White Paper vs eBook: How to Decide Which One to Create

Stop wondering about the difference between a white paper and an ebook, and start driving leads! In this video, Uplift digs into the white paper vs eBook debate to help you choose which one works best for your B2B SaaS marketing goals based on where your prospect is in their buyer’s journey.

Updated April 2024: As a marketer, there’s a limit to your time and resources, so you need to be strategic about which type of content you produce. White papers and ebooks are both powerful B2B SaaS marketing tools, and although the names for these assets are sometimes used interchangeably, each has its own unique strengths. In this video, we’ll break down the white paper vs ebook debate.

Need a hand writing your B2B SaaS content? Check out our white paper writing service and our ebook writing service.

White Paper vs eBook: Which One to Create? (Transcript)

Hi SaaS marketers! Emily Amos here from Uplift Content.

If you’ve ever wondered whether to create a white paper vs ebook, this video will give you some clarity. While they’re both important SaaS marketing tools, white papers and ebooks have different audiences and purposes.

Let’s walk through both types of content.

#1: White papers vs ebooks

As long-form, educational marketing content, white papers are often persuasive, authoritative, in-depth reports on a specific topic. Brands usually use white papers to demonstrate their company’s value, present new research on a topic or provide thought leadership.

The format of a white paper (compared to an ebook) usually includes a challenge section up front—similar to a B2B SaaS case study—and then provides a proposed solution in persuasive detail. This solution can include your company’s products or services.

The audience for a white paper typically includes readers who already have some familiarity with the subject matter. White papers (not ebooks) are usually research-intensive and require interviews with subject matter experts, as well as the use of source material like industry reports to cover a topic to a level of detail that provides real value to readers. Because of this, white papers differ from ebooks in that they’re usually longer.

Get a few tips here on how to write a white paper that positions you as a thought leader.

Check out our white paper writing service.

#2: eBooks vs white papers

Like white papers, ebooks are also educational in nature. But they’re more suitable for high-level, non-technical content, similar to a “how to” guide. eBooks tend to feature more white space and more design elements than white papers and offer digestible chunks of information rather than academic text.

Two main benefits of ebooks (versus white papers) are that they’re interactive and actionable. eBooks often provide readers with concrete steps they can take to solve a specific problem, and are typically geared at readers who would benefit from a more general overview of the subject rather than a deep dive.

Learn how to write an ebook title that lands sales.

Check out our ebook writing service.

White paper vs ebook for different stages of the buyer’s journey

When you’re trying to decide between creating a white paper vs ebook, you need to evaluate which one performs better at the various stages of the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration or decision. Choose a white paper or ebook carefully because your goal with the content is to progress the reader to the next stage of the journey.

White papers can work well at both the “awareness” stage of the buyer’s journey as well as the “decision” stage.

They work at the awareness stage because, depending on how they’re written, they can answer questions, be a resource, and provide research data, opinions and insights—helping the reader identify an opportunity or pain point.

White papers can also work at the decision stage if they are written so that they help the reader evaluate options. This, for example, could take the form of a buyer’s guide.

In contrast to white papers, ebooks tend to perform best at the “awareness” stage because readers are looking for help to solve a problem, answer a question or meet a need. These readers are looking for educational content to help guide them to a solution, and an ebook can be just what they need.

What’s next?

You’re now clear on the difference between a white paper vs ebook. It’s time to figure out how to generate compelling topics for your SaaS white papers.

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

Get help with your white papers

Do you need an extra set of hands to help you produce your next white paper? Learn more about Uplift Content’s expertise in helping SaaS companies generate leads with well-written, informative and actionable white papers.

Which KPI Is Most Likely to Be a Vanity Metric?

Are you patting yourself on the back because you just landed 500 new social media followers? Are you pleased about thousands of pageviews? What about 100 new subscribers in a week? Not so fast! Find out which KPI is most likely to be a vanity metric.

Updated April 2024: Are you patting yourself on the back because you just landed 500 new social media followers? Are you pleased about thousands of pageviews? What about 100 new subscribers in a week? 

As a B2B SaaS marketer, it’s crucial that you understand which KPI is most likely to be a vanity metric and which KPI is the real deal so you can use meaningful content marketing metrics to grow your business. 

In this video, we’ll walk through 3 examples of KPI vanity metrics to ditch, and we’ll cover which KPIs to use instead. 

Need help with your content? Check out our content writing services for SaaS.


What is a KPI, anyway?

KPIs, or key performance indicators, measure successes and areas for improvement. KPIs enable companies to set their content strategy, allocate budget, analyze competition and demonstrate accountability. As a B2B SaaS marketer, it’s crucial that you understand which KPI is most likely to be a vanity metric and which KPI is the real deal so you can use helpful data to grow your business.

Find out which KPI is most likely to be a vanity metric

Vanity metrics may make your company look good, but they don’t move you closer to your goals. Relying on these stats can call your credibility into question and distract from strategic priorities that truly benefit your bottom line. Here are 3 examples that demonstrate which KPI is most likely to be a vanity metric.

Vanity Metric Example #1: Social media followers

You may have an impressive number of followers, but does it mean they’re engaging with your content? 

In addition to lack of engagement from your followers, HubSpot says there are over 95 million bots on Instagram, which account for nearly 10% of Instagram’s total user base. This means that a significant number of your followers may never convert into sales. 

So instead of using social media followers to measure success, track how many people are clicking, commenting on and sharing your content—that’s where the real value lies.

Vanity Metric Example #2: Blog post pageviews

It may make your boss happy to hear that your blog is getting tons of visitors, but measuring pageviews on its own—with no context—is a vanity metric that just makes you feel popular. 

Much more useful would be to focus on who is visiting your site and whether they’re converting into sales. You can also look at where your website visitors are coming from, what devices they’re using, how long they’re staying on the site and how many pages they’re visiting. 

These metrics will give you actionable insights and allow you to make strategic decisions. You’ll also want to up your SEO game, so check out these SaaS SEO tips.

Vanity Metric Example #3: Newsletter subscribers

A classic vanity metric is the number of total subscribers on your mailing list. The number will go up over time but it doesn’t provide any meaningful information on how engaged your subscribers are or whether they’re driving any revenue. 

Instead, think about measuring KPIs like click-through rate (percentage of people who clicked on a link in the newsletter that took them to your website) and conversion rate (percentage of people who took the action you wanted them to take).  

You can also measure monthly opt-ins (how many people sign up for the newsletter each month) and opt-in rates (percentage of people that land on your website and opt-in to your newsletter).

Want to hire an agency?

Check out our list of 22 top content marketing agencies for tech companies in 2024.

So which content marketing metrics actually matter?

Now that you can spot vanity metrics as results in disguise, it’s time to focus on content marketing metrics that matter. These stats should always give you insight into costs and revenue. Here are a few examples to help you get started.

1. Customer acquisition cost and return on marketing investment

These two content marketing metrics go hand in hand. It’s important to know how much you’re paying to acquire your customers (for obvious reasons). You can measure this by tracking how much you’re spending on marketing, in addition to your conversion rates, to determine your overall marketing ROI and cost per customer.

2. Webpage conversion rates

Note the specificity here—rather than tracking your website’s overall conversion rate, drill down to the per-page conversion rates. Get even more granular by checking out how each page’s conversion rate differs by traffic source type. This level of detail will help you understand which content converts which type of user best, and will give you the information you need to A/B test for future optimization.

3. Email conversion rates

Email marketing is only meaningful if your subscribers translate into leads, or better yet, sales. Your newsletters hopefully already include solid calls to action, so track the conversion rates on those to learn whether your email campaigns drive revenue.

4. Social media engagement

There are several content marketing metrics you can track to determine the true value of your social channels. These include how many people are clicking, commenting on and sharing your content. Monitoring these metrics will also help you gain a better understanding of your customers’ likes, dislikes, and behaviours.


Checklist for optimizing content

Content Marketing Writer: How to Find One

If you’re buried in demands for content, it’s time to find an external content marketing writer who can help you with these important, yet time consuming, projects. In this video, we’ll walk through how to find a writer who can help you save time and deliver quality content.

Updated November 2023: Working with an external content marketing writer can save you time (and your sanity), especially when you’re overloaded with projects and demands. And it’s a common solution, with the Content Marketing Institute finding that 47% of B2B content marketers plan to hire or contract their work to a content producer, such as an external content writer. 

In this video, learn how to find a content marketing writer who will be a great fit for your team. Then get answers to the following questions:

This is the third post in a 7-part series on how to find your next B2B SaaS writer and work with them successfully.

Want to hire an agency?

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

What is a content marketing writer?

A content marketing writer is a professional and experienced writer who produces engaging and relevant content to help brands showcase their products. To accomplish this, a content writer needs to conduct research to understand the target audience for the content, and also figure out a unique angle for each piece of content, ensuring it’s on-brand and aligns with marketing messages. 

Content can come in many forms, including: 

  • Blog posts 
  • White papers 
  • Email marketing 
  • Web pages 
  • Guides 
  • eBooks 
  • Social media posts

Why hire a content marketing writer?

Hiring a professional content marketing writer lets you make a positive first impression on potential customers and helps you get noticed online. 

Bad content that misleads readers or doesn’t match the intended user’s search intent increases your bounce rate and hurts SEO. 

A content writer will produce highly engaging content that helps you attract more visitors, keep them on your site and ultimately get more clients. 

What skills should a content marketing writer have?

You shouldn’t just hire any writer. The best content marketing writers are skilled at producing valuable content that generates leads and sales. 

Here are the skills and characteristics to look for when hiring a content writer for your company:

Skills and characteristics of a good content marketing writer

1. Writing skills

A great content marketing writer should have a good command of language and must be able to convey complex ideas using simple words. They should be able to write clearly and concisely to best communicate with their audience. 

Besides foundational writing skills, content writers need to be able to write engaging headlines and compelling calls to action that inspire readers to take action.

2. Experience

B2B content writing is a specialized skill that differs from other forms of writing. Unlike traditional writing, B2B content must be clear, solution-based and speak to a professional audience with a higher degree of business acumen. 

When vetting content marketing writers, check their work history to ensure they have industry-specific experience, as writers should have some background knowledge of your niche. 

3. Understanding of your brand and audience

Successful content takes an audience-centric approach. It’s important that your content marketing writer understands the pain points of your target audience so that they can produce content that resonates with them. That allows writers to create compelling content that offers solutions to alleviate those issues. 

Also, your content is a reflection of your brand. Your content writer must be able to write in your brand’s tone and style, which helps maintain consistency across all marketing communications. 

4. Technical knowledge

If your brand focuses on highly technical topics, you should look for a writer with subject matter expertise. Their technical knowledge, combined with writing skills, will allow them to write content from an authoritative position. 

This comes in handy, especially when writing specialized content formats like white papers and ebooks. For B2B SaaS companies, a content marketing writer should clearly understand your product. Ultimately, they should be able to turn complex technical concepts into digestible content that resonates with readers. 

5. SEO knowledge

It doesn’t matter if you’ve produced the best piece of content in the world if nobody reads it. A content marketing writer can write content that is optimized for the search engines so that your page climbs the ladder of Google rankings. They must have a strong understanding of SEO principles to ensure the content outranks competitors and generates organic traffic. 

How to find a content marketing writer (transcript from the video)

Hi SaaS marketers! Emily Amos here from Uplift Content.

Finding an external B2B content marketing writer doesn’t have to be a chore. In this video, we’ll walk through a few of the key places to start your search.

how to find a content marketing writer

#1: Word of mouth

The benefit of looking for a B2B marketing writer through word of mouth is that it’s personal. You can ask current and former colleagues for referrals, as well as any of your professional networking groups. They’ll likely give you an honest, reliable recommendation, and you can find out about their experience with the writer.

The drawback here? Well, it’s personal. If your experience with the B2B content marketing writer isn’t as positive as your colleague’s was, you may not want to ask for their recommendation a second time.

#2: LinkedIn

You may be able to find a B2B content marketing writer through LinkedIn by simply posting that you’re looking for one. You can join groups for freelance writers and marketers—and share your requirements there. LinkedIn also allows you to find out more about a writer’s experience by viewing their profile.

The disadvantage of LinkedIn is that not all of its features are free to use, so unless you pay for a premium membership, you’ll miss out on detailed profile insights, and the ability to send In-Mails to other LinkedIn members who aren’t in your network.

#3: Facebook or Slack groups for writers

If you want to find the best content marketing writers, you’ll want to spend time where they hang out online. Lots of writers belong to copywriting and digital marketing groups to get support from each other, ask questions and look for projects to take on. 

It’s a good idea to network with freelancers even if you’re not ready to hire. That way, you’ll have multiple people in your back pocket should a new project arise. 

The downside is that you may receive a lot of inexperienced applicants applying for the job, so be very careful in your job posting about the kind of writer and experience you’re looking for. 

Here are some Facebook groups to check out:

And here are some Slack groups to explore:

#4: Google search

One of the simplest ways to find a content marketing writer is through a quick Google search. The writers you’ll want to work with know their way around SEO and the mystical Google algorithm. As such, they should be showing up on the first couple of pages of the search results.

Think about it: if a content writer appears among your top search results, you can bet they know how to get themselves found. That means they’ll know how to help you get found, too.

#5: Freelance writing platforms

There are lots of places online to post job opportunities or to search for a content marketing writer who’s accepting new work. A few examples include

One upside to looking for a content writer this way is that many of the platforms are free or low-cost, and some offer multiple pricing options. Using these websites also allows you to find writers who may not be on LinkedIn. 

The downside here? Some of these websites have pricey subscription fees, such as Contently. On other sites, like Indeed, where anyone can apply for your job posting, the quality of the applicants may be lower than what you’re looking for.

These websites also don’t give you the benefit of a trustworthy personal recommendation. Be sure to ask any writers that you connect with for writing samples. Also interview them and call a few of their references.

Find out what questions to ask in the interview

Hiring the best in-house writer or freelancer comes down to a successful interview. Find out EXACTLY which questions you need to ask.


Our B2B content marketing writers have you covered

If you need a hand with your SaaS content, check out our experienced B2B content marketing writers.

How To Create a Content Brief Template [5 Examples & Free Download]

Having a robust content brief template is the only way you’ll get the high quality content you need to knock it out of the park every time. Download the content brief template Uplift Content uses.

Updated July 2023: You need to knock it out of the park with every piece of B2B SaaS marketing content you create. The best way to get the results you want is to kick off each project by filling out a content brief template that covers all of the standard elements, but also includes a few things you may not have considered before.

Here’s what we cover in this post:

Download our free content brief template

Want a great content brief template without reading the full post?

Grab your free copy of our content brief template (Google Doc)


What is a content brief?

A content brief is a document that outlines all of the expectations, requirements and suggestions for a writer before they set out to write a piece of content. 

The brief typically includes basic information like word count, topic and keywords to use, but it can also include more in-depth information like the goal of the content, who the audience is and a rough outline. A helpful content brief might also include links to resources that will help the writer get started in their research.

Unlike a quick conversation or messy meeting notes, a content brief is important because it provides a written record of what is expected from the content. It helps ensure everyone on your team is on the same page—especially if you’re working with an extended team via an agency or a freelance writer.

A content brief also helps align expectations between a writer and a client or content manager. By providing an agreed framework or structure to your writer before they start, you can ensure the final piece of content meets your needs—especially on topics covered, keywords used and tone.

In particular, this is important when you’re working with different writers and content agencies at the same time since detailed briefs help make sure your brand messaging and voice remain constant.

What is a content brief template?

A content brief template is a reusable document that has predetermined sections outlining all of the pieces of information you need to include when creating a content brief. 

Having a template for your content brief will not only save you time, but it will also ensure you don’t forget to include any essential important elements.

A well-thought-out template is also part of systematizing the writing process to ensure consistent outcomes over time. It makes it easy to reuse components that appear regularly in your briefs. This is useful if you produce content on an ongoing basis because creating briefs from scratch can cause delays in your content calendar. 

Who should use a content brief template?

A content creation brief template is an invaluable tool for anyone involved in content creation. From the product marketer tasked with writing a post on the newest functionality to the vice president of marketing charged with creating an entire content strategy, content writing brief templates are useful at any level of your B2B SaaS business. 

Here are two roles that typically fill out content brief templates:

Marketing strategists

Marketing strategists are well-versed in keyword research, content strategy and planning. But their real superpower is understanding how to connect all the pieces of the content puzzle together to achieve specific business goals.

Using a content brief template allows marketing strategists to communicate all of their insights to the writer in a way that is easily digestible and actionable. It also provides the writer with a better understanding of how this particular piece of content fits into the broader strategy.

With a detailed and fully completed content marketing brief template to work from, the writer can create content that aligns with the content marketing strategy, performs better and requires less back-and-forth time with the editor.

Writers

Sometimes content projects don’t have dedicated strategists. And sometimes the only information provided to the writer is high-level information like “we need a blog post on the benefits of our product.”

In these cases, the writer should fill out the content marketing brief template and run the brief past the stakeholders to ensure everyone’s on the same page. Content brief templates also help set clear expectations for the piece of content and save a lot of time (and headaches) down the road.


Why are content brief templates so important?

Jumping into a content project without a fully fleshed out content brief template is a bit like baking a cake with no recipe. You might get lucky and end up with a great tasting cake, or you may end up with a hot mess.

From a writer’s point of view, inconsistent content briefs can make it hard to understand what the company actually wants from their blog posts and articles. 

Filling out a content writing brief template is critical to the content’s success for 3 reasons:

1. Prevent rewrites and reduce revisions

Detailed content briefs help the whole content team align on what’s important. With a completed content marketing brief template, everyone can clearly see what’s expected, which is crucial for avoiding rewrites and multiple rounds of revisions, as well as getting content approved and published quickly.

By using a robust template, content planners can make sure they’re providing writers with all the information they need to produce excellent content. 

If you’re working with a new writer or agency, bundling important contextual information like your target audience, brand positioning and competitor analysis helps them start on the right foot. It’s these seemingly minor nuggets of information that elevate content to match your expectations—don’t leave them out.

2. Ensure all requirements are met

A content creation brief template acts as a checklist for the content you’ll be creating, ensuring the writer doesn’t forget to include anything that’s needed for a comprehensive and useful piece of content.

A brief must include all the necessary SEO information for that piece of content to perform well, including targeted keywords, section headings and recommended links. However, editorial guidelines are just as important. A writer must know who they are writing for, and for what purpose.

That’s precisely why we recommend using a template to make sure you don’t forget these important elements. 

3. Save time

Creating a content brief without using a template is a time-consuming task. As we’ve discussed earlier, the more detailed a brief is, the better the content will be. However, this creates a time burden for the content planner.

By making use of reusable components and structures, you can cut the time it takes to generate briefs dramatically. 

Higher-quality briefs will also save time for writers and editors. With email, Slack, Trello, meetings and Google Docs, we have so many ways of communicating about our next piece of content that it can be difficult and time-consuming to find a specific piece of information. 

By collecting all the information into a content writing brief template, writers know where to easily and quickly find the information—helping them write content faster and more accurately.

A brief can be used by editors to check that a writer has taken the content requirements into account. If elements are missed, editors can refer to the brief when asking writers to make changes, cutting revision lead times too. 


How do content brief templates fit into content marketing workflows?

Content briefs can help streamline your content marketing workflow by ensuring writers have all the necessary information to get started. With a template, there’s no need to build each content brief from scratch. 

The content marketing workflow is cyclical, and the content writing brief template is arguably at the center of it all. 

Let’s explore how content brief templates fit into a typical content marketing workflow: 

1. Research

The first step in the content marketing workflow is to conduct research to figure out how content fits into the big picture and identify what the strategy should focus on.

Here, you should: 

  • Use keyword research to see which topics and keywords have the greatest chance of making an impact. 
  • Conduct competitor analysis to find insights into what other companies are doing well, and identifying how your company can outperform them.
  • Find out what queries and pain points your potential users are searching for. Tailoring content to solve these problems increases your chances for successful conversions. 


2. Mapping

The next stage is to map out how specific pieces of content fit into the overall content plan and editorial calendar.

During the mapping stage, you should: 

  • Identify the specific purpose of each piece of content. Who are individual posts for? What problems should the piece solve? What should users do after reading the post? 
  • Plan out when content should be written, edited and published. This is an important step for maintaining a consistent editorial calendar.


3. Content brief template

Next, to ensure that the written content matches the requirements identified in the last two steps, you’ll need to fill out a content brief template for every content item in your content calendar. Clearly, the brief is the critical link between your research and planning—and the actual content creation.

Using a template helps make sure you’re not missing out anything—reducing back-and-forth between writers and avoiding the need for time-consuming revisions. 


4. Writing

Next, a writer will use a detailed  content brief to write the piece. A brief should be their primary port-of-call to find out the requirements of that specific piece. 

If they need to look elsewhere—for example, a different document, a Slack message or an email—to find missing information, this will inevitably slow them down. 


5. Editing

Once the piece has been submitted, your editor can use the content brief as a checklist to make sure all critical information has been included.

If revisions are needed, you can easily point out the areas of the brief that a writer needs to work on. This helps reduce the time it takes for a writer to complete revisions.

6. Publishing

Once a piece of content has cleared the editing and approval process, it’s time for it to go live! 

You should keep an eye on the content brief when publishing the content to ensure that the keywords are fully optimized. 

The brief will also contain other SEO requirements—such as title tags, meta descriptions, alt tags and more—that should be followed when publishing the content on your website. 


Grab a copy of our free content brief template (Google Doc)


How to write an effective content brief template

An effective content brief helps ensure each and every piece of content matches your requirements. To do this, you’ll need to build the right content brief template for your company. 

Let’s discuss how you can approach this and what you’ll need to include in the ideal content brief template.

What should you include in a content brief template?

To give writers all the information they need to craft great content, you’ll need to include all the basic elements of content creation in the writer’s brief template. 

Essentially, a content brief should answer all the questions a writer has before they ask them. 

Here are 8 basic components every content brief template needs:

1. Working title

You should provide a working title for the piece of content so everyone knows how to refer to the project.

We recommend including the target keyword or topic in the working title. Experienced writers and agencies will know when to change or adapt a working title, but including one provides a great jumping-off point. 

A working title is an easy way to guide the format of your content. For example, a working title of “5 Reasons a SaaS Business Needs a CRM” will instantly pivot your writer to talk about the benefits of the technology in the context of your target customer.


2. Deadlines

Being transparent with deadlines and due dates helps keep your content calendar on track. Your brief should clearly set out when the draft is due and when the content will be published.

Displaying deadlines clearly on briefs gives writers the opportunity to query tight due dates and iron on problems at the earliest possible time.


3. Goal

What is the goal of the content? What are you hoping this content will achieve?

By setting out clear goals, your writer can tailor the content to suit your needs. 

For instance, if your goal is to build brand awareness through thought leadership, your writer can be sure to include quotes from influential leaders in your company. 


4. Buyer’s journey

To create content that converts prospects into customers, you need to tailor the content to a specific stage of the buyer’s journey. How can you identify this? 

Ask yourself: at what point do buyers usually face the problem or pain point you’re trying to solve? There are three main stages: awareness, consideration and decision. 

Understanding which stage you should be targeting ensures your writer is tailoring calls-to-action (CTAs) that match the intended purpose of the content.


5. Audience

Content written specifically for your target audience is more likely to convert your target audience. But who is your target audience? Why would they want to read this content? What’s in it for them?

Many B2B SaaS companies will tailor blog posts for specific use cases, industries, company sizes or job titles. Content planners may look at which customers are more valuable in that they have a high CLV or high ROI. Do companies from a particular sector tend to spend more on your product or stay for longer? How about targeting them in your marketing content?


6. Topic

A brief should clearly describe the topic you’d like the content to cover. Are there any specific angles you’d like the writer to explore? What is it about this topic that is particularly interesting or valuable to your target audience? 

Do you have any subtopics you’d like the writer to touch on? Do you have a sense of what you’d like the structure of the post to be? Do you have any resources the writer should check out? Be sure to list any of this in the brief. 


7. Specifications

Next, it’s useful to discuss the desired format of the blog post. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Should it be a straight-forward discussion? 
  • Would a listicle work better here? 
  • How about a complete guide of the topic to provide a deeper level of insight to a reader? 
  • Are there any specific formatting considerations?

You should also consider how long the text should be. The length of a blog post can have a pretty big impact on how useful readers find your content. 

For guides and how-tos, users tend to prefer longer content with more detailed insights. In fact, according to SEMRush, articles of 3000–7000 words get 2X the page views and 24% more shares when compared to shorter-length posts.

However, it’s important to note that longer articles take more time to write and not everyone wants to read a novela. 

8. Resources

Finally, a brief should provide any templates, style guides, key messaging documents or background information that could be helpful to the writer.

The accuracy of your content plays a significant role in whether customers trust your brand and your products. That’s why research and fact-checking is key. We recommend providing some relevant research links and jumping-off points to help your writers get started. 

How to include an SEO focus in a content brief template?

SEO is an important part of writing B2B content because tailoring your blog posts and articles to perform well in search engine results will help improve your brand visibility and get you clicks. 

Despite this, many content managers don’t focus on SEO requirements when writing content briefs. While experienced writers will know a lot about SEO, it’s still important to provide them with guidance to boost the performance of the post (and make their lives easier).

What SEO considerations and elements should you include in your content brief template to ensure your writer is optimizing content for search engines? 

Let’s discuss how to instill an SEO focus into your briefs:

1. Include primary and secondary keywords in your brief

We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again. Let your writer know what keyword you’re targetting. This helps them tailor the focus of the article to best answer your target query. It’s important to note that a great SEO writer will know how to weave keywords into the text – as they’ll know keyword stuffing doesn’t work in modern SEO. It’s not as simple as scattering keywords yourself after your writer delivers the content.

2. Identify opportunities to target featured snippets

Featured snippets are the section on search engine result pages (SERPs) tagged as “People also ask…”. Google (and other search engines!) collate snippets from webpages to display common answers to questions. If your article aims to solve a frequently asked question, let your writer know where to target it in your brief. The best strategy for this is to answer the question clearly and concisely.

3. Make your desired goal or action clear in your brief

Finally, your brief should answer: what do you want your reader to do after they’re done with the article? Call-to-actions (CTAs) are important for converting customers, but they are also important for SEO. By having a clear user flow and encouraging readers to read more, check out a landing page or get in touch, visitors will stay longer on your site. From Google’s point of view, this signals that your blog post (and by extension, your site) is worth sticking around for – boosting your rankings in search results. Neat, isn’t it?

4. Include an SEO cheat sheet or list of best practices

Even experienced writers will need a reminder of SEO rules from time to time. We recommend including a cheat sheet for SEO requirements for writers to keep in mind when writing the piece of content.

What sort of rules could you include in this? We recommend adding some guidance on H1-H2-H3 tag hierarchies, paragraph length, style pointers, meta descriptions, etc.

Remember, a content brief should align with your overall SEO strategy to ensure your content matches your SEO goals.

Grab a copy of our free content brief template (Google Doc)


What do most people fail to include in a content brief template, but should?

A bad content brief will lead to incomplete or unsuitable content. If you don’t provide all the information a writer needs to craft a great post, you risk costly revisions and delays to your content calendar. 

This problem can be alleviated by ensuring your template has every relevant component in it. Take your content from basic to brilliant by adding these 5 unexpected elements to your content creation brief:

1. Emotional outcome

As a B2B SaaS marketer, you already know the aim of your content, but do you know how you want people to feel after they read one of your blog posts? How about relief or excitement that they finally have a solution to a problem that’s been nagging them? This is the emotional outcome. Get clear on this in your content creation brief and you’ll forge a strong connection with your audience.

2. Big picture

Craft your content brief with your company’s greater purpose in mind. The well known example from author Simon Sinek explains how Apple markets its products—not as user-friendly computers or smartphones, but as part of a bigger picture that centers around challenging the status quo.

For many SaaS companies, their ‘why’ could involve disrupting old patterns and breaking down barriers so people can work more efficiently and with greater impact. Make sure your content creation brief reflects your company’s ‘why’.

3. Competitive analysis

Include a few links to your competitors’ content in your writer’s brief to give a sense of what other companies in your industry are doing well—and not so well—in their blog posts and ebooks. This is one of the best ways to ensure your content stays sharp and fills in any missing gaps in information.

4. Storytelling

The most engaging and effective content tells a story. So, when developing a content brief, plot out the story that you want the content to tell. Like any good narrative, it should have a beginning, middle and end. For example, highlight a problem and describe how it’s challenging an industry. Then provide thought leadership on how to solve the problem.

5. Performance expectations

The content brief isn’t just a way to outline what information the content should include. It’s also a chance to share your enthusiasm and ambition for the content—and inspire the writer. Is the goal to publish the definitive guide to a subject? Spell that out. Let the writer know you’re confident that you can achieve this together.

How should you fill out a content brief template?

Now that you know what sections to include in your content marketing brief template, you’re ready to fill it out. Here are 4 things to keep in mind as you fill out a content brief template:

1. Be clear and concise

The goal of the content brief is to provide clear instructions to the writer so that they can produce content that meets your expectations. For this to happen, you need to be as specific as possible about what you want—and just as importantly, what you don’t want.

A related point here is to not be too overbearing in your brief. The idea is to give the writer the tools they need to write a good post, not tell your writer exactly what to write. 


2. Know your audience

Your target audience should be at the front of your mind when you’re filling out the content brief template. Every decision you make, from the topic to the tone of voice, should be based on what will resonate with them.

Remember, the audience you target should be tied directly to the customers you’re looking to attract. It’s important to keep in mind which stage of the buyer journey you’re targeting since this will affect how your writer approaches CTAs.


3. Set realistic expectations

It’s important to set realistic expectations for both you and the writer. If you’re unrealistic about deadlines, word counts or the level of detail you expect in the final piece, it will only lead to frustration on both sides.

4. Be flexible

While it’s important to be specific about what you want, it’s also important to be open to new ideas and perspectives. 

The best content is often the result of a collaborative effort between you and the writer, so be prepared to put your own preconceptions aside and let the writer take the lead.

Once you build a working relationship with your writer, it should become fairly clear what aspects of a brief they can take some creative license with. However, to begin with, we recommend making non-negotiable parts of a content brief clear. It’s best practice to keep these to a minimum, however, as a writer’s input can lead to a better overall post.


5 content brief template examples and 1 free download

Need some help creating your content outline template? Here are 5 content writing brief template examples to refer to:

Content Brief Template Example 1:

Zapier

It doesn’t get much more straight-forward than this content brief template. We like the clarity around SEO—and the nice addition of “Competitor articles.”

Content Brief Template Example 2:

Agency Analytics

We like how Agency Analytics includes “Product tie-in” and “Internal links”. These 2 components are really helpful for the writer.

Content Brief Template Example 3:

Meta Blog

Shout out to Mega Blog for including “Content goal” in their brief. And it’s great that they’ve got a big section for the “Outline.” The clearer you can get on your goals and your outline, the better the chance that your writer will produce the kind of content you’re looking for.

Content Brief Template Example 4:

PandaDoc

This brief is one of the more robust content brief templates we’ve seen. Below is just a small snippet of the full brief, which we’d encourage you to check out. A brief like this might be appropriate for an ebook or white paper that’s more robust than a blog post.

Content Brief Template Example 5:

Wrike

We love that Wrike has a section for “Inflexible H2s and H3s”. This ensures that the writer is clear on which headers they must use versus which headers they can choose to use or modify. We also appreciate how they provide a section for internal link options to commercial and supporting pages–very handy!

Download our free content brief template

Here’s the free content brief template we use with our customers. Make a copy and tweak it for your own needs.

Download the Google Docs template 

Start using a content brief template for your next project

Having a clear and concise content brief will save you time and frustration in the long run—and ensure that the final product is exactly what your team wants. 

Once you’ve created a content brief template that works for your team, you can use it over and over again for all your future projects. Fill in the blanks with the specific details of each project, and you’ll be well on your way to producing great content that achieves your goals every time.

This is the sixth post in a 7-part series on how to find and work successfully with your next SaaS writer.

Need a hand writing your blog posts?

If you need a hand writing high-quality posts that drive traffic and conversions, check out our blog writing service.

Content Marketing for Brand Awareness—And How to Measure ROI

You know that strategic content marketing drives brand awareness and revenue, but can you prove it? Learn the 4 steps to measuring brand awareness ROI—and see what measurement framework we use with our customers.

Updated March 2023: You know that excellent B2B SaaS content drives brand awareness and revenue, but can you prove it? Show your boss that you understand how to use content marketing for brand awareness by tracking 5 key metrics—and check out the brand awareness ROI measurement framework we use with our customers.

Need a hand writing your B2B SaaS marketing content? Check out our content writing services.

High-quality, actionable B2B SaaS content is the best way to educate customers and foster strong brand awareness. In fact, 80% of B2B marketers say that building brand awareness is the top goal achieved through content marketing.

While it’s clear that using content marketing for brand awareness is an important factor in driving sales, its overall effect on revenue can be hard to pinpoint. 

At Uplift Content, we understand what SaaS businesses need to elevate their brand awareness—and the answer is content. Need a hand writing your B2B SaaS marketing content? Check out our content writing services.

In this post, we’ll discuss why you should use content marketing to increase brand awareness, and also cover how to approach calculating the ROI of your content marketing efforts.

Topics:

  1. What is brand awareness?
  2. What are the 4 levels of brand awareness?
  3. Different ways to achieve brand awareness
  4. How to use content marketing to increase brand awareness
  5. How does content marketing increase brand awareness?
  6. What is brand awareness ROI?
  7. How to calculate brand awareness ROI
  8. How we track content marketing for brand awareness at Uplift Content

What is brand awareness?

Brand awareness is the extent to which your target audience is familiar with your company and its products or services. It measures the degree to which your target audience recognizes and recalls your company name or logo, and the level of association they have with your brand.

Brand awareness is an important metric for SaaS companies to track since your target audience is more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand they are familiar with and have positive associations with. 

For this reason, companies must invest in marketing and advertising efforts, including content marketing, to increase brand awareness, build a strong brand identity and attract new customers. 

What are the 4 levels of brand awareness?

To understand how brand awareness affects a customer’s journey, we’ll need to explore the different stages of brand awareness.

This model is based on David Aaker’s brand loyalty pyramid but has been adapted to demonstrate the brand awareness journey of a modern brand. 

4 Levels of Brand Awareness

Starting at the bottom and working our way up, here are the 4 stages of brand awareness: 

1. No awareness

Your target audience has no knowledge of your brand at this stage. This is where all new brands start out. Here, you’ll need to focus on marketing channels that get your name out to a wide range of people—we’ll discuss how later on!

2. Brand recognition

Your audience recognizes your brand when they see it. They may not know anything about your brand or what you do, but they’re aware of your logo, name, color scheme or other key visual cues.

3. Brand recall

If your audience thinks of your brand when they need a product or service you offer, this is known as brand recall. For instance, you may think of Zoom or Google Meet when you’re thinking about video conferencing. In SaaS, achieving brand recall means you’ve established the trust needed to convince B2B customers to trust your product with their business operations.


4. Top-of-mind

This is the stage where a brand is the first one that comes to mind when a consumer thinks about a particular product or service category. Top-of-mind is achieved when your brand is established as a thought leader in your field or has successfully marketed your product as the best-in-class. 

Want to hire an agency?

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

Different ways to achieve brand awareness

In this post, we’ll discuss in detail how to use content marketing to increase brand awareness, but there are a few other ways of achieving it as well. These include: 

Paid advertising

This is the oldest trick in the book. You can use advertising to get your brand and its products in front of a wider audience. This can either be through traditional means—such as TV, radio, print ads etc.—or through digital advertising. Online advertising can often help you reach your target audience more efficiently. 

Social media marketing

Social media platforms offer companies a unique way to connect with potential customers. Viral marketing campaigns help expose your brand to new audiences, while you can use other forms of social media content to educate your existing audience on the products or services you provide. 

Public relations

This involves generating media coverage and positive publicity for the brand through various channels, including press releases, media pitches and influencer marketing.

How to use content marketing to increase brand awareness

As we touched on previously, customers need to know that your SaaS company exists before they can buy your products or services. Creating content full of rich stories is an essential part of driving brand awareness. 

By providing potential customers with educational information on relevant topics and pain points, you establish your company as a trusted expert in the field, and boost the awareness of your SaaS product.

How does content marketing increase brand awareness?

Content marketing done right means you present your brand as a trusted authority in the pain points and problems your product solves for. 

Let’s look at an example. If your company has an all-in-one marketing platform for real estate companies, you can publish blog posts  that educate real estate companies on marketing best practices for real estate. Your target audience will find your posts when searching for tips on how to up their marketing game—and will learn about your brand at the same time.  

This valuable information about relevant problems that your target audience is experiencing is key to presenting your brand and its products as the solution to their pain point—driving interest and ultimately sales. 

And consistently producing and sharing high-quality content that is aligned with a company’s brand values and messaging can help to reinforce the brand image and increase brand awareness.


You may even be able to build a regular readership from the content you publish. Semrush launched their online blog to rank well in SEO-related search queries, but many founders and SEOs regularly read their blog posts for new insights. Building a loyal audience like this can help drive repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals.

That’s why we recommend using content marketing for brand awareness. High quality content keeps your audience coming back, which further increases your brand awareness ROI. 

What is brand awareness ROI?

Brand awareness ROI is how you demonstrate the value of your brand awareness activities and how those activities impact opportunities and  sales. 

Building brand awareness and educating your target audience on your brand and what it represents will make other marketing and acquisition channels more cost-effective. For instance, a business owner is more likely to click on a display ad for a CRM tool like HubSpot if they’re already aware of the brand’s position as a market leader. 

How to calculate brand awareness ROI

Quantifying and calculating the ROI of brand awareness is sometimes easier said than done. The impact of increased brand awareness may not be immediately measurable or directly tied to a specific revenue stream. 

The key to measuring brand awareness ROI is figuring out the number of potential customers who were exposed to your brand thanks to a piece of content you created, and how that exposure influenced opportunities and sales. 

How to Calculate Brand Awareness ROI

Here’s how to calculate brand awareness ROI:

1. Track key metrics

Brand awareness can influence a wide range of KPIs and metrics. With this in mind, here are 5 metrics you can track to demonstrate how you use content marketing to increase brand awareness:

  • direct traffic to your website
  • earned media hits
  • external links to your website
  • blog shares
  • social media engagement
  • search volume

2. Put the metrics/data to work

Use your favorite analytics tool to create goals, and track conversions and opportunities that resulted from your website’s direct traffic.

3. Track goals for referral traffic

Set up and track goals for your referral traffic to determine the effectiveness of your earned media hits and external links.

4. Track social engagements

Use a social attribution platform to track how your social engagement drives conversions. 

How we track content marketing for brand awareness at Uplift Content

Our measurement framework has a section specific to brand awareness ROI. Here’s what it looks like:

We’ve broken down our goal of increasing brand awareness into 3 KPIs:

  • organic search
  • social media
  • referrals

For each KPI, we track a series of content marketing metrics. Here are 3 few examples:

1. Organic search

We measure the number of organic search sessions, lead gen from organic search, non-branded keyword clicks and click-through rate per page.

2. Social media

We measure the number of social sessions, lead gen from social and number of shares.

3. Referrals

We measure referral sessions, lead gen from referrals and the number of inbound links. 

Every 3 months, we analyze this data to see what changes we need to make as we use content marketing to increase brand awareness.

Boost brand awareness with better content

Want help creating content for brand awareness? Check out our content writing services.

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