What is Account-Based Customer Marketing?

If you aren’t using Account-Based Customer Marketing, you should be. Hear from Leslie Barrett of CMA Soulmate on what it is, how it works, and why you need to use it.

Interview with Leslie Barrett of CMA Soulmate

ABM—account-based marketing—is probably more than familiar to you. But what about ABCM? Account-based customer marketing is all about strengthening customer relationships and boosting customer growth and retention through tailored and targeted post-sale strategies.

In my recent interview with Leslie Barrett, the brains behind CMA Soulmate Consulting and author of Unlock Growth with ABCM, we discussed the importance of personalization when targeting customers, especially those that have moved into the post-sell phase. That’s where account-based customer marketing can transform customer engagement efforts.

Keep reading to find out how Leslie built her brand and launched a career as a Customer Marketing and Advocacy professional. Leslie also introduces us to the world of account-based customer marketing, provides insights into the value of personalization, outlines how to overcome some of the critical challenges to creating great account-based customer marketing. 

Leslie Barrett interview

Name: Leslie Barrett
Job title and company: Founder, CMA Soulmate Consulting; Board Advisor, UserEvidence
Previous companies: EVERFI, Engagio, Marketo, Sendoso
Hometown: San Francisco, California, USA


Fun facts about Leslie Barrett:

⛱️ Vacation you’re dreaming about: Everyday I think about St. John (Caribbean) 
📺 The show you’re binging right now: Succession
🎵 Your favorite musician/band is: Prince
☕ Tea, coffee, or something else?: Coffee Coffee Coffee
⚡If you could have one superpower, it would be: I would say to fly but I don’t want to fly alone so let’s go with making food appear on command.

Please introduce yourself.

Leslie Barrett: Hi, I’m Leslie Barrett, Founder of CMA Soulmate Consulting. Before that, I was Senior Director of Customer Marketing and Evangelism at Sendoso for about 5 years.

How did the role at Sendoso help you create your personal brand?

Leslie Barrett: After about 3 years with Sendoso I won an influencer award, which I thought was really cool. To announce it, I made a funny TikTok which was very well received. And so I decided to make more—and people loved them. Then I did Brand30, which is a cohort of folks who post on LinkedIn for 30 days; you have to come up with content for 30 days straight.

At Day 17, I almost gave up because ‘Saturday and Sunday content? No thank you.‘ But I stuck with it, and it was an amazing journey. I learned what people like and what people don’t care about and what should be on LinkedIn and what shouldn’t. It shocked me that what resonated the most with people were personal stories. I wanted to go further on that journey.

I had to decide what to call myself. I was a customer marketer marketing to marketers, and I felt like I knew the people I was working with inside and out, and what they were thinking. So I thought CMA Soulmate, that’ll be a placeholder. But it stuck! I went all in and created the CMA Soulmate newsletter, and then courses, and then ebooks. It’s been a great ride.

What’s the motivation behind CMA Soulmate? It must be a ton of work.

Leslie Barrett: Everybody said they didn’t understand how I did my full-time job and then all this extra stuff for CMA Soulmate. And I always said the same thing: I think you underestimate how obsessive I am with something.

I’m really fascinated with building a relationship with your authentic self. That kind of content just pours out of me. I am not corporate at all. I just got off a phone call with a customer and, we’re just like, ‘tell me your fertility schedule.’ We rarely talk about work—I build relationships with a non-filtered version of myself.

Tell me about your ebook Unlock Growth with ABCM. First, what the heck is ACBM?

[Download Leslie’s ebook: Unlock Growth with ABCM]

Leslie Barrett: ABCM is Account-Based Customer Marketing. So ABM, account-based marketing, is a strategic initiative to help companies reach business goals by better targeting who you’re bringing into the pipeline. ABCM takes the ABM practices but personalizes efforts for your existing customers.

If you target post-sale customers with an ABM strategy, you’re acting like you don’t even know anything about these people—but they’re your customers, you already know so much about them. You can do things differently.

Who is the ebook for?

Leslie Barrett: Account-based customer marketing is about retention, so the ebook is for customer marketers or ABM managers, but it’s for the CMOs too, to understand what it takes to develop a retention program and how to leverage customer marketers to run these types of programs. And to educate them on post-sale—because CMOs are typically really focused on pipeline.

I believe personalization is incredibly important right now. Think about the B2C world. You have a conversation about a pillow, and then the pillow shows up on your webpage. People are starting to expect B2B companies to be just as personalized. Give them content when they need that content. Talk to them. You’re actually talking to your customer on the webpage and you know exactly what their use case is and exactly what their industry is. It’s the future.

In your ebook you mention that content is the key to successful ABCM. Can you elaborate on what post-sell content encompasses?

Leslie Barrett: First, it’s important to remember that an ABCM strategy is about personalization and so, by definition, cannot be one-size-fits-all. I’ve developed a variation of the ITSMA pyramid

Account-based marketing pyramid from ITSMA

Source: ITSMA

My ABCM pyramid represents a tiered approach: as you move up the pyramid, your efforts become more targeted and more personalized as investment and potential ROI also increase.

Account-based customer marketing pyramid

Source: CMA Soulmate

Here’s how the account-based customer marketing pyramid works:

  • At the bottom is a 1-to-many approach; you’re grouping accounts based on similar needs or challenges. 
  • In the middle is the 1-to-few strategy, which delivers messages tailored to a small group of accounts with a similar business need, getting a little more targeted. 
  • And then at the top is the 1-to-1 strategy, which can be scary because it takes a lot of resources, but can also be extremely rewarding because these are your white-glove accounts that you want to make feel special, and everything is prepping them for the renewal and for upsell opportunities.

What advice do you have for someone who’s just dipping their toes into ABCM for the first time?

Leslie Barrett: Download the ebook. The last chapter is a playbook; it gives you a way to get started. If you have an advocacy program, pick some of your advocates to target, select one of those plays and get started.

Or you can use the Pareto principle. The Pareto principle states that for many outcomes, roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes. In this case, identify the 20% of your key business accounts that are responsible for 80% of your business success. That’s one way to segment and I think starting with those 20% would be a good pilot program and bring some really good results.

What are the top 3 challenges of ABCM content—and how do you overcome them?

Leslie Barrett: To create ABCM content you have to change the way you think about the customer journey. Many of us are used to the pre-sale customer journey: the top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel. But I’m talking about the encompassing customer journey, post-sale. That’s where you start.

Here are the top 3 challenges of account-based customer marketing content:

#1 Delivering a personalized experience through content

Focus on the complete experience that a customer has with your organization, encompassing all interactions across all channels. You may need a spreadsheet or map to really see all the different touchpoints.

The content really needs to be personalized to where they are in that journey. For example, early-stage content might focus on onboarding and adoption, and then later-stage content may focus on reiterating the benefits of your products or services. And then you have to get creative and determine how to deliver that message. What channel or format should you use?  

#2: Knowing how to choose target accounts 

This can be totally overwhelming. You can slice and dice and segment your customers in so many ways!  The process will involve analyzing account data—but expand your segmentation factors beyond size and financial health. Look at engagement habits, behavior, demographics, geography and other divisions to help you personalize content.

Begin with your advocates. At Sendoso, I had top senders and spenders; they love the platform and are quick adopters. Upsell or cross-sell opportunities are targeted first toward them because they’re most likely to take a meeting.

#3. Knowing what content to use

First, do an audit of the content that you have and see if can be tweaked slightly. Focus on content that is based on analytics—if you’re tracking what content is being consumed, then that’s the place to dig into to see what really resonated with the audience.

Thanks for spending time with us!

Thanks to Leslie for introducing me to the power of ABCM—and thank you, reader, for spending part of your day with us. I hope enjoyed my interview with Leslie as much as I did. 

Here’s how you can connect with Leslie:

Want to read more about customer marketing? 

Check out these related Uplift blog posts: 

P.S. Want more customer marketing insights?

If you’d like access to more customer marketing insights like this, sign up for our newsletter to catch all of our interviews with customer marketing leaders. 

No spam, we promise—just two value-packed newsletters about customer marketing and case studies every second Monday. 

Plus, if you’re also interested in content marketing, you can opt-in to receive two more monthly newsletters on alternating Mondays where we chat with leading content marketers.

And just in case you missed it, check out our 2024 Customer Story Trends & Insights Report, where we surveyed 115 customer marketers to gather their insights and experiences with customer stories.

Here’s a preview:

How to Write a White Paper in 10 Steps [Plus 5 Examples]

Learning how to write a white paper is a crucial skill for SaaS marketers. Why? Because a white paper is one of the best ways to demonstrate your expertise while providing useful information to prospective clients. See our 10 steps plus 5 examples.

Updated September 2023: Learning how to write a white paper is a crucial skill for SaaS marketers. Why? Because a white paper is one of the best ways to demonstrate your expertise while providing useful information to prospective clients. It’s also a great marketing tool for generating leads and nurturing them into customers. 

That’s why almost two-thirds of B2B marketers used white papers last year in their marketing mix. White papers also ranked fourth in terms of content that gave content marketers the best results, after in-person events, virtual events and webinars, and research reports. 

Because white papers are so important for lead generation, it’s important to understand how to write a white paper that gets results. In this post, we cover every step of the white paper writing process—from identifying your audience to writing and distributing the white paper for maximum leads. 

What is a white paper?

A white paper is a lead magnet that covers a particular topic in depth. The goal is to create a content asset that educates your target audience and helps them understand and solve an issue that they’re having. The content needs to be valuable enough that your target audience is willing to trade you their email address for the information. 

Some people are confused about what a white paper is. If you look up “white paper definition,” here’s the general flavor of what you’ll see: 

Hubspot says, “A white paper is a persuasive, authoritative, in-depth report on a specific topic that presents a problem and provides a solution.” CoSchedule adds to the white paper definition with, “It’s a document that helps you establish topical authority and share original insights, data and expertise.” 

If lead generation is a priority for your SaaS company, then it’s likely that white papers are already part of your content strategy. They go beyond surface-level content, offering valuable solutions to specific industry challenges backed by independent research. And because white papers tend to have a higher perceived value than other content assets, they can be powerful lead magnets, incentivizing potential customers to share their contact details. 

When learning how to write a white paper that drives leads, you first need to be clear on your goals. And while the goal of white papers is often to nudge your target audience towards your product, they’re NOT a sales pitch. Instead, they focus on solving the reader’s problem by providing clear and useful information, unique insights and perspectives, and measurable data. 

Ultimately, a good white paper should: 

  • Identify and validate the problem that needs to be solved 
  • Impartially highlight ways to solve the problem 
  • Pitch your SaaS product as a way to solve the problem 

3 things that make a good white paper

White paper vs. ebook: Which one should you choose?

White paper vs ebook: Which one should you choose?

Before you figure out how to write a white paper that drives sales, do you know if a white paper is the right choice? Maybe you’re debating whether you should write a white paper vs ebook. White papers are research-heavy reports that position your company as a thought leader in the industry. They provide new or unique information on a specific problem and solution. 

White papers also tend to dive deep into a narrowly defined topic and use evidence-based research to support the ideas and arguments. Most white papers are led by text and supplemented by diagrams or graphs for greater comprehension. 

eBooks also have the goal of educating their audience, except that they’re often written in a more casual tone and include more design elements and white space. This delivers more digestible chunks of content for a lighter read. 

eBooks are created with both eye-catching graphics and easy-to-read text so prospects can read and understand them easily. 

So which is right for you? 

Whether you choose a white paper or an ebook depends on your specific goals. eBooks may be better for providing general “how-to” information or getting people excited about the topic with a brief intro, while white papers are better suited for providing technical and detailed analysis on a specific topic. 

Read our post: White Paper vs eBook: Which One Should You Create?

Importance of white papers for SaaS

Rarely are B2B buyers ready to purchase after reading a single blog post or watching a product explainer video. This is especially true for enterprise clients. They need to build trust with your brand and understand how your solution will help solve their particular pain point. 

White papers rank among the top content formats for B2B buyers, especially in the early and middle stages of the funnel, according to the 2023 Demand Gen Report.

When researching a solution, buyers gravitate to white papers because they want to validate the legitimacy of a solution through use cases and analytical data. White papers help develop thought leadership and move prospects through the sales funnel. 

White papers are also highly shareable. Content packed with quick-hitting facts and shareable stats are the number one driver for sharing content. When passed along to the C-suite, white papers can help influence stakeholders on the purchasing team. 

8 types of white papers

In SaaS marketing, 8 types of white papers exist. Some serve as how-to guides providing step-by-step instructions, while others function as industry reports that deliver valuable insights and in-depth analysis. When learning how to write a white paper that drives leads, choose which type of white paper to use based on your goals and objectives for the asset.

8 types of white papers

1. How-to or problem/solution white paper 

How-to or problem/solution white papers call out a nagging business problem and provide a new and improved solution. Use this type of white paper to attract and educate prospects, usually in the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey. Your audience knows they have a problem and is researching solutions to overcome it. 

2. Technical white paper 

Technical white papers explain the technical aspects of a product and how it solves a problem. They’re tailored to tech-savvy audiences and feature elements such as technical specifications, flowcharts, tables and diagrams. 

3. Business benefits white paper 

Business benefits white papers focus on showcasing the specific advantages of a product. Unlike technical white papers that explore the working details of a solution, business benefits white papers focus on the big-picture business outcomes. They’re geared toward decision-makers and non-technical audiences. Sometimes, they provide a cost-benefit analysis and potential ROI to justify the value of the solution. 

4. Market research white paper 

You may have seen white papers titled “The State of…,” which offer big-picture insights into specific industries. For instance, an IT security company might create a market research paper called “The State of Cybersecurity: Threats, Challenges and Best Practices.” These papers delve deep into the industry’s latest trends, showcase what’s effective and address current challenges.

5. Visionary white paper 

Unlike market research white papers which focus on the current state of an industry, visionary white papers project out into the future. Visionary white papers are typically titled “The Future of…” These white papers are best for top-of-funnel prospects that want to learn more about the industry, or high-level professionals who want to stay up-to-date on predictions and trends. 

6. Product comparison white paper 

Product comparison white papers compare multiple products in a specific industry. Marketers use them strategically for the Decision Stage of the buyer’s journey when the prospects know they need a solution, but need help deciding between a few vendors. 

7. Educational white paper 

Educational white papers are designed to teach your audience something new. Since these white papers are grounded in factual evidence, you should dig into industry reports when doing your research. 

8. Thought leadership white paper 

Thought leadership white papers present original viewpoints that often go against conventional wisdom. The goal is to demonstrate expertise, establish credibility and gain influence, particularly among decision-makers or executives. You can put a spin on current issues or take a new approach to address your audience’s pain points. 

How to structure a white paper

How to structure a white paper

When crafting a white paper, it’s helpful to adhere to a white paper structure that sets the stage for the proposed solution. Here are the 9 elements you’ll want to include when formatting a white paper: 

1. Title page

Create an attention-grabbing title that highlights the problem you’ll solve or the topic covered in the white paper. Make it intriguing enough to entice readers to share their email addresses. 

2. Introduction and problem statement

Explain the purpose of your white paper and why your target audience should read it. The introduction describes the business problem your technology solves from the perspective of your target audience. It should be interesting enough to hook readers right away and keep them reading. 

3. Background 

Here’s where you can provide in-depth background information on the specific problem you’re discussing. This section is usually data and research-heavy. Dig into why the problem is a growing concern in the industry and what detrimental effects it may be having on the readers’ businesses. 

4. Proposed solution

This is the meat of your white paper. This section should propose a solution to the stated problem, typically a course of action, product or service. For SaaS companies, that means describing your technology and how it solves your audience’s pain point. It may also compare your solution with competing technologies. 

5. Graphics and other visual elements

Nobody enjoys reading a wall of text. White papers are much more engaging when you add visual elements like charts, tables and infographics. People retain information with visuals better than text, so using graphics is a great way to summarize your points in a digestible manner. 

6. Fact-based evidence 

Facts help to support your argument and reinforce why you believe something is true. Statistics, metrics and quotes can add context to your points, highlighting the importance of a problem or the effectiveness of your solution. Sprinkle in facts to help bolster your position. 

7. Conclusion

Wrap up with the most important points that you want your readers to remember. It should summarize the white paper’s findings and recommendations. Also, emphasize the benefits of your solutions and the risks to readers who don’t take action on resolving the issue. Conclude with the most important points that you want your readers to remember. 

8. Call to action

Add a call to action (CTA) to encourage readers to take the next step, whether that be booking a demo or signing up for a free trial. Frame it as a way to start solving their problems. Even the most fact-based research white paper should include some form of CTA to help readers take the next step. 

9. About the vendor 

The About section is where you can openly sell your solution. Clearly state what your technology does, who it helps and how. You can add another CTA at the end of this section. 

While there’s no rigid white paper format you need to follow, these guidelines will provide a good starting point.

How to write a white paper for SaaS in 10 steps

How to write a white paper for SaaS in 10 steps

Now that you know the white paper structure to aim for, let’s get into the step-by-step process of how to create a white paper for your SaaS company. 

  1. Know your audience
  2. Strategize and plan
  3. Narrow your white paper topic
  4. Offer a unique point of view
  5. Do your research
  6. Create a white paper outline
  7. Write and edit your white paper
  8. Coordinate reviews and approvals
  9. Draft supporting content
  10. Design the white paper
  11. Develop a distribution strategy

1. Know your audience

When thinking about how to write a white paper, the most important step is making sure you know who you’re writing for.  

How to define your ideal customer profile (ICP)

You can define your ideal customer profile (ICP) by asking a few questions: 

  • What’s their role in the organization? Decision-makers wear multiple hats. Know their job title and company size and tailor your white paper content accordingly. 

  • What stage are they at in the buying process? Prospects in the Awareness Stage know they have a problem but don’t yet have a solution. Prospects in the Consideration Stage are looking at different solutions. Lastly, prospects in the Decision Stage are ready to buy and looking for reasons to choose your product. 

  • What are their primary pain points and challenges? Really knowing your prospects’ pain points and challenges enables you to write a white paper that is valuable to them—and one that they’re willing to give you their email address for.

2. Strategize and plan

Figuring out how to write a white paper is all about landing on a great topic. Sit down and brainstorm ideas for your white paper. What is it that your ideal customers want to know? What will help them solve a burning problem?

If you’re stuck for topic ideas, you can turn to a ready source—anyone in your company who speaks directly to customers or prospects. For you, that may be any employee from: 

  • Sales
  • Marketing 
  • Partnerships 
  • Customer service
  • Technical support 

Your sales department is having targeted conversations with prospects every day. Common questions and pain points come up on these calls every day. 

And the conversations don’t have to be a one-way street, either. Run some white paper topics by a focus group panel or your customer advisory board and see which topics intrigue them the most. 

3. Narrow your white paper topic

Prospective clients generally prefer topics that are more specific. Topics that are too broad dilute the overall effectiveness of the information. And don’t try to cram everything into one white paper. Instead, focus on the most important and relevant points.

If you know exactly who you’re writing the white paper for and how it fits into your content strategy, it should be easy to narrow your topic. If you want to generate leads in a specific vertical, you may focus on the topic of a new approach to a common industry challenge. However, if you want to support a new product launch, you may decide to discuss the technologies underlying your new solution.

Read our blog post: White Paper Topics: How to Choose the Right One to Generate More Leads

4. Offer a unique point of view

You want to avoid rehashing the same tired information as everyone else. Nobody gets excited about a white paper that covers the same topic as your competitors. This might seem like a no-brainer, but when thinking about how to write a white paper, you need to provide a fresh perspective. 

With so much content vying for your prospects’ attention, many companies struggle to stand out. Taking a stance that goes against conventional wisdom can help you win raving fans. Specifically, taking a stance that aligns with the buyer’s values can help to establish credibility and trust.

Even SaaS companies can create a brand identity around their values and causes. For example, Square and Stripe turned the payments industry upside down by creating online payment software tailored towards small businesses. Previously, small businesses relied on traditional merchant accounts that involved high fees, lengthy contracts and complex setups. 

Consider what your brand stands for and how it’s different from competitors. For example, how do you solve a problem differently than anybody else? 

Think about how to demonstrate your expertise in a way that encourages conversation. Often this unique point of view can come from the subject matter experts you chose to interview. Be sure to create a fully fleshed-out content brief so everyone is on the same page.

5. Do your research

The best white papers come from extensive research. If you want to establish your company as an authority and gain the trust of your target audience, you’ll want to base the claims you share on credible sources.  

First, determine where you might find the information you’ll need for the white paper. That will determine the research methods you’ll use. If you’re doing interviews, schedule them at least a day apart so you have time to prepare, as well as digest the information afterward.

You likely have an in-house SME that you can interview, such as a product developer, data analyst or CEO. However, sometimes you may want to find external industry experts or advisors to contribute their knowledge. 

When performing secondary research, read industry reports and other white papers on your topic. See what influencers have written about on the topic. Reading will help you discover content gaps and unique approaches your white paper can take. Keep all research material in a single folder. 

Be sure to find credible sources for your white paper. Using industry reports, journal articles and publications are great sources. 

You can also perform surveys with your customers, which allow you to collect opinions and data on specific topics related to your industry. For example, a project management company can collect specific data from its B2B clients to prove its effectiveness and success rates of completion. 

Once you’ve completed your research, be sure to create an outline. Don’t skip this step—it will help you stay more focused and save you time in the long run. Allow your manager and an SME to check that your outline is on track to meeting everyone’s expectations for the white paper.

6. Create a white paper outline

A. Land on a working title or two

You have two primary opportunities to convince your prospects to download your B2B SaaS white paper: the title and the cover. It’s crucial that these elements make a powerful impact. Use your white paper outline to capture a few ideas for persuasive, benefit-driven titles.

B. Brainstorm insights and actionable takeaways 

Ask yourself what you want your readers to gain from your white paper, then write down everything that pops into your mind. This section of your white paper outline doesn’t have to reflect your final draft. Rather, this exercise will help ensure that your content covers all the information you want to share with your audience, including educational insights and tips they can put into action immediately.

C. Lump ideas into sections

Your next step is to structure your brain dump into sections. This will help you identify a few major themes for your B2B SaaS white paper. Once you’re finished, if you feel like your topic is too broad, cut any themes that don’t support the main focus of your white paper.

D. Fill the gaps in each section

Review each section in your white paper outline to see what’s missing. Think about this from your prospect’s perspective. Include statistics to help illustrate the points you’re trying to make. Ensure that every question your reader might be wondering has an answer.

E. Edit and organize each section

Now that you’ve put all of the details around your major themes into your white paper outline, it’s time to edit your outline. Step away from your white paper for a while and return to it with fresh eyes to see if you can tighten up the content and ensure it flows as logically as possible without any redundancy.

F. Add links to source material such as data

Statistics help make your white paper as compelling as possible, and they support your credibility by showing that you use research from reputable sources. Add links to these sources to your white paper outline. Stats make great graphic design elements later down the road in the white paper production process.

G. Get feedback from subject matter experts 

Get a few sets of eyes on your white paper outline. Subject matter experts and other key stakeholders will likely have valuable feedback to offer that can improve your content. They can help you spot any gaps in information or point out confusing sections that require explanation. They can also provide feedback on the flow of your white paper outline.

6. Write and edit your white paper

3 tips for writing a white paper

Once your colleagues approve the outline, you’re ready to flesh out your SaaS white paper. Here are 3 quick tips to consider: 

  1. Valuable content: Pack your document with high-value content such as research, survey reports and recent statistics. 
  2. Examples: Share your case studies and real-world examples to make your white paper more relatable. 
  3. Quotes: Use quotes from industry experts and industry influencers to better engage your readers. 

Once you’ve completed the first draft, you should step away from your computer for at least 24 hours. Fresh eyes can help you rethink, rewrite and polish your work. Do this a few times until you’ve nailed it.

Edit the white paper for logic, key messages, grammar and style. Often, you’ll need to eliminate buzzwords and hype, improve readability with simpler language or make the text more crisp and compelling. Make every word count—avoid padding it with flabby writing or lazy thinking.  

Even the best writers need editors. Get a co-worker or editor to provide a fresh pair of eyes on your work. This can help you catch mistakes you didn’t see or provide a different perspective to strengthen your writing. 

7. Coordinate reviews and approvals

Reviews and approvals always take longer than you might think, so make sure you set aside enough time in the project timeline. Before the project even starts, you should determine exactly who will be reviewing and approving the SaaS white paper. 

Review by committee is tedious and tough. Conflicting opinions and personal preferences can dilute the original message and cause the review process to go on for far longer than it should. Aim for no more than 3 stakeholders to be involved in the review process. Set firm deadlines for review and approval cycles. 

You’ll have a smoother content approval process if you set up the following in advance of starting the white paper: 

  • Brand guidelines: Brand guidelines ensure your white paper aligns with your brand identity, maintaining consistency across all marketing collateral. This is especially important to pass along to a SaaS content marketing agency if you decide to outsource the white paper writing. 

  • Content brief: Your content brief should state the content goals, audience and a rough outline for the white paper. Be sure to create a fully fleshed-out content brief so everyone is on the same page.

  • Editorial style guide: This is one of the most important documents during the writing and editing phase. It includes standards for tone, grammar, images and vocabulary. 

  • Workflow: Use a project management tool to easily assign tasks, set deadlines and move the white paper through each stage to completion. The tool allows all team members to see where the project is at and ensures that the white paper gets completed on time. 

Once your white paper gets final approval, you’re ready for publishing. 

8. Draft supporting content

Opt-in pages are the entry point to gated content like white papers. However, so much can go wrong with the opt-in page that you may never collect your prospect’s email address. If you want to increase downloads, make sure you include 6 crucial elements in your opt-in page

When designing your opt-in page, make sure to place the unique value proposition, form and call to action above the fold. This helps readers take the desired action without having to scroll. 

Hook readers by driving curiosity with a compelling headline that explains the main benefit of downloading the white paper. In the body of the opt-in page, you can add short bullet points to tell them what they’ll learn in the white paper. 

The thank you email and thank you page should include a link to the downloadable white paper, along with the next step you’d like prospects to take, such as booking a demo call or signing up for a free trial.

9. Design the white paper

Appearances matter. Get your designer to create a memorable white paper design that is professional and easy to read—and plays into your branding.

If you’ve got some interesting data, don’t bury it in dense paragraphs. Instead, present it using visually engaging charts, graphs and infographics to captivate your audience and make the information more digestible.

When designing the graphics, you’ll need to know what types of graphics will best highlight your research. Start by defining your visualization goal for each graphic: 

  • Inform: Convey an important data point or message that doesn’t require much context to understand
  • Compare: Show differences or similarities 
  • Show change: Visualize trends over time
  • Organize: Categorize data to show trends
  • Reveal relationships: Show correlations among variables

Various goals for white paper graphics

The types of visuals you use depends on the purpose. For example, horizontal bar charts are great for charting survey results. Or you can use infographics as a way to tell a story using facts and statistics. Even adding icons with corresponding text is a great way to make the information easier to read.  

If you don’t know how to design a white paper, we recommend reviewing the white paper examples below for inspiration. 

Read our blog post: 5 White Paper Design Best Practices to Strengthen Your Credibility

10. Develop a distribution strategy

Now you know how to prepare a white paper, but do you know how to promote it? A SaaS white paper isn’t valuable unless the right people see it, download it and read it. Think about how you will use owned channels (like your website, social media and email) and external channels (like conferences, advertising and public relations) to get your white paper in front of people.

How to promote and distribute a white paper

Here are some tips to promote and distribute a white paper

  1. Strategically promote your white paper on your website: You should place the white paper in spots on your website where it makes sense as part of the buyer’s journey. Ask yourself when your target audience would be ready for this information. Consider adding it to the Resource section of your website or as a CTA at the end of related blog posts. 

  2. Post it on social channels: Your audience is probably scattered across various social media channels. Create a series of posts focused on key ideas from your white paper. Remember, white papers can be repurposed into different formats—blogs, tweets, social posts, slide decks and even sales material. 

  3. Send it out to your email list: Email marketing has stood the test of time and shows no signs of slowing down. Send a teaser email to your mailing list to build anticipation of the white paper before it’s published. Once published, you can include it in your newsletter or  email nurture sequences. You can even have customer-facing team members include it in their email signatures to get it in front of your target audience. 

  4. Develop partnerships: Leverage relationships with content marketers and journalists in your network to include links to your paper from their content. Perhaps, you’ve got original research that would fit perfectly to their content. Send them an email to see if they’ll include a link to your research into their blog content or an article. 

Never forget to promote and distribute a white paper. Content that gets lost in the shuffle results in lost opportunities and time that could’ve been spent elsewhere. 

Read our blog post: 8 Strategies on How to Promote a White Paper for B2B SaaS

6 mistakes you should avoid when writing a white paper

Many SaaS companies fall victim to common mistakes when writing a white paper, which can derail a stellar piece of content and turn off your readers. The good news is you can write valuable white papers by avoiding these costly mistakes.

6 mistakes to avoid when writing a white paper

Mistake #1: Being overly ‘salesy’

White papers use facts and logic-based evidence to prove a point. If the white paper is too salesy, readers will tune out once they realize it’s a marketing pitch. They’ll question the objectivity and credibility of the content, leading to a loss of trust. Instead, present a vendor-agnostic view of the problem and solution, and support claims with factual evidence. 

Mistake #2: Cutting corners with research 

The worst thing to do when writing a white paper is to slap in a few stats you find on Google and call it a day. A bunch of Google searches aren’t going to bring you any new insights on the topic. Not only that, repurposed statistics are blatantly obvious and can instantly undermine your credibility. 

Use a combination of primary and secondary research instead. Industry reports are trustworthy sources that add credibility. Primary research brings life to your white paper. Consider leveraging interviews, surveys and focus groups to gather unique and original data points. 

Mistake #3: Failing to consider your target audience 

White papers are meant to address specific industry challenges, provide solutions and offer valuable insights. If you don’t understand your target audience, you may miss the mark on addressing their needs. 

You can make your white paper more relevant by keeping your ideal customer profile (ICP) front and center when choosing a topic, figuring out what subtopics to cover, doing your research and writing the white paper.

Mistake #4: Not prioritizing design and readability 

Most people won’t read your entire white paper word for word. The key is to make your white paper scannable so that readers can still get the gist of your complex ideas without reading the entire document. 

Visual elements can help you tell a story with only a few words. Line graphs are great for showing comparisons, trends or patterns, while infographics help to summarize key ideas.  

Also, use headings, different size fonts and graphics to break up your white paper. This makes your document more easily digestible. With plenty of white paper templates out there, there’s no reason not to have a visually appealing white paper design

Mistake #5: Not focusing on the ‘how’

Placing too much emphasis on research findings is another mistake. Many white papers will stay in the realm of theory without covering how to use those findings on a practical level. 

For example, there are endless white papers discussing the importance of employee engagement. But very few give concrete strategies and examples in specific verticals to help the reader solve their problem.

Mistake #6: Forgetting to fact-check 

For your white paper to have its intended effect, it’s important to establish your content as a credible source of information. Spreading false or misleading information will cause you to lose trust and could have legal ramifications. 

You can verify statistics and quotes by ensuring you cite the original sources and that they’re accurately represented. Also, check that they’re cited from reputable sources and not just a random blog post from the internet. 

White paper examples

The best way to write exceptional white papers is to learn from successful ones. Pay close attention to their structure, design and how they infuse storytelling to persuasively argue their points. 

Here are 4 white paper examples to learn from: 

1. Databricks – Getting started with unstructured data

Databricks white paper example

This white paper from Databricks gives B2B tech professionals plenty of real-world examples of how a structured data strategy can be used in businesses. 

Many tech solutions aren’t so “obvious” to new users. But by giving concrete examples of how customers can use your solution in a non-salesly way, you can nudge readers down the sales funnel toward a purchase.

2. Snowflake – Design patterns for building multi-tenant applications

Snowflake white paper example

This Snowflake white paper compares 3 ways to organize data for customers using one of the Snowflake products. 

The white paper provides clear recommendations to solve a specific problem. Giving clear recommendations can help tech buyers in the buying process because they often highlight the functionalities or features most relevant to the buyer’s use case. 

The white paper also uses workflows and charts to visually demonstrate the solution.

3. ActivTrack – Manager’s guide to productivity measurement

ActivTrack white paper example

This ActivTrack white paper takes an educational approach by focusing entirely on giving value and only subtly promoting its product at the end. 

The white paper includes plenty of visual elements with minimal text to summarize the key points of the section. This allows readers to quickly scan the document and get the gist of what is said. 

4. AeroSpike – Streamlining data architectures for IoT analytics

AeroSpike white paper example

AeroSpike sets the stage in this white paper by describing the importance of scalable and reliable data structures. It uses practical examples, such as connected healthcare for diabetes management and smart city initiatives, to showcase real-world applications of IoT and data architectures.

At the end of the white paper, AeroSpike presents its product and its benefits. It talks about how AeroSpike is a high-performance database that can handle the issues described in the paper. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Should you gate your white paper?

Gating your white paper is great if you want leads, but there are some drawbacks as well. If your target audience has to provide their email address to access your white paper, fewer people will see it since not everyone is willing to give up their email addresses for a piece of content. 

If you don’t gate your white paper, you’re making the white paper barrier-free so more people are likely to read it. And by creating the white paper in HTML, rather than as a PDF, you can optimize the white paper for search and get traffic organically. 

When making the decision of whether or not to gate your white paper, it’s important to get really clear on your primary goal for the content asset. Are you trying to generate leads? Or are you trying to get the information in front of as many prospects as possible and grow your brand awareness?

How long should a white paper be? 

White papers are often 2,500 words or longer. They aim to be an in-depth exploration of a topic, providing comprehensive information and analysis to readers. However, your focus should be on creating a white paper that delivers on its promise and not the word count. 

How many pages is a white paper?

White papers should at least be 6 pages long, but on average are between 10 to 12 pages. Gone are the days of lengthy 30- to 50-page documents. Today’s time-pressed tech buyers and executives want shorter white pages. This is just enough content to cover a specific topic in-depth without losing readers’ interest. 

What does it mean to write a white paper?

Writing a white paper means crafting an authoritative document that uses logic and facts to promote a recommended solution to a problem. Technology buyers want to educate themselves on their problems and potential solutions before they can evaluate or justify a purchasing decision. Businesses offer white papers as downloadable content on their websites to generate leads. 

Can anyone write a white paper?

No, not anyone can write a white paper. To write a white paper, you need to be a strong writer and have experience in a particular topic or consult with subject matter experts. White papers are perceived as highly authoritative documents supported by research and data. As a writer, you need to understand the target audience’s pain points and possess the expertise to present information convincingly. 

How many hours does it take to write a white paper? 

Generally, it takes 20 to 40 hours, spaced out over 6 to 8 weeks, to complete a white paper. Writing a white paper is an extensive process that requires conducting thorough research, interviewing SMEs, writing the draft and collaborating with other stakeholders for input. Hiring experienced SaaS content writers can expedite the process since they can produce better quality work in less time, minimizing the need for extensive revisions. 

What’s next?

You’ve done the hard work of writing a white paper that will resonate with your audience and add value. Now you’re ready to make sure you cite your sources properly

This is the sixth post in a 9-part series called the Ultimate Guide to Writing a White Paper for B2B SaaS.

Need a hand with your SaaS white paper?

If you’re anything like our other SaaS customers, you’re probably slammed. We’re here to help. Check out our white paper writing service.

SaaS Content Marketing in 2024: A Complete 9-Step Guide

Grow your company organically with content marketing for SaaS by following these 9 steps to developing a powerful content marketing strategy.

At its core, SaaS content marketing in 2024 is about building relationships and establishing authority in your industry. Whether it’s blog posts, ebooks, checklists, videos, webinars or social media content, each content asset serves as a stepping stone to attract, convert and retain customers. 

The value-driven approach of SaaS content marketing also fosters trust, loyalty and credibility, setting your SaaS company apart from competitors in a crowded market. 

For SaaS companies, content marketing is an exciting opportunity. In fact, SaaS companies can benefit from over 600% ROI when they leverage content marketing, according to Marketing Insider Group. 

If you’re ready to ramp up your SaaS content marketing in 2024, this guide will lead you through the process of planning, executing and refining a successful strategy. 

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is SaaS content marketing?

SaaS content marketing is a strategy focused on creating, publishing and distributing highly valuable, relevant and informative content for software-as-a-service companies. The goal of the content is to attract, engage and convert potential customers with content assets like blog posts, ebooks, white papers, webinars and podcasts.

Content marketing for SaaS is relevant at all stages of the sales funnel, nurturing and guiding your target audience along their buyer’s journey to ultimately purchase your products or services. 

What is the difference between content marketing for SaaS vs other types of companies?

Difference between SaaS content marketing and other types of content marketing

Content marketing for SaaS is different from content marketing for other industries in 6 ways: 

1. Complexity

New technology can be difficult for prospects to quickly understand—and because the product is not physical, it’s hard for prospects to visualize. SaaS content marketing needs to educate prospects on how your product can solve their problems.

2. Constant change

SaaS companies are continually adapting their products and developing new features and integrations based on user feedback. Each time there’s a product update, you need to create content that reiterates the value prop and the benefits of the update.

3. More features and use cases

As SaaS companies continue to develop features for their products, new use cases are also created. SaaS content marketing needs to help educate potential and existing users so that they can take full advantage of the available features and use cases.

4. Search demand

For new category creators and niche SaaS solutions, there isn’t a lot of search demand because no one knows that your product exists yet. Content marketing can help bridge that gap by creating content around the pain points that your target audience knows they have, but don’t yet know how to solve.

5. Retention

The nature of subscription-based SaaS products means that customers need continuous education to get the maximum benefit. Educational content delivered exactly when customers need it helps reduce churn rates. 

6. More decision-makers

SaaS can be expensive so more decision-makers are typically involved in the buying process. That’s why SaaS content marketing should address the concerns of these decision-makers.

Why is content marketing important for SaaS companies?

Content marketing is essential for SaaS companies because it helps them grow organically. The target audience of SaaS companies is constantly trying to learn and improve, and the content these companies provide serves as a valuable source of knowledge. 

By creating informative content, SaaS companies increase their brand awareness, build trust and educate audiences. This positions them as a go-to resource and fosters lasting relationships with their audience.

SaaS content marketing in numbers:

Semrush’s State of Content Marketing 2023 Global Report found that:

  • 70% of SaaS companies have a fairly developed or advanced content marketing strategy 
  • 97% of SaaS companies are finding some degree of success in their content marketing effort 
  • 75% of SaaS companies expect to increase their content marketing budgets in 2023 
SaaS content marketing budgets from SEMRush

Source: SEMRush

Content you can count on
Blog posts, ebooks, white papers and case studies are powerful content assets—when well-written. Our team of experienced SaaS writers ensures your content hits the mark every time. Check out our content writing services.

5 benefits of SaaS content marketing

5 benefits of SaaS content marketing

97% of SaaS companies found some degree of success in their content marketing efforts in 2023, according to SEMRush’s State of Content Marketing 2023 Global Report. Here are 5 benefits of using content marketing for SaaS: 

1. Generate leads

Solve a problem for your audience through ebooks, guides, checklists and templates. These content assets need to provide enough value that your prospects are willing to hand over their email address. 

2. Establish industry authority

Establish your SaaS brand as a leading expert in the field. Construct a powerful content machine that covers diverse but related topics—similar to how HubSpot became synonymous with inbound marketing and overall marketing expertise. 

3. Increase brand awareness

Create a recognizable online presence by using SaaS content marketing to boost your company’s visibility and connect with a broader audience.

4. Create relationships

Understand your customers’ needs and pain points better so you can create helpful content tailored to their preferences. When you nourish authentic relationships, you foster organic growth within your niche. 

5. Reduce customer acquisition costs

Leverage content marketing as a sustainable, cost-effective approach to reach potential customers. Content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing—and costs 62% less.

15 types of SaaS content marketing assets

15 types of content marketing assets

Which types of SaaS content marketing assets are best for your company? 

Content marketing for SaaS is the way to go when it comes to lead generation. If you really want to get ahead of competitors, it’s important to explore the different types of content you can use in your SaaS content marketing and determine which combination will work best for your company. 

Here are the 15 most popular types of content used in SaaS content marketing:

1. Blog posts 

Boost organic traffic with versatile, low-cost and often evergreen content that educates readers and answers their questions.

Check out Uplift’s blog writing services for SaaS.

2. eBooks

Demonstrate your thought leadership and generate leads by producing ebooks that provide value to your potential customers.

Find out about Uplift’s ebook writing services.

3. Case studies

Showcase your customers’ successes by allowing them to tell their own story of their challenges and how your solution helped them solve those challenges.

Learn more about Uplift’s case study writing services.

4. White papers

Pack in the value with first-party data and thought leadership that helps your company stand out from the competition.

Check out Uplift’s white paper writing services.

5. Guides and how-tos

Provide helpful, step-by-step playbooks to help your audience solve a problem or learn something new with SaaS content marketing.

6. Checklists

Generate leads by creating checklists that provide step-by-step guides to performing tasks or solving problems.

7. Infographics

Catch the eye of your target audience with easily digestible, visual information that’s appealing to readers and non-readers alike.

8. Social media posts

Connect with your audience and build relationships with influencers who can help expand the impact of your SaaS content marketing efforts.

9. Videos

Grab your audience’s attention with engaging visual content. Tell your company’s story through high-level “about” videos, short demo videos, social media clips, interviews and explainer videos.

10. Testimonials and reviews

Gain credibility and lower objections by having your happy customers share testimonials and reviews.

11. Podcasts

Create informative, thought-provoking and entertaining content your audience can consume at the gym or on their way to work.

12. Email marketing

Stay top of mind and nurture a highly targeted audience with relevant content for each stage of your sales funnel.

13. Interactive content

Quizzes, games, apps and calculators are a great way to gather information, boost engagement and find new customers.

14. Webinars

Educate existing and potential customers, attract new leads and establish your authority in your field by creating webinars that answer pressing questions and address common challenges.

15. Templates

Make blog posts actionable by providing a fillable template that your prospects can download. 

Generate more traffic and leads 
With done-for-you blog posts, ebooks and white papers, we give you back time to focus on other strategic initiatives. Check out our content writing services.

How to create a SaaS content marketing strategy

70% of SaaS companies have a fairly developed or advanced content marketing strategy, according to a 2023 report by SEMRush

But is YOURS working as well as you’d hoped? 

Is there room for improvement?

Or do you need to create a content marketing strategy from scratch?

No matter what stage you’re at with yours, review these 9 steps to creating a content marketing strategy to see if you can up your game:

  1. Define your SaaS content marketing goals
  2. Identify your target audience
  3. Do a content audit
  4. Conduct keyword research
  5. Build a content funnel
  6. Create a content calendar
  7. Develop your content
  8. Create a content distribution plan
  9. Track and optimize

How to create a SaaS content marketing strategy in 9 steps

Step 1: Define your SaaS content marketing goals

Before you start developing or reviewing your content marketing strategy, you need to identify your SaaS content marketing goals. 

Your goals need to be specific and measurable objectives that help you meet your company’s broader business goals. The more specific you can be, the easier it will be for you to evaluate your progress and set realistic expectations.

Remember: SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

The top 3 content marketing goals for SaaS companies are:

1. Brand awareness 

Examples of SMART brand awareness goals:

  • Boost monthly organic and referral traffic by 50% within 6 months
  • Increase SEO rankings for specific keywords within 3 months
  • Grow social media platform by 1,500 new followers by October

2. Lead generation 

Examples of SMART lead generation goals:

  • Book 100 demos within 2 months
  • Get 5,000 downloads of your new ebook within 3 months of publishing it
  • Grow email newsletter list by 500 subscribers in 2 months

3. Website traffic

Examples of SMART website traffic goals:

  • Increase overall website traffic by 25% in the next quarter
  • Achieve 20,000 monthly visitors from organic search within 6 months
  • Obtain 3,000 unique visitors from social media channels by the end of the year 

Step 2: Identify your target audience

Defining your target audience is crucial for building a SaaS content marketing strategy that will get you the results you’re looking for. To do this, you need to build an ideal customer profile (ICP). An ICP is a detailed description of the company or user that will benefit the most from your SaaS solution.

To determine your ICP, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are their demographics (age, location, gender, etc.) and psychographics (desires, goals, interests, etc.)?
  • What problems and pain points are they looking to solve?
  • What’s their primary industry?
  • What other SaaS solutions do they use?
  • What burning questions are they asking on search and social?
  • What content formats do they prefer?
  • What motivates them to purchase a SaaS product?
  • What’s your ideal customer’s budget?

Once you’ve answered those questions, you can use the data to create your ICP. Give a face to the name and use it for all content brainstorming.

Get high-performing content
Uplift Content helps you produce content that converts. Get in touch.

Step 3:  Do a content audit

Now that you know what your ICP is, you’re ready to audit your existing SaaS content marketing efforts to see if your content will resonate with your audience at all stages of the buyer’s journey. 

The first thing you should do is create a content inventory, which is a spreadsheet that lists every page on your website. 

Download our content inventory template.

Once you know what content you have, you’ll want to figure out:

  • Whether your content is actually targeting your ICP
  • How your content is performing based on your goals
  • What keywords you’re ranking for
  • What types of content you’re missing, as well as what topic gaps exist
  • What content you should update, optimize or delete
  • How your content holds up against your competitors’ content

While answering the above questions, you can also consider these indicators: 

  1. Number of website visitors: What are the most popular pages?
  2. Number of unique visitors: Are people returning to your website?
  3. Number of leads generated: How are the CTAs working? 
  4. Number of conversions: Are people taking the action you want them to?
  5. Number of shares and likes: Are people engaging with your content?
  6. Backlinks: Are other websites sharing your content?

Step 4: Conduct keyword research 

Your target audience will likely search for different things at different stages of their customer journey. 

1. Awareness – Top of Funnel (TOFU)

As your ICP realizes they have a problem, they may search for information on how to solve a problem related to their pain points. Or they might search for thought leadership or original research to better understand how they should approach the challenge.

2. Consideration – Middle of Funnel (MOFU)

Once your ICP understands the exact problems they need to solve, they might search for a checklist that outlines what questions to consider when researching a solution to their problem. Or they might look for product comparison articles to start assessing which solution might be best for them.

3. Conversion – Bottom of Funnel (BOFU)

Now that your ICP knows what kind of solution they’re looking for, they might search for reviews or case studies for proof of how your software can solve their specific challenges. Or they might search for an in-depth white paper to fully understand your approach to solving their problem.

To succeed at SaaS content marketing, you need to identify keyword terms that are typical of each stage of your customer’s journey so you can develop content to address their needs at each point. 

To create content that ranks AND gets clicks and conversions, you need to create better, more comprehensive and more valuable content than anyone else. Answer your audience’s questions better than your competitors.

To get your content ranking on the first page in the search results, focus on answering questions that are not already answered (or poorly covered) by your competitors. 

How?

Create content that dives deep into your areas of expertise to build topical authority rather than chasing after countless unrelated keywords and having shallow content. Find several core topics and dive further and further into them. 

For example, at Uplift Content, we offer 4 main SaaS content marketing services:

So the content we create for content marketing purposes is usually on the topics of blog posts, ebooks, white papers and case studies. We try to go as deep as we can on these 4 services/topics—answering all possible questions that our target audience might have.

By having clearly defined topics, we can dive deep into our keyword research to identify appropriate sets of keywords for each topic.

Using your preferred keyword research tool, search for each topic you want your brand to be found for.  

Analyze the list of keywords to look for ones that might be a good fit for your topics and what your audience might search for. To decide which keywords to go after, you’ll need to consider which keywords have good volume and a low enough difficulty that you think you might have a chance of ranking well for them.

Once you have a keyword that you think fits the bill, Google it to see who is writing about it. Analyze the top 3 results to see what subtopics they cover and whether there are any subtopics missing. Also, look at the “People Also Ask” section to see what kinds of questions people are searching for answers to.

Step 5: Build a content funnel

It can be a long and complex sales process for B2B SaaS. And because there are often lots of decision-makers, it’s important to create content that addresses their needs across every touch point in the customer journey.

You can do this by producing content for each stage of the funnel. As we mentioned in the previous section, a basic content marketing funnel takes the form of an inverted pyramid and has stages of Awareness, Consideration and Conversion. 

Here’s a simple SaaS content marketing funnel and customer journey:

Awareness – Top of Funnel (TOFU)

Top-of-funnel content should aim to educate your audience and familiarize them with your brand. Content for this audience can include:

  • Blog posts
  • How-to guides
  • Infographics 
  • Thought leadership
  • Original research

Top-of-funnel resources:

Consideration – Middle of Funnel (MOFU)

Consideration content is more focused on guiding people at the middle of the funnel who have a higher purchasing intent. Here’s where you want to encourage them to subscribe to your newsletter or download your free resources. This type of content can include:

  • eBooks
  • Checklists
  • Cheatsheets
  • Templates
  • Product comparison articles
  • FAQs

Middle-of-funnel resources:

Conversion – Bottom of Funnel (BOFU)

With a bottom-of-funnel audience, conversion content should be heavily action-oriented. You need to be strategic with your CTAs as people are already aware of the brand and might be considering their options. Types of bottom-of-funnel content can include:

  • Case studies
  • White papers
  • Use cases
  • Features or integrations landing pages
  • Email nurture sequences

Bottom-of-funnel funnel resources: 

Think through what content you can create for each stage of the SaaS content marketing funnel and map it out so you can dish up exactly the content your target audience needs to take the next step.

Step 6: Create a content calendar

Now that you have discussed the SaaS content marketing funnel and done some keyword research, it’s time to bring it all together and set up the workflow. 

The content calendar is basically a way to visualize the content efforts of every team member. Writing a case study takes more time and resources than writing a blog post, so you need to be able to organize the working structure in such a way that the next steps are clear for every team member. 

When crafting content, establish a specific objective for each piece, such as boosting brand recognition, acquiring leads or educating your target market. Use your research on audience pain points to make sure your content addresses your market’s needs. But remember to always keep your sales funnel in mind.

When planning content, it’s helpful to establish a consistent and manageable publishing schedule. Determine the amount of content needed per month to achieve your marketing goals and the amount that you can create with your budget and team resources.

Step 7: Develop your content

When it comes to creating content, it’s best to emphasize quality over quantity, even if that means publishing fewer pieces that are thorough, well-researched and valuable to your ICP. 

Creating high-quality content will help you establish your company as a thought leader and authority in your niche, drive more traffic to your website and convert more leads into loyal customers.

Consider these 5 tips when writing marketing content for SaaS: 

1. Write an attention-grabbing headline

Your headline should be relevant and catchy. You can use a headline analyzer for extra help. 

2. Always use subheaders

Subheadings are a great way to break up your content and make it easier to read. Use them liberally throughout your article.

3. Use short sentences and paragraphs

This makes your content more scannable and easier to read.

4. Always include visuals

Use images, infographics and videos to break up your text and add visual interest to your content It also helps with ranking on Google Images. 

5. Include a call to action (CTA)

Add these strategically throughout your content to invite readers to take the next step in the buyer’s journey. This could be signing up for your newsletter, downloading an ebook or scheduling a demo of your software.

Need results from your content?

Work with a content marketing agency that specializes in writing for B2B SaaS. Check out our content writing services.

Step 8: Create a content distribution plan

After producing your content, it is crucial to implement a plan for distributing and promoting it. This enables you to reach more of your target audience, increase brand visibility, and ultimately convert more leads into customers with your SaaS content marketing efforts.

Here are 20 ways to distribute your content:

1. Hashtags

Share your content on your social media platforms using relevant hashtags.

2. Tagging people

Tag people so they reshare your content. 

3. Tagging brands 

Tag any of the brands you mention in your content.

4. Email

Send your content out via email, using relevant subject lines and calls-to-action (CTAs) to encourage click-throughs.

5. Influencers

Work with relevant industry influencers and bloggers to have your content featured on their sites, or reach out to publications in your niche to see if they would be interested in covering your content.

6. Webinars

Host a webinar or live stream about the topic of your content to attract a larger audience and generate leads.

7. Paid ads

Set up a paid advertising campaign on social media that highlights the content.

8. Comments

Include a link to your content in the comments section of relevant social media posts.

9. Graphics

Share graphics and images that come from the content.

10. Youtube Shorts

Announce the content with a Youtube Shorts video.

11. Instagram

Share a story on Instagram with a swipe-up link. 

12. DMs

Send a message with a link to people who have asked questions or shared similar content.

13. Youtube

Refer to the content in a YouTube video. 

14. Pinterest

Curate a Pinterest board with all the content you’ve published.

15. Podcasts

Promote the content through podcasts with a similar niche or audience to your content. 

16. Ask for help

Reach out to friends, your internal team or work connections within the relevant industry and ask them to share. 

17. Pin

Pin the content to the top of your social media pages. 

18. Remarketing

Run a remarketing ad for people who have visited your site lately.

19. Comments

Comment on thought leaders’ LinkedIn posts and ask them to share their thoughts on the content.

20. QR codes

Share a QR code on Snapchat. 

Distributing your content as thoroughly as possible allows you to make the most out of what you’ve created, ensuring your SaaS content marketing efforts extend to new audiences. 

You should also consider repurposing your content so that you can maximize its impact by transforming it into different formats. 

Here are 5 easy content repurposing ideas you can tackle:

1. Video

Pull the 3 top tips from a blog post and create a video on them. 

2. Infographic

Take the information from an ebook and turn it into an infographic.

3. Social posts

Pull out quotes from a case study to use in social posts.

4. Checklist

Take a white paper and create a supplemental checklist or template.

5. Blog post

Turn the transcript from a webinar into a blog post.

Repurposing content and distributing content complement each other, optimizing your content’s performance and amplifying its value. 

Step 9: Track and optimize

Once you start publishing and distributing your content, you need to track the results so you can evaluate its performance. This allows you to identify areas for improvement and adjust your SaaS content marketing strategy accordingly.

In Step 1, we talked about setting SMART goals and defining some key metrics to help evaluate the success of your content. It’s great to track metrics, but only if you act on the information you gather.

For example, if you see that one of your new blog posts is getting lots of traffic, but the bounce rate is through the roof, you know that there’s an issue with the content. You can ask questions like:

  • Is the meta description misleading? 
  • Is the content answering your audience’s question right away? 
  • Is the content written for the right audience? 
  • Is it targeting the wrong part of the funnel?

Once you’ve analyzed the situation, you need to act. Fix the post and check back in 2 months to see if the performance has improved.

Find out EXACTLY how to measure the performance of your content—and what actions you can take to fix it.

Want to hire an agency?

Check out our list of 11 top content marketing agencies for tech companies in 2023.

Best tools for SaaS content marketing

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to which tools to use when doing SaaS content marketing. The best options for your company will depend on your specific needs and budget.

Here are the SaaS content marketing tools we know and use, but there are so many more you can choose from. We suggest you conduct your own research if you require something more niche: 

  • Google Analytics connects to your website for search, traffic and performance information.
  • Semrush is a powerful tool for SEO and PPC research, which can help with keyword research, competitor analysis and content optimization.
  • BuzzSumo is great for identifying popular content in any given niche, which can help provide you with content ideas and inspiration.

  • Canva is an accessible graphic design tool that can be used to create professional-looking images, infographics and other visual content.
  • Hootsuite is a social media management tool that can help schedule, publish and track the performance of your content on different social media platforms.
  • Mailchimp is an email marketing platform that simplifies the creation, management and execution of effective email campaigns.
  • Grammarly corrects your spelling and grammar in real time, ensuring that your content is error-free and easy to read.
  • WordPress is a popular website-building platform for many SaaS websites.
  • Zapier allows you to connect all your apps and automate processes.

How do you make your SaaS content marketing strategy stand out?

With so much noise in the market, it can be hard to stand out from your competitors. Here are 8 tips to help you get noticed—from our years of SaaS content marketing experience: 

1. Know exactly who you’re talking to

Conduct research to understand the pain points, challenges and goals of your target audience. The more accurate you are at solving their pain points, the better your content will be.  

2. Understand what makes your software different

The CEO of the company might understand this, but do you or your content writers understand what the company’s unique value proposition is? Clearly communicate how your SaaS solution addresses the needs of your target audience better than your competitors.

3. Stay on top of industry news

Potential customers want to know the latest news and events relevant to their industry. If you make it a habit to cover timely and buzz-worthy topics, it will demonstrate that your SaaS company is a leader in the field and you’ll attract qualified leads. 

4. Create a variety of content formats

Offer a mix of blog posts, ebooks, case studies, videos, webinars, white papers and infographics to cater to different preferences and learning styles. You can also create snippets of long-form content and share them on social media on various days.

5. Move away from keyword research and start keyword mining

Go for low-volume and high-intent keywords. Instead of competing with already-ranked articles, begin answering questions with fewer competitors. Use keywords and meta tags to optimize your website and content for search engines, making it easier for potential customers to find you.

6. Build authority with content clusters

Creating content clusters is an advanced SaaS content marketing strategy where you organize your website’s content around topics and keyword-based themes. Also known as content silos, the goal is to create a network of related content that answers your audience’s questions as thoroughly as possible.  

7. Always measure and analyze your results

Use analytics tools like Google Analytics or Leadfeeder to track the performance of your content and make data-driven decisions to improve your strategy.

8. Networking and guest posting

Actively engaging on social media, guest post and be a guest on related podcasts to reach a wider audience and gain more exposure.

SaaS content marketing is your path to success

Content marketing is and will remain an important marketing channel for SaaS companies. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, we cannot underestimate the power of valuable, customer-centric content. 

By implementing the insights and strategies shared in this guide, you can forge deeper connections with your target audience, build industry authority and drive organic growth. 

Need a hand with your content?

We specialize in working with B2B SaaS companies like Calendly, ClickUp and WalkMe to produce content that moves the needle. Check out our content writing services.

Struggling to Get Case Study Metrics? Here’s What You Can Do

Nothing measures success in a SaaS case study like concrete results. Convincing metrics are qualitative and show distinct before and after snapshots. But what do you do if you don’t have any?

Updated April 2024: Nothing measures success in SaaS like solid case study metrics. Potential customers love to see hard numbers that matter! Convincing metrics are qualitative and show distinct before and after snapshots.

Here’s what we’re going to cover in this post


Case study metrics matter

In December of 2023, we conducted a survey of 115 SaaS marketers and found that 77% of SaaS companies include metrics in at least 50% of their case studies. Only 2% publish case studies without any metrics at all. 

(Read the full report here: 2024 Customer Story Trends & Insights Report)

Respondents say their key metrics focus on time and money.

What metrics do SaaS companies focus on in their case studies?


How to get metrics that make an impact

70% of our survey respondents said to ask the customer for metrics during the case study interview.

How do SaaS companies get metrics to use in their case studies?





In this post, we’re going to show you 2 examples of great metrics, and also walk you through what to do if you don’t have metrics. This is the sixth post in a 9-part series on how to write a case study.

2 case study metrics examples

For every case study, encourage your customer to share any metrics or KPIs they have gathered relating to the use of your service, and build your case study around them. What improvements did they see? Did employees save time? Did business or traffic increase? By how much? Over what period of time?

These 2 case study metrics examples effectively quantify the results:

Case study metrics: example #1

Source: Kapost case study

Case study metrics: example #2

Source: Appsflyer case study

The top example is more specific and, therefore, feels a little more credible. In the second example, “10X BETTER” begs the question: better than what? If you’re going to pull out case study statistics this way, and you should, be sure you place them in the proper context in the body of your case study.

Check out 7 more examples of how to showcase your case study results.

Don’t have ANY case study metrics?

At times you may not have access to hard numbers, either because they’re confidential or because the customer just doesn’t track results that way. Don’t despair—we’ve got a fix for you.

1. Describe a clear before/after customer experience

You might not have case study metrics, but your customer can detail what your service has meant to their business. What can they do with the money and time they’ve saved? Have they been able to hire more people, capture more business, sell more products?

2. Rely on a relatable story

Instead of starting your case study with a big splashy number, lead with your best, most evocative quote. Include a headshot of the person speaking. Lean into the personal story. Social proof can be just as convincing as percentage improvement.

3. Highlight the benefits

Even without case study statistics, you can showcase the advantages of your company’s service by listing benefits, like this example:

Source: Fairwarning case study

Case study metrics – the final word

If you don’t have the case study metrics you crave, don’t despair. Be creative, always keeping your customer and their challenges in mind.

One last tidbit – don’t forget to ask for hard numbers when conducting your case study interview with the customer.

Need help?

If you don’t have time to write timely and relevant case studies, we can help. Check out our case study writing services.

Product-led Marketing: Insights from a Product Marketing Manager

What is product-led marketing content, what are its benefits and where in the sales funnel is product-led content most appropriate and effective? Quacquarelli Symonds Product Marketing Manager Neha Kirpalani shares her insights, how she made the shift from content marketing to product marketing, plus her advice for others who want to do the same.

Interview with Neha Kirpalani of Quacquarelli Symonds

Product-led marketing content is a powerful B2B SaaS sales tool that can help push prospective customers “off the fence” and into sales territory, says Neha Kirpalani, Product Marketing Manager at EdTech company Quacquarelli Symonds. Keep reading to learn why product-led marketing is so effective, where in the sales funnel to use it, and which companies she thinks are nailing product-led content.

Neha has had a fascinating career journey. She started out in finance, only to discover that she craved more creative work, leading her to make a career change to marketing. 

In our recent interview, she shares how she made the leap from content marketing to product marketing, and offers advice for others interested in doing the same. 

Neha Kirpalani interview

Name: Neha Kirpalani
Job title: Product Marketing Manager
Company: Quacquarelli Symonds (QS)
Degrees: MSc, Marketing; BCom, Finance

Fun facts about Neha Kirpalani:

⛱️ A vacation you’re dreaming about: Banff, Canada (hopefully next year!)

👉 We’ll often find you: Listening to French podcasts, watching French TV shows or thinking in French. As you can probably tell, I’m obsessed with learning the language and trying to make learning fun!

📚 Book you think everyone should be reading right now: I recently read and loved the book S or Ship of Theseus by JJ Abrams—it’s a book within a book, and possibly the most unique one I’ve ever read. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for months after I put it down!

🌍 Top 3 places you want to visit someday: The French Riviera, the Swiss Alps and Turkey (Konya and Cappadocia)

✒️Your favorite author/poet? Salman Rushdie—his writing style is one-of-a-kind and has had a major influence on my work in many ways.

Sign up for our newsletter to catch all of our interviews with content marketing leaders.

Can you introduce yourself? 

Neha Kirpalani: My name is Neha Kirpalani. I’m a product marketing manager at an EdTech company, Quacquarelli Symonds. It’s one of the largest higher education experts in the world. I manage product marketing for a portfolio of award-winning digital and event products. 

Towards the end of last year, I was part of the LinkedIn Creator Accelerator program. Since then, I’ve been a member of the LinkedIn Creators program, which is a handpicked group of people who work with LinkedIn to create content and drive community engagement on the platform. 

I’m also a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) champion and advocate, so a lot of my work on LinkedIn involves creating and curating content specifically in the DEI space.

What has your career journey looked like so far?

Neha Kirpalani: My journey to arrive at product marketing has been quite a meandering one. I started my career in finance, working in operations at Goldman Sachs, and I quickly realized that it wasn’t the right fit for me. 

Within less than a year, I realized I’m a pretty creative person, so I decided that I needed to make a move. I made the switch and begin my career in marketing as a copywriter at a leading creative agency, where I worked for three years. Though I started as a copywriter, by the time I left, I was the content manager and heading up social media, PR and internal communications.

Then I decided to do my masters in marketing to build on the industry knowledge I had gained by learning on the job. I went to the University of Manchester in the UK and lived there for two years, and loved it. 

I think living and working in a different country and meeting people from all over the world was one of the best experiences of my life.

After completing my masters, I started working at Quacquarelli Symonds as a content marketing manager. At first, I was just handling engagement, which is a small but integral part of the lead gen journey. Within six or eight months, owing to internal changes in the team, the position of lead gen manager became vacant. I applied for the role—so within less than a year, I was handling the entire acquisition and engagement funnel. 

A lot of my work involved figuring out how we can best leverage different pieces of content to cater to our B2C audience of university students’ needs and interests. 

Working closely with the content team, I created an onboarding strategy and lead nurturing framework to acquire and nurture leads throughout the engagement journey. It was quite revolutionary—and a departure from the way marketing was done in the student-facing space, moving from an outbound model to inbound marketing.

It was really rewarding to see the impact my work was having on the company and on the way the company was communicating with its target audiences.

How did you become a product marketing manager?

Neha Kirpalani: Product marketing is one of those nebulous career paths where if you asked 5 different people what the role entails, you’d probably get 5 different answers. I found product marketing very interesting and actively tried to learn more about it through reading and speaking to people in the role to understand what they do.

I tried to figure out a way to break into product marketing for over a year when a role opened up. It was serendipity. 

I decided to go for it, and now I’ve been in the role for about a year. I think it helped that the team knew me and they’d seen the impact of my work and my passion and dedication.

It’s been very exciting, although the learning curve has been a steep one for sure. It’s challenging because it requires adopting a different mindset and learning how to manage a lot of key stakeholders—and senior stakeholders. 


What is product-led content and why is it important?

Neha Kirpalani: If you think about product-led content, you’re thinking about things that help the customer understand how to use the product while bringing them from the awareness phase to the consideration phase to the decision-making phase. 

Product-led content is something you’d generally use in the middle of the funnel because it’s not about brand awareness or lead generation. You’re probably targeting a customer who’s already a little further along in their decision-making journey, and who’s a little more sure about your product.

It’s about operating in that assistive space of being there for your customer and helping them solve their challenges. 

Some examples of product-led content would be tutorials and help content, like in-app guides or product walkthroughs that show you how to use the different (or new) features—or case studies and testimonials that help prospective customers understand how the product can benefit them. 

Product-led content is all about clinching that last step and being able to push them “off the fence” and into sales territory. 

How and where should companies use product-led content?

Neha Kirpalani: I think there’s very little space for product-led content not to be used. In fact, I think companies could stand to leverage product-led content a lot more than they already do. Because at the end of the day, it’s engaging content that’s meant to help and delight and attract and do all those wonderful things that you want to be doing through your content.

I do think product-led content is probably somewhat less appropriate in top-of-the-funnel content where your primary goal is to educate, inform and position yourself as an authority in your industry. I don’t think it should be a hard sell at that point. 

But at the same time, I think sometimes we’re a little too safe when it comes to content marketing. We tend to assume that people take this very linear journey through the funnel, but when you think about it, an average of 6 people are involved in the decision-making in the B2B space. 

And these people may be at different stages of the funnel or have varying levels of decision-making power. They may have different objectives when looking at the same ebook or white paper.

Somebody more senior may already know a lot of the top-of-the-funnel information and be looking for a solution. For them, it’s worth including some product-led content like case studies or testimonials to demonstrate your use cases for those readers. 

Are there any companies that you consider the gold standard for product-led content?

Neha Kirpalani: I like to use HubSpot as an example. They basically invented inbound content marketing to attract and engage their customers, and I think that played a huge part in making them the software giant that they are today. 

Their knowledge base, HubSpot Academy, teaches users pretty much everything they need to know to use the platform and leverage its power. Their content is very product-centric and at the same time help-centric. You really feel that they’re there for you and that they want to see you succeed, that they’re not just pushing the product on you.

Canva is doing a good job as well. It’s a very user-friendly, do-it-yourself platform and software. I think they’re great at creating guides and FAQs and those kinds of content.

What advice would you give someone interested in making the switch to product marketing? 

Neha Kirpalani: Product marketing is not very clearly defined, so the role can differ a lot from company to company. Sometimes it just means “B2B marketing”, and other times it means “product management”. So it really depends on where you’re aiming to position yourself. 

I think a lot of people use product marketing as a segue or shortcut between marketing and product management. So if that’s something you want to get into in the future, product marketing is something you can explore to see whether you have the skills and aptitude for it. 

Here’s my advice:

Explore what’s out there and what the role is about. Speak to people in product marketing and try to understand what they do and what their job entails. 

Read up about it and take courses. I got a certification from the Product Marketing Alliance and I think that really helped me understand the world of product marketing. 

It’s high pressure. It’s intense. But it’s also a lot of fun because you get to use your creativity and your knowledge and experience. 

If this is something that resonates with you and you’ve done the research and you feel like it’s a good fit for you, just throw your hat in the ring and start applying for roles. 

Just go for it.

Thanks for spending time with us!

Thanks to Neha for that insightful discussion—and thank you, reader, for spending part of your day with us. I hope you were as inspired by my interview with Neha as I was. 

Here’s how you can connect with Neha:

  • Connect with her on LinkedIn, where she talks about #digitalmarketing #strategy #marketing #productivity and #diversityequityinclusion
  • Read her piece on timeboxing published by the Harvard Business Review

Read more about product-led marketing

Check out this related Uplift blog post: 

Learn more about content marketing for SaaS 

Here are some more Uplift resources for you to check out:

P.S. Want more marketing insights?

If you’d like access to more content marketing insights like this, sign up for our newsletter to catch all of our interviews with content marketing leaders. 

No spam, we promise—just two value-packed content marketing newsletters every second Monday. 

Plus, if you’re interested in customer stories and customer marketing, you can opt-in to receive a two more newsletters on alternating Mondays where we chat with leaders in customer marketing.

Speaking of customer stories, have a look at our 2024 Customer Story Trends & Insights Report, where we surveyed 115 customer marketers to gather their insights and experiences with customer stories.

Here’s a preview:

Sign up for our newsletter to catch all of our interviews with content marketing leaders.

Back to Top