I watched a video from MicroConf by Christopher Gimmer who made Snappa. Snappa is an online graphic tool like Canva and PlaceIt. At the time of the presentation in 2019, they are doing $60k MRR. And in April 2020, they reported hitting $100k MRR at IndieHackers.
While the video goes back to his earlier projects and how that led up to Snappa, I think the biggest takeaway of the presentation is about how to apply content marketing for your SaaS business.Watching this and taking a look at some other SaaS entrepreneurs I know, I think there are probably two main styles of content marketing.
1 – Persona Approach
2 – Tactical Approach
Of course either way can produce great results. Or you could probably combine them both and do a hybrid. The main core is still about creating good content that is worth sharing and worth talking about. Something helpful and insightful. But the two approaches have slightly different methods to them.
With Persona Approach, the first thing that comes to mind is Inkdrop by solo developer, Takuya Matsuyama. And then also other personalities like Nathan Barry of ConvertKit, Sahil Lavingia of Gumroad, Jon Yongfook of BannerBear and more.These individuals share some of the most detailed aspects of their business and also challenges. Sahil once shared his story of Gumroad from a VC-backed company and now becoming an indie. Takuya shared detailed expenses and earnings, and also programming challenges, and sometimes code live. Jon Yongfook made a public announcement of his goal to build a $100k ARR company within a year, which he successfully did. Nathan Barry blogged and shared the progress of building a side project to earning $5000 MRR in 6 months, which he failed but that project still led to what we now know as ConvertKit.
I am sure you know what I mean by Persona right now. These individuals, whether directly or indirectly promote themselves while sharing their content. They open up to their audience, which not many of us are prepared to do.
Apart from building their products and companies, they are also building their personal brand. They have become a celebrity to their users and probably more, in the industry. And that persona has attracted leads, converted customers, and maybe also a following, whether they are a customer or not. If you don’t know about these individuals, I urge you to check them out, learn about them, and see how they are building and promoting their indie software business.
Then there is that Tactical Approach to content marketing. Watching the presentation by Christopher, you will begin to understand how this works. When promoting Snappa, Christopher researched about the type of content to create for Snappa. He looked at his customers. He uses SEO tools like Ahref to do keyword research. And then he discovered the type of content that he needed to create.Two examples that I can say here are…
ONE: When he discovered that many people were looking for information about Twitter cover size, Facebook cover size, Youtube thumbnail size, he then went on to create blog posts detailing the information about the correct cover image dimensions for YouTube thumbnail, Facebook page cover, Twitter cover and other online graphic image requirements. He even has blog posts about ad sizes for Instagram Story, Facebook Ads and more.
TWO: He also started to understand that his customers who come to Snappa are not looking for a graphic tool, but rather a Facebook page cover maker, or a Youtube thumbnail maker, and so on. With that, he created site pages linking from the homepage to specific uses for Snappa.
And this approach has helped him break from a stagnant growth position and into the $100k MRR.
The tactical approach is also something that any SaaS company can apply because it doesn’t need a persona or a spokesperson. But if you are an indie developer, you may want to consider the Persona approach, or maybe combining the two.
So generally, content marketing is important for a SaaS or any software business for that matter. But you can’t just do it blindly, dancing on TikTok trying to attract a younger user base.
Create something worth sharing.Yes, creating content takes time and planning, but one time ago, I heard this being said — YOU CAN’T GO WRONG WITH CONTENT MARKETING.
With a good content marketing, the content compounds, in traffic, in authority, in influence and more. Content marketing will definitely pay off in the long term.
So, do you have a content marketing strategy in place yet?Here’s the presentation by Christopher Gimmer at MicroConf 2019.