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CONTENTS

The What, Why, and How Behind ProfitWell’s Acquisition

The Role of ProfitWell’s Content Strategy in the Acquisition

What SaaS Companies Have to Learn from Paddle Studio’s Marketing Strategy

Final Thoughts

15 min

How Paddle Studios Reshapes SaaS Content Marketing

HUMAN CRAFTED
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This piece of content is the work of a human mind.

It’s no secret that the world of marketing isn’t as simple as it once was.

Companies need to go the extra mile in order to stand out, and following a unilateral approach is simply not enough these days.

Lately, we’ve noticed that SaaS companies, especially

those whose marketing tactics are becoming increasingly saturated, have a lot to learn from media companies.

Going beyond the traditional performance view of content marketing and taking on a media multichannel approach, is where things are heading, in our opinion, and several SaaS companies have proven this already.

These are HubSpot with the acquisition of The Hustle, Stripe owning Stripe Press, and now Paddle acquiring ProfitWell in what is a very interesting move.

This is, in fact, what we’ll analyze coming up in order to see the what and why behind ProfitWell’s acquisition and the role content marketing played in this move.

The What, Why, and How Behind ProfitWell’s Acquisition

To give you an overview, Paddle is a platform that helps SaaS companies handle their whole payment infrastructure in one place, instead of having a variety of payment-related tools.

According to the website:

Our mission is to help SaaS companies navigate the revenue journey at every stage

On the other hand, we have ProfitWell, subscription software allowing users to unlock faster recurring revenue growth by reducing cancellations, optimizing pricing, tracking metrics, and more.

So why did the merge between the two happen?

Well, to begin with, as the official announcement states:

Paddle and ProfitWell have always had a common goal: To help software companies grow faster and more efficiently by taking care of operational and financial hurdles

Having a common mindset and objective is the first step, but for this $200M deal in cash and equity to work, it had to make sense business-wise too; and it did.

Image Source: Profitwell

Acquiring ProfitWell takes Paddle a step or two closer to its ultimate goal of helping software companies understand, operate and grow their businesses.

And since ProfitWell has built a successful subscription metrics and retention platform, it is accelerating Paddle’s product roadmap and opening the door to further expansion.

All this is great, and seems like the deal was mutually beneficial, but there’s another strategic aspect of it worth noting which takes us back to what we mentioned in the beginning; the fact that SaaS companies need to do marketing like media companies and Paddle understands this very well.

Let’s dive deeper into it.

The Role of ProfitWell’s Content Strategy in the Acquisition

As we mentioned, Paddle understands well that SaaS companies have a lot to learn from media companies, and the fact that ProfitWell was, in a way, marketing like a media company, definitely played a role in the deal.

Going back to the official announcement, it also states:

ProfitWell’s Recur Media team have been creating some of the most popular educational SaaS content, such as Pricing Page Teardown and Protect the Hustle. We want to help every software company grow, and see an expanded set of shows and benchmarking data as beneficial to the whole industry

Indeed, ProfitWell has done a great job when it comes to its marketing strategy, going beyond traditional tactics like SEO and social media.

Its media-influenced approach involves a variety of shows in video or audio format…

Image Source: Profitwell

…that share thought-provoking content with insightful knowledge of the SaaS industry.

Notably, the Pricing Page Teardown is one of the most famous shows, where Patrick Campbell (ProfitWell’s founder) dives deep into the pricing strategies of subscription-based companies.

Image Source: Paddle

So far, 66 episodes of the show have been released on YouTube accumulating 164,769 views in total!

Note
All data is valid as of today July 1st 2023.

Another show that has seen great success is Protect the Hustle, where in each podcast a SaaS leader is interviewed in order to “explore the truth behind the strategy and tactics of B2B SaaS growth”.

Image Source: Paddle

Other shows include Retention Talk, which is a podcast around customer experience and reducing churn…

Image Source: Paddle

Tradeoffs which is another podcast, addressing the biggest trade offs SaaS companies make…

Image Source: Spotify

…and another show called DTC Priced Right, where the pricing strategies of DTC brands are broken down.

Image Source: Paddle

Of course there are more shows, like Boxed Out, but from the ones above, you get an idea that ProfitWell has taken its content strategy to another level, acting like a media company.

It invested in high-quality video productions, podcasts, and other types of web series, where original content was produced.

Plus, almost all discussions in the shows were then transcribed into the form of blog posts in order to maximize each content piece’s impact.

Just to give you an idea of how well the content is amplified and repurposed, let’s take the case of Protect the Hustle as an example.

First of all, the show is uploaded on YouTube in the form of a video interview:

Image Source: Youtube

And is then uploaded on all major streaming platforms (Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts) in audio format.

What’s more, each episode is turned into a blog post, including an overview of the episode and the topics covered.

Image Source: Paddle

However, things don’t stop here since clips from the show are distributed to Paddle’s social media channels, like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and even TikTok, to further promote each episode.

Image Source: Twitter

This means that each show can be found in video, audio, and written format.

 

As you can imagine, when this is done at scale for multiple shows, the reach increases exponentially.

This is exactly what the company did and made Paddle turn Recur Media (ProfitWell’s media network) into Paddle Studios.

The—as they call it—home of original content that helps you build better SaaS.

In essence, it’s now where all the shows belong and where they’re being produced for.

Even ProfitWell’s YouTube channel is being turned into Paddle Studios’s channel.

Image Source: Youtube

When it comes to the blog that we briefly mentioned earlier, it seems like it has gone from an SEO approach to a strategy that’s more toward the shows that are produced.

This means that before the acquisition, blogs were mostly created for a search audience…

…being based on keywords like:

And more, which have a good amount of search volume (according to Ahrefs).

However, after the acquisition, the blog content was mostly based on original content and the shows in particular, like the Pricing Page Teardown.

This is where each episode isn’t just transcribed but contains infographics and other elements that make it a high-quality standalone blog post.

Image Source: Profitwell

All of the above is what made Profitwell have such a strong media arm to raise awareness and reach a vast amount of people; something that Paddle recognized.

In fact, what Patrick Campbell mentioned in a podcast he was a guest on back in 2021, is that:

Media companies are the best in the world at driving traffic, but they're the worst in the world at monetizing that traffic. SaaS companies are pretty good at monetizing traffic, right? So let's put these together.

We believe that this statement perfectly sums up what ProfitWell tried to achieve and further supports our initial argument, that SaaS companies should start doing marketing like media companies.

This won’t only help them build a stronger brand and reach more people, but it makes sense business-wise too.

What Patrick mentioned in another podcast he was a guest on is the fact that a media approach is more effective than a traditional marketing approach.

He explains that 8 years ago, things were different; email open rates were higher, the cost of Google ads was lower, and social media marketing was just starting to gain relevance.

However, those channels later became noisier and less effective, so he started looking for a different and more effective marketing approach.

He discovered that on an economic basis, he could produce a media asset like a podcast with 13 episodes for the same (or less) cost than a traditional content marketing asset.

More specifically, Patrick explained that:

Traditional inbound marketing strategies average 1.6 touches per week from a qualified lead, and traditional media companies average 5+ touches per week. With CACs increasing, media might be a marketing secret weapon within ProfitWell.

And he was absolutely right.

Not only did this media approach help ProfitWell stand out, but also reached a wider audience for less cost than following traditional marketing channels.

As we mentioned, Paddle recognized the value of this and rightfully decided to integrate ProfitWell’s media arm into its own channels.

Let’s see what other companies can learn from this media approach.

What SaaS Companies Have to Learn from Paddle Studio’s Marketing Strategy

The process of marketing like a media company is multidimensional and each company can perceive it differently in their minds, but there are definitely some actions that apply to all.

Although our focus so far has been on SaaS companies, it’s not just them that are investing in their own media.

Even VC firms have launched their own standalone media properties, like Andreessen Harowitz with Future; a media network with news, podcasts and other video/audio shows.

Image Source: Future

What this case, as well as Paddle Studios and almost any other company investing in media, have in common, are certain actions that SaaS companies can learn from.

Action #1: Invest in content distribution

In all the examples we mentioned so far in our guide, companies invested heavily in content distribution.

What does this mean?

That any type of content produced didn’t remain in its original platform or format, but was expanded into more, just like Profitwell had done as we saw earlier.

For example, by producing a single podcast episode, it can then be repurposed into other content formats like:

  • Text
  • Images
  • Videos

And each one can then be distributed across various channels like:

  • The blog (for text)
  • Social media (for images and videos)
  • Streaming platforms (for audio and video too)
  • Newsletters

And this can go a step further to press releases, sponsored activities, and more.

What’s noteworthy though is the importance of owning content distribution, meaning the sharing of content on channels that you own.

Although sharing content on social media is important, you don’t own LinkedIn or Instagram for instance, so actually owning a platform or website is important for more safety and flexibility.

Paddle Studios has also done a great job at this too, by owning content distribution.

In the case below, the Pricing Page Teardown episode is uploaded on the company’s website:

Image Source: Paddle

And been repurposed as a blog on its website too:

Image Source: Paddle

Of course, distributing content is essential to reach a wider audience and as an extension, potentially attract more leads too.

If the content distribution can be a mix of owned and third-party media, that’s ideal!

Action #2: Expand in many content types and formats

Using one content format isn’t enough anymore in today’s complex marketing world.

Companies need to leverage more content formats, in order to build audiences and gain credibility.

After all, with so many formats and platforms, it’s essential to be present on as many as possible (when it makes sense to do so), like:

  • Long and short form written content
  • Long and short form video content
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • Livestreams

So it’s important to not remain on one or two, but expand to more.

ProfitWell (now Paddle Studios) has done a great job at this, by producing shows in audio and video format, written content (both repurposed and new), and even webinars:

Image Source: Paddle

This variety of content formats and types allows Paddle to increase its reach exponentially, by having a multifaceted online presence, and is something other companies should follow.

Action #3: Focus on original content

We’ve stressed the importance of original content many times here at Minuttia and Paddle verifies our arguments.

After all, the description of Paddle Studios is: “Inspiring original SaaS content”.

This allows Paddle (and any other company investing in original content) to not only stand out from the crowd but, more importantly, build credibility and authority.

This heuristic approach, as we call it, is exactly what allows Paddle Studios to achieve those since it doesn’t focus on what people are searching for the most, but it does its own thing; it covers topics it can showcase expertise on that its target audience will resonate with at the same time.

This combination of expertise + relevancy is what makes Paddle’s original content strategy so successful, and other companies who want to make their own media network have a lot to learn from this approach.

All in all, those are some of the most important reasons why it made so much sense for Paddle to acquire ProfitWell.

As well as the business side of things, it’s clear that this is where things are heading; media companies used to acquire or create software, and now it’s the other way round.

Let’s close things with some final words.

Final Thoughts

HubSpot acquired The Hustle.

Semrush acquired Backlinko.

Mailchimp acquired Courier Media.

And now, Paddle has acquired ProfitWell largely due to its strong media arm in order to accelerate its mission as a business.

Only time will tell whether this move was right or wrong, but all signs point to the former.

After all, this media-driven approach is what all SaaS companies should take into account, and after analyzing ProfitWell’s (now Paddle Studios) marketing strategy, our point has now been verified!

HUMAN CRAFTED
Human Crafted illustration
This piece of content is the work of a human mind.

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