How to find good heroes for stories and level up your SaaS content marketing? [FULL GUIDE]
When you want to create good content for SaaS - you need to be a good storyteller.
But to become a great storyteller, you have to find great heroes for your stories. And that can be troubling.
How to look for heroes that will elevate our product's marketing and gain us a whole crowd of trusting customers?
First thing's first: who’s the story about?
We start from the very basics. You’ve probably heard this advice 1000 times, but I’m gonna repeat it anyway:
identify your audience.
I’m not talking about creating a perfect customer persona (btw not a fan…) for each of your stories.
Finding a perfect hero for your story is not exactly the same thing as defining your target customers.
To find a good hero for your storytelling content marketing, you’ll have to make sure the hero:
- is familiar enough to our audience that they won’t feel weird when reading their story,
- has a specific, yet universal problem that most of your customers can relate to,
- has goals and desires similar to those your customers have,
- is afraid or appalled by the same things as your audience.
In the next sections, we’ll focus exactly on those things. We’re gonna crystallize the hero for your story – or at least begin the process of doing so. Remember – your audience always changes, so your marketing should too. Don’t sleep on your customers’ evolutions or you risk being slept on by them. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your heroes and develop them alongside your product.
I’ll stop talking now – let’s get to the jush:
#1 Make your hero familiar
To do it, first and foremost, you have to get to know your audience.
And you have to know them damn well.
IMPORTANT: If you think you already know your audience – think again, babes. Don’t skip the phase of audience research:
- talk to your existing customers
- check out Reddit/Quora/FB groups
- create focus groups
- do all those things you know about but STILL haven’t done yet 🧐
Only then you’ll have enough resources to create a hero for your story that will resonate with your customers.
To be clear – you don’t need to make your hero the exact same person as your customers. It might sound counterintuitive, but you never know who’s precisely reading your story. Making your hero too specific can make the same effect as constructing a completely unrelated character. As long as there are similarities, you’re fine.
Now, here’s the tricky part:
#2 Define your hero’s needs
And never make it about you.
Let’s imagine you’re a B2B SaaS, providing software for social media marketing automation in SMEs.
Whoa, that’s highly specific – but stick with me.
If you were to write down 3 needs your customers might have, would they be:
- to schedule FB posts using an intuitive panel
- add Twitter threads directly from Word documents
- Auto DM most engaged social media fans.
- simplify the hustle and bustle of social media management
- communicate with customers in a fast and effective way
- see the ROI of effort put into social media management.
Look, I know that sales must be made for your business to survive. But putting specific features of your product into your story’s content will only make it fall flat.
Thus, making you less money than a great story can!
If you don't believe me - ask these guys:
Why? Because – and I’ll repeat it again – your customer doesn’t care one bit about your product.
They have needs to be fulfilled and challenges to overcome. Make your hero tackle the same battles and you’ve got yourself a great story!
#3 What is your hero afraid of?
You know the needs your customer has by now. Do you know what they’re afraid of?
It’s just as important to understand the doubts, misperceptions and fears of your customer. It can literally save your ass.
For the next example, let’s change it up a bit and turn you into a B2B SaaS company providing online Payroll software for SMBs. You simplify accounting in businesses of all kinds. Also, you let your customers make their accounting paperless and partially automate the simplest, most repetitive actions.
What is there to be afraid of then? They should be excited – not afraid!
But somehow – when talking to your customers, you notice they are sceptical about your solution.
How so? Think about it before moving on.
The doubt that comes up to their mind is – not surprisingly – the security of their data. You’ve told them (or I’ve told you, in this case. 😅) all the things about how my life will be better with your software.
However, after the first excitement passed, I started considering your offer. And that’s when I realised I haven’t got any info from you about:
- How will my data be stored?
- What data protection guidelines your company has?
- Will you see everything about my company’s finances?
If you knew about those doubts – wouldn’t you address them right at the start? Exactly.
So, when you try to come up with a perfect storytelling strategy for your SaaS, make sure to include the response to your customers’ biggest fears and doubts. Mentioning the elephant in the room will make them feel understood and cared for. And that’s how you want your customers to feel, right?
#4 No two customers are alike… or are they?
I had a friend in high school.
A bit of an outsider, let’s just say.
He was very kind, except… he was always telling pointless stories and anecdotes about his life. They didn’t make any sense and were completely disconnected from what the rest of the group was talking about at the time.
At first, we tried VERY HARD to include him in our daily high school life. But unfortunately, his unique ways of socialising with us made us too uncomfortable to spend more than just a few minutes in his presence.
If you’re trying to tell the story to your customers without putting the effort to make it even briefly relatable to them – you’re that friend.
And you definitely don’t want to be that friend. It will cost you much more than social status.
As you dive deep into the audience research you will sooner or later discover distinctive patterns. That’s how big audiences are divided into smaller target groups in traditional marketing.
When it comes to storytelling – the rules of the game are exactly the same, with only one “but”.
And here it is:
Keep in mind the time and place you use a story in. If you will narrow it down too much and include only a very specific group of customers – the rest will feel left out and forgotten.
So, be strategic about using storytelling in your content marketing. The less personalized is the rest of the content, the less specific you need to be in your storytelling.
However, it doesn’t mean that your hero shouldn’t have any personality. At the end of the day, a lot of people identify with Elsa from Frozen, though they’ve never built themselves a palace made of ice.
The point is: when the story appears on a webpage addressed to basically any new customer - you need to stick to one key point:
Give your hero more universal qualities. Make sure a wide range of people can empathize with the protagonist, even when they are not exactly the same as your hero.
#5 What does your customer know?
When a customer finds the website of your SaaS company, it’s probably the first time you both meet.
So, telling a story to this new person in your life requires a little more background than a story you’d tell your long-time friend. Don’t oversimplify things and don’t be afraid to add a little backstory to your main plot – it will make your audience less confused.
The same rule applies to some technical terms or jargon.
Just because you and your co-workers know what, e.g. “SSL certificate”, “.NET framework” or “Scrum methodology” is – it doesn’t mean your customers will know it too.
Remember to keep every word in your story meaningful.
#6 Step into your audience’s shoes
Last step to consider when finding a good hero for your story is to tap into your audience’s world for a little bit. You don’t want to tell a story about Office Managers to a group of C-level managers.
They won’t even listen to you probably.
To avoid it, answer a couple of questions about your audience in advance:
- What makes them vulnerable?
- What makes them angry/irritated?
- Are they in the middle of a serious change in their life that will affect your story?
- What culture are they part of? Are they a more conservative, calm and formal bunch? Or maybe a group of rebellious, edgy and artistic creatives?
All of those questions should be answered before you actually start to compose a story for your content. Think of it as having an actual conversation with your customer – read the room, and be aware of their mood. Maybe your story is making them angry? Frustrated? Bored?
React quickly to those changes and adjust the content of your story as well as the way you’re telling it. If you see no story seems to work – ditch storytelling entirely. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work.
Great heroes make great stories
When you put the time and effort into really getting to know your audience – both your content marketing and storytelling will become better.
Don’t worry if you’re a bit overwhelmed now – you don’t need to think about all of those things at the same time. Make this a process, adjust it to your needs, but nevertheless – focus hard on your audience.
Your audience also has their story. The whole secret is to listen to it before you start to speak.
Take care 🤹♂️