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You’ve heard the saying, “content is king.” This maxim is especially true when it comes to B2B digital marketing today. Up to 82% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing. Why is that? When done correctly, it’s one of the most effective ways to get in front of new, highly qualified leads.
While many B2B marketers associate content marketing exclusively with blogging, content marketing is a broad umbrella covering different styles and channels.
One type of healthcare content marketing for SaaS companies is thought leadership—and it can have an extremely high ROI. But there are a few ways it can go wrong, so we spoke with Sarah Loeffler, Content Director at The Spot-On Agency, to clarify how to integrate thought leadership into your SaaS content marketing strategy.
It starts by knowing what thought leadership is and what it is not. Many companies conflate traditional blogging with becoming a thought leader in the marketplace. Loeffler helps sort out the differences between these two tools and offers pointers for crafting thought leadership that gets results.
When marketing your SaaS product to healthcare customers, the first thing to understand is that you’ll need both of these tools to become a standout. While thought leadership and blogging both serve to attract customers by helping them understand how to solve problems, many of the similarities end there. Not only does each type of content require a unique approach, but the goals are also different.
Blogging generally refers to consistently creating, publishing, and distributing useful, targeted content typically hosted on a company website. This strategy is often used in conjunction with search engine optimization (SEO), which involves optimizing blog content around certain keywords that an intended audience uses on search engines.
Blog posts should be engaging and valuable to readers, but another goal of blogging is to bring readers to a company website and keep them there long enough to convert into a lead.
“It’s 100 percent about your ecosystem and trying to get traffic there,” explains Loeffler. It’s about what’s serving the company from a pipeline perspective.”
While consistent blogging is important, you must have a strategy in place that defines key elements like blog topics, keywords, and promotion. It’s not enough to create blog posts randomly and hope they work out. “You have to start with that plan before developing content,” says Loeffler.
As you work on blog posts, you should also have a way for visitors to share their information, such as joining your email list, so they can continue to be nurtured as potential customers. “It’s not as much about demonstrating your company’s expertise—although that’s some of it — it’s more about how to attract the traffic needed and giving healthcare SaaS buyers the opportunity to recognize that they need your product,” explains Loeffler. On a company blog, it’s okay to mention your products and services if you also add value. Give the reader a reason to visit the blog and consume your content before you try to move them further along in the buyer’s journey.
In contrast, thought leadership content does not focus on describing the company’s products or services and is primarily distributed externally. “You are serving as an educational resource for the industry on topics the industry deems important,” says Loeffler. “It's very outward-focused. It's not about you. It's about what you can do for the wider industry audience to position yourself as an expert.”
Thought leadership content is generally created to provide value to a specific audience by helping them solve a problem. In healthcare content marketing, thought leadership can take many forms. It often comes in the form of a speech or presentation at a conference, an article written for an industry publication, or even an interview with a media source.
Executed successfully, thought leadership content builds trust with your prospects and customers and establishes your expertise with new contacts and media organizations. “It can be more powerful than ads because there's a halo effect of the trust the audience already has in the media outlet you're writing or speaking for,” Loeffler says.
Thought leadership content has several benefits. It gives you reach in front of an audience that you might not otherwise have, businesses that aren't necessarily familiar with your brand.
Creating content on other reputable platforms is also key to building backlinks. The more links to your site that you can have from credible sources, the more it helps your website gain domain authority—one of the things that Google looks at when deciding how to rank search results.
It’s also a superb way to differentiate your company from the competition. Loeffler recommends looking to see what competitors are doing and how the topics you choose may help you stand out. “You want to be strategic—if your competitors are on the speaking circuits and publishing frequently, make sure your company is in those spaces as well. So that weighs more heavily into the value equation of pursuing thought leadership. You don't want to be left out of the conversation,” Loeffler says.
Good thought leadership can take time to develop, but your efforts can produce a snowball effect. The more often you are delivering editors good content, the more trust they place in working with you, Loeffler points out.
With these insights in mind, let’s examine some best practices for creating the kind of thought leadership that establishes your company as a SaaS content marketing leader:
Whether you plan on pursuing thought leadership, blogging, or both strategies, consider working with a B2B digital marketing agency that specializes in SaaS content marketing. For blogging, the right agency can help you identify keyword and SEO trends, improve your blog production workflow, and boost your traffic. With thought leadership, a SaaS content marketing agency can connect you with editors, conference organizers, and other gatekeepers whom they have existing relationships with.
“An agency can often sort of be a shortcut to some of this,” explains Loeffler. “They’re used to working with a lot of these editors, they know a lot more about the editors’ processes on vetting topics, they know how to pitch the sorts of topics that editors want to cover. The right agency partner can also help you polish your marketing materials and tune up your website so new visitors get the right first impression.”
Looking to work with an expert team that has years of experience helping clients with both kinds of healthcare content marketing? Click here to schedule a time to chat with us and learn how we can help your company achieve its content goals.
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