One of the primary purposes of content marketing is to build trust and interest and, when done correctly, it is a powerful means of generating leads for your B2B SaaS Company.
However, to leverage content marketing to the maximum extent possible, you need to have a strategy. It’s not enough to simply spam out blogs, hoping that some will stick.
The basic idea of content marketing is to convince your target audience that you’re SaaS company really understands the pains and problems of your target audience. If other businesses understand this, then they are more likely to assume your software does the same.
The good news is that any B2B SaaS business that has the right approach can create content that is both interesting and builds trust. It’s all about using the right methods.
In this article, we’re going to explore how B2B SaaS companies can create content that engages companies and convinces them to become clients.
1) Make Sure That People Actually Want Your Content
For content marketing to be effective in the business environment, people have to want it – just as is the case for consumer-facing firms.
But how do you know what content is suitable for your audience?
The best method is to check what people are typing into search engines and tailoring your content to those search requests.
For instance, if you offer a payroll software service to accountants and people are typing into search engines; “how to do payroll” then you know you should write an article about the pitfalls and what tools you can use to help (i.e., your SaaS company).
Google Keyword Planner is an excellent tool for finding out what people are searching for online.
When you type in a keyword, Google Keyword Planner will generate related searches, including the number of times a particular phrase is searched for in a month.
What you’ll often find is that the keywords or key phrases you thought would be the most popular aren’t and that people are actually using entirely different terms.
Building content titles and headings around popular keyword searches, rather than your best guess, maximises user engagement with your content and takes relevant queries straight to your article.
Knowing what people are searching for, however, is just one piece of the puzzle. You also want to know what type of content performs best for any topic or competitor.
Apps like Buzzsumo help you find key influencers to promote your content as well as giving you information on how many shares and links a related piece of content has had on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.
I’ve spoken about Buzzsumo on this article here so take a look if you need more information.
2) Provide Real Value To Your Audience
When people type a query into a search engine (like “how do I do payroll”) they’re not looking for a product, they’re looking for a solution.
The distinction here is crucial: businesses want detailed answers to their questions, not marketing. As a result, if you want to provide content that builds trust, it needs to help solve a problem.
That particular problem could be anything, from how to effectively market content to how to fix a broken computer. Though the actual content of the post needs to be related to your software in some way, the purpose of the content should always to be to help the reader, not push a product.
For some people, this approach might feel like a wasted opportunity, but it’s important to fight the urge to use direct marketing tactics. Your audience is savvy, and they’ll soon pick up on the fact that they’re not being provided with real value.
The way to generate real value is to help a business solve a problem. By helping them to address a problem, you quickly establish yourself as an authority and a brand that they can trust.
This makes it more likely that when they have a similar issue in the future, they will turn to your software, rather than one of your competitors.
3) Make It Entertaining To Read
Writing a solution to a problem is a step in the right direction, but if your content isn’t entertaining to read, your audience won’t finish it, and you’ll end up missing an opportunity to provide value.
There’s a tendency, among B2B companies in general, to write dry, professional articles that use a lot of long sentences and jargon. And while there is a place for that kind of writing in some business documents, it’s not ideal when you’re trying to help somebody, even if that person is a professional in another firm.
Your first aim should be to make your content readable. Use natural, playful language and speak directly to your audience in a conversational tone.
Bloggers have been using this kind of prose for decades, which is one of the reasons why they have been so successful. They took corporate spiel and turned it into something accessible.
The next step is to think carefully about the structure.
Content should be split up under multiple headings. This allows readers to skip from one section to the next, depending on which is relevant. It also helps them to navigate your document and finish reading it to the end: a wall of text is rarely engaging.
Sentences should be short: crisp, concise English is the best way to communicate your ideas. Longer sentences are harder to read and understand. You need to get straight to the point and provide value as quickly as possible.
To enhance the overall experience, use videos and images wherever possible.
Research shows that when articles contain some type of visual media, they are significantly more engaging than articles that do not. Posts that contain images get 94 percent more views and 50 percent higher engagement on Facebook.
Remember, the aim of making an article entertaining is to help readers finish the content. Short sentences, images, a conversational tone – they all contribute to communicating the value you have to offer, ensuring that you solve your audience’s problems.
4) Make It At Least 1,500 Words Long
How much value can you provide somebody in a 500-word post? Not much.
That’s why articles should be at least 1,500 words long – it’s just too difficult to provide people with real, unique value with anything less. Remember, search engines want to direct their users, including business users, to great web pages.
Google, for instance, knows that if searches on its platform return content users want, they’ll continue to use it and the company will get higher advertising revenue as a result. Search engines, therefore, have a vested interest in the usefulness of your articles.
There’s also hard data that this kind of approach works.
Researchers have investigated the effectiveness of article length on boosting rankings on Google. They found that articles that got to the top spot were typically between 1500 and 2000 words long.
Subsequent articles further down the search results were shorter on average, presumably because they provided less valuable information to users.
Your B2B SaaS company, therefore, needs to focus on relatively long posts.
This is especially true in the B2B environment where so much of the content is focused on education. B2B SaaS products are sometimes not straightforward, meaning that providing adequate solutions requires a lot of words.
It’s not impossible, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to help a company solve its marketing or staffing problems in just 500 words. Be detailed, be rigorous and make sure you write at sufficient length to communicate and elaborate on your key ideas.
5) Consider Who You’re Writing For
This is a big one. The problem with many B2B SaaS companies is that they tend to produce articles that are “writer-centered” rather than “audience-centered.”
Writer-centered articles are those that make perfect sense to a writer who understands a particular topic inside out but makes no sense to a lay audience for whom the subject matter is unfamiliar.
What you ideally want to produce are audience-centered articles: posts which step into the shoes of your audience and guide them through a particular topic in terms they understand.
Essentially, this all comes down to empathy. Can you see the problem you’re trying to solve from the perspective of the other side? And can you offer solutions in terms that the other side understands?
Start off by asking yourself who your primary audience is.
If your primary audience is people who work in marketing departments, then speak to them in terms they understand. When dealing with such an audience, you may be able to introduce technical or professional terms without having to explain them first.
If, however, your audience is restaurant owners and you’re trying to sell them an ordering app, then outlining the benefits in non-technical terms is probably a better approach.
Any content you produce should also be geared towards helping your target audience achieve their goals. You always want to have your audience’s objectives in the front of your mind while writing so that you can focus on helping them solve a problem.
For instance, if you’re writing an article for members of a sales team, your article could talk about how to help them close more leads.
If you’re writing articles for a finance department, your article should show them ways that they can save money or reduce paperwork.
Likewise, if you’re writing for human resources, you could talk about how to improve employee well-being or how to find the best talent in the job market.
6) Have A Defined Next Step
Writing an engaging article that helps the business is great. But unless it leads to conversions, it’s not much use to you. This is why all content should have a defined next step – something that readers can do to take their relationship with your B2B SaaS company to the next stage.
How you choose to engage with business customers will depend on your SaaS model. As a result, you need to think carefully about what kind of next step is suitable for you.
The most sophisticated articles are those that subtly lay the groundwork for the next step in the text itself.
For instance, your article could be talking about how to set up a VoIP network in an office to replace an antiquated telephone system. In the article, you take your audience through the various steps to effectively setting up VoIP, but at the end, you point out that your company offers end-to-end VoIP software.
In other words, you’re able to get this working for them.
Though your advice still needs to be helpful, it’s likely that some of your business customers will get frustrated trying to solve the problem themselves and will want to get some extra help.
At the end of the article, therefore, is where you add your CTA.
There are many ways to take your relationship to the next stage, from offering your audience an opportunity to download an opt-in to purchasing the product outright to offering a free trial.
Free trials are a highly effective method used by many B2B SaaS companies.
Often it’s hard to communicate the value your service offers through simple text. The best way to do it is to give the business the opportunity to use the software to see for themselves just how helpful it is.
The bottom line is that no matter what next steps you want businesses to take, your content needs to be subtly geared towards selling your SaaS product and increasing engagement.
After all, if you’re not selling, all your time and effort writing the post has gone to waste.
If you follow the advice set out in this article, you’ll achieve two things.
First, you’ll build trust in your audience by cementing yourself as an authority. People will think of you first when they have a problem in your particular area of expertise and will automatically seek out your services.
Second, you’ll be able to create compelling content that helps to engage your audience and deliver real value.
Master both of these, and your B2B SaaS business is headed for success.
So, if you’re interested in adding high-quality content that’s focused on achieving your business goals let Vine Leads helps you out. We do everything from coming up with the perfect content ideas, to writing the entire piece and handing it to you.
Need some more help first? Vine Leads offers free, value-focused calls to B2B SaaS businesses looking to take their Lead Generation to the next level.
We don’t sell. We Help.