If you’re looking to start marketing your B2B SaaS business, I can think of no better place to start than with Content Marketing. Maybe you’re still developing product-market fit or message customer fit, Content marketing will help. Maybe you have a limited budget to invest in marketing, content marketing can be free.
However, content marketing is quite broad. Especially nowadays with the prominence of social media. Creating content can seem like a big daunting task. Do you use video? Should you be on TikTok? Should everything be on your website? What is SEO?
These questions are so common among founders looking to start marketing. So, I’ve put together how you can start using content marketing to promote your business at a low cost. I’ll cover why it’s such a great option, which channels to use, and how to do it effectively at low cost with minimal knowledge.
When should you start content marketing?
In my opinion, no time is too soon to begin content marketing. The best advice for start-ups is to start producing content from day 1. Maybe even before you have any clients.
- Do you have a slide deck or Sales Presentation? Distil that onto your website.
- Do you have a particular way of working or a unique view on the industry? Tell the world about it on your blog.
- Did you have an interesting experience hiring or finding suppliers? Make a video of it and upload it onto YouTube, LinkedIn or TikTok.
There are levels to content marketing, and to do it really effectively requires a level of knowledge and understanding. But to get started, creating content doesn’t have to be this big complex thing that takes a lot of effort. It can actually be really straightforward. And the best part? You can start for free.
Why start with Content Marketing?
With Social Media and the internet, it’s never been easier to promote your business. We have an unbelievable ability to target your ideal customer through Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn advertising, and your customer might be there. So why content marketing?
To take a step back, marketing can broadly be separated into 2 categories:
- Brand Marketing
- Lead Generation (also called Demand Generation)
I’ll explain more about this in another post, but essentially, Brand Marketing has a longer-lasting impact, but might not generate immediate results. Meanwhile, Lead Generation is short-term and might provide a quick hit of leads and interest. But when you stop doing it, you’ll soon see the effects of it wear off.
Content marketing very much fits into the longer-lasting impact form of marketing. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t have short-term benefits as well – believe me, it does! – but it is effective over a longer period too.
Additionally, it has a few key benefits:
- Longevity: As mentioned, the impact is long-lasting. Once you create a piece of content, it’s always available, and you can re-use it multiple times.
- Building Authority with your audience: Much of content marketing involves you sharing tips or free information with your audience. This helps build credibility as you can build authority as someone who is knowledgeable about a certain field. When people begin looking to your content for advice on how to do something, it shows they respect you.
- Building Authority with Digital Platforms: Also, the more content you produce and post on various platforms, the more these social media platforms and Google will like you and your website. This likely brings more visitors to your website on a regular basis and means that any Lead Gen marketing activities you do will have a greater impact.
- It’s Free: Did I mention it’s free already? Well, it is. You don’t have to pay advertising costs, or have any specific skills, you just need to be able to write or talk to a camera.
- You get market feedback: When you’re sharing your message online, it can help identify which messages resonate with your audience and which don’t. The good thing about social media is that if your customers don’t like it, they won’t like, comment or share it. But if they enjoy your content, they will like it and actively tell others about it. This can be incredibly helpful for product development and for when you want to start marketing more in the future.
B2B Content Marketing: Where to Start?
When getting started with content marketing, there are a couple of things to consider:
- What content are you going to post?
- Which channels will you post on?
- Which media will you produce it in? (written, video or images)
- How often to post?
What content to post?
Often, the hardest part of content marketing for small business owners is what types of content to post. As you do more of this, you’ll want to look at things like SEO and have a content strategy. But for now, the first step is just to get started.
So, here are a few topics you can post about to get you started:
1. Explain your business
As a founder, you’ve identified a gap in the market and a need for your product. An easy way to get started is to record yourself explaining what your business does or to write down your elevator pitch. The more ways that you can figure out how to say the same message in different ways, the more content you’ll be able to produce.
For example, you could start with a brief summary of your business offering. And there could be 3 reasons why your SaaS business is different, so your next 3 posts could be about that. And then you could share more about yourself and why you started it. What was missing in the industry that prompted you to make this product?
Say you provide a CRM system for manufacturers, you could have titles like the following:
- Why do manufacturers need a CRM system?
- 10 things manufacturers need from their CRM system?
- Why manufacturers need a CRM system with [insert USP]
- The biggest thing missing from CRM systems for manufacturers.
- Why I started [company name].
2. Answer frequently asked questions from customers
Marketing is ultimately about aligning your business to your customers. And your customers are an endless source of ideas for content. Every time I speak to customers, they will likely ask a question that I had never thought of before. And if one customer asks it, there’s a good chance that others will too. Answering these questions as a blog post on your website will help inform your customers and resolve key concerns before they even speak to you.
3. Document your journey
As a business owner or founder, you’re on an exciting journey where you’re facing challenges every day. People want to hear from you. And with Social Media, there are no barriers to just getting started. This could a development landmark, a new partnership, a new customer, or a team meeting. Or if you’re willing to share it, you can talk about the following:
- Some of the challenges of being a founder
- What roles you’re interviewing for
- Funny experiences with your team
- The challenges you find when looking for a new supplier
- The process of onboarding a customer
- An interesting book (or blog) that you’ve read that’s taught you a valuable skill
- Heck. Why not share that you’re trying to develop a certain skill and why it’s important to your business
- Or pretty much just a daily update with what you’re working on.
You don’t have to share any secrets. Don’t mention specific customers or prospects. Don’t mention specifics of code or functionality. You can simply talk about how you’re building your business.
This really depends on how open you are to being open, but this one is a fantastic way to build trust and empathy with potential customers. They will see a different side to you and if they buy into your story, the decision to purchase will have an additional layer to it where they feel like they are supporting you and being part of your journey.
4. Respond to other posts on Social Media
Potential customers or other influential people in the industry will undoubtedly be posting regularly on social media channels. Simply commenting and replying to their posts with something meaningful can make a big impact. By commenting on posts from bigger accounts, you can expand your reach to new audiences. And you can use the same information you’ve been writing in your other posts.
5. Convert pitch decks and sales presentations
Finally, you probably already have some incredible content that you can share or repurpose. Your pitch deck probably gives a good summary of your business, your background and your product. You have probably written some emails to customers that highlight the key benefits.
Creating content doesn’t always mean starting from scratch. In fact it rarely ever does! So, have a look through your previous communications with customers or internal teams and see if there’s anything in there that you could convert to a blog post or social media post.
Which channels to use?
LinkedIn? Facebook? Twitter? Reddit? Quora? YouTube? Podcasts? Your own blog? TikTok?! How do you decide which channels to create content for? The best advice is to be where your customers are. However, it’s not as black and white as it may seem. Our ideal customers are multi-faceted, browsing different channels, and consuming different types of media at different times.
To really answer this question, you need to identify your ideal customer. Conduct really thorough ethnographic research where you get to really understand your customers, not just as business people, but as human beings. What does their daily routine look like? What are their interests outside of work? If they go to the gym, what do they listen to while there? Which streaming platforms do they use? Which social media platforms do they use regularly? And what do they use them for?
Having this information helps you identify where your customers are, and helps you reach them organically.
However, the truth is that most people regularly use 3 or 4 platforms. Pick one or two and produce content for these platforms and really get to understand what types of content work well on each platform.
The trick I use is to pick one channel that prefers long-form content and one that prefers short-form content.
Long-form + Short-form content
Firstly, what are long-form and short-form content? As the name suggests, this relates to the length of content. A blog is typically 500-1000 words and is considered long-form content. As is a 30-minute podcast. However, a 1-minute TikTok is a short-form content. Most platforms have a preference.
So why should you have one of each?
Long-form content allows you to demonstrate your in-depth knowledge of a subject. For example, if someone is searching online about how to do something, longer-form content that guides the user through the whole process is likely to be more valuable.
However, someone scrolling on Instagram just wants a quick summary. They’re not actively looking for information so just need the highlights. This might spark their interest to research more later.
I would always recommend starting with longer-form content. Ultimately, using one short-form channel and one long-form channel is great because you can create one long-form piece of content, and then split it up into shorter blocks that you can share on your short-form channel.
Below I’ve listed which platforms fit each category and which other channels they pair well with.
|Long-form content||Pairs well with|
|Website Blog||Any text-based channel:
LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Quora
|YouTube||Any video-based social media:
YouTube Shorts, TikTok, Instagram Reels, Instagram Stories, Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat
|Podcast||Add an image and turn your Podcast into a video. Cut it into snippets and share it on LinkedIn and Facebook.
If you can, try recording the video with your podcast so you can repurpose it on YouTube and create video content as well.
2 Channels to Highlight
There are 2 platforms worth mentioning that I think should be in every content strategy regardless of the others you may choose:
- Your own website/blog: While we’ve seen social media platforms come and go over the last 20 years. Remember MySpace, Bebo and Vine? But for internet browsers, even if Google does collapse into obscurity and is replaced by another search engine, the formula for your website to rank on the internet remains the same. Posting regular, high-quality content on your site will build credibility with every search engine over time. Yes, there are techniques to optimise it. But start by posting and you will soon see the benefits. If your website is built on WordPress, try installing the YoastSEO plug-in. It will show you how to improve your writing for your human readers and for search engines.
- TikTok: This depends on when you read this, but as of today, it is the best social media platform for reaching people organically. Most social media platforms have evolved their algorithms over time to be more favourable to paid ads, and organic posts that will encourage advertisers on the platform. But TikTok still favours organic high-quality content (for now), so make the most of it while you can.
Which media format for your content?
In terms of format, there 3 types:
Given that you will want to focus on long-form content, the choice is really about Written or Video. And this ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you’re a confident writer, then writing blogs is probably ideal for you, but if you’re savvy at video editing, then go with that.
As indicated above, certain channels and platforms prefer certain types of content, so if you opt for videos, you’re leaning towards YouTube. While written content essentially excludes YouTube as a channel.
There are tools online that will turn your blog into a video, and your video into a blog, but given you have the rest of your business to run, I would advise you still to one format across 2 channels.
How often to post?
To answer how often you should post, there’s a 3-stage development process I suggest to founders to go through when they start thinking about content marketing.
- Just Start.
- Get consistent.
- Get good.
For those thinking about starting, the best advice I can give is to just start. It’s like the advice on when you should start getting fit. The best time was 10 years ago, the second-best time is today. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but by just starting, you’ll get more comfortable and start improving.
Getting consistent is where you start thinking about how often you should post. This varies for different platforms, but generally, it’s influenced by 2 things:
- The length of the content, and
- How often do people visit that platform?
For example, a 1000-2000 word blog article on your website, 1 per month is fine, one per week is better, and one per day is overkill. However, for a platform like TikTok with 1-minute videos, or LinkedIn where users will return once per day, then 1 per day is a good target.
Generally, the more frequently you post the better, but you will reach a point of diminishing returns where posting 3 blogs per day is only marginally more valuable than posting one per day.
Sticking to a schedule
Posting content regularly for your marketing strategy needs to be as important as responding to customer requests or conducting a sales demo. It feels less urgent, but it’s the same as going to the gym. Doing it regularly and often yields results and it’s about finding ways to stay on track even when you don’t feel motivated.
The best way to avoid getting stuck perfecting a post is by having deadlines and a schedule. Having artificial deadlines is a great way to boost your productivity. Commit to these deadlines and share them with other people in your business, or even your online audience. The aim is to be accountable to someone other than yourself.
Spend a couple of hours coming up with content titles in bulk when you do feel motivated. And schedule them for 1/week or 1/month. Review the list regularly and add more ideas occasionally, and you will never run out of content ideas.
Top tip: While you’re coming up with titles, try to include potential headings or a rough structure for the blog. This will flesh out the blog in your mind and refresh your memory when it comes to writing the blog post later so you avoid “writer’s block” and minimise the chance of you not doing it later.
High-quality content is king
When It comes to getting good, your schedule might change. It’s worth noting that if the content is high quality and takes time to produce, then your audience will wait for it and engage with it when it comes. This fabulous creator posts videos on YouTube usually about once per month. But because her video posts highlight her inventions, they typically take a while to make. And when she does post, her videos get fantastic engagement.
So, high-quality content is king. But don’t get too weighed down by having the perfect piece of content. As a start-up, perfection is the enemy of progress.
How can I better explain my business to people?
This is key to some of the content we’ve discussed. My approach is to start with why. Give the context around why you came up with the idea: the problem you are solving or what competitors are missing. And then present your business/product as the solution to that issue.
Do I need to focus on certain keywords on my website?
Ideally, yes. But I’ll explain more about that in another post. The first step is to just start posting. If you want to start with SEO right away, try the YoastSEO plug-in for WordPress sites. The free version is fine.
How can I come up with more ideas?
As in the content ideas section, your customers are a great source of content ideas. Additionally, documenting your journey is a continuous source of content. If you worry about being repetitive, my advice is: don’t. It typically takes 6 months for a marketing message to be recognised and understood by the market – by which point you’re usually bored and sick of it.
How can I make my content go viral?
Don’t aim to make your content go viral. Focus on creating regular, high-quality content that adds value to your audience. Share it with the right audience and they will share it if it’s good.
How can I stay on track with my content marketing?
Create a content schedule where you map out content ideas over the next month, 6 months etc. Make yourself externally accountable for producing it. And try to batch produce content if you can, so that when life gets in the way, you can still post.
Is Content Marketing right for your B2B SaaS Business?
So, in summary, content marketing is a fantastic channel to start marketing your B2B SaaS business. When you don’t quite have product-market fit or message-customer fit, you don’t want to invest loads in paid ads that were realistically never going to work. Content marketing is low-cost with a long-lasting impact. It creates a community between you and your prospective customers to identify their challenges and needs. This insight early on will not only generate buy-in from your prospects but ensure you develop a product and service loved by your customers.
If you’re still not sure, I’ll refer you to my previous advice which is to just start! You will learn so much from trying it. Will it generate you loads of leads? Probably not. But the long-lasting impact will be huge. Once you’ve started, then work on being consistent. Once you’re consistent, then focus on getting good!
If you’re looking to start Content Marketing and would like some help or advice, I have over 7-years of experience using content marketing to create an audience for both B2B and B2C businesses.