SaaS Content Marketing
10 mins read
The SEE (Show, Educate, Empower) Framework: An Effective Way to Craft B2B Content
Struggling to craft effective B2B content that drives pipeline? The SEE (Show, Educate, Empower) framework might be just what you need, and I'll show you how.
Simon couldn’t bear it anymore.
“None of your content pieces,” he queried Jenny, “drove demand in the last quarter. I checked HubSpot’s attribution. And HotJar session recordings show visitors spend less than 13 seconds on average on your content pieces and bounce off.”
Simon is CMO of the SaaS startup where Jenny works.
He made the needed transition from lead gen to demand gen. And since B2B demand gen thrives on content people actually consumed, the stakes were higher for Jenny.
Her obsession with SEO and high search ranking was no longer enough.
All the traffic from her B2B content pieces mostly amounted to nothing—visitors didn’t read her content long enough to take profitable actions.
These made Jenny worried:
- How can I change that?
- How do I create content people actually read without clicking away?
- And even more, how can I get them to take action to drive demand?
Do you have the same worries as Jenny?
Then, you’re in luck because I might have a solution for you.
I’m talking about the same approach I leverage to craft 4,000+ words B2B pieces. Yet, readers consume them top to bottom and leave comments like this:
[Comment on my 4,200-words, Product-Led Marketing guide]
This approach is what I call SEE.
And that’s short for Show, Educate, and Empower:
The SEE framework lies at the heart of effective B2B content, meaning:
“Content that educates or entertains a specific audience, shows them how to solve their problems, and is empowering.”
The framework is also at the heart of VEC’s Product-Led Storytelling approach. It’s how we fuel demand directly from content:
[P.S: Daniel became (and is still) a cherished VEC customer]
Groovehq is another beneficiary.
They apply the SEE framework to their overall content strategy execution.
Here’s how the SEE framework came to play in one of their posts:
Using irresistible copywriting and a product walkthrough, Erika Trujilo creates a picture of how the Groove App will help the reader write amazing knowledge base articles.
Erika shares all the reader needs to know about writing great knowledge base articles
Erika inspires the reader to take action (write knowledge base articles) immediately.
This graph shows the revenue results this approach is helping them achieve:
Similarly, when you apply the SEE framework, you also can:
- Drive real demand by answering the queries of your company’s prospects and existing customers;
- Improve impressions and traffic; and
- Fuel your brand’s demand gen engine by converting engaged readers into trial users directly.
Shall I show you how?
Table Of Contents
When your content tells a relatable story, addresses relevant concerns, and inspires action, you delight and create a loyal fanbase.
In the long run, this delighted fanbase becomes brand advocates who are happy to share your content and product without you asking:
Groove’s application of the SEE framework makes superfans out of their readers
2. It builds trust and credibility
When your content educates your audience, it proves you know your onions, establishing trust among industry experts.
Trust and credibility, in turn, make your target readers confident about recommending your content to their network. Take this problem-solving content by Victoria Willie, VEC’s Product-Led Storyteller.
On her own, Heather Quitos, Head of Content at ScaleMatters, was happy to share it with her LinkedIn network:
3. It creates a pipeline of qualified demand
Infusing relatable stories in your pieces helps you engage target readers, ensuring they’ll actually read your content.
Educating them builds trust and credibility.
Motivating engaged readers inspires action.
When combined, these three cornerstones of quality writing make your readers smarter about their challenges and how your product solves them. And smart readers often become PQLs who sales teams find easier to close:
In summary, applying the SEE framework turns your content into shareable assets that builds trust and generates a qualified pipeline (or PQLs).
And it works:
How to show, not tell
Successful B2B SaaS writers understand showing and not just telling is what breathes life into business content. How can you emulate them and create memorable content experiences for your readers?
1. Lead with Your Product
Explaining how your software can solve readers’ problems isn’t enough. Your readers also need to see its problem-solving capacity in action. Just like Maia Morgan Wells, Marketing Director of Clear Pivot, opined:
“Don’t be afraid to crack open the lid, and show your potential audience inside the technology including all of its glorious settings. The idea is to show the functionalities, the experience, the results, and the benefits. Let your prospects see for themselves. In SaaS marketing, it is all about showing, not telling, so show your solution off!”
To implement Maia’s advice, include screenshots of your product in action and annotate them with texts, boxes, arrows, and circles to demonstrate your points.
I love how the Ahrefs’ team uses screenshots in their pieces:
2. Include Descriptive Designs
If Pexels were human, its complaint would be:
“Can bloggers stop using my stock pictures every time?”
This complaint is valid as almost every blog post lately has a stock picture as their cover. While this isn’t exactly bad, you need to be creative if you want to stand out from the crowd. Using custom, descriptive designs is one way to do that.
You can ask your designers to do this, as we do at VEC:
3. Add Videos and Gifs
Studies show videos increase the time spent on your page by over 100%. So product walkthroughs via short, video-like gifs are other useful visual elements to use in your B2B blog posts.
Here’s a gif we used to show how our client’s Simplified Content Workflow Software works in a post for them:
4. Weave It All With Relatable Storytelling
When you weave the steps above into relatable stories, you transform your content into a resonating experience that hooks your reader all through.
In the words of Nick Nelson, Senior Content Marketing Manager at TopRanking Marketing:
“Tying multiple pieces of info together in a coherent, chronological, & relatable way makes the message far more affecting. The content suddenly becomes experiential instead of merely educational.”
How do you achieve this?
- Find a compelling narrative. Remember, you’re competing for your reader’s time and attention, so you need to create a three-arc narrative. This narrative should be anchored on your company’s overarching positioning. Also, it should include a setup, conflict, and resolution.
Here’s how this narrative should play out when crafting content:
- Your story centers around a protagonist with a specific aspiration similar to your audience’s. [Set-up]
- Unfortunately, the problem your article promises to solve stands in the way of your protagonist. They try to find solutions to this problem, but keep finding opposing opinions and obstacles that hinder them. [Conflict]
- Finally, the protagonist finds your product/service, which helps them fix their problem. [Resolution]
- Be genuine. You sabotage your brand’s credibility when you tell fake or exaggerated stories. So back your stories with actual anecdotes and quotes from experts. Don’t shy away from talking about your failures. In all, be true to yourself.
Just as Isaac Justesen advises in this article:
“Fake stories will soon be exposed and won’t help your brand’s credibility, so keep it real. Share true anecdotes, and don’t be afraid to talk about your failures; showing the human side of your business is more relatable. Let people see the real people behind the brand. Share your personality and individuality.”
- Make your stories meaningful and relevant. When crafting stories, ask yourself if there are hooks to make them more relatable and applicable to your audience personally. Feature first-person perspectives from people similar to your ICP. This is where customer testimonials and case studies come in handy.
- Apply recurring themes. The
Storytelling doesn’t just work in theory. It works in practice too.
Groove proved this when they A/B tested with two posts. The first post had a bland intro, while the second post was interwoven with a story:
The post with the story had nearly 300% more people scroll all the way to the bottom, and average time on page was more than five times higher:
It’s not enough to hook readers and show them how your product solves their problem. Your content should also share tips that make them smarter about their pain points.
This is where educating them comes in…
How to Educate Your Audience
According to the Content Marketing Institute, educational content is the second most used content marketing method for nurturing B2B audiences:
What does this mean for your brand?
You should dedicate more time and resources to educating your customers about their problems and why they need your product to solve them.
For example, if your B2B brand helps SaaS businesses manage their product development processes by collecting feedback, you shouldn’t focus only on marketing your feedback tool to your prospects.
Instead, you should explain to them:
- What a feedback tool is
- How it can improve their product development cycle
- Why they need to seek customer feedback
- How other businesses are using customer feedback to make better product decisions
- And so on.
Your audience will like and trust you more when you do this consistently and effectively.
And when that trust is established well enough?
They’ll buy from you and possibly invite others to buy too.
Sounds interesting, huh?
To enjoy the benefits mentioned above, implement these tips:
1. Develop a Deep Understanding of Your ICP
To understand and educate your ICP better, go beyond generic personas.
I recommend creating an ICP StoryScript (another VEC-developed concept) that highlights your customer’s internal and external problems, philosophical beliefs, and expected transformations.
Here at VEC, we do this for every client engagement.
Here’s an example:
By drilling deep into specific pain points, you get a better grasp of prospects’ needs. And with this, you can trigger relevant emotions in your content, which leads to deeper engagement with them.
2. Narrow Your Content Focus
Each content piece you create should have a singular focus and cluster under an overarching topic.
Like this article’s title reads:
“One Narrow Topic Per Piece”
Narrowing your content focus bolsters your content quality by forcing you to educate target readers in specific and relevant ways.
Doing this helps your draft address questions like:
- What’s the primary purpose of this content?
- Who’s my primary (then broader) target audience?
- What problems would probably lead them to read this article?
- What’s one mutually-beneficial action I want readers to take?
Here at VEC, the content we craft for ourselves (and clients) are educative and fun to read because we follow these tips.
Take this one you’re reading.
Here’s the StoryBrief & Outline with the tips I just shared:
3. Keep the Language Simple
Choose simplicity over verbosity. Engage your audience without compelling them to reach for their dictionary. Overall, ensure your content is readable.
Run your drafts on a readability test tool before sending them to your editor. Then, rework them if the readability is low.
Jade Faugno gave insightful advice regarding the use of simple language.
“Blog content should be clear, educational, and insightful. And it should sound like it’s coming directly from a company thought leader, not an entire marketing department. Try running it by someone outside the organization who can pinpoint any off-putting marketing jargon before you post.”
There is, however, a caveat to this advice as simple writing doesn’t mean dumbing down. Jayson DeMers, CEO at EmailAnalytics, noted this caveat.
“…you shouldn’t dumb down your writing so much that you’re explaining things that your readers already know. Instead, it’s best to strike a good balance between making things clear without being overtly obvious.”
Let’s revisit Jenny, our fictional character.
Simon queried her because her content pieces weren’t engaging or generating pipeline. If you apply the steps I’ve shared so far, you’ll craft engaging content.
But to generate pipeline?
You must empower target readers to act.
How to Empower Your Audience
Imagine telling relatable stories and sharing helpful tips only for your audience to bounce off your content without taking action.
I’m sure you don’t want that for yourself.
Thankfully, the steps below can help you avoid such:
1. Write compelling headlines
Cecilia Lazzoro Blasbalg, Small Business Expert and Writer, wrote:
“Writing a descriptive headline lets your audience know what they will gain from your article. This is important because they want to decide whether they will read it before taking the next step – and click.”
This is no mere opinion. According to Moz, 8 out of 10 people will read a headline, while only 2 out of 10 will click through.
So how do you create headings that not only encourage your readers to click but also inspire them to take action?
- Use title generators to come up with ideas for creating your headline. You can select from these ideas or use them as the foundation for inspiration.
- Be ultra-specific.
- Implement the keywords obtained from your keyword research.
- Use power words.
- Promise to resolve a specific issue/problem.
- Provide just enough detail in your headline to pique your audience’s curiosity.
- Add numbers.
- A/B test your headline variations.
2. Encourage Action
In the words of Brenda Stolz, Founder of Ariad Partners:
“Conversion is action.”
For this reason, you need to emphasize action in your blog content even before you include your CTA.
How do you achieve this?
By mentioning action verbs and phrases throughout your piece. And while these verbs and phrases should make the reader envision achieving something, I don’t recommend describing your product in action terms. E.g,
“[Your Product Name] is the best in the market.”
Instead, describe it this way:
“With [Your Product Name], you’ll achieve [describe the effect of using your product].”
Do you see how the use of “achieve” in this new sentence inspires action?
Similar words you can adopt in your pieces include:
3. Harness the Power of Psychology
There are two major psychological principles you should incorporate in your B2B writing. They include:
- Loss aversion. Whenever people see what they stand to lose if they don’t act, a sense of urgency stirs them to get it now and not later. You should tap into this human peculiarity by infusing words that create a sense of urgency.
- Primacy and recency. The
Leverage these two cognitive biases by inputting your most convincing points at the beginning and end of your pieces.
4. Use a Clear CTA
The steps above won’t translate to success if your readers don’t know what to do next. And so, you need a clearly defined CTA that directs readers to take action.
Relevant CTAs to use in your B2B content are:
- Subscribe to our newsletter
- Get your free trial
- Book a call now
- Learn more
- View Pricing Plans
Pipedrive does this well as their articles always feature a simple, sticky CTA efficient in moving readers up their sales funnel:
Empowering readers to act with CTAs completes the SEE framework.
Put everything together and you get exhaustive steps on how to implement the SEE framework:
But what if there was an easier way to implement all these steps?
Thankfully, there is, and it is…
The Product-Led Storytelling Formula.
Product-Led Storytelling: Easing the Implementation of the SEE Framework
Product-Led Storytelling is a content marketing approach unique to us here at VEC. It’s how we help fast-growing B2B SaaS craft content that directly fuels demand & sales qualified opportunities:
At its core, the Product-Led Storytelling formula comprises three stages that can help you Show, Educate, and Empower:
1. Attract & Filter Stage
This stage entails:
- Crafting a specific, benefit-driven title for your Product-Led Story.
- Using story-driven introductory paragraphs to hook target readers and filter out irrelevant ICPs.
- Using media to augment your intro paragraphs and show your tool in action.
2. Engage & Show Stage
This stage is where you educate your defined ICPs. It involves:
- Following up with more story-driven paragraphs and adding your point of view (PoV), facts, quotes, stats, social proof to distinguish your brand.
- Inserting media of your product solving the problem for an ICP similar to the one your content targets.
- Inviting readers to trial/demo your product with a first, subtle CTA.
3. Persuade & Convert Stage
This is the icing to the cake of the Product-Led Storytelling formula. It entails:
- Including a relevant testimonial (with outcomes) of a client similar to your content’s target ICP.
- Inviting your ICP to start solving the problem addressed in the article with your product.
- Leverage your copywriting chops to persuade your engaged audience to trial/demo your product.
These three stages, in alignment with the SEE framework, transform your content pieces into high-converting SaaS Sales funnels irrespective of your distribution channel or where target readers find your content:
Now, let me practice what I’ve preached.
Remember I said you should end your content with a CTA, inviting target readers to act?
Do you need help crafting Product-Led Stories that Shows, Educates, and Empowers?
Jeremiah Ajayi is a Product-Led content strategist with passion for engaging storytelling and creative ideation. Outside of work, he loves deconstructing ideas that help people blossom into the best versions of themselves.
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