Many SaaS companies have made content a standard marketing channel. ProfitWell predicts that content-based companies will see a 30 percent increase in growth and a 5 percent greater retention rate than those who don’t use content marketing.
Content marketing is changing rapidly. What worked for SaaS companies years back may not work today. After spending five years in SaaS content marketing, I am always looking for tips and hacks that will allow you to take a shortcut and increase product growth.
I interviewed 10 SaaS founders and marketers who have been creating SaaS Content every day for years. I asked them to share their experiences and tell me what is working and what isn’t. Let’s take a look at their insights and let’s get to the bottom of it.
#1 Chasing big fat keywords
Everyone wants to rank for fancy keywords that have high search volumes. However, high search volumes often come with extremely high keyword difficulty and competition. You are wasting your time and money if your SaaS is not in the social media space.
We are a bootstrapped startup and we strive to take actions that produce results. We are focused on content marketing strategies that have high intent. Blog posts are not chosen based on their search volume, but rather their purchase intent. This allowed us to drive traffic and sign ups, with our blog being the only channel for marketing today,” says Dennis Vu (co-founder and CEO of RingBlaze).
I couldn’t agree with you more. Our agency has been in operation for over two years. This is because we not only deliver traffic, but also sign ups for SaaS clients. Focusing on high-intent keywords is the best way to achieve this with content marketing. Think “alternatives”, competitors, or “vs”. This works every time, so I recommend that you start your content marketing efforts.
#2 Go outside your niche
Over the past two years, we’ve written hundreds articles for the Expandi Blog. Google now recognizes Expandi to be an authority in all things LinkedIn. -LinkedIn cold outreach and LinkedIn recruitment. LinkedIn automation. No matter what LinkedIn-related article you’d like to cover, it ranks highly on Google.
Expandi recently introduced new features. This time, they were not about LinkedIn, but email outreach. We realized how poorly our email-related articles were ranking once we began writing them. We haven’t yet built the email marketing topical authority so Google doesn’t consider us to be experts in this niche.
However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to write in a new area. It will take time and effort to build the niche authority necessary for people to recognize you as an expert in your field. This is something you need to keep in mind when you start a new category for a blog. You should also remember to keep your products relevant if you don’t want to change them.
Andrew Chornyy CEO of Plerdy says, “If the article is about CRM but it is not your niche then it is difficult to get to Google search’s top.” He also explains that Plerdy publishes 30 blog articles per month.
#3 Creating articles that lack expertise
Did you ever find yourself reading an article that looks great on the surface, but you feel like you didn’t learn anything from it? All of the content marketing professionals I spoke to agreed that vague, watery content is not a good idea.
“Most companies hire copywriters to create their content. This is no longer a good idea. They will often read the articles of our copywriters to learn more about the topic, even though they may not be an expert on it. Salesflare CEO Jeroen Corthout says that this results in a constant loop of already fluffy content becoming the input for even more fluffier content.
Hire copywriters who are not experts in your subject area. You could be putting your brand at risk. Ask them about previous writing samples that covered a similar niche or topic. We let potential clients know when we talk to someone from a niche that we are unfamiliar with. It’s better to lose a potential client than to lose a reputation.
If you have technical topics and your tech experts don’t have the time to write blog articles (which usually happens), have your writers contact experts to get as much information as possible. Make sure that you have the experts proofread your post once it is finished.
#4 Prioritizing article length over quality
Brian Dean first introduced us to the skyscraper method back in the day. Everyone and their dog began creating content that was longer than the competing results in Google top. But, lengthy content does not necessarily have to be comprehensive. Blogs that contain 20-minute reads are becoming a common sight. They are often stale, uninformed, and don’t offer much value.
Ioana Sima is the marketing manager at TextMagic.
“Long-form written content is what 90% of companies do. There are a lot of long-form articles on the internet that are just written to be written. SaaS companies shouldn’t rely solely on long-form.
I recommend trying out different formats, and turning articles that perform well into longer-form content. You can also include video summaries or templates that can be shared on other channels. Rich media that can be quickly digested and distributed to other channels is another option. You should also check the SERPs for top-performing pages.
SurferSEO requires you to write 5K words. It can be difficult to make your article valuable. Keep in mind that more is not always better. This is content marketing, after all – writing for people and providing value to search engines.
#5 Publishing articles under a false name
Ranktracker publishes 50 blog articles per year, which are translated into 12 languages. Felix Rose-Collins (CMO) shares the observation that articles published under unknown authors have poor Google performance.
“We noticed they didn’t appear for our target keywords so we have stopped posting for unknown authors. We see our authors rank in the top three results within minutes of publishing. Felix says that even for highly competitive keywords, it is possible to rank.”
Clicks and impressions by RankTracker over time
This could be the reason you don’t see guest posts on your blog. When you accept guest posts, be sure to search Google for the author. It is unlikely that your blog will benefit from guest posts that aren’t published online.
You should also include any publications you have published on major platforms when pitching a guest article to an editor. This is how I was able to write the post for Search Engine Watch. I shared previous articles I had written for Entrepreneur, HubSpot and Zapier as well as Foundr.
#6 The importance of new content over past articles
Five years ago, I didn’t think much about updating existing content. Chanty, where I was the head of a content team, was in a constant cycle of creating more content faster. HubSpot’s article was the catalyst for me to realize how much I was missing. We went back to old posts to optimize and update them. Although the numbers are difficult to share as it was so long ago, they were impressive. We do this for clients. If an article isn’t performing well, we update it.
“A handful of articles will be the most effective in generating sign-ups. It is a continuous task to update our lead-generating content. The supply of keywords that are relevant to your business doesn’t end, so it is important to keep updating. You are creating new content while older articles are being lost. “If you don’t update older content, you will have a stagnant traffic and a slow-growing business,” says Andrey Makhovskyi founder and CEO of Effy.ai.
One Effy.ai update article performance over time
#7 Contributing via Helping a reporter out
Although this might cause a lot of resentment, we had to end HARO in 2022 for our clients. HARO, which connects journalists/authors with experts in the field, is a service.
Authors could request quotes from experts, and experts would be happy to share their expertise. Authors would then choose which quote they wanted to include and credit experts by linking to their website (similarly to what I did in this article). This was a win-win situation. Experts would receive attribution and links back to their websites, while authors would gain valuable insights.
It was great until it became a red ocean zone, and the space became too crowded. This once-promising link building strategy became a wasteful use of time and effort.
“About two-years ago, we were able to obtain 25 backlinks from 65 pitches for clients. It started to spiral downwards with time. No one links to you today just for sharing your knowledge. They want a return link. It no longer provides the same value to our clients as it once did. “We had to stop this service and concentrate on backlink building methods that work today,” says Iryna Kutnyak (director of operations at Quoleady).
#8 Sharing content between communities
Emilia Korczynska, Head of Content at UserPilot, is the most hardworking marketer I have ever met. She’s published 60 articles per month and has tried to distribute blog content via Quora, Reddit, and other social media. She advises being very careful about how much time you spend on blog post distribution.
“Resharing content on social media channels that are mostly dead or in Slack channels takes a lot of effort and the minimal organic reach and high risk of being banned by admins don’t justify it.” Emilia says the same thing about Quora/Reddit or other Q&A websites.
We stopped all Quora activities long ago as the results were just too bad. We realized that Quora is often found by people who search Google for your target keyword, the one you are optimising an article for. It is much easier to rank your blog article in the Google top (higher that the Quora results) than to try to compete with hundreds upon scores of Quora answers.
Self promotion is against social media group rules when it comes to sharing. Your blatant distribution attempts will be quickly discarded unless you are an administrator or have been continuously adding value to the group. There are also groups that allow you to promote this type of thing. These groups I call “distribution cemeteries”. There is an avalanche in irrelevant content being posted there that nobody reads.
#9 Prioritizing link building over content quality
When I meet with potential clients on Zoom, I stress that quality content is the most important thing. It is impossible to have valuable content and rank high by adding backlinks. It’s like painting a car without wheels and expecting it to ride.
Here’s the interview I did with Mohamed Sehwail (CEO at FullSession)
We haven’t been adding backlinks to our blog content in a while but we managed to keep steady growth in traffic and sign ups. Article updates work magic and boost our rankings, which brings our pages to the top of Google.
FullSession Traffic Growth Over Time
Backlinks can only improve the ranking of content if it is well-structured, valuable, and to the point. If you have all the necessary elements in place, but your content is still not ranking well on search engines, it’s time for backlinks.
#10 Avoiding gated content and overdosing
“Give us an email to get an ebook, whitepaper or guide. We can also provide a checklist and checklist.” While the classic HubSpot inbound approach may not be suitable for all, it is still a good option. There is so much content available online that it’s overwhelming. They don’t need your email address to contact you.
“Instead of closing certain content off, we have found it more beneficial to create additional resource’ as a complement, allowing readers to choose to download, creating a win/win scenario,” Elizabeth Pokorny is head of content at Weglot.
It doesn’t make sense to combine three articles already published on the same topic and call it a guide. It’s fine if it works for you. Gated content works best when it is unique and something that you cannot find online.
You might want to review your policy on gated content and try out different assets with your readers. Your content may be more accessible, which can lead to more sign-ups and organic traffic. If your content is of high value and your website is your only source, I recommend keeping them locked.
I interviewed many content marketers, and only the best insights made it into this article. It’s obvious that great content will always be in demand. It doesn’t matter how long or how many backlinks you have. When creating content for your website, you want to be looking for useful, actionable and expert-based content.
Focus on keywords with high intent when you are developing your content marketing strategy. This will help bring in a highly targeted flow of people who want to sign up. Once you have a collection of articles that are generating leads, you should cherish them and keep them updated to give them a Google boost.
Topical authority is something. Slowly building authority around the most relevant topic to your business will help rank your future articles more quickly and easily.
Avoid spray-and-pray when sharing content online. Don’t bury it on the spooky “distribution cemeteries”). Always check the results and only invest in channels that you feel are worthwhile.
This article and the advice of content marketing experts who have learned from their mistakes will hopefully help you save time so that you can focus on what works.
Olga Mykhoparkina founded Quoleady. A SaaS content marketing agency, Quoleady is dedicated to helping great software products get quality leads via top-notch evergreen content.
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Search Engine Watch’s first article, 10 SaaS marketers reveal what is NOT working in content marketing, appeared on Search Engine Watch.
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