B2B SaaS Content Strategy: What Works in 2023
SaaS is unique among B2B industries in that a substantial portion of the buying decision is made from self-led research. While the usual tenets of marketing and sales still apply – it’s good to have multiple touchpoints to warm up the prospect and an engaged salesperson to push them over the finish line—far more of the sales process takes place on Google and the company’s own website.
Even in enterprise-focused software where sales processes are longer, research shows that most customers make their decision based on what they’ve read about the SaaS business. B2B SaaS companies, then, have a much larger need for quality content than other industries.
Generating this content requires a coherent strategy. In this article, we explain the 4 elements of a B2B SaaS content strategy, namely:
- Organize content around keywords using the Hub & Spoke model
- Write thought leadership that answers user search intent
- Publish content at least twice each week
- Distribute content on multiple marketing channels
Organize Content Around Keywords Using the Hub & Spoke Model
B2B SaaS content marketing has two functions: (1) work in tandem with SEO to improve search rankings and attract more visitors, and (2) convert those visitors into MQLs, and nurture those leads into sales. We’ll begin by discussing how to accomplish the former using the Hub & Spoke model.
The Hub & Spoke model is built on the observation that Google rewards sites that demonstrate expertise in a specific niche. It uses hubs (short keywords with high traffic, sometimes called container keywords) as the basis for generating a variety of spokes (highly transactional, longtail keywords). Each piece of content is then written to target a single one of these keywords, with a typical SaaS site having, at most, 4-6 hubs.
Below is an example of two potential hubs and their longtail keyword spokes.
|Hub Keyword||Spoke Keyword||Page Type|
|marketing automation software||marketing automation software for small business||Landing Page|
|marketing automation software||marketing automation software for real estate||Landing Page|
|marketing automation software||marketing automation software comparison||Blog Article|
|marketing automation software||benefits of marketing automation software||Blog Article|
|marketing crm||best marketing crm||Landing Page|
|marketing crm||marketing crm comparison||Blog Article|
|marketing crm||marketing crm features||Blog Article|
|marketing crm||marketing crm vs sales crm||Blog Article|
Your marketing team would then produce articles whose titles contain each spoke keyword, e.g. “The Best Marketing Automation Software for Small Business: A 2023 Review” or “Marketing CRM vs. Sales CRM: How They Differ”.
Structuring content this way addresses commonly used search keywords, increasing the visibility of your piece and the likelihood that it is helpful to the user on the other end. To know whether it is helpful or not, however, requires a greater understanding of search intent.
Write Thought Leadership that Answers User Search Intent
Your content needs to not only bring readers to your page, but keep them there. If someone clicks on your article hoping to do some light research on your industry and is met with a sales pitch, they will leave and nobody benefits. (In fact, Google’s algorithm will likely ensure they don’t even make it to your page.) Instead, content should be geared towards the reader’s needs and wants.
Search intent can take a number of forms, depending on the need of the user. The most useful way to think about it is in terms of transactionality, or in other words, how close the searcher is to making a purchasing decision. Here is the spectrum, as we envision it:
For example, an engineer might make the following technical query: “optimizing PCB thermal performance”. Content geared towards that keyword should be informational in nature, not salesy. However, if the same engineer queried “best pcb design software” they would be open to a sales page or a blog entry comparing PCB design softwares, depending on how you interpret the keyword.
Thought Leadership Content for B2B SaaS
Thought leadership content is the preferred output of B2B SaaS content strategy. Whereas standard content marketing merely checks the box of writing about a subject, thought leadership content truly takes care of the reader by:
- Addressing the readers search intent
- Focusing on educating the reader without explicitly selling to them
- Giving the reader practical next steps towards solving their problem
Thought leadership content seeks to either solve problems the reader is experienced or offer them insights to help them solve it on their own. This outcome is achieved through distilled insights, well-organized graphics, and original research. Making less accessible information available to your audience is the reason thought leadership content is so effective at building trust with sales prospects, particularly in a B2B SaaS context.
Publish Content at Least Twice Each Week
Google rewards sites that publish regularly with the news website bonus, leading to dramatically increased domain authority, and therefore, search rankings and organic traffic. To secure this bonus, you must publish a new piece of engaging content at least twice weekly, for at least 6 months. To do so, you’ll need to develop a comprehensive editorial calendar to coordinate pieces, as well as a team capable of handling this workload.
The Editorial Calendar
“Publish 2x a week” seems simple on its face, but we can tell you that the reality is much more difficult, even with a talented team. This is ironically even more true with larger teams, as more people involved means more possibilities for someone to miss a deadline or make a common mistake that grinds the whole machinery to a screeching halt.
A well-crafted editorial calendar solves this problem by listing all information relevant to the campaign in a handy chart, including:
- Article keywords & relevant hubs, if applicable
- Article title
- Search intent and audience persona
- Type of post (Blog, landing page, other)
- Relevant links to the documents themselves
- Relevant due dates pertaining to stages of content creation
These charts are best left open for editing by all members of the team, allowing anyone to make necessary notes or changes to it when necessary. Editorial calendars keep everyone working on the same schedule, minimizing the human error inherent in long-term group projects.
B2B SaaS Content Teams
Assembling a team is the other piece of the puzzle. We’ve written about the topic more in-depth, but at the core of any B2B SaaS content team is 4 central roles:
|Writer||Editor||Content Strategist||Campaign Manager|
|The writer is ideally an SME, with a comprehensive knowledge of the target market. They are tasked with writing informative content according to the keywords and search intents provided by the content strategist.||Editors turn what the writer wrote into what the client wants. By understanding the search intent of the piece, they align the article with the branding and voice of the client, giving every piece a unified feel and cohesive message.||The CS is responsible for handling the SEO portion of your B2B SaaS content strategy. They research keywords and search intent to identify what kind of content will serve their campaign best.||The CM handles all of the functional aspects of keeping a campaign moving from day to day. They serve as the project manager for a content marketing campaign, scheduling meetings, and tracking important items on the editorial calendar to oversee their completion.|
SEO teams can be larger, however, with the best SEO agencies employing reporting specialists, graphic designers, and web developers to ensure delivery of the best possible content.
Distribute Content Through Multiple Marketing Channels
Much in the same way that different users have their own search intent affecting the best way an article should be written, users on different channels have unique preferences that influence how they want to see content. For example, SaaS content posted on LinkedIn should place a premium on skimmability over delivering a comprehensive, in-depth look at every aspect of a topic.
By repurposing existing content to meet these preferences, SEO campaigns can form an omnichannel marketing strategy that:
- Extracts more value from each piece of content
- Reaches audiences across platforms
- Ensures content is personalized to viewers on each channel
Ideally, content should be repurposed for a variety of platforms to get most use out of them. For example, the same article can be turned into a small excerpt with a link for social media or a flyer for your mailing list. How to repurpose content is, itself, a matter of research and likely a responsibility of your content strategist.
Implementing a B2B SaaS Content Strategy
SaaS campaigns in particular are difficult to oversee due to the evolving nature of the industry. It is often the case that teams find themselves struggling to keep up with changing keywords and search intents while still producing quality content that stands the test of time. For more information, we recommend some some further reading related to the subject:
- Enterprise SaaS Marketing Strategy Guide
- Enterprise SaaS SEO: Strategy Guide
- B2B SaaS Demand Generation Guide
While doing it yourself is certainly an appealing option, you may also consider working with First Page Sage on a personalized campaign. We have been working with B2B SaaS companies for more than a decade, specializing in understanding industry-specific search intent and producing quality thought leadership content. If you’d like to know more, reach out to us here.
Evan Bailyn is a bestselling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership. Contact Evan here.