We’re going to be going over how you can not only drive more traffic, but influence and generate more sales with your content marketing efforts for your software business.

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Companies with Awesome Content Marketing Initiatives

So, before we dive into the tips here, I want to go over some companies I’ve seen that have really nailed it when it comes to using content marketing to grow their business. You know, increase trials, get more demos, really get those paying customers in the door. 

Canva

So the first one here is Canva. Canva has really nailed their content marketing efforts using a product integrated approach where they’re really integrating their product into their content marketing efforts that are now being then surfaced in Google.

For instance, if you search for something like a ‘birthday card template’ or ‘corporate presentation template’, more than likely you’ll see one of Canva’s templates surface there.  

From there, not only are they reaching a new audience, but they’re making it really easy for people to go in and actually sign up for a free account and use the template.

Ahrefs

Another company I want to go over is Ahrefs. At a high level, they are an SEO tool used widely by the SEO industry, and they’ve really nailed their content marketing when it comes to integrating their product into the solution that they’re writing about. 

For instance, they may have this blog here that, you know, goes in depth into a solution that you can solve with an Excel or notepad, but they also detail how you can solve this problem using their software in a much more quick and efficient manner than some of the other tools that are free out there.

I think this is such a great approach as you satisfy the person’s need for looking to solve a problem with tools they have available to them. But you’re also showcasing your software and how it can really level up that person’s experience when it comes to that specific problem that they’re running into.

DealHub

The last company I want to go over here for inspiration is DealHub. So, DealHub has taken a really traditional approach to just nailing content marketing. They’ve done this extremely well by producing very high quality content while also producing a lot of it at the same time. They’ve been able to really scale their content marketing efforts quickly by simply producing articles that are better than the rest.

They focus on taking a high quality approach to the information that is put out. It relates directly back to their product and feature set of their software company. And so it plays a really nice role in driving that increased traffic, building that brand awareness,  and writing about problems that directly correlate with their software.

Tip #1: Quality Over Quantity

The first tip I want to dive into is planning for quality over quantity.

These days with all these AI tools out there, it’s really easy just to pump out tens of hundreds of mediocre content pieces. That is really not what’s going to set you apart, help you influence sales, and drive revenue for your business. If you’re dealing with any sort of sophisticated buyer, they’re going to see right through all this AI writing, and they’re going to know that you’re not actually putting out quality content.

Define Content Output

They’ll see through that and they’ll go back and look for alternatives So, the first step here is to really define how many pieces of content could you put out per month that’s going to meet a high quality standard that your target audience is really going to actually resonate with and want to read more of.

This may look like producing one piece of content or two pieces of content a month. 

Simply, if you only have time to write or develop content, once or twice a month, then stick to that schedule until you have more budget and time to expand on that.

Define Content Standards

You’ll also want to define your content standards.

If you already have a brand guideline in place, this will follow quite closely to that, but you’ll want to document: 

  • What kind of tone do you want to come across with?
  • How do you want to look at your perceived target audience?
  • How much value per article or video will you be giving?
  • Will you be using a lot of multimedia?
  • Will you be inserting quotes from executives?
  • Will you be using a lot of pictures or GIFs?

Understand the kind of standards you want to have for your content. And work that into your content quality plan in terms of how much you’re going to publish and what does it look like when you publish something.

That way you have a baseline for understanding when you’re ready to publish because you’ll never hit that mark of perfection.

Keep Your Marketing Team Members Top of Mind

Also keep your team in mind for this, too. If you’re working with a marketing team, let’s say you’re a marketing manager or director, yourself, understand their current capacity for taking on new content marketing initiatives. So, your team isn’t overworked. 

The average time to write a blog post is 5 to 6 hours, according to several answers on Reddit.

Tip #2: Be Consistent With Your Content Output

Be consistent with your content marketing efforts. 

I see this backfire all the time with companies. 

They get super excited after reading an article about how content marketing can really help their business, only to go and produce maybe two, three pieces of content over the next couple months and then stop.

That really, I see is the killer,  to some momentum when it comes to content marketing, especially with search engine optimization (SEO). It’s really important that you focus on generating traffic that can influence these sales, but it can take several months.

I typically tell my clients anywhere from the six to 12 months time frame is when we’re going to be seeing solid results for these kinds of marketing efforts.

You need time in order to properly implement good content marketing. 

Need to Test Content Types and Formats

Another area where you need consistency is you need room to test. 

You’ll probably have different content marketing ideas, different formats you want to put out there, and you need to test. You need to see what’s going to resonate with your target audience.

Every company and target audience is unique in terms of how you’re positioning yourself, what you’re selling, and how you’re going to market. So it’s important that you leave room to test. There is no a hundred percent guarantee on things, that’s why it’s important.

While content marketing is a strong marketing initiative, you need to have the flexibility to try different content types or try different content formats in order to see what really works. You also need to develop a wide range of different content marketing initiatives. 

A great example I love to use is a company called 7shifts.

We worked quite closely with their content marketing initiatives to really make this happen. 

What this looks like is developing things like templates, guides, digital PR initiatives, video, etc. 

So you can see here there’s a diverse range of content that we implemented and this really all helped drive traffic and influence sales for the company.

Tip #3 Finding Content Ideas that Relates to Sales

Next is finding content ideas that can really drive and relate to sales. 

There are two ways to go about this. 

  1. The first is to really dive into the business information and the internal information you have at hand. 
  2. Online Research.

Talk to Sales

First, you’ll want to dive into some sales calls. 

  • How are people coming into the sales cycle?
  • What types of information or questions are they asking about in the beginning? 
  • How have they been referred to the business initially? 
  • What kind of problems are they running into that they are looking for your solution for? 

You’ll want to understand all these areas to see if these kinds of topics and ideas could be content marketing initiatives. Ultimately, to drive people through the sales cycle, without someone actually being in the hot seat to drive the sale.

Talk to Partnerships & Integration Teams

Another piece of this is sitting down with your partners and integrations team and really understanding the nuances of the integrations for your specific business. 

Now, in some software businesses, the integrations can really make or break the sale depending on your market. It’s going to be really important to sit down with your partners and integrations team and understand how are potential referrals coming in from partners, like:

  • What feature sets or use cases are they looking for when they come in from different integrations?
  • How integral is it that a referral comes in from a specific integration or that we can integrate with them in the end? 

Understanding these types of nuances, you’ll be able to work these integrations and partnerships into your content marketing efforts. So they really resonate with your target market.

Example: Zapier’s Growth With Integrations and Programmatic

Zapier has done this really well. They have built out their partners and integrations into programmatic SEO for SaaS,  and huge content marketing efforts have gone behind this to really go out there, find people that are searching for those types of integrations, bring them in, and, onboard to Zapier.

Dive into Target Market Research

Lastly, on the business info, you’re going to want to dive into any target market research or surveys or market research that your company has done. 

Ideally your company may have employed a third party firm or have done this themselves, but there should be a living or working document that details these target consumer profiles. 

Once you’re able to understand the direct pain points and solutions that the target market is looking for, you can work that information in and build out content that is really either:

  • Bottlenecking people;
  • Where people are facing objections;
  • Where they need that extra information to really move them through the sales cycle.

With any client I’m working with, we’re putting together a content marketing plan, I’m gathering ideas from all parts of the internet. I really dive into the data from all angles I can pull together.

Tip #4 Product Led Content Marketing

The next area here is focusing on product led content marketing initiatives. 

Now, this goes right back into some of the first examples we reviewed with Ahrefs, Canva, and DealHub.

These are all great examples of how companies have worked their product into their content marketing initiatives. That way, they’re able to capitalize on search results, and they are able to showcase their product in a way that really entices someone to sign up for a free account, book a demo, or, you know, pay for that subscription and sign up to begin using that tool right away.

This could be really tiny pieces of your actual value proposition and software, but it could be the solution that is the real hook when it comes to bringing people in. Typically with software, you’ll have, your software will have a suite of features,  and there’ll be a few of those features that are really the hook for getting people interested and driving them into a trial or the full product experience.

Tip #5 Produce Middle Funnel Content

It’s time to take those other content ideas and potential product-led initiatives and build it out into MoFu content. This is middle of the funnel content.

And this is where I see some of the steepest results in terms of being able to generate the most amount of traffic while being also simultaneously able to influence the most amount of sales.

Middle funnel content is kind of the sweet spot I love to produce with my clients because it allows you to position yourself as a thought leader. While also showing that you have a solution to a specific problem that someone is searching for without coming off too salesy.

Now go back to the drawing board, go over all those ideas you got from sales, go over all those ideas you got from Reddit, competitor research, keyword analysis, and see where you can map the solution of your product and software to those specific use cases and problems that people are Googling.

Tip #6 Need to Get Views

Next is you need to get views. 

You need eyeballs on this content. 

We’re not just writing content for the sake of writing content. 

The whole idea of using content marketing to really help your software business is to have a channel where that content can get in front of people and reach your target audience.

Content Marketing Results for a Client of Mine

List out Where Your Target Audience Lives Onlines

The first step you want to do here is make a list of all the websites or online areas that you could post that your target market lives in.

So for instance, if you’re selling a software to an extremely young demographic, I highly recommend looking at how you can work in TikTok or YouTube into your content marketing initiatives to really meet your target audience where they’re at.

If you’re looking to address a more older demographic, this may look like traditional SEO and content marketing where you’re producing research and articles for your website. Ultimately, where you’re driving people to that website through Google.

I want you to think about how you can utilize this content to reach people where they’re at. 

Maybe you’re taking a two pronged approach where you’re publishing articles on your website to generate traffic to your website. But you’re also repurposing this content that you’ve spent so much time and effort on onto LinkedIn, where you know your target customers are and where you can reach them additionally, too.

Tip #7 Measure, Analyze, and Adjust

Now you’re going to want to measure, measure, measure, analyze, and adjust!

I see this time and time again where companies have such a great intention of producing quality content, finding that vertical where they can publish to reach their target audience, only to never go back and see how it’s performing.

You want to put in place, whether that’s, Google analytics, another tracking spreadsheet or program, and see what is really driving the results of your content marketing initiatives. For instance, if you’re publishing all this content and you’re not ranking on Google and you’re not driving traffic to those content pieces, we’ll want to measure and adjust. Potentially reprioritize the SEO initiatives, in order to capitalize on that search traffic. 

It’s really important to produce high quality stuff, put it out there on your preferred medium, and measure to see what we can do to generate more influence and more views for that piece of content.

Measuring SEO Results

When you’re measuring the success of your content there are a few things you need to look at from an SEO standpoint. 

  1. How high in the Google search results are you ranking for that? 
  2. How much traffic is that bringing in? 
  3. And then ultimately, how is that traffic converting in terms of events to your website?

Whether that’s another read on another article, a click to the pricing page, or a full conversion altogether. You’re going to want to track this all. 

Look at Both First Click and Last Click Attribution

Consider tracking both the last click and first click attribution.

But I highly recommend viewing it from two points of view,so you’re able to measure the content in a much more effective way to see how it is really impacting the business. 

For instance, if you’re getting a lot of first click attribution, in terms of people coming to read the article, then they may bounce, and come back through another avenue to your business.

Using a piece of content that’s driving a lot of first click attribution can be great for other marketing initiatives like display campaigns, Google ads, paid social, etc. 

However, if you’re driving a lot of last click attribution with a piece of content, let’s say you’re actually driving trials, demos, and, you know, paid sign ups from a piece of content that you’ve put out, this could be a really great initiative for you to repurpose this content into a webinar.

The world’s your oyster when you’re able to measure, analyze, and properly see what you can do with the content outside of where it’s just living now.

Measure From a Sales Standpoint

I also want you to consider measuring it from a sales standpoint. 

This is where you’re really able to actually See if this is driving sales for the business. 

The first thing you want to do here is once you’ve published that product led content initiative or that mid funnel content initiative, and you brought in a demo or someone signed up for a trial, I want you to follow that through the sales cycle.

So for instance, if someone booked a demo through your piece of content, 

  • How far did they actually get through the sales cycle?
  • Did they complete the sales cycle?
  • Have they become a paying customer?
  • Did they drop off even before that demo call?

It’s going to be really important to, to analyze this, to see if there’s other areas or pieces of information you need to include in that content in order for you to help them overcome maybe some of those challenges they’re running into.

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