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How to Leverage the Content Topic Cluster Strategy to Acquire Leads Every Month

To predictably acquire and retain SaaS customers these days, you need to build some level of authority or become a category pioneer. 

Those are now the best bets to remain top of mind with SaaS customers or prospects.

Thus, in the hopes of achieving this, most SaaS brands have lost their voice in the maze of activities, creating and publishing lots of long-form content pieces.

Unfortunately, achieving topical authority or becoming a category pioneer isn’t just about writing lots of long-form content. 

It’s about proactively creating content that builds authority and increases your chances of attracting and converting new customers. 

So, what strategy can you use to create content that blows away prospects and helps you build trust among your audience?

Creating a Content Topic Clusters Strategy (CTCS)

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What’s the Content Topic Clusters Strategy (CTCS)?

The Content Topic Clusters Strategy (CTCS) combines content and topic clusters to create content that covers customer queries on a broad and deep level. 

The strategy was derived from HubSpot’s 2017 research on topic and content clusters which outlined the importance of search intent after the Hummingbird update in 2013. 

Why is intent important?

Let’s say you type ‘sugar buy’ online to order sugar. 

Would you like to see results for shops that sell sugar online or results for the famous song by Maroon 5?

You’d want the former because your intent is to shop for sugar and not listen to the song. 

If Google didn’t prioritize intent, there’s a high probability that the song lyrics would pop up as the first result because of the nature of the keyword. 

That’s why search engines have continued to prioritize websites that cover topics in detail over websites that only target specific keywords.  

And the CTCS strategy helps you add value and acquire prospects through content creation, promotion, and interlinking even if they’ve never heard of your product. 

Broad and Deep Topic Clusters

Broad topics: These are topics not directly related to your main business and help you close prospects who have no clue about your product or the industry. 

Deep topics: These topics are directly related to your business and help you acquire prospects who have a fair knowledge of your industry and product. 

The examples below will explain broad and deep topics better.

Sarah is a food blogger and home cook who makes mouth-watering apple pies. She wants to rank her website on top for the search term ‘apple pie recipes’ and get users to sign up for exclusive content. 

So, she creates a broad topic list with other apple recipes and interlinks them to the apple pie recipe page for food enthusiasts who haven’t tried baking apple pies. 

Her goal is to create content that introduces new users to her special apple pie recipe. 

Sarah sends users to related pages (how to make a crust, types of apple pie, etc.) if users are familiar with the recipe. 

Her goal is to build authority in her space and get people to sign up for her exclusive baking content

And content doesn’t refer to just blog posts. It can also include podcasts, videos, webinars, etc. 

And the content cluster strategy isn’t limited to Sarah’s apple pies. The largest SaaS companies of the world use this strategy to build authority, become category pioneers, attract customers, and retain them

Why is the Content Topic Cluster Strategy Important?

Each content piece of the CTCS helps build topical authority, get prospects further down the funnel, and rank better. The next section discusses these benefits in detail.

Build Topical Authority 

Backlinko analysed 11.8 million search results in 2020 and found that websites that create topically relevant content rank higher. 

Without CTCS, your content pieces will be disorganised, and this does more harm than good because:

  1. Search engines will find it difficult to crawl and index your content. 

  1. Bots can’t determine which category your content falls under, leading to a drop in the organic rankings. 

  1. Customers will have a hard time trying to find relevant content. This will affect your brand image and increase your website’s bounce rates, resulting in a drop in organic rankings. 

Push Visitors Further Down the Sales Funnel

The main advantage of using the CTCS is that it enables you to create content that addresses every part of the sales funnels without any guesswork. 

It also tells you which part of the buying journey your prospect is in, depending on how they navigate your website and the content they download. 

And using this data, you can segment your audience, create custom audiences, and retarget those who left without signing up. 

Rank Better with Internal Links

Search engines now understand semantically-related concepts around search queries and prioritize concepts over keywords. 

That’s why it’s important to link related content pieces to get a higher ranking and more organic traffic

And the CTCS helps you do exactly that because it organizes your content into broad and deep clusters that cover every aspect of the topic. 

3 Steps to Create a Killer Content Topic Clusters Strategy 

The following steps will help you optimize your content strategy to yield long-term results for your business. 

Figure Out What Topics & Keywords Your Content Must Rank For 

The first step is to list one major problem your product solves and research topics related to it. 

Usually, these are topics with high search volumes and varied queries. The idea is to break down the topic into comprehensive content pieces, which will allow the search engines to understand the website and rank it better. 

If websites with high domain authorities are already using this tactic, carve out a brand for yourself using the supporting topics from your research. 

Crazy Egg is a tool that helps you understand the customer journey with heatmaps, snapshots, and recordings of individual sessions. 

They can’t rank on top for terms like conversion tools, conversion optimization tools, etc., because giants like Hotjar dominate the first page of Google’s search results

So, they push content on supporting topics like Design, Copywriting, Conversion, IT, etc., to create brand awareness and drive prospects down the funnel. 

Jot Down all the Queries Related to Your Topic

Once you’ve made a list of all the topics you can create content on, make a list of all the keywords and queries related to each topic. 

This way, you’ll understand what prospects want and create content that solves their problem while supporting the central topic. 

Let’s continue with the example of Crazy Egg. The following image shows a list of terms it ranks for on Google:

Queries like ‘cheap web hosting’  aren’t related to Crazy Egg. 

But website owners need a heatmap tool to improve conversions. 

So, they’ve created content around web hosting and interlinked it to articles that give tips on setting up the first website and optimizing it to get people to become aware of their tool. 

There are plenty of free and paid tools that’ll help you create a list of queries, but the most popular tools include Google auto-suggest, Keyword Planner, Answer the Public, etc. 

Once you type the topic in any of these tools, you’ll see a list of queries that you can use to build your content cluster. 

The following image shows queries for ‘conversion tools’ from Answer the Public. 

Examine User Intent and Group Content into TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU

The tools mentioned above will help you find keywords and queries, but you must consider search intent to create valuable content for all stages of the funnel. 

Here are three questions to ask yourself before grouping a query into a sales funnel.

Question 1: Are prospects only looking for general information around the topic?

 Example: “What are conversion optimization tools?”

Such queries and keywords solely provide information on a certain topic and can be used to create top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) content pieces. 

This type of content must educate and entertain the prospect instead of promoting your product or service to them. 

Question 2: Can answers to these queries solve specific challenges?

Example: “how to optimize my website for more conversions?”

Users who type such queries know about the topic and how various SaaS tools can solve their problems. 

So, the middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) content pieces must include use cases, case studies, guides, and other types of content that drive them further down the funnel in exchange for information. 

Question 3: Did they want to subscribe to a SaaS product/service?

Example: “best website optimisation tools”

These are bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) queries that indicate that a prospect is ready to buy. 

Most companies try to run ads or create content that paints their product superior to make a sale. 

But Google prefers expert round-up posts from review websites for such queries because it helps the user compare various products and choose one that’s best for them.

If your domain is competitive, your content might not rank on search engines. So, email these content pieces to visitors who’ve consumed your TOFU and MOFU content instead of competing on search engines. 

Once you’ve nailed the research and segregated the queries according to user intent and awareness, all you’ve to do is start creating content!

“Okay, Mrig. You’ve explained everything about content and topic clusters. But does it actually work?”

The answer is a resounding yes!

Here are 3 SaaS Brands that have successfully used topic clusters to acquire millions of users. 

Grammarly

Grammarly aims to help people communicate better through writing. They’ve acquired 20 million users by clustering topics related to grammar and writing. 

They then use their browser extension as MOFU content and lead generation channel. It’s a unique approach and shows that you can make your product the pillar content as all articles point towards the free tool. 

Hotjar

Hotjar displays its pillar content and supporting topics on the same page with clickable links. 

This allows various sections of the page to rank for their corresponding search queries but clicking on these results redirect users to the same page. 

For instance, searching for ‘growing a SaaS business’ will display the first part of the article, while searching for ‘SaaS product market fit’ will display the ‘Saas Product-Market Fit’ section on the same page. 

Here are some images which explain the concept above better:

The user searched for SaaS product-market fit, and Google displayed the corresponding section.

Whereas, when the user searched for ‘grow SaaS startup’, Google directed it to the first chapter in the guide. 

Typeform

Typeform is the perfect example of less is more. 

They create a long piece of content and promote it to their audience while waiting for organic rankings to go up. 

Conclusion

Creating long-form content isn’t enough. SaaS brands need to up their game and stay ahead of the competition with the Content Topic Clusters Strategy (CTCS). 

The CTCS is a combination of content and topic clusters. It allows companies to churn out content in an efficient manner to build authority and acquire prospects. 

There are 3 steps to create a killer content strategy, namely:

  1. Figure out related topics and keywords. 
  2. Jot down all the relevant queries. 
  3. Examine user intent and group content into sales funnels. 

Few examples of organizations that have leveraged the CTCS to gain enormous returns include Grammarly, Hotjar, and Typeform. Yours could be next if we worked together. 

Conclusion

Creating long-form content isn’t enough. SaaS brands need to up their game and stay ahead of the competition with the Content Topic Clusters Strategy (CTCS). 

The CTCS is a combination of content and topic clusters. It allows companies to churn out content in an efficient manner to build authority and acquire prospects. 

There are 3 steps to create a killer content strategy, namely:

  1. Figure out related topics and keywords. 
  2. Jot down all the relevant queries. 
  3. Examine user intent and group content into sales funnels. 

Few examples of organizations that have leveraged the CTCS to gain enormous returns include Grammarly, Hotjar, and Typeform. Yours could be next if we worked together. 

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