Running a successful content marketing agency like RTP Content Solution for over five years has provided us with valuable insights into the needs and expectations of SaaS companies. Through numerous conversations with SaaS clients and industry experts, we have gained a deep understanding of what works and what doesn't in the realm of content marketing for software-as-a-service (SaaS) businesses. In this article, we aim to distill those findings into a comprehensive guide for evaluating SaaS content marketing agencies effectively.
Factor #1: Defining Your Content Marketing Goals
The first and most crucial factor when considering a content marketing agency for your SaaS business is clarifying your goals. What do you hope to achieve through content marketing: increased website traffic, a growing email newsletter, or more product signups? It's essential to align your goals with the agency's content strategy.
In our experience, we've noticed a misalignment between SaaS companies' objectives and the typical focus of content agencies. Most SaaS firms prioritize product signups, while many content agencies concentrate on growing website traffic and newsletter subscriptions. This divergence often leads to dissatisfaction.
So, the first step in your evaluation process should be to determine your primary goal. If your priority is customer acquisition through product signups, ensure the agency's strategy is optimized for this outcome. Ask them explicitly:
- Is your content strategy designed to drive trial and demo signups?
- How does your process work to achieve this goal?
- Can you provide examples of successful campaigns that resulted in product signups?
Remember to ask pointed questions to gauge their ability to deliver what you need. If an agency cannot clearly demonstrate how its strategy aligns with your goal, it may not be the right fit.
Factor #2: Demonstrating Domain Expertise Through Content
Regardless of your content marketing goal, it's vital that the agency can convey domain expertise effectively while maintaining a native brand feel. This is especially critical for B2B SaaS companies targeting an audience of industry experts who need to be communicated with at an expert level. If you don't speak to them at their level, you risk reputational damage and turning off potential customers.
Furthermore, if you choose to optimize your strategy for trial and demo signups, the topics you'll write on will be very product-centric. This means whoever is writing your content will need in-depth knowledge of your product's features, the nuanced pain points that they solve for customers, and the ways in which your product is differentiated from competitors.
Most outside agencies or freelance writers will not have this product and domain expertise and therefore need to have a process for getting this information out of the minds of the experts at your company and expressing it through your content.
However, what we've seen in the market is that many agencies and freelancers end up doing what we call "Google research papers." Like a high school student doing a research paper, they Google around the topic they were given and regurgitate what everyone else is saying on a given topic.
This produces undifferentiated content that lacks product and domain expertise. So, when evaluating agencies, make sure you ask them:
- What is your process for conveying our value propositions in a way that aligns with our brand?
- How do you acquire the necessary knowledge about our product?
- Is it a one-time interview, or do you conduct ongoing discussions with our experts?
An agency that employs in-depth interviews with your team to extract domain expertise is more likely to produce high-quality, tailored content.
Factor #3: Content Promotion Strategies
Effective content marketing extends beyond writing; promotion is equally crucial. Content promotion drives traffic to your articles, making it a key component of a successful content marketing strategy. Thus, it's essential to understand what a content agency offers in terms of promotion.
Does the agency include content promotion in its services, or is it a separate offering? What exactly does their promotion strategy entail? For example:
- Do they merely share your content on your social media channels, something you could do yourself?
- Do they rely solely on SEO, and if so, how do they drive traffic while waiting for content to rank?
Ensure the agency's promotion strategy aligns with your goals and addresses both short-term and long-term traffic generation. It's essential to discuss this aspect thoroughly to determine your role in driving traffic to your articles.
Avoiding Keyword Sprinkling
One common issue in the world of SaaS SEO agencies is what we call "keyword sprinkling." Some agencies create so-called "SEO" articles by haphazardly inserting keywords throughout the content. Ranking for valuable keywords requires a more strategic approach.
If an agency emphasizes SEO, inquire about their keyword research process, how they select target keywords, and their strategy for optimizing content to rank for specific keywords. Ask for examples of articles they've written that rank well on search engines.
A reliable agency will be able to provide detailed answers and demonstrate its ability to achieve results for clients through effective SEO practices.
Factor #4: Demonstrated Effectiveness Through Case Studies
When evaluating content marketing agencies, seek evidence of their effectiveness. Many agencies offer theoretical advice and testimonials without substantial data to back their claims. Look for agencies that publish detailed case studies showcasing their work and explaining how they achieved specific results.
Consider the following questions when reviewing agency case studies:
- How many articles did it take to achieve a certain result?
- Did one article significantly contribute to the outcome, or was it a combination of efforts?
- What keywords did they target, and why?
- How long did it take to achieve rankings?
- Did they engage in link-building activities?
- What didn't work in their strategy?
Transparency in case studies indicates a commitment to accountability and a willingness to share their strategies and outcomes with potential clients. The more detailed the case studies, the more reliable the agency's claims become.
A Closer Look at How We Address These Factors
At RTP Content Solution, we've carefully addressed each of these factors to deliver effective SaaS content marketing strategies:
Factor #1: Goal Alignment
We've optimized our content strategy to focus on driving trial and demo signups because we understand that most SaaS companies ultimately want to see a return on investment (ROI) from their content efforts. Our approach differs significantly from agencies that prioritize traffic and email signups.
Factor #2: Domain Expertise
Our interview-based writing process ensures that we capture domain expertise directly from experts within your organization. This approach allows us to create content that not only resonates with your target audience but also conveys your product's unique value effectively.
Factor #3: Comprehensive Content Promotion
We employ a two-pronged content promotion strategy. In the short term, we use paid advertising and PPC marketing campaigns to drive immediate traffic. In the long term, we implement manual link-building strategies to boost rankings. Our comprehensive approach ensures consistent and sustainable organic traffic growth.
Factor #4: Detailed Case Studies
We take pride in our detailed case studies, which demonstrate the effectiveness of our content marketing strategy. These case studies provide insights into our work, including the number of articles required, keyword targeting, timeline for results, and more.
Should You Hire an Agency or Build an In-House Team?
While evaluating content marketing agencies, you might also consider whether to hire an in-house content marketer or team. This decision often hinges on factors such as expertise, speed of implementation, and the scope of services required.
Hiring an in-house content marketer may provide a deeper understanding of your product and brand. However, it can be a slower process to get up and running, and you may need multiple individuals to cover all aspects of content marketing effectively.
Working with an agency can offer advantages like faster implementation, access to a team with diverse skills, and expertise in specialized content strategies. Agencies like ours are equipped to deliver results quickly, often with multiple experts collaborating on your project.
Other SaaS Content Marketing Agencies to Consider
In addition to RTP Content Solution, here are four other content marketing agencies that have garnered attention in the SaaS industry:
- Animalz: This agency provides content marketing services to both enterprises and startups, with a focus on SEO consulting, brand awareness, lead generation, and more. They have worked with notable companies like Google and Amazon.
- Siege Media: Siege Media is an SEO-focused content marketing agency that boasts a portfolio of clients such as Zillow, Shutterfly, and TripAdvisor. They specialize in creating content that generates significant traffic value.
- Optimist: Optimist specializes in content marketing for startups and growth-stage businesses, particularly product-led companies. Their services are tailored to startup content marketing, SaaS content marketing, and B2B content marketing.
- Codeless: Codeless offers a range of SEO, content, and PR services and has worked with clients like Monday, Zapier, and ActiveCampaign.
While these agencies have been mentioned in the industry, it's essential to evaluate them against the four key factors discussed earlier to determine if they align with your specific content marketing goals.
Choosing the perfect content marketing agency for your SaaS venture is an imperative choice, one that wields the potential to shape the trajectory of your growth and overall success. Thoughtfully assessing crucial factors such as goal alignment, domain expertise, content promotion, and the depth of proven case studies allows you to embark on this journey armed with knowledge.
At RTP Content Solution, we understand the unique demands of SaaS content marketing. We are committed to delivering tailored solutions that not only align with your goals but also amplify your reach in the digital landscape. Whether you're considering partnering with an agency or contemplating the creation of an in-house team, we are here to guide you.
Take the first step toward content marketing excellence today. Contact RTP Content Solution to explore how our expertise can be the catalyst for your SaaS content marketing success. Your journey to becoming a thought leader in your industry starts here.