Blogging is a particularly successful marketing method in the B2B industry because customers require a certain type of onboarding. With SaaS in particular, you’re not selling a “real” product, but a piece of software that will address a certain pain point in business.
Neil Patel talks persuasively about how SaaS marketing is different from every other type of marketing, and how it’s so important to ‘give something away for free’ to your potential customers.
“Most SaaS is designed for the purpose of providing information. Thus, the main job of the SaaS marketer should be to provide information that leads to the source of greater information — the SaaS product.”
This is where your blog comes in. I’m going to go through exactly how to plan and brainstorm blog content for your B2B SaaS company so you see a fantastic return on investment for your content marketing efforts.
1. Brainstorm ideas
Brainstorming is a unique process for everyone but many people are unaware of how to brainstorm effectively. When coming up with ideas, you’re not pulling concepts out of thin air but synthesizing existing concepts to come up with new ones.
For example, say your blog is about customer helpdesk software. There have already been lots of posts in recent months around analytics, customer satisfaction and remote teams (all popular topics), but have there been any about how remote teams can increase customer satisfaction?
You want to use existing ideas and either combine seemingly unrelated topics to come up with something new, or dig deeper into an area that has already been covered.
2. Plan your strategy
I’ve talked in a previous post about how to come with a blog strategy and you need to keep referring back to it to keep your blog on track.
On a more long-term basis, your strategy should focus on your goals for your blog, the type of content you’ll produce and how you will promote your posts.
For example, you may want to target content marketers in need of social media analytics tools. You’ll need to come up with a strategy that focuses on their unique challenges and produce actionable content.
Find the platforms that your target audience are frequenting, and for most businesses, these are going to be the big social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Depending on your brand and product, some businesses also find success on Pinterest, Medium, and others.
3. Check out the competition
A good way to get ideas is to browse other blog posts in your particular niche. You can keep a list of benchmark blogs to help with this.
The goal here is absolutely not to copy other people’s ideas, but use them to gain a sense of what other businesses are thinking about, what audiences find interesting and to see where the gaps are.
Another important reason to keep an eye on the competition is so you can differentiate yourself and distinguish your blog content from everyone else’s.
You want to give your audience a reason to come to your blog by producing distinct, unique content – which you can achieve using the brainstorming technique I explained earlier.
4. Always have a goal in mind
It’s no good mindlessly publishing content with the vague goal of ‘get more traffic’. Especially in B2B SaaS marketing, actual numbers of people visiting your blog are nowhere near as important as the quality of that traffic.
Ask yourself, how relevant are my visitors to my products and services?
If you’ve followed my blog strategy guide and you know your ideal audience, these will be the type of people most likely to buy your products.
Of course, your goal can be ‘Increase product sales’ but it can also be other valuable actions like ‘Increase signs up to my mailing list’ (a very important marketing tool) or ‘Increase content shares’.
Every blog you post should have a call-to-action at the bottom – and in the middle as well, if you like – to tell people what to do once they’ve finished reading your super handy post.
If you’ve just told people exactly how to make the most of your marketing analytics software, include a sentence at the bottom that says something like ‘So-and-so provides the perfect software to support your marketing efforts. Sign up today for your free trial.’
5. Plan your keywords
The phrase ‘long tail keyword research’ sends many people running for the hills and there’s a reason that SEO marketing is a hugely profitable industry. It takes a long time to truly understand how people are finding content online, let alone figure out how to get your content in front of them.
When we say ‘plan your keywords’, we just mean do a bit of research to see what people are actually searching for. Take your keyword for your software – this could be ‘tech recruitment software’ and just type it into Google (by far the most popular search engine and the one you need to focus on).
Don’t press enter – type another letter. I find systematically going through all the letters on the keyboard in turn to be a good technique. Google will bring up a list of suggested keywords after the one you’ve typed, which is what we mean by ‘long tail keyword’ – a keyword phrase.
The internet has been around for long enough now that the most popular single keywords are already going to be dominated by the companies with the biggest marketing budgets. So if you’re a smaller SaaS company, as most will be, you want to essentially capture the longer phrases by being more specific with your content.
Quora is a great place to find ideas for topics that people are actively searching for, and this comprehensive post by Backlinko provides a great list of other tools for keyword research.
Careful – Quora is really addictive and you will get sucked in!
There’s nothing mystical about keyword planning – it just requires time, persistence, knowledge and effort.
6. Check your calendar
If you’ve ever worked in marketing you’ll know that a big part of your strategy should be posting alongside popular dates. In the retail industry, Christmas – and also Thanksgiving if you’re American – are really important times for posting content. People are buying around this time.
In the B2B SaaS industry, however, things are a little different. No one buys a piece of software just because it’s Christmas – people buy it when they need it!
However, there are still some dates when people will be more likely to search for certain topics, such as Europe Code Week. If you were ever going to publish a post relating to your coding software, now would be the time to do it.
7. Keep it consistent and regular
In all of the guides out there, one piece of advice that comes up over and over is the need for quality content – regularly, and lots of it.
The reality is that time and budget constraints mean that most businesses are going to hit a wall at some point, and only the biggest companies – with the biggest marketing budgets – are going to have success.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve found that a consistent sweet spot for publishing new content is 3 times a week – if that sounds like a lot, consider keeping the posts to around 500 words.
Any less than that, and the content won’t be a satisfying read, but any more and you’ll find yourself getting overwhelmed with the time investment required. Make sure link to other articles so your readers can find out more – either your own blog posts or other blogs.
It all sounds like a lot to remember, but you only have to glance at the sheer number of SaaS blogs out there to see that this is an important marketing tool.
The key is consistency and clarity, and to provide value for your readers with original and actionable content. You will build trust with them, and over time they will turn into what you really want – valuable customers.
You can employ a quality freelance blogger to help you with your content marketing efforts. Hire me on a monthly retainer to provide consistent, actionable content that comes with brainstorming, long tail keyword research and SaaS industry expertise.
Image: Unsplash, Brooke Cagle