Your SaaS Company

 

With so many options available, you may be wondering what are the best B2B content marketing strategies for your SaaS company? Today, the online world has shifted, and the average buyer now consumes about 3-5 pieces of content before making any major purchasing decision—making content a vital aspect of any marketing plan.

Content should be the backbone of your B2B SaaS marketing content strategy. Serving as an inbound marketing generator, original content is one of the most effective ways to draw in customers and build trust. As a review, here are just a few reasons to consider a content strategy, especially in the SaaS space:

Establish brand authority– Set yourself apart as the expert within your field and build brand authority. This not only demonstrates how well you know your product, but your customers as well.

Empower your customers- Buyers no longer want to engage in long conversations with sales reps. They want to have all the information (i.e. content) at their fingertips in order to make a quick and informed decision.

Gain new customers through SEO- Now more than ever, it’s easy to target your ideal customer through keyword research and SEO best practices. By choosing specific words and earning backlinks, your perfect customer can easily find you and you’ll climb the page rankings in Google.

Build customer loyalty– By offering useful advice and valuable content that best serves the customer, the buyer will think of you when it comes time to make a purchase.

In this chapter, we will be diving into the best B2B content marketing strategies grouped by content type.

 

The Best B2B Content Marketing Strategies by Content Type

 

Blog Content

Educational and user-focused blog posts are perhaps some of the most effective content types to highlight specific features of your SaaS product or outline how to overcome challenges. Your audience (i.e. potential customers) want to come to an industry expert to solve their problems. If you can be an industry thought leader–you’ll be top of mind when making a purchase.

Here are some examples to consider based on the sale cycle stage:

Awareness Stage: Industry news, research analysis Valuable information is the number one way to acquire customers. If your brand can become the go-to source for industry news, this not only helps build brand authority—but customer trust. The focus here should be on B2B SaaS news and research, not your specific product.

Example: ‘LastPass Research Finds 92% of Businesses Believe Passwordless Authentication Is in Their Organization’s Future’

Consideration Stage: How-to blogs, listicle blogs. Content at this stage should highlight how your software works and why the customer should consider your product to solve their problem.

Example: ‘How To Use Our Hotel Management Software To Never Experience Overbooking Again’

Decision Stage: Product updates, team interviews, case studies Now is the time to convince your readers to make a purchase! In the SaaS world, monthly customer retention is often the goal for your software, so content should be focused on exciting, engaging new features within your product. If you’re focused on targeting new customers, they’ll want hard proof your product is the right fit for their needs. The focus here should be on standing out in a strategic way. Why is your product the best for their specific use case?

Example: ‘Rock Content Increases Annual Recurring Revenue 650% with the Help of the HubSpot CRM Platform’

Video Content

Today, more than ever before people are consuming video content over all other forms of media. On average, people watch 30 minutes of video on their smartphones every day. Video content can provide short spurts of informative content in a very compact way. Blogs with video within the B2B SaaS world, attract three times as many inbound leads as blog posts without video.

Customers also have a very short attentions span, so consider creating a video that highlights the features of your product, or a how-to tutorial in 30 seconds or less–which provides information in an accessible, bite-sized format. How-to videos are an essential part of any SaaS company’s content strategy because they make the explanation part incredibly easy.

Have a new software that no one knows about? Create a video showing customers how it works and how it solves their specific problem.

Case Studies

One of the best B2B content marketing strategies is implementing case studies into your arsenal. Customers love to connect with a personal story and build trust upon learning how your software or tool helped someone. 88% of people are influenced by testimonials and treat them like a recommendation from a friend. Case studies are like testimonials on steroids.  Try creating a case study video, which is far more engaging than text. They don’t need to be particularly in-depth, but they do need to cover the basics:

  • A real customer interview
  • A quick shot of the customer experiencing your product
  • A ‘before and after’ of how life/businesses has changed since discovering your product

A case study in this format tells a story and feels authentic, which creates high-level content marketing that inevitably leads to a long-term influx of customers. As an example, HubSpot does this flawlessly showcasing how their product helped those in the SaaS space.

To learn more about content strategies for eBooks, whitepapers and email newsletters, check out this blog post.

 

Chapter 5

The Complete CMS Guide for Your SaaS Blog

 

For companies in the B2B SaaS startup world, one of the most important (and free) marketing tools available is blogging. While many founders and marketing executives know they need to incorporate a blog into their content plan, it can be overwhelming deciding where to start and which CMS to use.

From choosing the right content management system (CMS), to developing a content calendar, to setting up social sharing automation—there are a few key steps to setting up a blog that will serve as an inbound lead for your company.

This step-by-step guide will take a thorough look at what you need to know to start a blog to improve inbound marketing for SaaS companies. And while our guide is meant for those in the beginning stages of a business, it’s also relevant for any business that wants to get in the blogging game.

Choosing the Right CMS

One of the first steps to setting up a SaaS blog is to select the right content management system. As your content library and team grows, having a CMS in place will help effectively grow your content strategy. There are a few leading industry providers to choose from. Below, we delve into which company may be the right fit for you and your team.

WordPress CMS

With a powerful CMS platform like WordPress, you can log in to your website dashboard and use a simplified interface to create your web pages, add content, and customize the design. Then the CMS does the hard work of creating the code for you. Perhaps one of the best aspects of WordPress is the option to choose a theme. Themes are pre-built templates that you can apply directly to your website to change the appearance, such as text, colours, layout and other aspects. The company offers thousands of options for customizable themes ranging from free to $$$ to implement.

Once inside the CMS Content Editor, you can write your text, stylize it, and publish. The system offers a no-hassle publishing solution that allows for multiple users, post scheduling and easy customization. For even further benefits, WordPress supports plugins and extensions. Plugins are like apps for the smartphone, they offer additional features and functions to your blog that are not built in. Some of our favourite features include SEO plugins, as well as chatbot plugins.

HubSpot CMS Hub

If you’re already using HubSpot for your sales process, you may want to consider adding on their CMS Hub. Backed by HubSpot’s CRM tools, customers have reported enjoying a seamless digital experience. Users can also enjoy the use of personalized pre-built themes. As a bonus, there is little to no technical skills required to get up and running with a drag and drop editor available. The CMS Hub offers conversion across every device and includes five variations of each page. Ultimately, HubSpot is great for those already utilizing its power, offering easy integration into a dedicated workflow.

While there are multiple other choices, such as Wix, WooCommerce and Drupal—the above platforms are the most popular and easy to use.

Develop a Content Calendar

After you’ve chosen your desired CMS platform, it’s time to move onto content. While we’ve outline why you need to incorporate content into your marketing strategy, as well as the best forms of content for your SaaS company—now it’s time to put your plan into action. To start, consider building out a content calendar. A content calendar is a planning tool for outlining upcoming content output. Whether for a blog or social media, the content calendar will help track your team’s content creation workflows and monitor publishing dates.

A content calendar doesn’t have to be fancy. Simple tools like Excel can be used, as well as more advanced options like Airtable or Monday.

A content calendar needs to include the following information:

  1. Working Title
  2. Content Creator (Important for larger teams to keep track of ownership)
  3. Channels (identify where the content will be shared, i.e. blog, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn)
  4. Keywords
  5. Submission Date
  6. Published Date
  7. Link

While you can build this out as far as one year in advance, we like to complete our content calendar once a quarter to remove idea fatigue. Once you can visualize your content strategy, it’s time to start assigning the work and building out your library. If you are short on time, consider outsourcing your SaaS content creation strategy to a content agency, like Sonan Digital.

Learn how to put your content sharing on autopilot with the latest tools in this blog post.  

 

Chapter 6

SEO Copywriting Tips: What Are the Elements of Good SEO Copy

 

In the world of content creation for business, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), is often a key consideration. In this post, we provide the most fundamental SEO copywriting tips to ensure your posts are reaching their target audience. If you are new to the world of content marketing and SEO, we recommend you check out our post on SEO 101.

Considerations for SEO Copy

While there are many factors that come into play when developing an effective SEO strategy, ranging from keyword research to technical website design, good SEO copy is essential. Google, when deciding on search rankings through its algorithm, considers many factors. Through crawling, Google reads the content of each page, primarily text. To understand what each webpage is about it reads headings, links, the body of the text itself, and much more. By tailoring your copy to the keyword that you are trying to target, you show Google that your page is relevant to that search.

Structuring your SEO copy is essential to properly rank for keywords. One of the easiest ways to improve your copy, if you are using WordPress is the free Yoast SEO plugin. If you are using a different CMS, you can use other writing assistants such as SEMrush, which can connect with Google Docs. Once you enable these tools, they will help you in implementing the following SEO copywriting tips.

Our List of SEO Copywriting Tips

 

1) Clear Heading Structure with Your Target Keyword Present

The first and arguably most important factor of SEO copywriting is to use a clear heading structure that includes your target keyword. By properly ranking your headings from <H1> down to deeper levels, you create a clear structure of ideas. This will not only assist your reader in understanding your content, but also helps Google crawls your page. Specifically regarding <H1> tags, be sure to only have one throughout your article. For more information on effective heading structure, check out this post from Yoast.

2) The Correct Amount of Keyword Density

Regarding the body of your content, there is a fine balance that must be struck between including your keywords and over-optimizing or “keyword stuffing”. Keyword density is calculated by “number of times your keyword appears” / “total number of words”. So, let’s say your post targeting “SMB Accounting Software” mentions that keyword 10 times in a 1000-word article, the keyword density would be 1%. As a rule of thumb, experts suggest that you should aim for a keyword density of 1-2%. Any less and the article is irrelevant, anymore and Google will suspect you of “keyword stuffing” and possibly penalize you. 

3) The King of SEO Copywriting Tips: Great Content

While the technical elements of SEO copywriting are important to factor in, one essential factor to the amount of traffic you will receive is the number of other pages that link to your page. By taking the time to produce helpful and original content, you will gain readers and attention. Often articles that produce original research are referenced more regularly. Instead of focusing primarily on content quantity, quality should also be a massive consideration. Write things people want to read. Write things that people want to share. By keeping this top of mind, you can make the most impact.

For more SEO tips and tricks, check out this blog post. 

 

Chapter 7

How to Repurpose Your Content With a SaaS Email Marketing Strategy

 

So you’ve spent all this time producing killer content—great! But perhaps over time, you’re feeling drained and experiencing writer fatigue. You don’t have to constantly turn the wheel. Instead, consider repurposing your content through SaaS email marketing. By creating a monthly email newsletter, you can re-share your blog content to your subscribers and gain a larger reach.

Wondering how to get started? Follow along with our checklist to start repurposing your SaaS content into an email newsletter:

 

Step One: Select an Email Newsletter Tool

There are hundreds of email newsletter tools for re-purposing content, but the industry leaders are Mailchimp and HubSpot.

Mailchimp offers an easy RSS feature, which means you can set up an RSS email campaign to automatically share new posts to your subscribed contacts. This type of campaign pulls in RSS (Real Simple Syndication) content and emails it to your audience based on a recurring schedule you choose. To set up an RSS feed for your WordPress site, visit FetchRSS.com and follow the simple steps provided.

HubSpot is another great option, offering easy plug and play template options that work with the rest of the tools within HubSpot’s suite. HubSpot’s CRM provides valuable insights into customer behaviours and informs your messaging. With historical data, you can easily target the users most suited for the content you’re sending.

Step Two: Choose a Template & Colour Scheme

Once you choose your email provider, you’ll want to start looking at templates. If you’re not familiar with designing emails, pre-built templates will save you countless hours. Both Mailchimp and HubSpot offer easy to use template designs. Using a template will give you an idea of how your newsletter will look before writing copy. That way, you’ll know exactly how much space you have to promote a piece of content. With your chosen template, you’ll have the chance to customize. Consider adding your logo, selecting a colour scheme that reflects your brand, as well as fonts.

Step Three: Map Out Your Content and Images

This should be the easiest step, as we are simply re-purposing blog content. Select your top performing blog posts from the month. From there, compile a catchy headline, image, intro blurb and paste them into the body of your newsletter. Most people keep the copy short and sweet to encourage click-throughs to read the full post. Rinse and repeat this step for each piece of content you wish to include. To keep things engaging, try to include at least one video into your newsletter as well. Don’t forget to edit your email thoroughly — maybe even send it on to one of your teammates for a once-over.

Step Four: Craft a Subject Line and Input Your Subscribers

Subject lines can be a make or break for your newsletter and determine whether they’re ever read. One specific strategy that can be used for SaaS companies is including an immediately actionable value proposition in the subject line.

You may have to try multiple methods, but we’ve found that having a sender name from a real person increases the chance of opens and click-throughs. Try running an A/B test to see if it works for you, too. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something recognizable so recipients aren’t confused as to why they’re receiving your email.

When it comes to uploading your subscriber list, most platform will allow you to download your list into an Excel spreadsheet, this can then be re-uploaded into your newsletter platform to instantly access and segment subscribers. Easy as 1-2-3.

Step Five: Send and Analyze

Congratulations! You’ve completed your first SaaS email marketing campaign, all while re-purposing your content. Both previously mentioned newsletter platforms offer live feedback, so you can watch to see who opened your email, click through rate, links clicked on and so much more. Spend time after you’ve sent out your campaign to sit down and analyze the data for future newsletters. You may want to try a different format, or perhaps you’ve noticed a certain kind of content preforms better than others. As time goes on, the more newsletters

To print out a downloadable email marketing checklist for your business, check out this blog post. 

 

Chapter 8

SaaS Social Media Strategy: Promoting Your Content

 

In our earlier blog posts, we discussed how to create a content strategy. Once you have decided on the strategy, target, and format of your content, how you will distribute it is a major factor in ensuring success. In today’s post, we will discuss which social media channels are most relevant in B2B SaaS, and how to go about best utilizing them to grow your business. With the right SaaS social media strategy, you can maximize your growth rate and chances of success.

 

Selecting Your Social Media Channels

As the world of B2B has continued to develop, more and more B2B decision-makers are using platforms such as LinkedIn, YouTube, and even TikTok on a daily basis. While it may be tempting to pursue all these channels at once, a focused strategy is often recommended to develop a dedicated following on a single platform first. Evaluate your options carefully, as it will be a major investment of time and energy.

LinkedIn: A Hub For Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders

LinkedIn, with its specific focus on business-minded professionals, has developed a massive following. It is an attractive option due to the amount of decision-makers present. Its users tend to be career or business-minded with lots of senior executives. Furthermore, it supports a wide variety of media formats. Both users and business accounts can share anything from short text blurbs to images, and videos. Developing a following on LinkedIn can also be very valuable with its strong organic reach. As a company, you can also create private groups for your customer communities, run paid ads, and even host events.

Due to all the factors mentioned above, it remains one of the top options we recommend considering. With so many aspects that are attractive for B2B, LinkedIn is hard to ignore.

Twitter: Get Involved in Conversations

Another mature platform that has a wide following of dedicated users, especially in the US, Twitter can be a great tool to share short posts and content. Focusing on journalists and celebrities primarily, it can serve as a helpful tool to understand what is new and trending in your vertical. Furthermore, you can listen to users who mention your industry and start a conversation with them, generating valuable exposure.

Many companies use Twitter to test which content topics will resonate well with their audience. By posting bite-sized snippets that resemble blog and video titles, you can measure the number of retweets and likes that each receives. From there you can generate full-length content on those topics.

Facebook: The Wide-Reaching Behemoth

Facebook, with its billion-plus users, extends its reach to all corners of the globe. Serving as the dominant social media platform for personal use, it offers amazing reach. Due to this and its well-developed display ad platform, many companies see value in using it. Facebook groups can also be valuable in hosting your community. Unlike LinkedIn, developing an organic following on Facebook as a business profile can be very difficult. If you are willing to pay to promote your content, it can serve as a viable option.

Facebook, or Meta, also owns Instagram. Since B2B content is typically less visual in nature compared to B2C, we typically suggest only considering Instagram if you are willing to invest in original visual content.

YouTube: Great for Informational Content

As an established platform, owned by Google/Alphabet, YouTube serves a unique niche. If you are planning extensive video content, YouTube is a top option. Viewers typically come to YouTube to view content on a specific topic. How-to videos through their search analytics perform very well. By carefully targeting this search traffic through keyword research you can develop a following.

If you provide content in a specific niche, such as accounting software, creating complementary content can be a great way to boost exposure. Due to its mature state, and the number of full-time content creators, developing an organic following can be slow going at first, but worth the effort.

Tik Tok: The New Kid on the Block

Tik Tok, with its younger audience of followers, can be helpful in generating a following on a budget. Offering very strong organic reach and relatively little competition, it is worth considering. If you can produce a pipeline of short videos for your topic, the viewers are there. Given that many B2B SaaS products solve more complex problems, this might not be an easy task for your vertical.

Executing On Your SaaS Social Media Strategy

Once your cornerstone social media channel has been selected, it’s time to start sharing. Take the time and effort to create helpful and original content. You can begin by sharing your posts with attention-grabbing blurbs once they’ve been produced. Beyond that, you can also mix things up through the creation of infographics, webinars, and snippets from your past posts. You first want to take the time to create great content, and then repurpose it by changing formats, lengths, and so on. While creativity is often the hardest part, be sure to follow top brands such as HubSpotSalesforce, and this resource on 11 Best Small Business LinkedIn Pages. While you are at it, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn for more great content and inspiration.

Consistency + Excellence = Money

At the end of the day, social media comes down to two things, either entertainment or education. By focusing on delivering value in one way or another, you have a chance of developing a following. There are many examples of companies using social media poorly. While a “Happy Thanksgiving” post is great, it won’t get you very far. Take the time to develop an understanding of what your audience might find useful. Do you offer a data science tool? Share posts and insights about data science that your audience will enjoy. As HubSpot suggests, produce content that helps your readers get promoted and chance are you’ll see results.

If you are looking for inspiration on how to build your B2B SaaS marketing strategy on social media, be sure to check out the podcast, How to Win with Peep Laja, a helpful resource to learn from leaders in their respective verticals.

Discover the advantages of scheduling tools and how to analyze your social success in this blog post.

 

Chapter 9

Content Strategy Alignment: Connecting Marketing, Sales, and Support

 

Content strategy alignment enables organizations to make the most of their content efforts. Instead of viewing the production of content separately for each department, one can approach it holistically. By having each department create content separately, inefficiencies and disconnects are created. Each hand is unaware of what the other is doing. By prioritizing content strategy alignment, you allow customers to receive a consistent experience from discovery to daily use. Also, you enable the production of content to be prioritized and unlock repurposing opportunities.

In this post, we will be analyzing the potential uses of content through each departmental function. We will then look at ideas to help repurpose content.

Content Strategy Alignment – Impacts by Function & Department

 

Content Marketing

Starting at the beginning of the buyer’s journey, marketing professionals have long embraced content creation. In the world of overcrowded direct marketing, content has been seen to build trust and educate buyers. Organizations such as the Content Marketing Institute have long championed the use of content for marketing purposes. Using content, such as blog posts, webinars, videos, courses—buyers can be supported at every stage.

Oftentimes, content initiatives will start within marketing departments at organizations. Instead of having other departments simply rely on marketing for all the content creation, it’s best to promote collaboration in idea creation and execution across multiple teams.

Sales Enablement – Giving Your Team Tools

Once your prospect raises their hand and becomes a marketing qualified lead (MQL), your sales team springs into action. As the B2B buying process is typically complex, enabling them with a knowledgeable point of contact can be impactful. Often, with B2B, there are multiple decision-makers with different questions. Your sales team will often have limited contact and opportunities to win the deal. Content can serve as an invaluable competitive edge in their arsenal.

By identifying common questions and concerns, and creating content around said questions—there are two major benefits. First, by producing and consuming content, your internal sales team becomes knowledgeable on the topic. Second, your sales team can then share this content with prospects to answer their questions in a structured fashion. If you offer a complex product, each salesperson will not have all the answers. By answering questions such as “Why would I use this product over your competitor?” or “Do you integrate with my accounting software” with a content database, you enable your sales team to succeed.

Oftentimes, if a buyer is not ready or unable to make a purchase decision, keeping them educated and engaged with content is a great way to keep the relationship alive. By having them subscribe to your blog and attend events, you improve your overall chances of winning their business.

Depending on the structure of your product and funnel, and where your sales team takes over the process from marketing, the same content can be used for both. Beyond this, content such as case studies relating to a specific industry is highly valuable. Assure your prospects that by choosing your product, they’ll have a high chance of success.

Your Sales Team – An Amazing Source of Content Ideas for Content Strategy Alignment

When it comes to content creation topics, your sales team is a gold mine. Researching topics through search engines and blogs can be helpful, but by talking to your prospects—you can develop a deep understanding of their thoughts, questions, and concerns. This feedback can be extremely helpful in the generation of content ideas. By training your sales team to constantly be noting these points through their conversations and then presenting them regularly, you can create a strong pipeline of ideas.

Support – An Often-Overlooked Component of Content Strategy Alignment

As your prospects progress into customers, they begin using your product. Your support and customer success teams are typically responsible for ensuring the process is as smooth as possible. Most organizations handle this in a reactive fashion, especially in lower volume B2B situations. However, like sales, this department can be a goldmine of information for the development of a truly holistic content strategy. As customers use your product, the same questions will often come up. “How do I do this in the software?”, “Can I use this software with this other application?”. The more time you take to answer these high-volume questions through content, the more you can free up your support team.

Not only that, but you can also reuse support content through other channels such as YouTube, LinkedIn, or even your blog. This can help demonstrate the software for prospects looking for a specific feature during the marketing or sales phases.

Achieving Complete Content Alignment

By looking at content throughout the entire organization, great things are possible. Often the largest hurdles to overcome with content is the cost and time it takes to produce. By focusing on strategically reusing content, you maximize your impact and reach. As your organization develops the right habits in content production—strong workflows and quality content is possible.

 

Chapter 10

How to Analyze the Success of Your Content Marketing Through KPIs

Have you taken the time to analyze your content marketing KPIs? When is the last time you measured the success of your ROI? According to SEMrush, 84% of businesses have a content marketing strategy, but only 11% think they have an excellent one.

As you put more time into building a content strategy, conducting SEO research, implementing your keywords and re-purposing content—you’ll likely see a growing readership and increased sales. But how do you properly measure your success? Using the right KPIs will allow you to identify under-performing content and apply the right fixes.

Identify Your Content Marketing KPIs

Before even looking at your metrics, it’s important to decide as a team what your ultimate objective is for the content, as well as your key performance indicators (KPIs). Take the time to sit down and map out the “why” behind your business. Ultimately, the more you focus on providing value to your target customer, the easier it is to come up with a customer-centric goal.

Here are 5 content marketing KPIs to analyze the success of your content:

1. Traffic

Perhaps the number one metric and lifeline when it comes to content creation is traffic. It doesn’t matter how relevant or well-written your blog posts are if no one is reading them. If you choose nothing else to focus on, you must implement a strategy that analyzes traffic. Take it one step further and assess the following categories in Google Analytics: Users, Pageviews, Unique Pageviews, and Avg. Time on Page. This will tell you which of your content is performing.

Furthermore, be sure to tag your traffic with UTM’s to understand where your traffic is coming from. If you are using multiple distribution channels and working with partners, this will be vital in tracking distribution success.

2. Engagement

While your page view numbers may be high, are they a result of clickbait headlines? To understand if readers are engaging with your content, you must look at the amount of time spent on a page, as well as how many pages they visited. The more content they engage with, the more likely they’re interested in your brand. In a perfect world, you want a high number of pages per session, a long average session duration, and a low bounce rate.

3. SEO Performance

Next, you’ll want to look at your SEO performance. To do so, visit Google Search Console or a more advanced tool such as SEMRush. There are plenty of different performance measures you could analyze, but SERP ranking is probably the most important one. This is your page’s position in the search engine results for a particular keyword phrase. Note that this can change and fluctuate frequently, so you’ll either want to remain in your current position or ideally, increase in ranking over time. The higher your SEO ranking, the more organic traffic you’ll drive to your site and hopefully—increase sales.

4. Conversion

Conversion is the real reason you’ve likely put all this work into content creation. Now is the time to assess if readers are converting into customers, whether it be through sales, email sign-ups, or even social shares. For B2B brands, the goal is either conversion of leads or better yet, a sale. It’s important to include content from all stages of the sale cycle, as almost no one goes from first-time reader to customer. Once again, you’ll want to visit Google Analytics and view the page value of all your content under the behavior section. This metric will reflect the average revenue each page has generated over its lifespan. This value being correct depends highly on how conversion tracking in Google Analytics has been configured. By setting goal values, such as a contact form being completed to completing a $100 sale, you can begin to measure results quantifiably.

From there, you want to tweak the copy or even remove poor-performing pages altogether and drive customers towards the pages that do well. This can be done through additional link building campaigns or paid social media strategies.

5. Authority

This can be the most difficult metric to analyze, as there are no clear data points. The more authority you can establish in your industry, the higher the conversion rate. The tool Moz has a built-in authority ranking feature that provides insight into how Google might view your brand and website. These DA (domain authority) and PA (page authority) scores range from 1 to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater authority. While there is no clear “good” number, you should aim to perform better than your competitors.

Observe the digital marketing framework for KPI success in this blog post. 

 

Chapter 11

SaaS Content Writing: How to Work With an Agency or Writer

 

When launching or running a B2B SaaS product, content writing is often a challenge to handle in-house. With limited time and budgets due to the demands of a startup, being proactive, content is often an afterthought. Not only that but finding the right content agency to partner with can be a great investment. Instead of overloading yourself or your initial employees, you can produce content when you need it through the right agreement and partner. We’ll walk through top factors to consider when working with a content agency or writer in this post.

Content Writing for SaaS: Finding & Selecting a Writer or Agency

The first step to working with a content writer is finding one! Depending on the complexity of your product, this may not be an easy task. Beyond this, you must also factor in their writing style, content marketing capabilities, graphic design production skills, and availability. While industry knowledge may make it easier for your writer to start, we suggest prioritizing writing skills and production abilities. An experienced writer in the space can quickly familiarize themselves with a new vertical or product through research and interviews. Writing skills on the other hand often takes years to develop.

Writer or Agency? Which is The Better Option

Some writers prefer acting as freelancers, while some work better through a team with an agency model. This can make comparing their services difficult. Individual writers will typically focus on a specific kind of content creation, whether it be marketing, sales, or support content. Agencies on the other hand may have more flexibility when it comes to resources and can provide additional services, such as web design, CRM implementation, full SEO strategy, or paid ad management.

We suggest looking at your content needs and budget. If you are only looking for a specific type of written content or a fixed deliverable, then a writer may suffice. However—if your startup has achieved stable revenue, or received funding and is looking to scale content—an agency may be a better fit. Instead of relying on the availability of a single writer, you get the benefit of a full team. A content agency may also offer additional SEO, PPC, web design, and graphic design specialists to complement the writing.

As you move into more complex writing formats, such as eBooks, whitepapers, and case studies— having multiple writers and editors can create additional benefits. Take a look at our comparison table below:

A Word of Warning: Avoid the Temptation of Commoditized Content

In recent years, many services have popped up offering content creation at extremely low price points. While this may seem tempting at first, they often lack the level of polish that is needed in a B2B context. From technical knowledge, to writing style, these writers who are tasked with producing content at very high volumes lack the time for research and refinement. As you develop your brand, these inconsistencies will become apparent and potentially harm how buyers perceive your product.

The best content is viewed and shared significantly more often than uninspired blog posts that are churned out to hit a word count quota. Our suggestion, if you are limited by budget, focus on creating higher quality content at a lower volume. Produce content that people will want to read!

Questions to Ask When Selecting a Partner

Ultimately, with SaaS content writing and creation being a long-term game, selecting the right partner can be a game-changer. When you are deciding between different potential vendors, choose wisely. Find our list of top questions to ask prospective writers and agencies for SaaS content writing below:

  1. Have you worked with other companies in our vertical? This question will test their knowledge of your industry and address any conflicts of interest.
  2. Do you have examples that you would be willing to share? This is helpful for seeing their style in marketing content, but due to privacy agreements, may be more difficult for sales enablement and technical content.
  3. How do you handle the SEO elements or graphic design parts of your content? Many great writers are just that, writers. Typically, with content creation, SEO performance or graphic design abilities are also important to consider.
  4. Do you have experience with video or audio creation? Written content can be repurposed into video or audio content for greater reach. If you are planning on going beyond writing, this is an important consideration.
  5. How do you measure the performance of your content? If your in-house marketing team will be relying on the content creator to measure performance, this is an important question to ask.
  6. How will you learn our product or service? The transfer of knowledge is often key to ensuring content creation success. Will the writer be reading your existing material? Using the product? Interviewing your team/customers? You want to get a sense of their workflow.
  7. How will topic creation work? Depending on your expectations, you may require the writer to produce topics themselves through the creation of a content calendar. If you will not be providing them with a writer’s brief, you’ll want to be sure they can handle the entire strategy.
  8. How will you be promoting the content? If you expect your writer or agency to promote the content through social media or email marketing, ensure they have the capability to do so.

Getting Started With SaaS Content Writing

While the process of finding a partner for content creation for your SaaS brand may be daunting at first, we recommend creating a list of desired capabilities at first. By examining your needs for content strategy, content formats, promotion, and SEO, you can get a better sense of who is the best fit for your business.

To chat with the Sonan Digital team about starting your content strategy today, reach out here. 

 

Conclusions

 

In conclusion, the world of B2B SaaS content marketing is one filled with opportunities. As new applications and segments emerge, becoming a content leader can result in a massive competitive advantage. From powering your lead generation, to boosting close rates and customer retention, content can be a powerful tool.

Features and performance can be matched by your competitors, but with thoughtful content and strong branding you can be sure to stay ahead.

Considering a Content Strategy?

If you or your team are considering a content strategy, the Sonan Digital team welcome the chance to speak with you. Our team of strategists, writers, editors, and designers are ready and waiting. Book your free consultation by checking out our website, sonan.ca or contacting us at [email protected]

 

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