Aly Saxe

What Every Business Blogger Can Learn from SaaStr

By: Aly Saxe | July 15, 2015 | 
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What Every Business Blogger Can Learn from SaaStrBy Aly Saxe

Great investors love to send reading recommendations to their investees.

It’s not uncommon that all of my angel investors will send me the same article on the same day, or gift me a book on my Kindle, so I have quite a stack of reading on my plate these days.

But a few months ago one of my investors pointed me to a blog that has changed my life.

That’s a huge statement coming from someone who spent a career reading, developing, writing for, and pitching to blogs.

My world of PR in the last decade largely revolved around the blogosphere.

I follow many great blogs.

I’ve helped create some notable ones.

But other than this here Spin Sucks, I’ve never considered myself a complete nut job fan of a single blog.

A SaaStr Groupie

I waited a few days before opening the link to SaaStr, but once I was in, I was in.

I consumed every post on this blog in a weekend.

Every. Single. Post.

I subscribed to the newsletter (never done that before), and every week I wait for a new post that I eagerly read and share as soon as it’s live.

I’m going to the conference next year.

If I met Jason Lemkin, the founder of SaaStr, I will probably ask him to autograph my chest.

Why?

There are specific reasons this blog has hit me, and millions of others, square between the eyes and turned us into fanstrs.

There is no secret formula here; these are techniques every business blogger can adopt, and their marketing counterparts can help them build it.

Here they are.

Extreme Relevance

Five years ago Sasstr probably would have meant very little to me.  I might have pointed my PR agency clients towards it, or even pitched Mr. Lemkin to ask if my clients could sponsor or contribute. But I wouldn’t have sniffed much at it beyond that.

Five years ago I wasn’t running a SaaS company. I wasn’t concerned with ARR vs. MRR, and how to get to the first 1,000 customers, and OMG is this normal?!

Now my life is a series of questions I’ve never had to ask and SaaStr has all the answers.

It’s important to note that I’m not just looking for generally good information about SaaS and SaaStr isn’t just providing general good insight.

Every post on this blog is highly specific to running a SaaS company, which means, it’s not just written for anyone who works in a SaaS company, it’s specifically written for the people who run them.

It’s highly specific to what I go through every day. It is 100 percent relevant to me, a SaaS CEO, 100 percent of the time.

Extreme relevance means your blog targets a well-defined audience, not a “base” or list of possible targets you’re trying to reach.

When you zero in an audience, REALLY zero in, two things happen:

  1. You have the potential to have a captive, loyal audience that will engage; and
  2. You are forced by default to produce very specific content.

This brings us to…

Actionable Content

We now live in an age when a significant portion of the content business people consume is created by their peers.

We, the PR industry, helped this along.

When I was running a PR agency, we quickly discovered the fastest way to get our clients into Forbes was to have them write a thoughtful contributed article that gets published.

Thus, the rise of thought leadership came about.

The fallout from this is that there is a lot of crap on the Interwebz.

I’ve sat in the room when the executive refused to dive any deeper into the subject matter, fearing that they were giving away their special sauce. Or, was afraid to go “off message.”

The results were published articles that really didn’t say much of anything.

SaaStr gives it all away (the knowledge that is) and so should you. I

f you want raving fans who will consume and share your content, engage with you online, and want to buy from you—you HAVE to give them something actionable.

They’ve already read about the three best ways to fill their funnel by some generalist B2C marketing guru.

YOU’RE the expert, which means you’re in a unique spot to tell them how filling a funnel looks for their market, for their size, for their customer base.

My favorite thing to read on the SaaStr blog is what didn’t work when they were building EchoSign and how they turned it around.

It’s straightforward, honest, and always includes a step-by-step “here’s how.”

Brilliant.

Now I have something I can apply to my business today. I’ll come back tomorrow to learn how to do the next thing.

Honesty

Let’s get back to that crap on the Interwebz for a moment.

The experts who write it (and the marketing folks who ghost write it—yeah that includes me) have made it sound so easy. So fool proof. Make this ONE change to your SEO and you’ll have so many inbound leads your phones will explode!

Stop. Just stop.

That makes people feel they can’t relate to your brand.

When you’re talking about how to go from zero to 1,000 with four easy steps, but your readers are burning their cash just trying to get to the first 100, you alienate your audience.

Get real with your community.

Tell them about your failures and what you learned. 

Share with them exactly how to hit the important milestones that matter to them.

Help them feel okay about their missteps by acknowledging yours.

I go to SaaStr every day because I know I’m going to get served up a big plate of reality, not a pile of crap I’ll have to sift through to find on kernel of workable knowledge.

So that’s it. A pretty simple formula, a brave one, and it’s something you can do today.

About Aly Saxe


Aly Saxe is the founder and CEO of Iris, software for agencies and in-house PR teams. She founded Ubiquity Public Relations, an agency representing high-growth B2B tech startups, in 2007.