How to Start an SaaS Blog
If you or your clients are involved in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry, you probably already know this: Today’s global SaaS industry generates about $288 billion in revenue and is expected to grow to $383 billion by 2020.
You’re probably also aware of the unique challenge that SaaS marketers face: proving to their current and potential customers that their “rented” service is worth an ongoing monthly fee. In addition, SaaS and the cloud it lives in are both relatively new and full of tech-related details and processes that may not be commonly understood by their average customer.
It’s no wonder that SaaS companies are turning to bloggers to help them reap solid benefits from building and maintaining an informational company blog. It can:
- Translate the benefits of the SaaS product into fresh, compelling site updates
- Help convert early and mid-funnel visitors who are “just browsing” into serious shoppers, and convert serious shoppers into customers
- Help their company stand out from the competition and land more paying subscribers.
And all that will surely help meet both the immediate needs and future goals of your SaaS clients.
Work It Up
Spend some time defining the goals and parameters of this new SaaS blog. First, there are the operational details:
- Where is this blog going to live, and how is it going to be showcased on your client’s site?
- Is anyone besides you going to post and/or respond to any comments?
- What methods will be used to collect reader information (in other words, leads)? At the very least, buttons should be provided to share posts to readers’ social media, and it should be easy for readers to sign up for a free SaaS trial, provide email addresses to be notified when the blog is updated, etc.
The goal of this blog goes beyond just attracting visitors. Prospects want to hear about how the product is going to solve their problems, how easy it is to use, and how great your client’s customer service is; customers want to hear about product improvements, new ways to use the product, etc. These, then, are just a sample of content development and management details:
- In the digital world, no communication exists on an island – nor should it. How is this blog going to fit in with the rest of the marketing around this product?
- Who are you targeting this blog to: existing customers or prospects? Or both? Keep in mind that, in the SaaS realm, customer success and retention are a top priority because customers are just a click away from cancelling their subscription at any time. So SaaS marketers have to focus as much (or more) on retaining existing customers as they do on acquiring new customers.
- Will you be ghostwriting for a SaaS company staffer, or will someone on staff be submitting work to be curated and posted? How often are you going to post? Where are you going to get relevant images?
- Who will generate the list of post topics? You need a posting schedule to keep all the details straight and to coordinate the blog with the rest of the marketing campaign.
- Are you going to post videos, and if so, what are the technical requirements of those posts?
Repeat As Necessary
SaaS marketers must constantly reinforce the “service” aspect of SaaS. A best-practice SaaS blog becomes a knowledge base of posts answering common questions that customers and potential customers may have about the product. As this base develops, it also becomes a great self-service tool and sales resource. So how can you get to that point?
- Figure out what keywords and phrases they’d use to resolve their challenges – but don’t just write to use those words. Work with the SaaS team to identify the topics and customer needs that are the basis of those keywords. Then repeatedly feature those highly relevant topics in your blog posts.
- Develop a related calendar of posts around the brand’s newsworthy moments: events they’re attending; recent developments in the industry, their brand, or the world at large that will be meaningful to your readers; etc.
- Regularly cross-post between your blog and their social media.
- Help them promote your latest blog entries in their marketing campaigns.
- Get fanatical about sharing and using any feedback received on the blog. Insightful comments from your readers can influence decisions made across their company, from product development to future marketing efforts.
Like any other digital marketing effort, your blog becomes a repository of behind-the-scenes information. Track and analyze for your client as much data as you can around your blog, particularly what your readers are doing with the content. Tailor future blog posts around the entries that are most visited, most shared, garner the most signups – whatever metric best supports their business goals.
About the author:
Ashley Monismith is an account manager at Bay Leaf Digital, a SaaS marketing agency in Southlake, Texas. During her 5+ years working in the field, Ashley has successfully helped clients build stronger content marketing strategies that improved their organic search presence.