How To Create a Content Marketing Strategy for Your B2B SaaS Brand
A step-by-step overview of the content marketing strategy we use at duo Strategy and how we create engaging content to drive traffic and accelerate our link-building efforts.
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At duo, we’re far too familiar with pushing our content marketing efforts to the back burner to make room for our clients.
Most B2B companies understand the delicate balance between client work and company growth all too well.
We knew it was time to find a way to do both.
Hakes’ case study provided such a clear strategy, we decided to adopt it for ourselves.
Here’s the basic idea:
Attract relevant search traffic from prospects
Generate backlinks to improve rankings and search visibility
Gain authority in the industry and grow brand presence through social
But—and this is important—each piece of content does *not* need to meet all three criteria.
Focusing too much on creating ‘unicorn’ content that perfectly balances all three criteria will slow you down and result in precious little content on your site.
Instead, Hakes recommends each piece of content simply fulfills one component of the overall strategy.
And if you come up with some unicorn content every now and again, all the better.
So what kind of content fills this criteria?
For duo, we’re focusing on four main types:
Evergreen: Meat-and-potatoes content potential clients are seeking out
Social/Viral: Buzzfeed-esque content potential clients will like and share on social media
Link-Building: Industry content other marketers, news organizations, or marketing writers will want to link to on their sites
Lead Generating: High-value, gated content potential clients can access in exchange for their email
Hakes calls this the 'B2B Startup Content Strategy Quadfecta.'
One of Hakes’ suggestions we’re really taking to heart is repurposing our blog content into things like:
People like to consume content in different ways, so it makes sense to present similar concepts in a variety of formats—plus, the more content, the more potential traffic.
Choosing an engaging link-building topic
After producing some evergreen content for the site, we decided to switch gears and try our hand at link building.
Remember, link-building content is different than evergreen, because the intended audience is other people in our industry, as opposed to potential clients.
So we had to come up with a topic related to marketing that other marketers and marketing publications would find interesting.
The goal here is to both establish duo Strategy as a thought leader in the space, while earning backlinks from other reputable websites.
Hakes had great luck turning publicly available data into well-designed data visualizations—particularly maps—so we brainstormed ways we could create something similar for duo.
As a B2B SaaS marketing agency, we wanted to choose a topic related to our clients without directly addressing them.
Ultimately, we decided to gather publicly available data on the top 25 public SaaS companies.
We used Mike Sonders’ dashboard as a jumping-off point.
Armed with this list, we went to work gathering raw data like:
Number of founders
Year the company started
Year the company went public
2021 company revenue
Gathering raw data for an infographic
Where does anyone start when they want to research something these days?
We wish we could reveal some ultimate secret on how we uncovered the founders, their alma maters, and so on—but the truth is…
If you spend enough hours Googling, you can solve any problem, right?
Since we were gathering data on the top 25 SaaS companies and their founders, quite a bit of the background information was easy to find.
Company founding and IPO dates were often displayed on their websites or Wikipedia pages.
Since they’re all public companies, 2021 annual revenues were listed in quarterly investor reports or on the investor research platform macrotrends.
Acquisitions were also relatively easy to find on research platforms like Tracxn and Crunchbase.
Similarly, company websites prominently displayed the number of users as social proof for their product.
Our strategy at this point in the process was simply to gather as much raw data as possible. Our hope was to uncover interesting and unique data trends that could be turned into insightful visualizations and infographics.
As you’ll see later, we were able to accomplish this goal. And although we didn’t —or couldn't—include everything in the final infographic, we could not have reached our final product without the full research.
Turning the raw data into data visualizations
With the raw data gathered, it was time to compile it into visualizations.
First, we examined the data types—quantitative versus qualitative—and the completeness of the data sets.
This gave us an understanding of what visualizations would be possible—and which would yield something interesting or useful from within each subset.
We cut everything else.
Next, we needed to create basic visualizations in Google Sheets that could be handed off to our designer and prepared for external eyeballs.
The simplest way to do that was to trim the fat by:
Grouping/hiding extraneous columns and rows
Removing data inconsistencies
Then, we duplicated the relevant data across several sheets, allowing us to filter and sort the data in multiple ways without interfering with any existing graphs.
To ensure the data was visually interesting and interpretable, we removed outliers and imposed caps—as you can see in the example above.
In the end, we settled on including the following data:
Map of where the founders went to school
Pie chart of level of school completed by founders
Bar chart of annual revenue
Bar chart of number of additional companies acquired
Bar chart of company PPC spend on PPC
Scatter plot of revenue and number of companies acquired
Average age when founders started their company
Average number of companies started by each founder
Average company revenue in 2021
Average number of founders per company
Average years between founding and IPO
Average number of companies acquired
Designing an engaging infographic
With the foundational work complete, it was finally time to create the actual asset we could send out to publishers and build links.
As every good marketer knows, presentation is everything.
We knew—regardless of how interesting or unique it was—the best chance for winning links with our data was a winning design.
Since Hakes had such good luck with maps, we created a map of where the founders went to school to serve as the focal point of our infographic.
We surrounded the map with supporting bar graphs, pie charts, and scatter plots.
In the end, we created a totally unique, high-value asset, backed by hours of research.
And that’s where we are in the process.
Once we’ve created a press kit, sent outreach emails, and started generating some backlinks, we’ll be sure to post a part two detailing that experience.