Content marketing is one of the best channels a SaaS company can work with because:
- You need a relatively low budget to get started
- You can drive hundreds of leads without spending a dollar
- You can establish yourself as an authority in your niche
But what is content marketing, in practice? If you’ve read most guides on the internet about the topic, you’re probably left confused.
They’re all saying completely different things:
“Content marketing means posting on social media 24/7”
“Oh no, content marketing is writing content to rank on Google”
“Actually, no, content marketing is all about going viral with infographics”
So, you’re left wondering: what does it mean to do content marketing for a SaaS company?
Well, in this guide, we’re going to teach you how to do SaaS content marketing in practice.
We’re going to teach you the EXACT tactics we use at Apollo Digital to create and execute content marketing strategies for our clients.
In this guide, we’re going to cover:
- What’s SaaS content marketing (and how is it different from other types of content marketing)
- SaaS content marketing VS SaaS SEO - What’s the difference?
- How to do SaaS content marketing - our very own 5-step process for getting content to go viral
- 3 SaaS content marketing examples and case studies to inspire you
- SaaS content marketing FAQ, answering all the questions you might have
So, let’s dive right in!
What’s SaaS Content Marketing
Depending on what your business does, your content marketing will be completely different.
If you’re Red Bull, content marketing means creating videos of sportsmen doing epic stunts.
If you’re the Dollar Shave Club, it’ll mean creating viral videos to allow your brand to stand out.
But if you’re a SaaS business, though, content marketing mostly means:
- Creating extremely high-quality content your target audience would appreciate
- Promoting the hell out of it & making sure that your target audience gets to see it
FAQ - SaaS Content Channels
One of the most common questions around SaaS content marketing is:
What kind of content should I be creating? Is content marketing just blog posts, or is there more to it?
The answer is, for most SaaS companies, content is usually:
- Blog posts. That’s your bread and butter. They’re relatively easy to create and can get you very good results with minimal spending.
- Video content. This one’s a bit rarer, since creating high-quality videos takes a lot more effort than written content. There are, however, some SaaS companies that manage do get a hefty ROI from video marketing.
- Micro-sites. These are spin-off websites dedicated to solving specific problems. E.g. HubSpot’s Website Grader is a free tool that shows you how well your website is performing (and then upsells you HubSpot).
SaaS Content Marketing VS SEO
Content marketing and SEO, while often confused with each other, are not the same thing.
True, doing SEO, in 90% of the cases, also means doing content marketing. A big chunk of SEO is creating high-quality content based on a specific keyword, and building links to the article or landing page hoping for it to rank.
SEO is a long-term game. It can take 6 months to a year for content to rank on Google.
Content marketing, on the other hand, is not directly tied up to Google or SEO.
While SEO means creating content for Google, content marketing also involves creating engaging content, getting potential customers to read it through content promotion, and upselling your SaaS.
With content marketing, it’s possible to drive new traffic and leads ASAP, without having to wait 6+ months to get Google rankings.
In this guide, we’re going to specifically focus on content marketing and not SEO (which is another 3-5k word guide on its own). If you want to learn about SaaS SEO, check out our dedicated guide.
How to Do SaaS Content Marketing
So, here’s the million-dollar question:
How do you “do” content marketing?
Most articles you’ll read on the web spit some theory like:
“Do customer research.”
“Define your customer persona as much as possible. Unless you know where they have coffees every Tuesday night, you won’t be able to market to them!’
We’re going to do something a bit different - we’ll skip all the theory, and teach you the EXACT process we follow to do content marketing for our clients, and ourselves.
The process is:
- Come up with content ideas (3 of our Secret Tactics)
- Create a content calendar
- Write amazing content (+ Free Outline Sample)
- Promote all the content you publish (Use our own promotion checklist)
- Keep track of the right metrics
So, let’s go through each step one by one…
Step #1 - Content Ideation
First things first, you need to figure out what kind of content your audience is going to enjoy.
As a start, think of your customer’s major pain points: what keeps them up at night?
For example, at Apollo Digital, we help SaaS companies with their digital marketing.
So, we create content like:
We promote them on different platforms…
And that’s how we drive our leads!
So, at this stage, sit down with your marketing team and do some brainstorming.
Keep in mind, though, that the content you create shouldn’t be TOO related to your software. In other words, You shouldn’t be directly promoting your SaaS with every article you publish.
If you’re a CRM company, for example:
Champion’s Guide to Sales
X+ Cold Outreach Templates [Expert-Favorites]
Why Software X Is So Amazing
X+ Amazing Features of Software X
Now, other than brainstorming, there are several other ways to come up with content ideas. Here are our 3 of our favorite tactics:
Tactic #1 - Crowdsource Content Ideas on Reddit
Go here, and find the biggest subreddits where your target audience hangs out.
In our cases, that’s /r/entrepreneur and /r/marketing.
Then, look up the best posts ever published on the sub:
Now, scroll through the page, and find out what content was loved the most by that sub’s community.
Then, reverse-engineer it and create something 10x better.
Tactic #2 - Find Top Content on Hacker News
If your SaaS is B2B or just highly technical, you can use Hacker News to source content ideas.
Head over here, and look up a topic around your niche.
If you’re a martech company, that would be:
And voila - you have a complete list of the best performing content submitted to Hacker News. Now all you need to do is which ones are relevant for your business and reverse-engineer it.
Tactic #3 - Find Viral Content With Content Studio
Open up Content Studio and create an account.
Once you’re done with that, you’ll get to the following page:
Here, you submit a topic surrounding your niche, and you’ll get a list of best-performing articles.
E.g. if you input “digital marketing” you’ll get the following results:
Now, all you need to do is go through the best-performing articles, see what they did right, and one-up them.
Step #2 - Create a Content Calendar
Now that you have some content ideas, it’s time to create a content calendar.
How you do this is really up to you, but some of the most popular options are:
- Google Sheets
- Google Calendar
- Dedicated content calendar tools
- Kanban tools (like Trello)
We personally recommend Notion for this, though.
If you haven’t heard of Notion till now, it’s the very best project management tool we’ve used so far (and we’ve used pretty much everything under the sun).
Here’s what our very own content calendar looks like:
Step #3 - Write Quality Content
If you want your content marketing to be successful, you’ll need to write some high-quality content.
And no - you can’t just hire a freelancer with 0 industry experience, pay them peanuts, and skip this step.
Here are some of our top tips on how to create high-quality content:
- Make it comprehensive. There is enough mediocre content on the web. For yours to succeed, you’ll need to rise above what’s the standard. For each article you write, try to make it 2x - 10x more comprehensive than what’s available on the web.
- If you’re using freelancers, get one with some domain knowledge. Even if they’re 3x more expensive, they’ll deliver much better results.
- To make sure your writers write about exactly what you want them to, give them a detailed outline.
- Don’t use stock images unless they’re absolutely relevant for the article. No one likes random “office people smiling” in between paragraphs.
- Use Grammarly and Hemingway to make sure your writing is on-point
- Use the right writing style. You should be able to connect with your audience. E.g. selling to hipster 20-year olds? Be bold and edgy. Bankers in suit and ties? Serious and formal.
Step #4 - Promote Your Content
This is where way too many business owners stop.
They publish the article, maybe give it a quick share on Facebook or Twitter, and call it a day.
Don’t do that.
You’re not a celebrity to get thousands of shares and clicks just by sharing an article.
You’ll have to try a lot harder than that.
Here’s our personal process for promoting our client’s content (and getting them insane results):
- Repost on social media. Facebook, LI, Twitter, whatever else.
- Email your subscriber list
- Submit the article on Hacker News (if relevant)
- Submit to relevant online communities (if relevant). E.g. Growth Hackers, Zest, Inbound, etc.
- Advertise the article on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or Quora
- Submit it on QuuuPromote
- Promote on relevant Slack channels
- Reach out to influencers (and micro-influencers) and ask for a share
- Reach out to personal network and ask for a share (if relevant)
- Mention or quote influencers/bloggers in your posts. Reach out, thank them, and ask for a share.
- Repost the article in different Facebook groups
- Repost the article on LinkedIn groups (if relevant)
Want a COMPLETE, step-by-step walkthrough on how we execute this process? Check out our mega-guide to content promotion.
Step #5 - Track the Right Metrics
Way too many SaaS companies do their content marketing on an ad hoc basis.
They publish a TON of content every week and pray that this somehow leads to conversions.
Here’s a reality check:
Your content should be getting you an ROI, otherwise you’re doing content marketing wrong.
Just like any other marketing channel, you should constantly track and evaluate your content marketing channels, and strive towards getting a positive ROI.
If a content marketer tells you that content marketing is for branding, and it shouldn’t actually be making you money, don’t hire them.
Some metrics you can use to measure your content marketing performance include:
- No. of sales. How many sales does each content piece result in?
- Leads generated
- Traffic generated
- Newsletter subscriptions
- Cost per lead acquisition
- Social media engagement
- Average time spent on page
- Google rankings (if you’re focusing on SEO)
SaaS Content Marketing Case Studies & Examples
The best way to learn any new skill is to read up on some case studies.
After all, the theory is only going to take you so far.
Here are some of our favorite SaaS content marketing case studies:
#1. HubSpot Case Study
HubSpot is one of the most famous SaaS companies in the world, and a big chunk of their marketing strategy is content marketing.
This article completely breaks down all the channels HubSpot used to grow from a meager startup to a multi-million dollar company.
#2. GrooveHQ - 5 Million / Year With Content Marketing
GrooveHQ is a B2B customer service SaaS, and they owe a big chunk of their growth to content marketing.
Here’s a short summary of their content strategy:
- They created a blog documenting their startup journey
- Reached out to customers and asked them what sort of challenges they face in their business
- Reached out to influencers and got them to promote their content
#3. BuzzSumo - 2.5 Million Revenue in Its First Year
BuzzSumo is a SaaS that helps you uncover new content marketing ideas, and they owe a big chunk of their own growth to content marketing.
They published and promoted high-quality content, which eventually netted them 30k+ views and 2k+ shares on some of their best articles.
SaaS Content Marketing FAQ
Still have some questions on SaaS content marketing? This is where we answer them:
Q: Gary V said I should be publishing 20 pieces of content per day. Does that apply to SaaS?
A: Mostly, no. If you’re a hyper-B2C SaaS such as Netflix, it makes sense to do a lot of smaller content (e.g. social media posts) more frequently. For most SaaS companies, though, this advice isn’t really helpful.
Q: Is content marketing only about articles and blog posts?
A: For most SaaS companies, yeah. Blog content is the easiest to create and promote. Some other types of content you can create include Micro Sites and videos if you have the resources.
Q: Is content marketing relevant for every SaaS niche?
A: Nope. There are a ton of niches where content marketing doesn’t really work as well. Usually, this includes industries where you have a very limited target audience (e.g. enterprise software), or an extremely large target audience (e.g. you’re a consumer product such as Netflix or DropBox).
Q: I’m not getting results from content marketing. Why is that?
A: Really depends on your case, but the most common issues include:
- The content you’re creating just isn’t that good/relevant. E.g. if it’s a 500-word article on a topic that’s been done to death.
- Your content ideas don’t really resonate with your customers
- You’re not promoting your content enough
Have a question we didn’t cover? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll add it to the list!
Other SaaS Content Marketing Resources
It’s really hard to cover everything about content marketing in a single article.
So, here’s our reading list with some of the best content marketing resources:
- HubSpot’s course on content marketing
- Our SEO guides:
- Neil Patel’s guide to content marketing basics
- How Chris Von Wilpert made over $100,000 through a single blog post
- How Mint, a personal finance SaaS, grew with content marketing
Think we missed something? Let us know what are your favorite content marketing resources, and we’ll include them!
Work With a SaaS Marketing Agency
Need help with your SaaS content marketing?
You’ll need more than just a conventional marketing agency.
Apollo Digital is a dedicated SaaS marketing agency. We help our clients achieve spectacular results:
- Grew a BPM startup from 0 to 200,000 monthly organic traffic
- Helped Novoresume (resume SaaS) reach 1,800,000 monthly organic traffic
- Created content marketing strategies and helped with execution for dozens of SaaS companies. Some of the niches we’ve worked with include BPMS, HR tech, Flight Search Engines, SaaS Management, and more.
Interested in working with us? Get in touch.
Thanks for reading this guide till the end!
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