Chapter 4

Content Strategy for SaaS Companies

Having a well-defined content strategy helps create a roadmap for you to communicate with your target audience. You can also download the SaaS SEO Guide in PDF form here.
Content Strategy for SaaS

Content is ultimately what users are looking for when they’re searching in Google or any search engine. And, its importance lies in the fact that content serves as a bridge between the user and what you provide as a SaaS product or solution. Having a well-defined content strategy helps create a roadmap for you to communicate with your target audience.

So what kind of content are users really looking for? First, content can be direct and sales-oriented; for example, it can explain the features and pricing of your SaaS product. Or, content can be more indirect and focus on the development of long-term brand loyalty by simply educating and/or persuading future customers. Both types of content are crucial to successfully selling your product or solution, and in this chapter, we’re going to discuss how content can help amplify your overall SEO strategy.

Foremost, just as I provided a framework for SEO, I’d also like to lay down a functional framework for an effective and impactful content strategy. At SimpleTiger, we use a 3-part framework to help our SaaS clients cover all the bases with their content and steer them in the right direction towards effective SEO results. Here’s how to get started:

  • Content Organization - The way that content is structured and organized on your site is critical for users. Contextually speaking, users expect to find content organized into relevant clusters on a website, just like the chapters in a reference book or products in a department store. Imagine if everything were to be haphazardly spread out in a store or information was strewn across different chapters of a book. Not a good experience, wouldn’t you agree? As of 2017, Google’s algorithm depends mainly on user engagement as a search engine ranking factor, meaning that your site’s content organization is critical not only to its users but more importantly so that the site can rank in search.
  • Content Production Strategy - Once your content is organized, you’ll still need to produce content on an ongoing basis. It can seem like a daunting process, prompting questions like: “What type of content we create?”, “What should it be about?”, “How long should it be?”, “How deep into any given subject should we go with the content?”, “Who will we target as our readers?”, and so on.

Fear not, we assure you there is plenty for you to address through your content. First off, your SaaS product or solution likely has multiple personas that can be targeted. And, there are most likely several use cases for your product, all of which should be well addressed on your site. We like to think of the Content Production Strategy as a unique combination of content production tactics from your arsenal that should be employed overtime to help your site rank well and, of course, provide value to the users through content.

  • Content Production Plan - While the Content Production Strategy breaks down a variety of tactics to be employed, the Content Production Plan looks to set these tactics in motion by identifying the next several pieces of content to be produced and establishing an order of priority to begin tackling the production of the content.

Now that we’ve covered a basic rundown of these components, I’d like to give you a more in-depth look at each part of our content framework.

Content Organization

One of the first things we do when working with SaaS companies is to analyze their site’s content structure based on their target keywords and the keyword mapping we’ve provided for them. Without proper keyword research and a keyword mapping strategy, content organization can be a messy process. That said, as a first step we refer back to your keywords from the beginning and use each category of keywords to map out sections of content on the site housed in the main navigation.

Some categories of content strategies we use for SaaS company websites include considering aspects like:

  • Features - What does your product actually do, and what features does it offer? These questions can sometimes be represented by keywords.
  • Use Cases - How is your platform or SaaS product actually used? What are some common examples of how people use your product?
  • Industries - What industries use your SaaS product or tools? Name a few (i.e. 3 or more), if possible.
  • People - What type of person may use your product or tools? What is their role or function?
  • Benefits - What sorts of benefits can be realized by using your tools?

All of these categories can then be broken out into their own dropdown menus in your site’s main navigation and each page optimized for both long-tail and generic keyword opportunities.

We also look to ensure that every keyword you want to target has its own rightful place on your site. When possible, we recommend making a new page for each keyword and structuring these new pages into clusters that fall under their parent category page in your main menu. Doing this will help Google recognize the relationship between the various pages that address a specific topic and all the related keywords.

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Content Production Strategy

Consistently producing new and valuable content is essential for a successful SEO effort. And, being valuable is the key component of the content production strategy. This means creating content that addresses concerns surrounding your product, answers your target customers’ questions and educates them about the benefits of your solution.

As you mapped out your target keywords into different categories and built out your content organizational structure, you may have discovered that you still have a lot of content to produce in order to add substance to the framework you’ve built on your site. That said, you’ll want to address this gap in content first, and soon enough, you’ll eventually transition over to ongoing content production that will help move your site up in rankings consistently for several long-tail keywords.

One underutilized component of many sites is the blog section. Most blogs are orphaned parts of the site -- nested in their own area and not integrated into any of the site’s other content. As such, oftentimes companies aren’t sure how to best leverage their blog to take advantage of content production and improve search rankings. This is where we see a major opportunity to help our clients with a SaaS content strategy that deeply infuses their blog throughout their main site structure to ensure the two work tightly together.

You may be wondering how to cross-pollinate blog content throughout your site. It’s a straightforward process and simply entails “connecting the dots”. For example, let’s say you’re producing a blog post on invoice automation and the invoicing process, and your website has a dedicated “invoice automation” page. You can easily link to the “invoice automation” page in your post, allowing users to read more on the topic. On the flip side, you can also link to the blog on the “invoice automation” page, should users want to read more relevant content after they’ve scanned the featured page. And, voilà - just like that you’re a pro at leveraging your blog! If you’d like some more inspiration on this, we highly recommend checking out HubSpot’s blog, to see how they seamlessly integrate their blog content with landing pages and other parts of their site.

While blogs can prove to be a solid component of your SaaS content production strategy, it’s important to incorporate other types of assets, such as webinars, videos and gated downloads into the mix. This is where creating valuable content comes into play; valuable content aims to convert strangers into qualified leads to fill your sales pipeline. We often find that blog articles do a great job of pulling a complete stranger deeper down into your sales funnel. Once created, these other types of content can be repurposed into blog posts to provide more digestible information to your users, and allow them to find the content more easily than if it were only available in a webinar or white paper. What’s more is that the blog articles can also include a call-to-action (CTA) for visitors to download the original content, which helps drive engagement, increase rankings and conversions and ultimately create a channel for generating leads.

Content Production Plan

Once your content organizational strategy is set, your site is structured to align with that strategy, and your content production strategy is defined, it’s time to begin planning out the content that needs to be produced. I highly recommend that you first tackle content that targets long-tail keywords that rank easily. This will help you capture quick wins in rankings and small traffic bumps, which will eventually lead to larger movements in rankings for more general, high search volume keywords later on. The more you use a general keyword, such as “invoice automation”, across a series of articles that address a variety of aspects of that topic, the more relevant Google realizes your content is to that topic over time, allowing the site to rank better and better.

Once you’ve mastered these quick-win keywords, you can then dive into more generic search terms and ideas. What’s critical to remember at this point is to look for ways to nest the content you’re producing under the same main theme or category on your site so you can fully flesh-out key topics relevant to your product.

Another way to help in prioritizing the production of content is to take a look at any active paid search campaigns you may be running. These campaigns can provide you with insight into what keywords are converting better for you versus others, thus allowing you to give content related to those keywords’ first priority when it comes time for production. We typically find this content answers the questions our clients’ customers bring up throughout the sales process. What’s more is that these questions may, in fact, stand in the way of customers buying your product. By putting the answers right in front of users during their searches, not only are you able to educate them on questions or concerns they may have, but these high conversion keywords will improve your site rankings while bringing in more qualified opportunities for the future.

We can’t talk about content production planning without mentioning videos, especially since this type of content can be tedious to produce. But, if your company already produces videos, whether frequently or just once in a while, we always recommend planning to transcribe the video content into a blog or other textual content; the same can be done with podcasts. The reason being is when speaking, people tend to naturally cover many relevant terms and keywords, and there are huge opportunities to repurpose this already relevant content into other forms, such as infographics or blog posts.

Last but not least, always pay attention to site analytics to gauge what content your users are engaging with. If you have a pillar topic that’s covered well and spans multiple pages, you can always repurpose this content for other digital channels such as email campaigns. Not only will you establish another point of contact with your users while nurturing these leads, but you also will be able to drive traffic back to your website.

Simply effective marketing.