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How 5 SaaS brands Use The 4Es of Content Framework

Free Content

Videos, blog posts, case studies, podcasts, ebooks, social media and community posts…

What do these content formats have in common?

They provide useful, actionable advice that addresses your audience’s pain points,  helps them make informed decisions, and positions you as a trustworthy expert in your industry.

But let’s be honest: Standing out in a crowded marketplace is tough. 

Even with generative AI tools to help, you can still struggle to create content that cuts through the noise and delivers real value to your audience. But with the right framework, you can drive more engagement and product signups from different distribution channels

That’s where the 4Es of content framework come in. 

This framework not only captures the attention of your audience, but it also establishes a strong connection with your audience and builds a lasting relationship with them.

We go into detail in this article to show you how to incorporate the 4Es framework into your content strategy, creation, and distribution processes. You will learn:

  • What the four Es of content are.
  • The role they play in content marketing.
  • Actionable tips for using the framework, including examples from real brands. 

Let’s jump right in.

What are the 4Es of Content, and Why Should You Use It? 

The 4Es stands for content that educates, engages, entertains, and empowers.

Whether it’s a social media post, a blog post, a case study, a long-form essay, a YouTube video, or a TED talk, the best content always falls into one or more of these four categories: it educates, engages, entertains, or empowers people.

The framework ensures every asset you produce resonates with your audience and inspires them to take a desired action. This ultimately increases your brand’s reach, establishes you as a trusted authority in your industry, builds credibility with your audience, generates qualified leads, and ensures customer loyalty.

Slack executes the 4Es of content framework on social media.

On Valentine’s Day, for example, Slack created a love shoutout slide deck for various brands, which sparked a conversation and elicited numerous responses from individuals and brands:

Using a day like Valentine’s to recognize other brands has several impacts on Slack, including:

  • Generating buzz and increasing engagement: The post attracted more than 1000 reactions, almost 50 comments, and 40 shares.
  • Standing out from the competition: Slack has a reputation for creating entertaining content in an empathetic manner, causing people to stop scrolling to engage. One comment said, “Slack, your marketing department is #amazing.”
  • Strengthening relationships with other brands: The post captured Canva’s, Figma’s, DocuSign’s, and other brands’ attention, which could lead to future partnerships or collaborations.
  • Humanizes Slack’s brand: Making a humorous love-shoutout post demonstrates Slack’s personality and makes the brand more relatable and memorable to its audience.

You can take a page out of Slack’s playbook for special event days to generate positive buzz around your brand and truly connect with your audience, whether with an empowering, engaging, entertaining, or educational post. 

But you should ensure that the humor in your post aligns with your brand values and doesn’t offend or alienate any members of your audience. Also, consider the tone and messaging of your post to ensure it is appropriate and relevant for your target audience, as Slack did. 

Now, let’s look at how each framework component fits into your content marketing strategy, including actionable tips for using the framework and real-world examples.

How to Use the 4Es of Content Framework to Connect With Your Audience

This section will go over each “E,” discussing its importance, actionable tips for creating that type of content, and an example to inspire your own.

1. Educate

Educational content provides in-depth knowledge and actionable advice to help your audience solve problems, whether it’s a blog post, whitepaper, case study, webinar, or ebook. It shows how your product solves their pain points or helps them achieve a goal.

For example, if you use Google or ChatGPT to learn how to design a website, you’re trying to educate yourself on the subject to do it better. That means you’ll be looking for content that uses examples, illustrations, and, even, tools to help drive home the point. 

That’s the kind of content your audience will find most valuable—one that breaks down a specific topic so they can apply every step and get their desired results. 

Bankrate is an example of a brand that invests in creating educational resources for its audience. The website drives 18 million sessions monthly and has a monthly organic traffic value of $76.8 million—it would have spent this much on paid ads if they didn’t already rank for over 3 million keywords.

What attracts people to Bankrate is how they use a combination of tips and tools to show how the reader can solve their problems. 

For example, this post “Best bad credit loans in February 2023” ranks #1 on Google for the keyword “loans for bad credit,”  which has 182,000 people searching for it. The page itself drives more than 250,000 sessions every month. 

Several elements make this blog post capture the attention of thousands of people. 

First, the content offers relevant information upfront. 

Bankrate leads with the value the reader will get from the post, then follows with  a definition and a promise to make recommendations on how the reader can solve the problem:

People want relevant answers upfront, so your content should immediately deliver on your promise by telling the readers what to expect and quickly jumping into providing solutions, instead of leading with fluff. 

Also, Bankrate provides detailed, in-depth knowledge and insights beyond surface-level information. For example, the article addresses subtopics such as: 

  • What to consider before applying for a bad credit loan
  • How to choose the best bad credit loan lender
  • Choosing a bad credit personal loan
  • Compare bad credit personal loan rates
  • What to know about your credit score
  • Where to get a bad credit loan
  • Types of bad credit loans
  • Pros and cons of bad credit loans
  • Alternatives to bad credit loans

This level of detail has two benefits: it helps the reader get more valuable information to solve their problem, and the subtopics are long-tail keywords that help Bankrate rank higher in the search engine results page. 

Bankrate also includes tools to help the reader check their personal loan rates, compare bad credit loan rates, and see specific examples of where they can get the best loan rates:

Including these tools and examples helps the reader take action almost immediately to solve their problem. 

You can add more detail in your blog posts or videos by including specific examples or product use cases, customer success stories and testimonials, as well as  relevant data to make a stronger case and help your audience visualize how your product can solve their problems. You can also use visuals, like images, charts, and diagrams, to break up large blocks of text and make your content more engaging and easier to understand. 

Another unique thing about the Bankrate piece is having industry experts create, edit, and review the piece:

Industry experts have the knowledge, experience, and credibility to create content that is accurate, trustworthy, and relevant to your audience. Their expertise helps to establish your website as a trusted authority in the industry, especially because people are confident that  the information they provide is relevant and accurate. 

One way to implement this as a B2B SaaS brand is to tap into the knowledge and expertise of your team or industry experts to provide uncommon insights. 

Identify and interview subject matter experts who have the relevant knowledge and experience. This could be internal experts within your company or external experts you invite to contribute to the content. Then you can add these insights to your blog posts or create a roundup-style post.

These help you create educational content that stands out and provides unique value to your audience, which attracts and retains customers, establishes your brand as a thought leader, and drives business growth.

2. Engage

Engaging content captures your audience’s attention and starts a conversation. 

It helps to build brand awareness, establish your authority in your industry, and ultimately drive traffic and conversions. If your content is not engaging enough, your audience can quickly lose interest, and you risk losing them to competitors.

Gong is an example of a SaaS brand that has consistently used engaging content on LinkedIn to build brand equity and a thriving content culture. As of the time of this writing, LinkedIn drives almost 75% of Gong’s social media traffic share. 

One of the ways Gong creates engaging content is by sharing actionable, native content with its audience—sales professionals. This type of content helps sales professionals solve real-world problems and improve their skills, ultimately boosting Gong’s organic reach. 

For example, Gong recently published a blog post and created a LinkedIn post about it that received nearly 700 reactions, comments, and reposts.

Why would a post with a link capture so many people’s  attention and start a conversation?

A strong hook combined with a relevant topic and insights.

When Gong’s audience scrolls through their feed, the first thing they see is “B2B BUYING HAS CHANGED (again).” Because sales professionals want to stay current on industry trends and no one wants to be left behind, the headline draws their attention to the post. 

LinkedIn is a crowded platform; many other posts compete for your audience’s attention. A provocative headline helps your post stand out in a sea of content.

Your headline should be clear, concise, and relevant to the subject matter and the interests of your audience. Notice how concise, clear, and relevant Gong’s headline is to the main idea of the post (which is closing more deals in 2023). You can also use a question or industry statistics, or a/b test your headlines to identify those that spark curiosity, increase engagement, and drive a conversation with your audience. 

Gong also ensures the post is relevant to its target audience—a topic they care about or that affects them directly. 

A post about the different ways to sell more with raw data and insights from other professionals is an irresistible topic for sales professionals. Gong knows this, so instead of dumping links on LinkedIn alone, Gong hooks readers with just enough insights to make them curious about learning more.  

You shouldn’t dump links on LinkedIn or any other platform when distributing or creating new content. Your audience is looking for informative, engaging, and valuable content, and simply sharing links without context comes off as spammy or self-promotional. You risk losing your audience to competitors and losing your reputation as well. 

Instead of dumping links, hook the reader and provide context for the link as Gong did. Share compelling stats or insights from the post, and use the link to support or provide additional information.

Also, Gong prioritizes native content to win over the algorithm

LinkedIn’s primary goal is to keep users on its platform for as long as possible to increase user engagement and ad revenue. 

Native content gives users a better experience, as they don’t have to leave the platform to get value. That’s a strong reason why Gong publishes more via LinkedIn Publications vs. publishing on its own blog. 

Repurposing long-form content to publish on LinkedIn Publication is a great way to drive engagement on LinkedIn, as it helps to build your reputation and reach a wider audience. 

If your main goal is to use LinkedIn as a primary acquisition channel and establish yourself as a thought leader, you should steal Gong’s strategy. This can increase your visibility and engagement on LinkedIn and potentially lead to new partnerships.

3. Entertain

B2B SaaS content does not have to be all charts, graphs, and stats; it can be a lot more.

Entertaining content is often lighthearted and memorable, with elements of humor, surprise, or novelty that leave your audience amused.

One of my favorite brands that creates such fun content is The Marketing Millennials. I laugh hard most of the time when I stumble on memes like this one:

Memes are a powerful tool in B2B content marketing because they are highly shareable and can increase brand awareness and engagement. That Marketing Millennials post had nearly 4000 reactions, with over 300 comments and reposts. That’s massive.

One thing that entertaining content, such as memes, does is humanize your brand. You show your brand’s personality and values in a way that resonates with your audience, which in turn, builds trust and healthy familiarity with your brand. 

B2B brands also create entertaining content on TikTok—leveraging trending TikTok challenges to attract and delight new and existing audiences. By creating these types of videos relevant to your audience’s pain points, you create content that entertains and encourages them to take action.

Before creating entertaining B2B content on TikTok, LinkedIn, and other platforms, you should follow these best practices: 

  • Understand your audience’s pain points, interests, and preferences.
  • Use humor and storytelling around topics that resonate with your audience to make your content more memorable.
  • Create eye-catching content that stands out from the crowd—videos, memes, infographics, or animations.
  • Be authentic and relatable; your audience loves it when you let your brand’s personality shine in your content.

Most of all, embrace an experimentation culture. 

Social media is a constantly evolving landscape, so don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment with different types of content. Track your engagement metrics, and adjust your content strategy accordingly to optimize and get better results.

4. Empower

Empowering content inspires and motivates your audience by providing them with the resources they need to succeed in their roles or by celebrating other brands’ successes. 

Glassdoor established a strong brand through data-driven, empowering content that shaped industries and elevated company cultures. Its “Best Places To Work in 2023” report has generated over 120,000 backlinks and drives 113,000 people monthly sessions.

People love to see and link to this type of content because it elevates other brands’ successes, and can help potential employees find their next company. It also results in social shares from CEOs, employees of listed companies, and others who love the list. 

You can create similar content such as a roundup of top tools in your industry, top experts doing great things in your industry, best industry blogs or podcasts, industry awards, and more. This content type is empowering because it leaves  people feeling good about themselves, and generates social shares and brand awareness, plus organic traffic and backlinks. 

Use the 4Es of Content to Build a Solid Connection With Your Audience 

The 4Es of content provide a framework for creating engaging, informative, memorable, and actionable content, so you can have a stronger relationship with your audience and get love from the industry.

To recap:

  • Educational content helps to establish your brand as a thought leader and provide value to your audience. 
  • Engaging content captures your audience’s attention and keeps them interested in your brand. 
  • Entertaining content helps to humanize your brand and build a connection with your audience. 
  • Empowering content provides value to your audience by helping them solve their problems and achieve their goals, which in turn can build trust and drive conversions.

The key is to understand your audience’s needs and interests, so you can create content that resonates with them, whether that’s through informative blog posts, interactive webinars, humorous social media posts, or inspiring posts. 

This will help you build stronger relationships with your audience, establish yourself as a thought leader, and ultimately drive more sign-ups and sales.

Did you enjoy this post?

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