• Sarabeth Flowers Lewis

SEO for SaaS: A Content Marketing Guide for Austin Startups

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

SEO for SaaS: A Content Marketing Guide for Austin Startups

Photo by Phil Desforges

Content marketing is a highly effective marketing strategy for many SaaS companies. Per dollar spent, content marketing garners 3x as many leads as traditional marketing.

So why don’t more tech companies jump in?

For many small SaaS startups and tech companies, content marketing can feel annoying and labor-intensive. It’s difficult to start from scratch.
Often, everybody in the company already wears too many hats. For teams that are mainly comprised of engineers, marketing can be a puzzle that is hard to crack because of time or money — or both.

We created this guide to help time-strapped startups build a fast and effective content marketing strategy. By the end of this article, you should have some actionable ideas for how to make the leap into SEO-friendly content marketing for your business.

Why does Content Marketing Work?

If you’re part of a tech startup or lifestyle business, chances are you’ve heard some talk about content marketing.

In the past, typical advertising methods centered around invasive messages that interrupted the life of readers and viewers. Today, people simply tune out the thousands of advertising messages they see every day. Flashy colors, overused hyperboles, and shallow messaging don’t work like they used to.

What does seem work in the digital space, however, is inbound marketing.

Contemporary inbound methods like content marketing seek to provide search engine users with helpful information and solutions to their problems. Through instruction, entertainment, and clarification, businesses can market their service simply by being helpful.

Google’s search algorithms are designed to prioritize authoritative articles over irrelevant (or lackluster) ones. When someone needs specific information, it’s Google’s stated intention to match the user with the best possible information.

Content marketing works because your business becomes the publisher of a given solution. You create things people actually care about and in return, Google sends searchers to you.

Jumpstart Your Content Marketing for SaaS

1. Choose Your Platform

Start with the most basic option: Set up a blog. As Kaleigh Moore says, “Small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without.”

You have two options: Use an existing blogging platform like Medium or integrate a blog into your current website.

In our opinion, this shouldn’t be a decision at all. If you’re putting in the time and energy to optimize for keywords, then you should build out your own blog platform.

Websites like Medium or blogging on LinkedIn are great for easy Likes and sharing, but at the end of the day you’re helping to perpetuate the reach of their platforms instead of your own website.

You want to own the canonical link for the original content. So be sure to publish on your own blog first, then consider secondary publishing options like LinkedIn.

Content marketing is a strategy for teams willing to play the long game. Results do not tend to occur overnight. But with every blog your team writes, you improve your authority and search ranking.

Once you have a blog in place, it’s time to decide what you’ll publish.

2. Build a Shared Calendar

Regular content production is hard work. Writing requires a lot of creativity. That’s why it’s best to decide what to write before you sit down to take on the blank doc.

First, get your team together to brainstorm topics for great content.

Have a team meeting. Tell people what you're doing and designate someone to take notes. Here are some questions to ask to get strong blog topics from your team:

  1. What are common questions you receive from customers?

  2. What is something controversial or taboo in your field?

  3. What is your favorite geeky topic in your field?

  4. What are you an expert in?

  5. What is an idea that is taken for granted in your field that you see differently/disagree with?

  6. What is an important aspect of your field that is frequently overlooked or done poorly?

  7. Is there a topic related to our business that is trending right now that we can weigh in on?

  8. What bad practices or intentionally misleading things do you see in your field?

  9. What is a resource you wished we had when we started that we have since built for ourselves in-house? Can we share it?

  10. Is there anything related to company events such as parties, remote work opportunities, volunteering, or initiatives that we could write about?

  11. Is there anything related to increasing productivity, success rates, or sales?

Organization is indispensable at this point. Getting everyone on the same page about topics, deadlines, and keywords requires a shared platform. We HIGHLY recommend using Google Sheets to create a Content Calendar:

You can create as many category columns as you find useful. If more than one person will be writing blogs for your company, you can even have a column that designates who will write each post.

3. (Fast) Keyword Research

There are many articles about keyword best practices. For the lean team that doesn’t have time to immediately learn those best practices, here are a few easy ways to know what people are googling about.

These tricks aren’t comprehensive keyword research solutions. They will not provide the same results as using an SEO expert or paid software service, but they are useful for the lean team looking for pointers.

Determine long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are phrases of 3-5 words that people commonly type into Google. The “long-tail” means that the phrase has some greater level of specificity than another search. For example: If I Google “copywriting”, I will receive much more generic information than if I Google “luxury copywriting service in Austin.”

Start by Googling words and topics in your industry. This will tell you several things.

First, you’ll see the level of commercial power the keyword holds. If there are ads at the top of your search, that’s a good sign. It tells you that paying customers probably search those exact words (or else the company wouldn’t use the time and money needed to create the ad).

simple keyword practices

Next, scroll to the bottom of the Google search results. You may see a list of suggested search alternatives. This list is gold. I recommend copying some of these search terms and pasting them into different lines of your Topics section in the Content Calendar.

Also, you can click any of those terms to initiate another Google search, so you can repeat the last two points with these related search terms.