Content marketing works and it’s sad how content marketing is undervalued. The main reason behind that is because most companies don’t have a strong content marketing strategy in place. What we’re seeing is an influx of spending and a massive increase in content creation, but most of them are low-quality work.
Content is a significant investment in your marketing. It also takes time to pay off, which is where many B2B SaaS companies get into trouble. Unlike paid acquisition channels, content isn’t a marketing tactic you can easily turn on and off. It takes months, even years, to build momentum.
With that said, content marketing is a long term investment that works. Imagine having organic traction without having to spend any money on any paid acquisition on a regular basis? Imagine having users come to you on autopilot. Yes, it works.
Developing a content strategy
Any content is only as good as the strategy behind it. Let’s start off with some must have questions that you need to ask yourself when developing a content strategy.
- Who is the target audience?
- Do they prefer a casual tone or a professional tone?
- What’s the marketing strategy behind it?
- What tools will we use?
- What type of content will you be pushing out weekly?
Who is the target audience?
You have to start with understanding what your audience wants to read. You have to know as much about them as you can.
What blogs are they reading? What community are they on?
You’ll hold yourself to a higher standard if you’re writing for real people. Fictitious personas also tend to reflect the average, not the median. This means you risk writing for a person well outside the stated demographics.
Do they prefer a casual or professional tone?
It’s very crucial to understand your readers and it’s even more important to be consistent with the tone of your company’s writing.
Creating content for an audience of 20-year-olds is very different than writing content for the older folks.
A good comparison would be to take a look at WSJ (Wall Street Journal) versus a trendy news site like The Hustle. Both of them have their own unique voice aimed towards a different set of audiences.
What’s the marketing strategy behind it?
Remember, everything requires a good plan and writing good content is just the start. Think about the promotion aspect after that. What happens after you write the content? How will you promote it?
Some questions that you could ask yourself is if your company already has a strong social following? Social is an excellent channel if you already have a strong following. What about your newsletter? That’s another great channel to keep your customers updated.
What tools will we use?
There’s definitely no shortage of tools when it comes to marketing automation and content writing.
Without overwhelming yourself, you should have a set of tools aligned for the entire content writing and marketing process. This list of tools should include basic SEO research tools, content publishing tools, grammar checking tools, and most importantly the marketing stack of tools to promote the content.
What type of content will you be pushing out weekly?
Topic ideation is something to be systematized. But first, let’s lay out a framework to help you understand the best way to choose blog post topics.
Your blog is not a publication, it’s a growing library of information. There are many reasons you need to adopt this mindset, but here’s one guiding principle that should be enough reason on its own.
A good content marketing process helps you address the entire lifecycle, from awareness through purchase.
Here are the funnel stages that I like to use when it comes to publishing content:
- Top of Funnel: Use keyword research to address high-level topics, introduce new readers to your brand.
- Middle of Funnel: Use keyword research in addition to sales and support feedback to tie problems to your specific solution.
- Bottom of Funnel: Use sales and support feedback to write directly about your product.
As apart of your content strategy, you should implement content for all stages of the content funnel. This should also be dependent on the stage of your business and the target customer profile.
Having a consistent publishing schedule
Another huge mistake that I see a lot of companies make is that they tend to publish random articles whenever they feel like it. In addition to that, I also notice that a lot of companies tend to publish random topics, most of the time not even related to the business.
It’s impossible to write too much, but it’s easy to publish too much.
The result is typically shorter, less valuable pieces of content. This is not ideal.
The ideal publishing schedule is relative to your budget, but always choose quality over quantity.
Still, it’s difficult to scale publishing volume without sacrificing quality no matter how much money you can afford to spend. As a general rule, publish as often as you can without dropping your quality standards. There’s no use publishing content that won’t get read.
Here’s are some examples of publishing schedule you can use depending on your company stage and budget:
1 ebook, whitepaper, drip email course, round up post per quarter
1 ebook, whitepaper, drip email course, round up post per month
2 ebook, whitepaper, drip email course, round up post per month
Following the above schedule, you should also have newsletters at least once a week.
Remember that a good content marketing strategy is all about compounding growth. Everything adds up and everybody needs to start somewhere. Publishing something is better than not publishing anything at all.
List of tools to help with content strategy and marketing
With your content marketing strategy in place, you’re going to need tools to make it all run smoothly. There are plenty of great options out there, but here are a few of my favorite content marketing tools.
SEO + Research
- Ahrefs – An excellent tool for tracking links and doing keyword research.
- Moz – Track your rankings for target keywords.
- KeywordTool.io – Get tons of keyword ideas.
- AnswerthePublic.com – Get keyword ideas in the form of questions.
- Buzzsumo – Research successful posts with search and social metrics.
- Clearbit – Add data to your existing email list for better segmentation.
Content Creation + Hosting
- Quip – Our favorite tool for collaborative writing.
- SketchDeck – Professional design resources on-demand.
- DraftSend – Create simple presentations that you can embed in your posts.
- WordPress – The best content management system for most SaaS blogs.
- WPEngine – Our host of choice.
- Wistia – The best video hosting platform out there.
Promotion + Conversion
- Sumo – All kinds of tools for collecting email addresses on your site.
- Freshchat– Simple live chat tool for having live conversations with readers.
- Buffer – The industry standard social media sharing tool.
- Airtable – Create an insanely powerful content workflow.
- CoSchedule – Build comprehensive marketing calendars.
- Zapier – Connect all your apps and automate everything.
- Trello – A popular and useful project management tool.
- Teamwork – A robust and powerful project management app.
Analytics + Attribution
- Google Analytics – Easy and free analytics. You can’t beat that.
- Amplitude – Tie your product data into your content data.
- Segment – Centralize your event tracking for cleaner data.
To wrap things up, it’s important to have a strong content marketing strategy moving forward. Content marketing is an ongoing challenge, not a task to be checked off your list, but it’s important to have a solid plan in place.
Need help with content creation or marketing? Reach out to me anytime!