For most growth marketers, success in this role often feels like a race to either out-advertise or out-SEO the competition.
SaaS marketing is a competitive space. So, it’s no surprise content marketing has become the go-to for product marketers and founders on the hunt for low-cost, sustainable lead sources. But even in inbound, it’s getting tougher and tougher to cut through the clutter.
In March 2019, 4.4 million blog posts were published every day. And if you thought the fast-growing world of podcasting was any better, think again. There are currently 850,000 active podcasts and over 30 million podcast episodes.
If you’re a SaaS marketer, your prospects are drowning in a sea of content.
Want to rise above the noise without reinventing the wheel? You’re in luck. We’ve curated three unique (and uniquely effective) content marketing examples you can swipe and apply to get better inbound ROI, starting now.
- Breezy HR
Let’s dive in.
When launching a blog, many SaaS startups fail to define their content tilt.
Groove was no different.
To be clear, your content tilt is your sweet spot. It’s what separates your business blog from the millions of others out there. By tilting your content, you provide your readers with a distinctive viewpoint on your industry or niche—something they can’t get anywhere else.
The right content tilt allows your startup to tell a unique story your readers will remember. And in return, they reward you with their attention.
Now, back to Groove.
After about twelve months of building and rebuilding, then finally launching and getting snail-pace traction on their customer service (CS) software product, Groove was suffering from a combination of lack of traffic, customers and revenue.
In his brutally honest blog post The Story We Haven’t Shared: How Our Startup Almost Died, Alex Turnbull, CEO of Groove, describes the emotions they experienced during this period:
“How could HubSpot, Copyblogger, Unbounce, and the rest of the content marketing ‘winners’ get real growth from content, while we did—what we thought was—the same thing and got nothing?”
What Alex and his team did next was brilliant. They put together a list of content marketers they admired and reached out to chat about Groove’s blog, asking for honest feedback no matter how much it stung.
Considering their track record at that point, it wasn’t surprising that most of these emails were ignored. But as fate would have it, they did strike gold with some of the content marketers on their list.
Two critical questions echoed across these conversations:
“What’s the hook for this blog?”
“Why should anyone read this instead of a different blog?”
Over the next two months, Groove re-strategized, rebuilt and relaunched their blog around what really mattered to their small business audience, not the bells and whistles that distract most content marketers. The blog launched with one promise:
Within a day, they had 1,000 email subscribers. In a month, they had grown to 5,000 subscribers. And it didn’t stop there—Groove’s readers were commenting and sharing their content with their fellow small business owners.
Today, the Groove website gets 630,000 visitors monthly and ranks number one for several high-value customer service keywords. Content marketing is Groove’s sole marketing channel, and revenues grew to almost $5 million within the first three years.
Here’s how Groove does content marketing:
- Source topics from your audience: By creating evergreen educational content that spoke directly to the challenges their prospects had, Groove secured the attention of its prospects and succeeded in gaining their trust.
- Share your journey: Groove shared everything about its own journey with its readers. This sort of raw, honest content helped Groove create a genuine bond with prospects while building authority within the CS niche.
- Reverse-engineer influencer outreach: Groove flipped the traditional influencer outreach model on its head by asking for feedback on their blog posts from expert bloggers/content marketers. The feedback not only helped Groove improve their content considerably, but they also gained access to a massive audience of relevant prospects and readers.
You can read more about Groove’s journey here.
Breezy HR: Cut Through the Noise with a Memorable Voice
Creating a unique voice is easier said than done. And in noisy niches such as HR tech, trying to stand out among deep-pocketed competitors can feel like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
When Darren Bounds, founder and CEO of Breezy HR, launched Breezy in August 2014, he knew it wasn’t going to be smooth sailing.
Enterprise-level incumbents dominate the HR tech industry with deep pockets, and going up against them can seem like the fastest way to fritter off your marketing budget.
But Breezy didn’t budge. Powered by its user-friendly interface and intense focus on growing SMBs, it attracted HR professionals at startups that felt neglected by enterprise-level competition.
However, the brand’s increasing reliance on paid ads was unsustainable. And while switching to a feature-based pricing model in 2017, Darren and the team decided to add organic SEO to their marketing playbook.
But there too, the competition was tough. Brand incumbents had already built up domain authority and owned important SERP real estate for some of Breezy’s top priority keywords. To cut through the clutter, Breezy would need to be bold.
“We have to be very ‘ninja strike force’ around how we approach keywords. This is a very crowded space; there are many enterprise brands—brands that have a much higher ACV than what we offer,” said Darren.
If the SaaS space is inundated with content, the HR tech space is drowning in it. To make things worse, a lot of the competitive content was high in quality.
In response to this puzzle, Breezy decided to go against business as usual by creating and curating content that reflected the brand’s against-the-grain beliefs, while speaking directly to the real issues it had unearthed from voice-of-customer data.
Armed with a distinctive voice, Breezy scored 20,000 monthly blog visits less than 12 months after taking their blog off Medium. Not only that, the average engagement per Breezy article quickly leapfrogged its top five competitors.
It wasn’t long before Breezy started ranking in position 1 for numerous high-priority keywords. Today, the Breezy blog receives over 33K unique visits monthly, and enjoys far better engagement rates than some of the leading brands in the HR SaaS space.
Here’s how Breezy does content marketing:
- Adopt a bold customer-oriented messaging strategy: Together with its content team here at Pointed, Breezy designed a messaging plan that wasn’t just customer-focused, but tackled the topics most of the industry was reluctant to touch.
- Embrace edutainment: Rather than writing keyword-stuffed How-Tos, Breezy focused on creating evergreen content in a relatable brand voice that was fun to read. This was a refreshing take for an audience reading in a market rife with jargon-packed enterprise content.
- Use a focused content framework: Rather than taking a scatter-gun approach to content creation, Breezy focused on three core content types—thought leadership pieces, SEO-focused content, and customer-led interviews and roundups.
You can read more about Breezy HR’s content strategy here.
Drift: Create Your Category
“Content is a commodity — everyone is doing it,” says Dave Gerhardt, former VP of Marketing, Drift. “The current model for content marketing is broken. We want to challenge it in everything we do.”
And challenge they did.
While at HubSpot, David Cancel and Dave Gerhardt had watched the B2B content marketing space turn into a dull, run-of-the-mill stream of content. For the Drift to stand out, David and Dave knew they had to do things differently.
One morning, after an interesting conversation with David Cancel (which you can read all about in this epic article: How to Generate Leads Online Without Forms), Drift flipped the fundamentals of B2B lead gen on its head.
Instead of demanding that prospects fill out tedious forms before accessing content, Gerhardt and his team used their own product to initiate authentic real-time conversations with prospects—and thus, Drift’s unique “conversational marketing” approach was born.
And the conversions followed.
From that moment, Drift switched off all conventional demand-gen tactics and focused on content marketing. The marketing team doubled down on creating fresh, genuinely helpful content—via social media posts, podcasts, articles, public presentations—for marketing teams, sales reps, and customer success pros looking for better ways to connect with customers.
This steady stream of content was built around one fundamental human insight: It doesn’t matter if it’s B2B, prospects are human.
They crave real, honest conversations about their challenges and problems. From there, all you have to do is deliver.
By focusing on simple, everyday language and using real employees and customers in their imagery, Drift turned the conversation into a larger-than-life movement. “No Forms” wasn’t just a strategy anymore, it had become a way of life.
And as part of the just 2% of VC-backed startups led by Latinx founders, Drift leads the way in keeping their content 100% human-focused.
Here’s a snapshot of their results:
Here’s how Drift does content marketing:
- Speed over perfection: By focusing on regularly creating “good enough” content instead of worrying about perfection, Drift built a content hub that prospects keep coming back to.
- Own the category: Drift attacked the status quo by showing a new way to win, then giving it a name and evangelizing it. This enabled Gerhardt and his team to build a new category even though they didn’t have the first-mover advantage. No matter how exciting an idea is, without an identity your prospects can relate to, it won’t gain traction.
- Reuse your content everywhere: Rather than continually creating multiple content assets for each platform, Drift consistently repurposes and re-publishes content across numerous platforms.
You can read more about Drift’s content strategy here.
Ready for a SaaS Content Strategy That Works? DIY or Let Us Help You
Love these content marketing strategies? Ready, set, swipe ‘em!
Or, you can hire us to help you create high-value content that will keep your prospects coming back for more. At Pointed, we produce high-quality content that drives qualified traffic, leads, and sales. If you’re ready to take your SaaS or business brand to the next level but aren’t sure where to start, we can help. Schedule a chat today!
Dozie Anyaegbunam is a copywriter and content strategist specializing in B2B and ecommerce marketing. As a Cannes Lions certified storyteller, Dozie has crafted compelling content for brands like Ciroc, Johnnie Walker and more. He’s also Dodo’s dad, a proud flâneur and a Felix Baumgartner wannabe. Don’t miss his newsletter, Much Ado About Content Marketing.