A lot of SaaS startups have a blog as part of their marketing strategy. On most blogs, a few posts will outperform the rest of your content combined. Instead of spending time, energy, and money refreshing outdated and poor performing articles, learn how to identify your top-performing content, and maximize the heck out of the results.
Your New Go-to SaaS Marketing Strategy: Content Maximizing
A simple way to make sure you maximize the results from your top performing content is what I like to call “content maximizing.” Basically, this means optimizing existing blog content that’s performing well, redirecting content that isn’t, and creating new content with a laser focus on driving trials.
Let’s start by talking about why your SaaS business has a blog in the first place. When I ask people this question, here are a few of the answers I typically get:
- “I’m not sure.”
- “To feed Google.”
- “To create content.”
- “Because it came with the theme.”
- “To get traffic.” (my favorite)
Saying you have a blog to drive traffic is like saying you got a car to drive it. That’s not why you got a car. You got a car to drive your kids to school, to get to work, or to take road trips — not to drive it around aimlessly. Click to Tweet.
The answer you should be coming up with? To get new trials (or leads, or member signups — whatever your particular goal is).
To get your blog to a place where it’s getting you new trials you’ll need to do three things:
- Maximize top performing blog content.
- Purge poor performing blog content.
- Create laser-focused new content.
Let’s walk through each of these steps in detail.
Part 1: Maximize your top performing blog content
Focus and get the most out of your star players
Think of your blog as your own personal sports team, and the individual posts as your players. The first thing we need to do is find your MVPs — the players who consistently score the most points for you — and then we’re going to give them more play time. (Hey, sports analogies happen when you’re writing a post during the NBA finals).
Step 1: Identify Your Top Performing Blog Content in Google Analytics
Log into your Google Analytics account. If you don’t have one set up, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Go straight to Google and set up your account today, this instant. Without analytics, you really can’t manage a website or a blog properly.
Go to the “Acquisition” tab, click “Search Console,” then “Landing Pages.” Sort your data by goals and dig in. Again, if you don’t have goals set up, do this immediately. It’s crucial to identifying your top performing content. Looking at impressions alone won’t tell you enough. Just because a post is popular doesn’t mean it’s doing its job.
Step 2: Do Keyword Research in Google Analytics and Google Search Console
You’ll probably notice right away that there are some pages and blog posts that convert much better than others.
Click into these posts to see which keywords are driving traffic to them, and how your post ranks in Google search for those terms.
Ideally you’d be ranking #1 for all of these keywords in order to bring in the maximum amount of organic search traffic to your top performing posts.
It can take some time to get there, but posts that aren’t ranking high yet just mean you have an opportunity to optimize them to get more search traffic and drive more conversions.
Step 3: Perform SEO Updates
Before you update the SEO for your top-performing posts, it’s a good idea to check out what your competitors are doing. To continue with the sports analogy, this is kind of like watching game footage of the team you’re about to play against. You want to figure out what they’re doing well, and then do it better.
Go to MySiteAuditor and run competitor audits on higher ranking competitor pages. Now look at those competitor page audits. How many optimized images do they have? How many backlinks? What’s the word count?
Go back to your post and maximize it by adding more optimized images, adding a new section to up your word count, spending some time on promotion to get more backlinks, or doing all three.
You should also go back to your list of related keywords and work them into your post in a natural way. But avoid content stuffing. Your ultimate goal should always be to create content that’s valuable to your audience that also performs really well for your business. Just throwing a bunch of keywords into a blog post won’t help your customers, and it won’t get you more trials.
It should go without saying, but you’ll also want to double check SEO basics like image alt tags, file names, etc. Check out this super simple SEO checklist to make sure you’re covering them all.
Now think about what other posts on your site should have internal links to this post, and add them in. Building backlinks can be time consuming, and there are no guarantees that someone else will link to you. But building internal links is a no brainer: It takes almost no time, and it’ll improve your search ranking.
Step 4: Optimize Conversion Points
It’s no use having a bunch of targeted, amazing blog content if your conversion funnel is broken. Install hotjar on your top performing posts so you can see a heat map of where people are clicking and their screen-reading patterns on your site.
Here are a few quick, and pretty universal ways you can optimize your SaaS marketing conversion funnel:
- Add a sticky header with a button for your free trial (or member signup, etc). You want people to be able to read a blog post, but always have a conversion button in their line of sight.
- Add a promotion button to the bottom of your posts. The bottom left corner is a great spot for these.
- Give away something free behind your signup wall. For example, on MySiteAuditor, we give away a free SEO contract. People who want that are the perfect target audience for the tool, so we can help them, while driving signups.
Step 5: Repeat
Go back to Google Analytics, and pick the next top-performing post on your list, and repeat these steps. Keep checking back regularly (every 90 days at the very least, and monthly is better) to see how posts are performing and ranking, and if there are additional opportunities to optimize.
Part 2: Purging poor performing content from your blog
What to do with old posts with no traffic or impressions
Once you’ve maximized your star players, you want to look for the ones who aren’t contributing much and get them to pass the ball to better players. Doing this is pretty simple and just takes a few steps.
Head back into your Google Analytics account, and look for blog posts with zero traffic and/or zero impressions. Then set up 301 redirects from those posts to new, optimized content, or to related posts you’ve already optimized.
- Send 301 redirects to the homepage
- Simply delete old posts
- Change your URLs
You never want to just straight up delete a post, or set up all of your 301 redirects to go to your home page — you’ll confuse Google, and lose any link juice you had for that content. Instead, you want to create a new, better performing post and send any future traffic going to the old post over there.
Part 3: Create Laser-Focused New Blog Content
How to create super, insanely targeted content.
Now that you’ve got your team in great shape, it’s time to draft some new players, but you’re only looking for the best of the best.
To put it simply, millions of new blog posts go live every single day. If you’re not insanely focused, you won’t stand out against all of that competition for your potential customers’ attention.
Step 1: Create a Mission for your Blog and Write to It
Having a clearly stated missions for your blog will not only help your audience decide right away if your content (and thereby your product) is right for them, it will help you create high-performing content for your blog.
Take a look at Groove’s blog mission in the image above. Only startups and SaaS businesses would care about this. They’re not going to be accidentally talking to car salesmen or chefs, and it’s super clear what the benefit to their audience is right from the start.
Once you have a mission, it’s much easier to do your keyword research and start coming up with topics that will speak to your audience and drive conversions.
There are a lot of keyword research articles and tools out there. Without going deep into those or getting really technical here, a great, free tool is Google Suggest. Just start typing into Google and see what questions/topics come up in the search bar. It will practically write your blog post titles for you.
Based on your keyword research, start coming up with a topic list. Store it in a tool like Checkli, Trello, or Google Sheets. Whatever tool you use, keep a running list for your copywriter (even if that’s you).
Never just wake up and start writing. When it’s time to work on a post, you want to already know what you’re going to write about so you can focus on optimizing your post for keywords you’ve already selected.
Step 2: Define Conversion Points for Every Post
The same methods you used to define conversion points when you were optimizing top performers can be used for new content.
- Install hotjar
- Make sure new posts have a sticky header with your free trial (signup, etc.) button
- Add in-post Call-to-Action buttons. Try out both text and graphic CTA’s in the body of your posts, as well as at the end.
- Whenever you create new content think about what content upgrades can go with it that you can use to drive trials (here’s that example from MySiteAuditor again).
Step 3: Create Content That Markets Itself
Do yourself a favor and build your marketing plan right into every single post your write with these quick tips:
- Follow SEO empire-builder, Rand Fishkin’s advice and ask, “who would amplify this and why?”
- Add ego bait by finding real-life people or adjacent startups to mention, and they just might re-share your post (I love this example).
- Make sure people can easily market the post for you with share buttons, click-to-tweet links, “Pin it” images, etc.
- Include a featured image and use an OpenGraph plug-in to have it easily shared with your content. Rich content is twice as likely to be shared.
- Create featured snippets that come up automatically when people share a link to your post (use a tool like Yoast)
- Aim to spend 3 times as much time marketing your post as you did creating it. If it takes you 6 hours to write a high-quality, optimized post, you should be spending about 18 hours marketing it. That includes creating social posts that can be scheduled throughout the year, reaching out to others who might amplify it, putting it in your email marketing, etc.
All of this work will probably mean you create content less often (once or twice a month vs. multiple times a week), and spend more time marketing it. That’s okay because one super-focused, top-performing post is going to do a lot more for you than 10 mediocre posts. So change your SaaS marketing mindset, use these tips, do the work, and bask in the new trials that will roll in as a result.