10 mins read
Problem-Solving SaaS Content: How to Generate Real Demand With Your Writing
That’s how I felt each time my Editor praised my writing skills but kept condemning my work because, in his words, “they weren’t solving any problem.”
When I first found myself in this world of SaaS writing, I almost drowned in self-pity. Anytime I read my Editor’s feedback, I wished for another career path. Sometimes, I broke down in tears like this:
Lucky me, the awesome VEC team didn’t let my crocodile tears deter them from guiding me to learn the hard truth about exceptional SaaS writing.
And it goes thus:
Every SaaS content you write must solve a reader’s problem and, ultimately, that of the company you’re writing for:
Most SaaS marketers haven’t learned this. If not, why do only 42% of B2B marketers feel their content marketing efforts are effective? And why did just 30% of respondents to the State of Writing 2021 survey feel satisfied with the performance of their written content?
Dear friend, let’s face it.
Writing content for SaaS companies isn’t about filling a blank Google Doc canvas with thousands of words. It requires strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
As Ryan Law, the VP of Content at Animalz, wrote:
“Content marketing requires good writing, but it also requires strategic smarts, deep product and industry knowledge, design intuition, and a solid understanding of the business problem being solved by content.”
You can’t call yourself a good SaaS content marketer, let alone an exceptional one, if your content doesn’t solve problems.
Don’t get me wrong.
Of course, your sentence construction, storytelling skills, industry data, and CTA placements are crucial. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself:
If my target audience finds this piece, will it fix a puzzle in their life?
Only when you answer this question will your content help in turning readers into pipeline and sales qualified opportunities.
That’s the basis of problem-solving SaaS content.
It’s the type we do here at VEC that gets our clients leaving reviews like:
And testimonials like:
I’ll show you how I grew into someone who now crafts the kinda problem-solving SaaS content earning such reviews and testimonials like you just saw. You’ll also see how to replicate our strategy, so your content stands out too.
What I’ll Cover
You’re Not Just a Writer, You’re a Problem-Solver
When you were a child, you spoke and wrote like one. Nobody saw your mistakes as mistakes. Instead, they accepted it as a part of the childhood process, knowing full well you’d improve over time.
Today, you’re no longer that child who could mispronounce a word and get away with it. And just like you can’t spill water on the floor and get a pat on the back, don’t expect anyone to praise you for churning out words that add nothing to the bottom line.
You’re an adult working for an organization that solves a problem to make money. And the only way to earn your seat on the team is by ensuring your content is effective.
Let me explain.
Effective SaaS content marketing goes beyond piecing words together to educate an audience. It doesn’t end at backing up your words with relevant data and statistics. Neither is it about forcing a product’s free trial down readers’ throats.
Your writing should make sales easier eventually. But for this to happen, you must show (not just tell) how a SaaS product solves a reader’s problem as they consume your piece.
Hear it from Michael Brenner, CEO & Founder of Marketing Insider Group:
“Successful content marketing is all about solving your customers’ problems. And that requires a culture shift inside businesses. We need to think of content marketing as our solution, more than our products. Because when you show customers how to face their challenges and come out victorious on the other side, it builds trust. Your expertise, not your products and services, positions you as an authority in your field. Your products and services are mere props that help you tell your story.”
Also, Tirzah Thornburg, writing on The Center for Sales Strategy, corroborates Michael’s statement with these crispy words:
“At the heart of every sale is the ability to solve the client’s problem.”
So, if you want to gain your reader’s business, solving their problem must be at the core of your writing. It means you must also ditch your obsession with writing articles that only boost website SEO ranking.
All these bring us to the idea of problem-solving SaaS content writing.
Let’s dissect both terms making up this concept to understand it better.
“The process of observing what is going on in your environment; identifying things that could be changed or improved; diagnosing why the current state is the way it is and the factors and forces that influence it; developing approaches and alternatives to influence change; making decisions about which alternative to select; taking action to implement the changes, and observing impact of those actions in the environment.”
“The process of expressing and showing how someone can quickly use your software through an easy-to-access online portal to solve their problems, without wasting time and money buying a disk or license key.”
One key takeaway from both definitions is the phrase “to solve their problems.” And that lends credence to all I’ve said so far.
Here’s how I contextualized the quoted definitions above to suit you as a content marketer:
Problem-solving content marketing involves observing what’s going on with your target audience, identifying things that need improvement, diagnosing why they’re in their current state, and developing solutions to influence change for them.
What other way can you do that than with high-quality content?
This goes without saying that problem-solving SaaS content is audience-centric. It’s all about the audience, not you or your company. It’s all about addressing readers’ pain points with every word you write.
In his words:
“As SaaS content creators, we need to focus on the problem(s) and pain points that our product solves. For example, that email marketing tool can help us: nurture leads, write better emails, or create a newsletter (just to name a few).
When we focus on the problem at hand for our content marketing plan, we reach wider audiences while remaining relevant to potential buyers.”
Why’s this important, you ask?
I’ll tell you.
If all these make sense, let’s see…
Why Your Content isn’t Solving Problems
I now know better.
Before my boss rejected my work, saying it solved no problem, he observed things I couldn’t see. And that’s understandable because, for most writers, it’s normal to get too attached to what we write.
I urge you to take a step back and look at your content with the eyes of an editor trying to drive business like I now do. Only then would you see what you’re doing wrong that’s making all your efforts seem futile.
1. You’ve not figured out the problem your piece aims to solve
Is there even a problem in the first place? Yes, there is.
Your SaaS company wouldn’t be in business if it weren’t solving any problem for customers.
You probably haven’t immersed yourself in the SaaS product to figure it out. But, even when you do, you must articulate that problem as their content marketer.
How do you do this?
By identifying (and understanding) the different stages of the buyer’s journey before writing a word. Lydia Roth, a digital marketing manager at Alexa, noted how SaaS brands don’t explore this well enough.
“Many SaaS companies fail to consider the entire customer journey. It’s easy to become of the mindset that, if you’re creating content that doesn’t lead to a new customer, it’s a waste of time.”
The buyer’s journey is a customer’s path to purchase. It depicts possible mindsets prospects have on their path to making a buying decision.
Writing for HubSpot, Amanda Sellers observed:
“Buyers don’t wake up and decide to buy on a whim. They go through a process to become aware of, consider and evaluate, and decide to purchase a new product or service.
By understanding the buyer’s journey, the pains and problems they experience along that journey, and the influencing factors that shape their thinking, sales reps (and content marketers) can better empathize with the buyer and position their product or service along that path.”
To write content that aligns with the buyer’s journey, you must understand the three stages of the sales funnel — top (TOFU), middle (MOFU), and bottom (BOFU). An excellent way to do this is by nailing the intent likely to make them consider reading your content.
Once you recognize this, ensure the tone of each content you create aligns with that intent and mindsets your readers have at those journey stages.
An excellent way to do this is via VEC’s Product-Led Storytelling approach.
I’ll come to that later.
2. You’re speaking to many people with one content
This is something over 71% of content marketers are guilty of.
When you write for many people at once, you speak to no one, and your content has no effect. Kinga Edwards of Brainy Bees describes this as a fatal SaaS content marketing mistake.
In his words:
“The worst type of content is the one that’s way too broad and generic to reach a segmented audience.”
Writing to a generic audience is like writing blindly. You don’t even know who the piece is for. You just write to fill up space on your blog and end up cluttering the web with more noise.
Have you noticed that I use ‘reader’ when referring to your audience?
That’s because I expect that you write for one person at a time. In other words, you should always ONLY write for one person at a time and count every other person who reads it as a bonus.
At VEC, it’s our culture.
We write every piece for one particular person (not two but one). And this happens smoothly because before taking on product storytelling projects, we develop ICP StoryScripts.
Our Lead Strategist, Victor Eduoh, coined the term ICP StoryScript.
It’s a detailed yet summarized story about your target audience. It captures a target reader’s internal, external, design, philosophical, and transformational problems.
Here’s an ICP StoryScript we created for a target reader of ours, a SaaS founder we named Zuhailo:
ICP StoryScripts are how we build StoryBriefs & Outlines for drafts to address real problems for a target reader, using our Product-Led Storytelling approach.
Here’s the one I created for this piece you’re reading:
ICP StoryScripts are more effective than regular buyer personas or demographics. And this is because they are more practical and relevant as they help inject relevant stories into your piece.
So, write for one person, and leverage ICP StoryScripts.
3. You’re obsessing over SEO metrics
You want organic traffic from search engines to prove your marketing genius. You think your boss will applaud your effort and probably give you a raise.
But you see, doing that doesn’t give you problem-solving SaaS content. Instead, you recreate the same old garbage —content that isn’t different from your competitors.
Yes, everyone else seems to be doing it. 75% of marketers say SEO is an effective content marketing tactic, quite alright.
But if you keep obsessing over SEO metrics instead of thinking of ways your content can stand out, you’ll blend into the noise. Remember, there’s so much content on the Internet, and for yours to stand out, it must be different.
Again, don’t get me wrong.
I’m not saying SEO is bad. I’m saying focusing on just SEO isn’t enough to craft a problem-solving SaaS content piece.
When you obsess over SEO metrics, you end up drafting a selfish piece. That is, one focused on your company and sidelines who the article was actually written for— your customers.
It shouldn’t be the case.
As Dale Bertrand opined in the Content Marketing Institute’s predictions for 2022:
“Rather than guessing which technical signals will curry favor with search engines, why not build a compelling, story-driven brand that resonates with online consumers and generates the signals Google is looking for as a side-effect? Brand storytelling naturally leads to content that generates engagement, backlinks, and search engine authority.”
Again, this is another reason why our Lead Strategist developed the Product-led Storytelling framework.
It’s a product-focused form of SaaS content marketing that involves drafting discoverable stories to attract and turn engaged readers directly into trial users, PQLs, and paying customers, irrespective of where they find your content:
If you adopt this approach in your SaaS writing, you’ll solve both your readers’ and organization’s problems.
Because Product-Led Storytelling is a solution-driven, audience-centric approach to content marketing that involves no fluff or keyword obsession.
Wanna see how we craft these product-led problem-solving SaaS content?
How to Execute Problem-solving SaaS Content Marketing
Groove HQ never used to be the epitome of effective SaaS content marketing. There was a time the company never took content seriously. But when they decided to revisit their strategy and adopt proper brand storytelling, everything turned around.
But this didn’t happen by magic. The SaaS company rethought its content goals. Aaron Orendorff, Founder of IconiContent, described Groove HQ’s transition:
In his words:
“The goal of content has evolved into a single purpose: growth, to serve the funnel by serving our audience. This means uniting audience goals with business goals.”
Similarly, Contently takes the same approach.
Before content production, they run a litmus test. Joe Lazauskas, Contently’s Head of Marketing, while describing this test, said:
“Each piece of content we publish has to help our target audience in a way that no one else can. If we do that day after day, we know the business results will follow.”
These businesses understand that before content marketing can fuel growth, it must help their target audience solve their problems.
And if you want their story to be the same for your organization and every other SaaS company you write for, adopt these techniques:
Follow a SaaS Content Marketing Strategy
Most SaaS companies adopt a content strategy before embarking on a content marketing project. According to CMI, 86% of highly effective organizations have someone in charge of content strategy.
If that’s the same for your organization, follow the given content strategy to the letter.
Following a content strategy not only aligns your content with the company’s goals. It can also help you achieve topical authority with your content.
That’s because you won’t be writing random long-form content pieces, expecting each one to rank and pull in organic website traffic.
That’s not how it works.
No content piece should stand in isolation.
At VEC, we do this via the Content Topic Clusters Strategy(CTCS).
Grammarly used this strategy to achieve over 20 million users. See it as a framework for puzzling (or linking) related content pieces together around targeted topics relevant to your business.
Here’s what it looks like:
Instead of having tons of unrelated long-form content on your company’s blog, this strategy creates a synergy. It ensures each piece that goes live bolsters each other so search engine bots understand better.
Search engines are now smarter.
They now prioritize concepts over keywords and favor sites with more content pieces linked around a topic with more organic search traffic.
So, create (and link) content pieces for topics relevant to your business across each stage of the sales funnel.
For instance, suppose “product funnel” is a topic you wanted to build authority for and help drive growth for your company with content. In that case, you’ll cluster relevant content, ensuring the tone in each content aligns to the mindsets and intents your target reader would have.
An example content cluster for the topic ‘Product Funnel.’
Here’s a summary of how we go about it for our clients:
- Research topics & concepts your business needs/should be ranking for
- Note all the keywords and queries related to each topic or key concept
- Examine user intent of keywords & search queries, and group them to form TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU content titles
- Create and link each piece to your TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU content pieces
Hear from Customers and Wear Their Shoes
How do you solve someone’s problems when you don’t listen to their needs? Can a doctor prescribe medications without speaking with the patient to diagnose?
Of course not.
That’s like partaking in a rat race: you either move about in circles and achieve nothing or worsen the whole situation.
Instead, how about you hear from the horse’s mouth?
To know what your audience needs, pay close attention to your company’s user groups. There, you’ll find first-hand knowledge of how they use your tool, issues they have with it, and suggestions your content should address.
In addition, Google is a good place to discover customer problems.
A simple Google search shows relevant queries and content creation opportunities. Thanks to the ‘Related Searches’ and ‘People Also Ask’ tables. You can find unique angles to approach your content and solve customers’ problems with a few clicks:
You can also use SEO tools to understand queries your target market has about a topic.
Your customers may not outrightly share their problems with you. So, it would help if you reached out to them or, better still, spy on them.
Stalk them on social media.
Eavesdrop on their conversations on online forums, if you must.
Do whatever you can to uncover pain points your content should address.
Create a Map for Every Content
Like you won’t travel to an unknown place without a map, create a map before writing a single word of any piece. This map is what we call StoryBrief & Outline here in VEC. It helps to structure your content for easier execution.
Create it before writing your piece and submit it to your Editor or boss, as the case may be, for approval. Doing this is crucial as it helps to avoid receiving feedback you should have gotten before writing.
On second thought, this is why your boss would say your content solves no problem.
I mean, if they saw your brief & outline before you began, they’d have given appropriate content feedback to guide you while writing,
Here in VEC, we craft StoryBriefs & Outlines before creating any content piece. And in each StoryBrief, we include the target ICP, their pain points, relevant keywords, the goal of the article, etc.
It looks like this:
Note: To replicate our StoryBrief & Outline for your content needs, click hereand make a copy.
Wanna see the StoryBrief & Outline I created for this piece you’re reading?
Here you go:
Try this hack when next you write a SaaS piece. Pour out the ideas dancing in your head into a StoryBrief & Outline, show it to your boss, restructure it (if need be) before going ahead to write.
Of course, they’ll have corrections to make while reviewing your first draft. But at least, the brief would’ve given them an idea of what to expect from you.
Think more. Write less
Sometimes, it’s not all about stuffing words in your piece. What you write has to make a lot of sense; otherwise, your piece would be another time waster. And if your goal is to craft problem-solving SaaS content, you have to do more critical thinking and write less.
In the words of Oana Gheorghita
“The better you are at critical thinking, the more likely you’ll be able to identify opportunities and solve problems creatively.”
But you don’t only have to apply critical thinking to your content marketing. You also have to be a creative thinker to develop solutions for your reader.
In fact, writing itself is thinking.
And that’s because you need to do a lot of analysis and judgment before (and during) the writing process. So, before you start typing your words, think about:
- Your idea
- Who you’re writing for
- Relevant sources to back up your claim
- How your company would benefit from your piece
- How best to tackle your content
- What problem your piece aims to solve
- The solution you’re proffering with your content.
Once you’ve thought deeply about these, do your research, and connect the dots to birth a problem-solving SaaS content piece.
Imbibe Problem-Solving, Become a Better SaaS Content Marketer
Once upon a time, a young man found himself loving the SaaS industry. His vision was (and still is) to make the global web more valuable and useful, one story for one person at a time.
Since he knew many were already writing content for SaaS companies, he did some deep thinking to be different, not better.
So, he set out on this quest, and today, not only does he close deals worth thousands of dollars:
He’s also carved a name for himself in the world of SaaS marketing and differentiated the B2B storytelling studio he leads (which is where I work) from its competitors.
Today, his team (which I’m part of) get clients to say things like:
How did he do this?
I’ll tell you.
He cut through the clutter by developing a framework different from other content marketing approaches. This Product-Led Storytelling framework is the tonic behind our client’s success.
In this OpenView Partners article, Victor Eduoh, the young man whose story you just read, defined it as:
“The art & science of crafting discoverable stories, showing (not telling) well-targeted prospects how to overcome specific challenges, WITH your product.”
The idea is simple:
Educate, entertain, and inspire your target ICP with relatable stories that attract, engage, and drive direct conversions.
It’s the dream of every SaaS company — to attract (and convert) real users, not just some leads slammed with industry tags.
And the good news is that we don’t keep our approach a secret and execute it on clients’ projects alone. We share insights on how we craft stories that directly earn reads, mindshare, and fuel demand for B2B SaaS products.
Would you like to learn how we craft stories that solve problems and turn ICPs into raving users and fans?
Subscribe to the Product-led Storytelling Newsletter below.
No spam, no fluffs, just value
Because I want to be one of your best sources for valuable content, I'll keep honing my writing skills until my last breath.
Get our insights in your inbox
Actionable summaries of stories told by experts on how they grow brands (and their careers) with content from our Growing with Content podcast. And well-researched insights crafted in the VEC Studio.
I will send you a copy of our Content Quality Checklist –FOR FREE– when you subscribe.