Determining Content Marketing Topics for Your SaaS Company
We can’t overstate how beneficial marketing content is to SaaS companies. The buying journey is long and complex and providing prospects with the right content at the right times can tilt the scales in your favor.
As you start your content marketing endeavor, you likely have a handful of topics you can’t wait to write about. But what comes after those articles and guides are live on your site? If content marketing success depends on consistency, how can you think of fresh ideas to keep your blog and resources section updated?
Even more than that, how can you figure out the right topics to write about? Ones that bring traffic to your website, generate leads, and move prospects through your sales funnel.
In this article, we’ll teach you different ways you can come up with topics for a successful, long-term content marketing strategy.
Target relevant, long-tail keywords with blog content
Every SaaS company devotes resources to search marketing. And rightfully so, a Marketo study revealed that 93% of B2B buying decisions start with online research.
It goes without saying that your company’s success depends on filling the top of the funnel with leads that come to your website via Google. However, ranking for primary keywords (e.g. your industry + software) is incredibly difficult. Paid search is expensive and delivers limited results. The average B2B professional is savvy enough to ignore search ads and look at organic results instead. But it’s improbable a young SaaS company unseat an established brand from a top of page one organic keyword ranking.
The fact remains that your company needs to have a presence in search results. A viable solution is to create content that targets relevant, but less-competitive long-tail keywords. Conduct keyword research and find out what search phrases (3-5+ words) your prospects are Googling. Then produce well-written, engaging blog posts on these topics that a) responds to their search query and b) showcases your brand as an authority in the industry.
There are no shortcuts when it comes to modern SEO. Content marketing will generate the organic traffic your company needs but it takes a lot of work and months before you’ll see results. You need to consistently update your blog with informative, long-form articles while remembering success won’t happen overnight.
An integrated content and SEO strategy works because most of your competitors aren’t following one—at least to the extent they should be. The established players in your industry are complacent. They don’t need to concern themselves with long-tail keywords because they already have the illustrious page one rankings and an extensive PPC budget. And most small SaaS companies want instant results and aren’t willing to play the content long game.
Discover what your competitors are writing about—and do it better
Every industry has standard talking points most companies produce content on. These are low-hanging fruit when it comes to filling out your content calendar. Many of them will be the obvious topics that came to mind the instant you started thinking about content marketing. But others will become apparent after you review your competitors’ websites.
Like we said earlier, few SaaS companies excel at content marketing. Some assign it to a junior team member who isn’t a great writer. Others outsource it to an agency that doesn’t understand their industry. Regardless of their approach, the end result is often less-than-stellar content.
That reality presents your company with the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage using content. Spend an afternoon looking at your main competitors’ websites and see what blog articles and downloadable resources they write about—and what ones leave you unimpressed.
Add these topics to your content calendar and reference where you found each one. When it comes time to write, commit to producing better content than your competitors. That usually means providing more detailed advice (B2B content often only scratches the surfaces) and writing longer blog articles (Google’s PageRank algorithm prefers articles that are 1,500+ words).
You should have high expectations as you review your competitors’ content. Even if you find an article or downloadable guide that isn’t half bad, add it to your calendar knowing your team can do better.
Use content to answer your prospects’ questions
Your salespeople likely hear the same questions over and over again. Will your product solve X challenge? How do you compare to Y competitor? Can you help me convince my boss to say yes?
These are a few of the greatest hits but whatever questions your potential customers have, your content should strive to answer it. While search phrase-focused content gets prospects to your site, sales content (mid and bottom-of-the-funnel content) introduces them to your product and encourages them to buy or subscribe.
As prospects get deeper into the sales funnel, relevant content pushes them on to the next step. Your sales team likely has well-prepared answers for questions like, “how do you compare to competitors” and “can you help me convince my boss?” But what if they could also send an email after the call with a comparison one-sheeter or ROI guide? That would surely leave an impression.
Grab a coffee with a colleague from sales and ask what content would help them in their conversations with prospects. Even better, invite the sales manager to your content brainstorming session. Involving sales in the content process early on results in marketing producing spot-on mid and bottom-of-the-funnel content.
What is your value proposition?
Effective marketing content touches on your value proposition—specifically what changes for the better your software will bring to your customers.
That means getting past high-level marketing messaging and focusing on the deeper benefits of your product. Marketo founder Jon Miller put it perfectly in the forward of Randy Frisch's book F#ck Content Marketing. Miller wrote, "Too often, marketing is purely promotional and not about delivering value to the recipient. That’s why I love content—it’s all about delivering value. Content is educational. Content is entertaining. Content is useful. That’s why I went hard into content."
Content goes deeper than marketing taglines and helps prospects see the impact your product will have on their businesses.
Here’s an example. I used to work for a SaaS accounting software company. Many of our accounting firm customers transformed their businesses simply by transitioning their clients from desktop software to our product. They went from only being able to serve local clients to accepting clients nationwide or globally. And the automation our software offered allowed them to charge more for higher-value services.
Small accounting firms overcame their business limitations and were suddenly able to expand, specialize, and increase revenue. So that is what our marketing content focused on. We produced whitepapers and case studies that provided the blueprint for evolving into a modern, cloud-based accounting firm.
Marketing content shouldn’t focus on features or even a single benefit. It should expound on all the advantages your SaaS product brings to the businesses that use it. Write about what sets your product apart from the rest and why it matters.
Produce content people are excited to share
An overarching theme throughout this article is content should be valuable. When content is informative and engaging, it resonates with your prospects, conveys your value proposition, generates organic traffic, and helps you outshine your competitors.
It also gets shared online, maximizing those other benefits. More people post it, see it, and link to it, spreading your message and building up your website’s SEO profile.
So what makes content shareable? Let’s start by considering your audience—B2B professionals. These people are literal experts in the topics you’re writing about so rehashing the same old tropes won’t do. You know the industry too and should lend the perspective you’ve developed from your work experience. Take a unique approach to the topic and say something interesting that isn’t a standard talking point or best practice. Back up your takeaways with statistics from reputable sources and keep refining your content until you’re proud of what you’ve put on paper.
A common tactic to generate online conversations is to write something controversial. We generally don’t advocate that. While it’s fine to provide a contrarian viewpoint that promotes discussion, you never want to upset potential customers. Your content is the voice of the brand and should mirror the behavior you expect of your employees.
As you write, always ask yourself if you’re producing content you would be interested in reading and sharing. You have a lot in common with your audience so if your content meets your standards, it will likely be informative to your prospects and their networks.
Always be thinking about content
Content marketing is an exciting journey and new topic ideas will come to mind all the time. Every interesting thought you have about your industry, customers, and product are potential topics and should be added to your content calendar the instant they pop into your head. Have fun with content and use it as an outlet to share your perspectives and ideas with the people your company serves.