It can be difficult for any company to venture into content marketing, and when it comes to startup SaaS companies, it can be more complicated.
In this episode of SaaS-Story in the Making, host Matt Wolach was joined by the founder and CEO of Codeless and Wordable, Brad Smith. The two dig deep into establishing a solid approach to SaaS content marketing for startups. Smith states the reasons why investing in content marketing is worth it, the common mistakes startups make and how to fix them, and the most effective way to execute all these.
Podcast: SaaS-Story in the Making
Episode: Episode No. 185, A Guide on SaaS Content Marketing for Startups
Host: Matt Wolach, a B2B SaaS sales coach, Entrepreneur, and Investor
Guest: Brad Smith, CEO of Wordable and Codeless
TOP TIPS FROM THIS EPISODE
Get the Right Person in the Right Seat
It is a common principle in business that a suitable person should meet the job description. But content marketing should be more specific. Every position in your company requires certain skill sets, and you need to hire the perfect person for this. To have solid curated content marketing, you should not settle for mediocrity.
Smith shared how important it is to delegate his staff according to tasks and the goal of the task. This includes writers, editors, and other writers. First, it is convenient for a company to have an editor and writer in one, but they have different skillsets and approaches to work. Smith describes these traits and skillsets as opposing. Editors need to thrive on consistency with their tasks, like having to edit mercilessly. Writers, on the other hand, have ingenuity and the ability to reiterate things. These opposing traits would clash when forced on one person.
In a SaaS content marketing team, there should be multiple writers. They must be delegated according to the type and aim of the content. To create something viral, it needs heavy ad spend and referral traffic. Then, it should be assigned to someone who can generate referrals because the goal is to create quality content made by someone knowledgeable in the field to come off naturally.
According to Smith, a way to do this is to have a balanced scorecard. It should include the things that make your content good, along with the area your company is into and the type of writing style you need for it. Then you can hire people according to those factors.
Companies may find it easy to start creating content in-house. This way, they have a chance at establishing their voice and identity. But, it is also essential to hire external sources because they can do better at some points. Having a combination of in-house and external writers can improve your content marketing game. The key is identifying the type of content you want to make. Also, it can be helpful if you are separating content for your prospects and your clients.
When doing bottom-of-the-funnel content for your company, internal writers will be good at it. They already know the intricacies of your company and the industry, it should be easy for them to write for your prospects. On the other hand, external writers can be a group of freelancers assigned to scale a business. It appears that they usually develop high output because of their expertise.
By the time you have decided what your company needs, whether to increase your brand visibility or improve your sales—it’s time to create a team for it.
Better Content = Better SaaS Sales
Content marketing does wonders; not only does it establish trust and authority but also generates better sales. Investing in quality content can make your company successful.
The road to success in this field comes down to the SaaS business model. The main perk of SaaS is continuous acquisition and sales conversion. Content and SEO improve this process, and scale acquisition costs more effectively because they can reach more than your target. Additionally, the content lasts longer, especially if it is about something that can stay on-site for a longer time. Meaning the content can sell itself without much monitoring.
Prospects today are fond of researching on their own. Sometimes, they even prefer to explore without having to contact a salesperson. With a well-curated content marketing strategy, the output can help with their decision-making. By the time they are at your door, they already know that they want to work with you–because you already provided them with sufficient information about your brand.
In our company’s terms, this is “warming up” clients. Before the actual conversation about a deal happens, the prospects must be warmed up and connected with the brand. Because by the time they would come up and talk, they already know the company and how it would serve them. The only thing left to do is to own the conversation, and it will be immediately followed by a closed deal if done right.
There are many kinds of content that you can do, each with a purpose. But you also have to take note of staying relevant. Content will stay there for a long time. It is recommended to create a concept that is seen to stay for a couple of years. It might not convert at the highest percentage every time, but it can sustain conversion.
Better SaaS sales can be achieved, but it is a gradual process. You have to invest and create resources to help your prospects understand what you can do for them. From here, you can establish a strategy that works for your brand.
Content Marketing for Startups
Having content marketing as part of your strategy is a good investment. It allows you to create a lasting impact with less effort. Here are the things startup companies must do:
First, startups must have a documentation process right from the beginning. This includes the type of content you want and do not want to have and its purpose. List down every possible idea that comes to mind along with how it can help you—whether it’s for scaling or brand visibility. And when it starts to get complicated and confusing, focus on the section with concepts that you do not like and avoid. Because even though we get confused about what we want, we certainly can identify the things we hate.
When ideas are sorted out, hire and test writers for specific purposes. This part can be rooted in the world of sales—whenever you need a salesperson, hire three and fire two. It is about finding an excellent fit for the position to achieve the intended purpose. It is a process where you can start testing out many writers and slowly decreasing these numbers until you have a small team that matches your goals.
Hire and pay, pick, then promote.
Finally, after the big experiment, there should be an appropriate person for each role. In a company’s system, you should look at multiple roles that work together. It does not equate to staffing “the more, the merrier,” but establishing distinct roles. This allows people with expertise to perform well on their tasks. You are not going to look for one superhuman that can do it all. Instead, there should be a group of experts with individual skillsets that functions as a system. At the end of the day, the established work process of the company can last and serve you well.
Common Mistakes Startups Commit
It is healthy to stumble upon errors when you are starting to establish your content marketing. It makes the experience learnable, and it allows you to make improvements on your next move. However, it can be time-consuming, and here’s how you can avoid that.
Startup software leaders make common mistakes that are easy enough to overcome. Smith classified it into “getting stuck in one or two minds” and “staffing and operations mistakes.”
First, it can be hard to diversify content. Most often, we tend to cater to a specific area which means it can be directed on a single type of market. Smith describes it as creating something “very, very, niche.” Focusing on that area only can limit your lead generation and brand exposure. On the other hand, some outputs only focus on SEO. The aim becomes catering to what is being searched for, compromising the quality. Instead of choosing between plan A and B, there should be a common ground or, as he called it, a “happy medium” where quality content serves a wide range of prospects while also ranking well.
The other problem is about the company’s staffing and operations. There should be an organized team and established processes within the company. It is related to having the right person on the right job while considering that a system should be created between them. Most often than not, startup companies tend to have a single staff handle multiple tasks. But this makes work much slower and inconvenient because of the complexity of individual processes merged. Instead, there should be a concrete line-up of staff and their tasks that work for the company.
[07:02] “Our best customers or clients, for example, usually close within 30 days, not because we’re amazing at sales, it’s because before they reach out, they already know they want to work with us… they’re doing months’ worth of research, largely through content before they get to our doorstep.”
[07:30] “We call that being ‘warmed up,’ before you’re interacting with them. You can warm them up and get them ready, get them more connected to your brand and your philosophies… they’re already very well informed.”
[07: 56] “People are much more informed these days, and you’ve got own that conversation with content.”
[08:54] “You can actually get long-term ROI because, let’s say, you create a piece of content. It stays there for a while.”
To learn more about Brad Smith and Codeless, visit https://getcodeless.com/.
For Wordable, visit https://wordable.io/.
You can also find Brad Smith on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bsmarketer.
For more about how host Matt Wolach helps software companies achieve maximum growth, visit https://mattwolach.com/.