How SaaS Companies Can Create Product-Led Content

SaaS companies are perfectly positioned to create unique, actionable, and genuinely useful content.

If you run a SaaS and you're creating content that's purely informational, never mentions your product, and doesn't show your readers how your product can make their lives better in some way, it's a missed opportunity.

In this post I'll share a few thoughts on why SaaS companies have a unique opportunity with their blog content, and how you can easily take advantage of it to create awesome content.

I'll walk you through ideas for what I'll be calling product-led content. That means adding your product in highly relevant, useful spots to help your reader achieve their goals.

Fulfilling The Search Intent

Firstly, you need to fulfil the search intent if you expect to rank.

That means you have to answer the basic question someone has when they're searching for a keyword or topic.

match the search intent

For example, if someone is looking for "social media marketing tips", you know from looking at the search results that you'll need a list post to have a shot at ranking.

There are no landing pages, no 'how to use' posts, and no case studies.

Even if you create a landing page packed with product screenshots that manages to rank on page 1, it still won't perform well.

People are looking for 'tips', and if you're not providing those, they're going to bounce off your page as soon as they realize it's not what they're looking for.

You've wasted their time, and you've wasted your own time creating a page that isn't going to drive any results, or help anyone.

Integrating Your SaaS Product into Your Content

The problem with writing purely informational posts is that you're missing the opportunity to show your readers how your SaaS product can improve their lives.

I'm not saying your content needs to be a sales pitch.

The opposite, in fact.

It means you need to write content that's genuinely useful. Useful specifically because you're showing people how to fulfil their search intent with your product.

Next, I'll show you an example.

The Ahrefs Content Marketing Model

One of my favourite example of a company that does this well is Ahrefs.

They're in an insanely competitive niche - SEO. That means their content needs to be high-quality, useful, and engaging.

If it's not, it has no shot at ranking.

Their content works so well for them because it's useful, in-depth, and helps their readers complete their jobs to be done.

They do this by showing screenshots, examples, and how-to's, using their own tool.

It doesn't come across as a sales pitch, because it's genuinely useful.

For example, in this article on keyword research, they show you how to use their Top Pages report to find keyword opportunities.

ahrefs content marketing

They're doing two things here.

One, they're fulfilling the search intent.

Someone is here to learn how to do keyword research, and they're showing them the exact steps to effective keyword research. Even though they're showing off their product, it's still fulfilling that search intent.

Two, they're getting a free product pitch that helps drive someone towards their $7 trial.

They're not shy about showing off their product, either.

In some places in this post, they have step-by-step guides to completing a task with Ahrefs' tools.

showing off your SaaS in your contnet

This only works because they're still fulfilling the search intent, though.

If they were only plugging their product in unnatural, salesly ways, it wouldn't work.

Readers would bounce off the article as soon as they realized the value wasn't there.

Instead, they help someone do their job, and do it well.

The Unique Opportunity for SaaS Companies Creating Content

If Ahrefs didn't have a SaaS tool, they couldn't include their product screenshots.

Or, they'd be showing you how to do the exact same steps in a different tool.

SaaS companies have a unique opportunity with content that non-SaaS companies can't compete with, which can boost conversions and improve content relevance for readers.

If someone likes your content, and understands how your tool is going to help them do their jobs to be done more effectively it's going to be easy to convince them to sign up for a trial or subscribe to one of your plans.

Spotting Opportunities to Add Product Mentions to Your Content

So, understanding that is one thing, but actually implementing? That's another and it's where most people go wrong.

Posts either end up filled with mini sales pitches, or end up with one screenshot in a semi-relevant place, which do much.

Here's a few simple ways to find and update your existing content, or use in your new content to add product-led elements to it.

Find and Help Your Customers with Their Jobs to Be Done

The JTBD framework makes this process simple.

Let's give an example.

Pretend you run a SaaS company with a recruitment product that helps companies improve their hiring process.

Your customers' jobs to be done are things like:

  • Writing job descriptions that qualify candidates
  • Publishing job ads that get the position in front of more people
  • Quickly narrowing down the applicant pool
  • Conducting effective interviews

In your content, look for places where you mention these jobs.

For example, let's say you have a sentence like:

example content paragraph

Your next lines can then be:

finding ways to saasify your content

You can then continue with your article.

The important part is you make the product mention actionable, and useful.

We show real benefits (how to improve the job description) and the screenshot helps convey value.

In every blog post you have where you talk about job descriptions, you can include a similar short walkthrough of your product.

It adds value, helps someone with a pain point they're currently experiencing, and shows how they can alleviate that using your product.

That doesn't mean you should fill every post with these mini product walkthroughs at every spot you mention a keyword like "job descriptions".

I'd recommend focusing on the jobs you know that your customers care about most, and ensuring the point you're bringing up is related to the search query for the topic.

For example, if your post is on job descriptions, someone won't want to see your features on a new hire onboarding process.

You'll know these from conversations with customers, support requests, and marketing experiments you've ran. Focusing on these will help you maximize conversions without filling your articles with guides and screenshots of minor product features that aren't that compelling to your customer.

Identifying Opportunities for Content Uniqueness

Look for areas where you can add unique value to your content - through showing off your product - that other content creators can't compete with.

For example if you have an article on "10 Best Social Media Marketing Tips", is there a specific tip you could add that relies on someone using your product?

A SaaS company like Quuu (content curation & sharing tool) could include a tip "1. Save Five Hours Per Week Time By Automating Content Curation".

They can then show readers how to quickly set up their Quuu feed to curate posts on topics they care about. It's a product pitch, but it adds real value because their readers want to improve their social media strategy, and curation is a real pain point. Other brands can't compete with it to the same level. They could mention curation, but they can't make it as actionable.

For example, a social media tool like Buffer could include this tip in a similar list post, but because they don't help with content discovery in the same way that Quuu does, they couldn't create a tip that is as relevant or as actionable. That's not necessarily a bad thing, because Buffer has their own unique opportunities.

Avoid Product Fatigue

It’s fun to mention your product, but remember that your reader is still there for information.

Don’t overwhelm your reader with screenshots and product mentions.

Balance information with action, and you’ll be able to answer the search query for people who are there for a simple question, but show anyone looking for more detail how they can achieve their goals with your SaaS.

Show them that you're the expert on the topic they're interested in who can provide accurate and up-to-date information. Then, show them actionable steps to completing their JTBD using your tool.

Create Content That Helps Your Reader

Finally, it's worth mentioning that you should always balance product and information in your content.

The goal of your content should be to help your reader find the answers they were looking for. If you product is part of that journey, you should mention it.

If it's not, you shouldn't.

Not all articles are going to be a great fit to highlight key features of your product, particularly if you already have a back catalog of content and are creating mostly top of funnel, awareness-focused content.