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Branding, Content Marketing, Guest Posts, SaaS

Why SaaS Companies Need a Messaging Strategy Document (And How to Create One) by @kaleighf

Guest post by Kaleigh Moore, freelance writer for SaaS companies. 

Especially for new SaaS companies, figuring out the appropriate messaging can be a daunting task. When you’re trying to grow and scale quickly, messaging is an element that often gets pushed to the back burner. It seems like a “nice to discuss” not a “must discuss RIGHT NOW.”

But the thing is: Messaging matters. It matters a lot.

If you don’t to who you’re writing for (or how that voice should sound, or what it should be saying)–you might be hurting your company’s growth efforts.

You’re essentially just “winging it”. I call this the spaghetti method: You’re throwing language noodles and hoping something sticks. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t, but overall, it’s not the most strategic approach.

So what can you do about it?

I always encourage SaaS companies to develop a comprehensive messaging strategy very early in the launch process. Doing so helps ensure everyone is on the same page right from the start–and it makes scaling content efforts a whole lot easier down the road.

Let’s look at what you should include in your messaging strategy when you need to develop one of your own.

Getting Started with SaaS Messaging Strategy

One of the biggest reasons for developing a SaaS messaging strategy in the first place is so it can act as a roadmap for all customer-facing content. From website copy to marketing materials, these notes on writing voice, style, and more will add consistency and uniformity across the various customer touchpoints you’re building.

A few months back, I had a founder come my way who needed some help putting together a messaging strategy document for this very purpose. He was looking for help strengthening the company’s value proposition so that the copy was tight, polished, and customer-centric upon launch. Together, we developed a well-documented messaging strategy that he then used before, during, and after launch.

Documenting was a key step in this process. Many brands discuss their plans for messaging, but don’t take the time to put them down in writing. In fact, according to Content Marketing Institute, as of 2016, just 37% of B2B marketers and 40% of B2C marketers had a written content marketing plan.

With this in mind, let’s look at some of the key elements of a messaging strategy that you’ll want to document and share across your entire team so that everyone is on the same page.

How to Create a SaaS Messaging Strategy Document

Your messaging strategy can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, but there are a few key elements you’ll want to include at a basic level.

What to include: The Basics

  • What we do: Define what your SaaS does in 2-3 sentences
  • Value proposition: The unique value behind your product or service
  • Stats to leverage: The hard numbers/stats you can showcase to reinforce your value proposition
  • How we’re different: Why a customer should buy from you over a similar SaaS
  • How it works: The 3-5 step process that outlines how one can become a new customer
  • Target customers: Who you’re trying to sell to (customer personas work well for this)
  • Target customers’ pain points: What obstacles/problems you can solve for the customer

What to include: Style Guide

  • High level content objective: What are your big picture goals for content? Define them and set benchmarks for success.
  • Content-specific goals: What are your content-specific goals for mediums like email, blog posts, website copy, etc? Define objectives that give you data points to strive for.

  • Notes on tone, voice, and style: How should your brand voice sound? Friendly? Formal? Will you use em dashes in lieu of semicolons? Make detailed notes on how you want your brand to look and sound in writing.

  • Competitors (not to reference): If you’re going to be bringing on external help, it’s good to have a list of competitors not to reference (data-wise, and link-wise) in materials.

Need more inspiration? This template messaging map can help get the ball rolling.

💗 Check out Nichole’s Services for SaaS startups 💗

Branding, Content Marketing, Conversion Rate Optimization, Creativity, Emotion, Visual Communication

Why weird works: copywriter @KiraHug on branding with personality

Conversion copywriter and podcast host Kira Hug talks about her journey to build her brand and why strategically-crafted visuals are so important for connecting with the right people.

“This might sound strange coming from a copywriter – who should, presumably, eat, sleep and poop words – but I love me some visuals.”

Kira Hug isn’t just any copywriter. She’s a conversion copywriter – which means her specialty is writing words that spur and inspire readers to take action. If you’re selling a product or service and want to talk your ideal customers into buying them, Kira is the person behind the scenes making that happen with landing pages, sales pages, and email campaigns.

This work requires her to get inside people’s minds, take on different brand voices, and play upon just the right mix of pains, fears and desires that cause people to act.

It also requires a strong grasp of how to use an entire brand experience to attract and connect with ideal customers – and much of that experience is created through visuals. Visuals are never to be underestimated.

But that’s an idea that runs contrary to the philosophy of many writers – we’re biased. Our art is the written word. However, Kira didn’t grow up as the ‘writer’ in the family. Her identity was ‘the artist.’

“My sister was the smarty pants. I embraced my artistic side and wore the ‘artist’ label very happily. That followed me into college. But I realized, I can’t be a fine artist and live the life I want, so I pursued graphic design.”

As Kira worked toward her B.F.A. in Fine Arts in Visual Communication, she found herself attracted to advertising classes, which led to an advertising design internship.

That’s where things really started to click for me. You get to be creative, and there’s strategy, words, and visuals and psychology behind it. I remember thinking that this is the best thing ever.

Of course, the challenge all new graduates face is finding a job in the ‘real world’ doing what you love. Which rarely, if ever, happens fresh off of campus. With no job prospects in sight, Kira took a leap of faith and moved to New York City, a lifelong goal.

“I didn’t plan well in terms of having a job before I moved there. I just did it. So I took the first job I could find at Enterprise Rent-a-Car’s management training program. I cringed at taking it. It was so different from the cool, art-design job I’d envisioned, and I was embarrassed by it.”

For nine months, Kira sold car insurance and rental cars, spending down time washing cars “in a parking garage that smelled like urine, in a pencil skirt.”

But at the same time she was learning how to tap into the selling power of words.

Over the next several years, Kira took many different jobs – glamorous jobs at places like Estee Lauder’s store design department, hard jobs in marketing for non-profits, even jobs in event planning. If she didn’t feel like she was growing, learning, and feeling challenged, she’d move onto the next thing.

After Kira had her first child, she needed a little more control over her work schedule. She began working for a fast-growing startup as CMO, which allowed her to build her reputation in the company as well as her own business on the side at the same time.

All with a newborn baby. Is Kira Hug secretly Wonder Woman?

Possibly. She does have more alter-egos than the average copywriter. But that’s all part of her brand strategy.

In this interview, Kira Hug tells us how she built her solo copywriting business and how her artistic background informs everything she does, from her own blog, to her copy, to her delightfully quirky business strategy.

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Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.

Branding, Guest Posts, Startups

How to win hearts 💕 on @Periscope—when even you find your life boring. ft. @KikiSchirr

how-to-win-hearts

Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).

Edit: Meerkat no longer exists, but I’m keeping Kiki’s guest post as is, because her advice is still relevant to any live video streaming app.

This is a guest blog entry by Kiki Schirr.

First Meerkat was, and now Periscope is taking over the Internet. If you’ve installed either live-streaming video app, chances are you’ve heard the siren call of its audio alert. Have you rushed to your phone to tune in to someone else’s exciting life? “Walking the Great Wall” or “At the top of London’s Ferris Wheel” are clearly going to get the views. How can we, with our more simple lives, possibly compete?

There are three winning strategies for the normal amongst us: friends, foreigners, and fridges.

1. Friends: Tap Your Followers List

Friends are an easy source of likes and follows—possibly the most easy to snag. You know what your friends like, so use those inside jokes and connect with all your Twitter friends like a chimp in a game of Barrels Full of Monkeys.

2. Foreigners: Embrace an International Audience

Foreigners are a little more difficult to attract. You should ask yourself: what aspect of your daily life might seem strange to a foreigner? What about your morning make-up routine? Your drive to the grocery store (from the passenger seat!) or walking through the aisles of a gas station can take on an exotic edge when viewed by someone who’s never stepped foot in your state.

If you’re trying to appeal to foreigners, be sure to use your location in the title. If you speak a foreign language, use key words in multiple tongues. Like “Florida USA drive on a sunny day” or “美国 gas station” Bonus points if you speak Arabic, because doesn’t Periscope make you think 3/4 of the world’s iPhones are in the Middle East?

3: Fridges: Play to Your Unique Strengths

The final “F” is for fridges: the sort of weird, completely absorbing fads that absorb most of the traffic on Periscope. Right now it’s an exploration of fridges, with insightful commentary on which brand of ketchup you prefer. This is where your creativity will have a chance to shine: what can you do that people will find oddly fascinating?

For me, the answer has been drawing. I can draw, sort of, and the slow reveal of a shapeless stack of pencil lines into a recognizable face of some movie starlet has captured more attention than my other videos. Try to capitalize on your talents—like basketball trick shots, turning your eyelids inside out, or burping the National Anthem. Admit it, you’d watch those.

So when you next flip that iPhone camera on, think of the 3 F’s: friends, foreigners, and fridges. You can thank me—by tuning in. I’m Kiki on Periscope, and @kikischirr on Twitter.

Let me know how it works!


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.