Table of Contents
After Reading This Guide, You’ll Understand 🡭
- How B2B SaaS can use content marketing for growth
- Building topical authority
- Planning content for BOFU
- Product-led content planning
About The Business 🡭
Ironclad is considered one of the leaders in the contract management software industry. The company helps manage the entire contract process within an organization, including vendor agreements, contract reviews, editing, and others.
→ Target audience: Global; Company established: 2014
Some of the features of their software are:
- Contract reviews
- Contract workflow designing
- Digital contracting
- Contract data reporting
- Integrates with 10+ third-party platforms (Salesforce, Google Doc, etc.)
Results Achieved 🡭
Some of the stats about Ironclad:
- Organic monthly traffic: 107k+
- Referring domains: 1.83k
- Traffic value: $81.7k
Ironclad has increased its organic traffic by 6 times (520% increase) in the last 12 months.
Here, you can see the organic traffic growth chart:
If you see the graph of Ironclad’s traffic growth, you will find a high correlation between the number of organic pages, referring domains, and organic traffic.
Let’s dive right into the content marketing strategy breakdown of Ironclad.
Content Marketing Breakdown 🡭
1. Building a content hub
Once you dig deep into the industry (contract management), you will find many technical terms & industry jargon used by the professionals and Ironclad’s ideal clients.
This creates an opportunity to educate the audience about different technical terms related to the contract management process.
As a result, Ironclad has built an extensive glossary hub dealing with broad search terms such as:
- Non-disclosure agreement (54,000 search volume)
- Contract management (2,600 search volume)
- Executed contract (3,600 search volume)
- Contract review (450 search volume)
- & many more.
In fact, Ironclad is ranking on the first page for more than 3.5k search terms.
Key reasons behind the growth of Ironclad’s glossary approach:
1/ Matching searcher intent
First of all, have a look at one of their competitors (Mydock365. com) who followed a similar approach:
But in this case, they have created one single glossary page listing all definitions of technical terms.
But that’s not the case with Ironclad.
Instead of having one giant glossary page listing all the definitions, Ironclad has created individual pages for each term.
This helped them to match the search intent and rank well in the SERP for thousands of keywords.
2/ Content depth
The second thing is the content depth.
In general, we see glossary pages with thin content (say definition and a few subheadings related to the search term).
Another example is from ContractSafe’s glossary approach.
Yes, they have created individual pages for each technical term. But the content depth for each page is comparatively less.
The average word count for these glossary pages is around 150- 700 words (Though content depth ≠ word count, it gives you an idea of the information depth).
On the other hand, almost each of their glossary pages is an in-depth guide to the topic.
For example, take a look at Ironclad’s glossary page structure for the term, Non-disclosure agreement:
- <H2> What is an NDA?
- <H2> The purpose of a Non-Disclosure Agreement
- <H2> When do I need an NDA?
- <H2> Types of NDAs
- <H2> Parts of a Non-Disclosure Agreement
- <H2> Limitations of NDAs
- <H2> Signing an NDA
- <H2> Creating an NDA
And the total word count of the article is nearly 2000 words🤯 (whereas their competitors are making shorter articles of 300 – 700 words with less content depth).
This in-depth guide approach is another reason that their top-performing glossary pages are ranking for hundreds of keywords with long-tail and short-tail variations.
2. Topical Authority
You may have noticed that the concept of topical authority is becoming more and more popular in the SEO community.
And, there’s a strong reason behind it.
Let’s first understand how topical authority works:
“The idea behind Topical Authority is that by covering all aspects of a topic, sites get a ranking boost because Google sees them as an authority in the space…
It’s beneficial for users and businesses because when you cover all aspects of a topic and do it well, there are fewer (maybe no) reasons for users to leave your site, and that is big.” – Kevin Indig.
So building topical authority in your industry simply means covering all the related sub-topics and using internal links to map each of them together.
This is the exact thing Ironclad has done in their content strategy:
For Ironclad, the primary topic is contract management. And they have covered the topic from almost every possible angle.
As you can see, there are 100+ pages dedicated to the topic of contract management (this includes articles, glossary pages, FAQs, product pages, customer stories, and many more).
Here’s an illustration to help you understand the key topics covered by Ironclad to build topical authority:
Important point: I recommend always starting with covering a topic well enough by moving towards a different broad topic.
Another important aspect of building topical authority is internal linking and having an easy-to-follow structure for your articles.
If you visit the Ironclad’s journal (content hub) section, you’ll find something like this:
Categorizing your content like this (see above screenshot) is a great way to structure information and improve user experience.
Mistake to avoid: Generally, you’ll see 6, 10 or maybe 12 latest articles in the blog section of a B2B site. This doesn’t make sense for a site with 100+ articles and guides.
This approach makes it hard for readers and even crawlers to find older articles. Since search engine bots follow page links to reach the next page, these older pages get less crawled by bots.
Likewise, if your blog section has dozens of articles published on the site, consider categorizing your content by type, topic, or time. The goal should be to help readers to reach any of the articles with the least number of clicks.
3. Product-Led Content
For many B2B sites, optimizing articles for conversion means adding image banners and links to product pages at the bottom of the articles.
An example from Ironclad’s competitor:
The problem with this approach is that readers often ignore this isolated advertisement or irrelevant promotion.
Also, hardly any reader reads articles word by word. Instead, they just skim and try to find the required information as soon as possible. This is why the banner ads or conclusions get easily ignored by readers (especially for long-form articles).
Ironclad’s product-led approach.
First, let’s understand what it is:
“Content where the product is woven into the narrative to illustrate a point, solve a problem, and/or help accomplish a goal.”
– Dr Fio Dosetto (Content marketer).
Let me share an example from Ironclad’s blog articles:
📌 Product Led content example from Ironclad
Blog title: What is Contract Management? FAQ | Ironclad
Summary of the article: Effective contract management is crucial for modern organizations. Learn what it is and how to automate it. Fast-track your business contracts.
Instead of adding isolated product mentions or image CTAs to encourage people for product signups, they have integrated their products within the content.
That means readers will understand the contract management process using their tool, Ironclad.
There’s a section in this article called ‘What’s the contract management process?’
In this section, the reader will learn the step-by-step process of contract management by using Ironclad.
Screenshot for step 1:
Screenshot for step 2:
Not only this but almost every section of the article is aligned with Ironclad’s product features and how it can be used for contract management.
Likewise, you should always aim to align your product with the content. Think of how your product can be useful for the blog topic.
From a business perspective, your content should be about providing useful information and aligning it with your product to drive business value.
Benefits of this approach:
- Chances of increasing conversion rate from blog content
- Shorten the buyers’ journey (as you’re introducing your product in the TOFU content)
4. Multiple Landing Pages
Another common content strategy for SaaS businesses is creating product pages for multiple audience segments, features, industries, etc.
For example, Ironclad has created multiple product pages for the following types:
1/ By Industry:
2/ By Use cases and features:
- Workflow designer
- AI security
You can see the number of landing pages built for the same product but different audience segments or use cases.
But the question is: How to decide which pages to create for my product?
One type of finding possible long-form queries to target is ‘Wild card keyword research.’
In this case, just type “contract management software for” on Google without clicking enter.
Here’s what you’ll see in Google’s auto-suggestion:
This is an easy way to find possible audience segments that Ironclad can target with landing pages.
Also, if a SaaS brand has multiple use cases or products, then the brand can follow the same strategy for other types.
This way, you’ll have a list of ideas to target with product pages.
Now, if you have access to an SEO tool like Ahrefs or Semrush, then I would prefer to implement the same using the tool.
Go to Ahrefs’ keyword explorer and type your product type (e.g. CRM software, contract review software, etc.).
Next, add a filter to add keyword variations such as for, in, etc.
This way, you’ll have a list of ideas for landing pages along with important metrics like keyword difficulty, volume, etc.
Now, it will be easier for you to prioritize the entire keyword list based on difficulty, traffic potential, business value, etc.
Sharing an example of how Asana has built multiple landing pages using the same approach:
6. Third-party reviews
When it comes to SEO and content marketing, we often think of this as an on-site strategy (optimizing content, links, UX, e.tc.).
But Google prefers to rank sites that are trustworthy, credible and authoritative.
Here’s how Google suggest measuring the reputation of a website in QRG:
- When searching for reputation information, try to find sources that were not written or created by the website, the company itself, or the individual.
- Look for articles, references, recommendations by experts, and other credible information written by people about the website.
If you follow a similar approach for Ironclad, you’ll see that the brand has a lot of independent reviews on third-party sites (G2, Capterra, Gartner, etc.).
Tip: Ensure that you have strategies to collect customer reviews not just on your website but also on third-party sites. You may ask bloggers, YouTubers, and journalists to review your product and share honest feedback on their channels.
Or, reach out to sites ranking for keywords like Best [product types] software and pitch your product to get featured.
This not only helps in improving the EAT of your website but also increases trustworthiness.
7. Content For Every Stage
Usually, every buyer goes through three different stages such as:
- Awareness stage (Top of the funnel – TOFU)
- Consideration stage (Middle of the funnel – MOFU)
- Action stage (Middle of the funnel – MOFU)
Therefore, you can strategize your content for each stage of the buyers’ journey. But in the case of SaaS, you also need to consider the post-purchase stage (as churn rate is an important metric for software business).
This includes building a knowledge base to answer all product-related queries, covering branded search terms/ questions, and an educational centre for complex products.
At Ironclad, you’ll find it all.
Ironclad has created two folders dedicated to handling product-related queries and educating the existing customers:
- Ironclad Academy (educational hub)
- Ironclad support (Covering product-related FAQs)
Benefits of this approach:
Benefit 1. Rank higher for branded queries
One of the easiest keywords to rank for any business is branded queries. Most SaaS brands make the mistake of not covering the FAQs asked by their audience.
For example, if you search Ironclad app-related search terms, you’ll see their support centre ranking on the top.
- Search query: how to use ironclad editor
- Search query: How to build workflow ironclad
Benefit 2. Customer support
Building a knowledge or a learning hub dedicated to products greatly enhances your customer support. Content works 24/7 as a sales team when you answer your audience’s questions and organize them strategically.
8. Integration Pages
Currently, Ironclad customers can integrate the app with 10+ platforms. And, brilliantly, Ironclad has also created individual integration pages.
But here are a few things that Ironclad can improve (from an SEO and conversion perspective):
Improvement 1. Canonical issue
Yes, they have individual pages for each integration page. But these pages have a canonical URL pointing to the integration hub page.
In simple words, by adding a canonical URL to a different page, we ask Google to consider the canonical URL as the primary URL.
This is why their integration pages are not ranking well in the SERP (as they have set up the wrong canonical URL).
Improvement 2. Thin content
Every integration page has thin content (even < 100 words). This is hard for Google to understand what this page is about and the context of the page.
This can be improved by adding more information like the benefits of Ironclad’s integrations with the app, how to integrate, etc.
For example, look at the salesforce integration page of DocuSign:
Key Lessons For B2B SaaS 🡭
Sharing the key takeaways that you can implement right away for your B2B SaaS business:
1. In technical industries like legal, you may find opportunities to build a content or glossary hub. Research terms like
- What is [term name]
- [Term name] definition
2. Invest in topical authority first. Mostly, you have multiple pillar topics in your business. The suggestion is to cover most of the important aspects of one topic before moving to the next one. Think of spreading deep, not shallow.
3. For every SaaS business, product-led content is the way to maximize your conversion from TOFU content.
4. Focus on building EAT information. And, third party reviews are one of them.
5. Create multiple landing pages. Make sure you prioritize the possible landing page ideas by ranking potential, business value, and search demand.
6. If integrations are available to the SaaS business, build an integrations hub with a separate page for each integration software.
7. Optimize your articles for time to value. Make article structure easy and simple with proper headings like H2s, H3s, etc.