Step 3: Writing, Formatting, & Beyond

Step 3: Writing, Formatting, and Beyond

As with many SaaS marketing strategies, there was a lot of work to get to this point where the rubber meets the road. So, jump in the car, I hope you like road trips.
One of the biggest mistakes I see businesses make with their content is that they look at all those articles they want to write and then hire someone overseas for $4.75 an hour to blaze through them. Sure you might get your 1,500 word article done for $20, but if the content isn’t worth reading, guess what: no one is going to read it. All that work to get top rankings and hard earned clicks, just to have a bounce rate through the roof is not going to get you the business you’re looking for.
If you don’t have time to write the articles yourself, you’re in the same boat as just about everyone else starting a business. Don’t get me wrong, you can certainly hire a writer, but even the best writer will need training to understand your goals, your branding, your ideas, and how to utilize your content plan.
If you think you’ve found one guy or gal that can take care of everything content related from this point forward, either you’re mistaken, you’re spending a fortune, or you’ve found a unicorn who is also a genie. There’s more than just writing to be done, there’s research, outlining and editing. Then there’s formatting, designing, and testing (not to mention analytics!).
If you have a front-end developer and designer on your team, they will come in handy for the latter part. Otherwise a contractor or anyone on your team with HTML experience should get you by just fine.
It’s so much!
It’s not that much. Let’s go through it.

Outlining and research

Don’t skip it. It didn’t work out well on that college term paper and it won’t work out well here. Check out your competitors and other articles that go over similar topics and brainstorm those along with all those juicy ideas floating around in your brain.
If my competition had an article about the “3 most popular dance styles in Chicago” I might not necessarily be writing about the “4 most popular dance styles in Chicago.” Or maybe I would be writing that article, but the point is that I would touch on those 3 dance styles and their popularity amongst Chicagoans if I am trying to beat out that article.
When you’re outlining your article you should know that your formatting is going to matter in just a little while. What that means to you now is that the major sections of your article need to be about the three keywords you picked out earlier with an honorable mention for each of your LSI keywords.

Keyword placement & article structure

If you’re new to the game, or even if you’re not, I recommend starting out with some templates. You can find free SEO templates online. If you’re more experienced you may consider writing your own template based on successful past articles.
Whether you’re using a template or not, you ‘ll want your three keywords to be in corresponding headers as well as the body of the paragraph(s) beneath the header. So keyword 1 should be in your first <h1> tag and in the paragraph following it. Continue in that fashion with all 3 keywords.
Here are a few tips on keyword placement and article structure:
  1. 1.
    The text beneath each header can contain additional headers, but make sure they are smaller than the three headers with your keywords if they are nested.
  2. 2.
    Add your main keyword to several places throughout the article.
  3. 3.
    Add your links to paragraphs that are focused on their specific topics.
  4. 4.
    Keep your paragraphs short.
  5. 5.
    Include formatting like bold text, italics, lists, etc where it naturally fits.
  6. 6.
    Include an introduction and a summary, both of which contain your main keyword.
  7. 7.
    Add a CTA after the introduction and after the summary.
  8. 8.
    Highlight each keyword and link so you can find them easily later.

Reel them in with CTAs

CTAs (aka. Calls to Action) are how you’re going to get people from your blog to your homepage, or whatever other page you need them to go to to take the next step toward becoming a customer.
Some SaaS businesses use CTAs that really stand out from the article while others make them blend with the rest of the text to look less salesy. Only you, or A/B testing, know what CTA style is best for your business. A common CTA might be something like this:
Looking for convenient and affordable dance classes near you?
Click here to see how Dance Today helps you compare dance classes anywhere in the US for free!
Hey, if that’s what I’m looking for, I’d click it!
Here is a real life example of some good CTAs.

The right way to write

When you’re writing your articles the number one thing that makes people stick around to actually read it, or share it on social media, or remember you for more than 23 seconds after they leave your site is how much actionable information your article gives them to help them solve the problem they are searching for a solution to.
Don’t throw up words on the screen just to get to a certain word count. In fact, don’t even look at the word count at all. It doesn’t matter if you write a million words. If it’s all fluff no one is going to read it.
You are in charge of an entire SaaS system that is built around the topics you’re writing about.On top of that you have been doing research, on each and every article you write. You have a ton of knowledge and that’s what people want. So don’t hold back information.
A lot of business owners don’t want to share their secrets, information they have collected, or lessons they learned the hard way for fear that their competition will get ahold of it and one-up them. Well, with the exception of stuff that should actually stay private, don’t hold back valuable information. The internet is big and mighty and people can and will find what they want if they look hard enough. They might as well find it easily with your article and bookmark it, or better yet, link to it.

Formatting to your CMS

Once you have your article written and edited you’ll be ready to put it up on your CMS. I’ve made the mistake of copying and pasting the whole thing in and expecting the formatting to come along with it. Unless you have some kind of magical Wordpress plugin that you should definitely tell me about immediately, the result is not great. It just won’t work like that.
Whether you’re using a visual editor or HTML, please make sure to check out how it’s looking as you go. You don’t want to work for a half hour on this just to have to redo it.

Images

Blogs are just more fun with pictures. Not only do pictures make your articles more interesting and pretty, they help your SEO and decrease your bounce rate.
But you can’t just grab any old image you’d like off the internet and put it up on your post. That’s stealing and it’s not allowed. Consider paying for something like Adobe Stock or Envato so you can get a ton of great pics. Or try a free image provider like Pixabay.
Here are a few of my tips for adding images to a blog post:
  1. 1.
    Always rename your images and add Alt text. The description and Alt text should be in line with your keywords.
  2. 2.
    Make sure you resize your photos before uploading them to your blog or else they might affect your loading.
  3. 3.
    Have a designer create your featured images.

Metadata

The metadata or meta description is the preview text that Google shows below the article title in the search results. This should be attention grabbing, easy to read, and unique. Avoid all caps, incomplete sentences, or a ton of exclamation points.
Use your main keyword in your description if you can and keep it around 160 characters. I like to throw in an attention grabbing statistic when I can.
Here’s an example meta description:
76% of couples never learn to move to music together. Find and compare pre wedding dance lessons so you can have a dance to remember long after your wedding day.

Pop Ups

You see them all over the place, and I get it, they can be annoying. But I’m telling you, they work and they are the best way to coax readers over to your site or lure them onto your email list by offering valuable downloadable content.
I use Sumo for my pop ups because it’s easy to use and versatile. There are all kinds of styles and I can’t tell you what works best for your audience. I have gotten a high click rate with a sticky top bar style as well as a slide in sidebar style, while other SaaS owners I know have found that the full screen doormat style converts best.
PROTIP: A/B testing is crucial to find the sweet spot. Test your style, timing, imagery, wording, landing page, and anything else you can modify.

There’s more -- there’s always more

This is the acceptance stage. There will always be more to learn. Once you get your process solidified, the internet will change and you’ll have to learn new stuff. There are big companies out there that do nothing but SEO and content marketing. And even they don’t know it all. Fortunately you now know more than most folks getting started and you can always read up on more specifics to beef up your rank faster.
Here’s my recommended reading