The Empathy-Driven SaaS Content Marketer | with Praise Ojekudo

Praise Ojekudo, popularly known as “Nkem,” is a B2B SaaS content marketer and copywriter. Over the years, she has worked with companies in health, finance, web3, and education. She’s recently niched down to help SaaS Health Tech companies connect deeply with their audience and build long-term loyalty and trust.

In this conversation, she shares her journey on how she went from Microbiology to a renowned content marketer and everything in between.

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What drew you to marketing, and how did your journey as a SaaS content marketer begin?

I studied Microbiology as a first degree, but before I finished school, I knew it wasn’t something I wanted to do long-term. Like most Nigerians, I chose the course because I wanted to leave the house and go to the University.

However, in my final year, I started to panic about what to do. Then, the COVID period came, and I was very anxious about the next step.

After so much worrying, I went on Google to keep myself busy by sharpening my communication skills (speaking and writing). Then, I decided to start a blog to write personal essays and put myself out there.

I fell in love with writing, and although my essays were “trashy,” I received support from friends and family.

Along the way, I thought about monetizing my writing skills. So, I went back to Google, and one of the results that popped on the screen was “Copywriting,” and I ran with it.

I took some online courses and reached out to an organization. I told the CEO, “Hi, I’m currently learning this skill. If you have any tasks you want me to handle for you, please reach out to me.”  

That was my first client and the first time I was paid for writing.

I later realized they didn’t need my help but still gave me the project. 

As I improved my writing skills, I tried other types of writing besides copywriting. That’s how I stumbled on content marketing and focused more on it.

Praise Ojekudo, B2B SaaS Content Marketer - If you do not know your customer, there's no way you can help solve their pain point.

What courses did you take during that period?

I took a business writing course on Coursera, followed by writing and content marketing courses at HubSpot Academy and FutureLearn.

What does being an empathy-driven content marketer mean for the work you do?

Being an empathy-driven content marketer means that I can use my high emotional intelligence to connect with my clients and their customers, understand the market, and reach the target audience.

I feel a lot of emotions, and growing up, I used to feel like it was a curse because I couldn’t help it. 

However, recently, I have been profoundly reflecting on the essence of my identity, and this is not driven by financial pursuit but by a genuine desire to comprehend the factors that shape who I am, instilled with purpose.

I was talking to a friend recently and mentioned that marketing is psychology. It is understanding human behavior and feelings—knowing why something happens the way it does and why someone acts the way they do.

If you don’t know your customers, you can’t help or sell to them. You can’t push your product down people’s throats without properly understanding their WHY.

How would you explain content marketing for SaaS health tech companies in layman’s language? 

A SaaS content marketer is someone who sells a product or a service to people who need it.

Remember that SaaS translates to “software as a service.” It’s cloud-based, which means that data and information are stored in the cloud and can be easily accessed by installing or downloading the app.

In the context of health tech, these are products/apps that do the function of health professionals/personnel. For instance, my favorite app is a yoga app, and it’s like a yoga instructor that helps me exercise every day.

If I were to market that yoga app (a SaaS tech product in the health sector), the first step would be to research and find my target audience. The goal is to reach yoga enthusiasts like me and sell this app to them. 

Then, I create content that speaks to the needs of my target audience on the various levels they are at — buyer’s journey. I reach out to them on the various platforms that they frequent, find out what they need in the product, and then create educational content that covers their problems, what they expect from the product, and how it can help them.

Basically, my job as a SaaS content marketer is to help a company reach the people they are selling to and also help the target audience get a clear understanding of the product. I paint a picture of how “great” their lives would be using this product so that they can then invest their money or time in it.

Praise Ojekudo in a train to Chester.
Praise Ojekudo in Chester for her MSc in Digital Marketing

How do you use content to drive more sales, build customer relationships, and increase domain authority?

My approach to content marketing is to see it as a knowledge base. Each piece of content is rooted in an end goal. 

For sales, I create content that guides and teaches the target audience by addressing their pain points and illustrating how the product can solve their problems. If a potential customer has no idea about the product, its benefits, features, or how to use it, there will be no sales.

So, I craft an engaging narrative that highlights the features, tells success stories, and shows the benefits of using the tech product.

Tech can be complex. There is a lot of tech jargon, industry slang, and trends, but the ordinary customer doesn’t care about that. 

In summary, to drive sales, you have to;

  • Create a knowledge guide or base where you can guide your customers, giving them all the correct information.  
  • Craft an engaging narrative by not focusing on selling the product’s features alone but leading with the benefits to the customer.
  • Build customer relationships: the customers benefit just as much as the clients.

Above all, SaaS health tech content shouldn’t be a sales pitch. While the goal is to encourage subscriptions or free trials, if you bombard your audience with pushy sales tactics, they will run.

Your content is a bridge that connects your brand with your audience on a more personal level. Businesses don’t sell to people; people who run businesses sell to people.  

What are your best mental health tips specially curated for marketers?

I’m always looking for ways to find balance in life, and these tips have helped me achieve balance amidst chaos.

  1. Set realistic goals.

It sounds like a simple tip, but setting realistic goals is vital. Marketers feel like they can handle everything, but it leads to being overwhelmed. 

First, ask yourself these questions before you put together a long to-do list, “How do you intend to cross those tasks off or to accomplish that goal? What do you need to reach the goal? How long would it take?” 

When you consider the resources, tools, and people you also need, you’ll be able to filter the goals and set aside everything you need to accomplish your goal.

  1. Take breaks and downtime.

It is essential to slow down, especially for those with a 24/7 active mind. Setting clear boundaries, like mentally clocking in and out of work, helps maintain a healthy balance.  

I use an app called Pomodoro Timer, which helps me a lot. It helps me focus and gives me time to take breaks to stretch, walk, or do something else that is not work-related.

If you’re someone like me who uses a laptop, it is essential to speak kindly to yourself. Appreciate your efforts, recognize the need for a break, and affirm that replenishing energy will enhance productivity the following day.

  1. Stay organized. 

Well, I am still learning this, but it is an essential hack, too, because systems are critical. It helps you be more effective. So, when you’re organized, you can do better work.

Use tools and create systems to organize your workload. This will help you reduce stress and ensure that your tasks are manageable and your deadlines are realistic. I use tools such as Google Calendar and Notion for this.

Praise Ojekudo, B2B SaaS Content Marketer  - Be your biggest fan, celebrate your unique skills. Recognize the unique value you bring to your work.

  1. Celebrate your creativity and wins, and practice gratitude. 

I put all of this together because they’re related. As a marketer, creativity is vital in assembling various elements. Be your biggest fan — celebrate your unique skills in crafting hooks, introductions, conclusions, and structuring content. Recognize the unique value you bring to your work.

So, no matter what you do, celebrate it, even though it needs iteration and feedback. Be grateful for the privilege of work and the opportunity to give value.

It is easy to look at what other people are doing and tell yourself, “I should be doing so much more.”  Avoid the trap of comparing yourself to others. Acknowledge your existing workload and marketing skills— having a job, diverse abilities, and contributing value. Gratitude for what you have strengthens contentment. 

Make it a daily ritual by writing or saying it to yourself or talking to people about it. 

  1. Professional development. 

This is a mental health tip because I feel more fulfilled and confident when constantly learning something new.

Self-confidence allows you to sell your abilities, present yourself proudly, and actively contribute. It fuels your enthusiasm to share your experiences, driven by the understanding that continual learning and growth are built-in to your journey.

You won’t show up confident and authentic when you know you’re not making an effort to improve. It’s important to upskill constantly; learning never stops. Confidence is rooted in one’s belief in oneself, and belief comes from a sound mind. That’s why it’s my top mental health tip.

How do you keep track of all your creative ideas?

I have an unhealthy relationship with buying notepads. There are so many I haven’t used. However, I go everywhere with a pen and a notepad because my mind is actively working.

When I am not with my notepad or pen, I use my notes app or send myself messages on WhatsApp. This could mean sending myself voice notes and epistles.

Then, I gather these ideas in different places and organize them on Notion. This helps me be practical with most of my creative process.

What is your best analogy to explain the importance of a content marketing strategy?

Let’s use a road trip as an example. Regardless of where you’re going, you want to map out your route and make a plan of all the sites, stops, etc. You wouldn’t leave your house without a sense of direction and goal in mind.

It’s the same for a content marketing strategy. You need a goal, a plan, an idea of where you’re going and how you can get there. Planning informed by research leads to better decision-making. Defining your goals helps to ensure that each decision aligns with your desired outcomes.

What is your process for creating a content marketing strategy?

Before conducting content research, I thoroughly examine the nature of the industry, its top competitors, and target customers. This provides insights, inspiration, and direction for the content, ensuring that it aligns with my client’s goals and the needs of my target audience. This also helps my content hit the bullseye, minimize mistakes, and maximize resources.

Aligning your research with the goal of the content is vital. Ask yourself, “What is the main action or takeaway my reader should take away from this?”

Remember, strategy is not set in stone. Take time to reflect, gather and analyze data, and tailor your strategy accordingly.

How do you use storytelling in your content strategy?

Storytelling is key to passing a memorable message. Think about the last book, movie, or conversation that made an impression. It stays on your mind because it gives you a memorable experience. When applied to marketing, it ensures your product or service is presented in a way that captivates and resonates with your audience and fosters connection. 

For instance, if I want to sell a toy bicycle to a kid, I will craft a message that brings delight and ensure that the message aligns with the impact of making the child happy.

I emphasize how it would make him the coolest kid in class. This relatable element makes my message more appealing and memorable.

Praise Ojekudo, B2B SaaS Content Marketer  - The human brain is logical but emotional as well. And storytelling creates a balance between both sides.

The human brain is logical but emotional. We want to see facts to drive our decisions. Storytelling creates that balance by tapping into the emotional side, while data and facts could tap into the logical side.

Stories also help transform complex techy concepts into relatable narratives using characters and scenarios to help the audience imagine how the products or services can solve their problems or needs. This strategy creates room for relatability and a connection for readers to see through the lens of benefiting from the product in real-life circumstances.

Another trick is to look from the customer’s perspective. Pause and ask yourself, what would I want to see if I were this person? Or what would I relate to if I had this problem or needed this sort of solution? 

And voila!

How do you get clients for your freelance business?

At one point, I was sending many cold emails, and I’ll add that cold emailing is not for the faint-hearted.

However, one thing that has consistently brought clients since the start of my career is brand visibility. 

I’ve gotten clients from LinkedIn and on Twitter, most significantly. It starts with, “Let me just put out something,” and suddenly, someone is reaching out to me through that post. 

Building a personal brand has been IT for me. Being intentional about content creation is a priority for me. Previously, I wasn’t serious about it, but now, I’m committed to building, embracing vulnerability, and sharing my journey personally with my audience and clients.

I’m finding that the more I put myself out there—the more I share and am vulnerable about my growth and processes—the more I learn, connect, and build more meaningful relationships.

The ripple effect of growing my personal brand is getting referrals and endorsements, which has happened several times. 

What SaaS content marketing tools do you use daily?

I started using Google Calendar a lot more recently because it helps me manage my time and keep track of my week and month. 

Then, I use Google Docs, Notion, Pomodoro timer, and of course, Chat GPT.

Fun fact: I didn’t understand Chat GPT at first, but it’s part of the tools I use daily because it makes my workflow easier. It’s like an assistant that can handle low-reward tasks and use the rest of my time for something more creative.

What are some of your marketing career accomplishments in the past three years?

For the last three years, I’ve been a generalist. I have worked with different industries, products, and projects, but in 2023, my career witnessed significant growth. It was more fulfilling, and my personal growth was tremendous. 

I co-authored a global marketing book titled “Inside the Marketers Room.” It’s filled with insights from over 50 leading marketers worldwide. I never saw it happen, but it’s one of my highest achievements as a content marketer so far.

Also, joining the Smarketers Hub brought this growth to my career and impacted me in many ways. Before this, I’d worked all these years, but the feeling of fulfillment wasn’t there.

That’s when I reached out to my manager, Aisha Owolabi,  who also serves as the founder. I had in mind that I wanted to do valuable work, and Smarketers Hub was something I wanted to be a part of.

I became the community manager handling Twitter and executed a multichannel marketing strategy that increased organic traffic by 517% in my first month.

My manager said, “I’ve seen what you can do when you are passionate about something.” That alone made me decide to do stuff that aligns with my passion and goals.

Another accomplishment in my writing career journey is the privilege of collaborating with diverse teams and creating meaningful connections. The gift of a competent team with which to shine is second to none. 

Writing has also helped me understand who I am more. I’ve become very grateful for the ability to bring my thoughts to life. I’ve always preached about knowing oneself—once you know yourself, everything else follows. And I’m grateful that writing is my medium for that.

What career mistakes have you made along your career journey, and what lessons did you learn from them?

The first lesson I learnt is that money isn’t everything. My early career mistake was focusing too much on money; I was willing to take up any project and client, but the fulfillment wasn’t there.

It’s important to focus on the value factor, which is where fulfillment comes from. Optimize to get the best of both worlds.

Another mistake is not documenting my journey. It robbed me of being able to track my progress, and I started correcting this only recently. Doing so would allow you to reflect on where you are coming from, know what is and isn’t working, and map out where you’re headed. 

The third mistake I made was being a generalist for a long time. Although everyone’s journey is different, when I decided to niche down, I started seeing my progress: how far I have come and how far I will go.

Lastly, I was not actively making connections. No one is an island, and often, it takes a village. Putting myself out there and being more intentional about connections helped expose me to valuable people, and one of the ripple effects is being on this podcast today. 

If you could have a glass of wine with any marketing professional, past or present, who would it be and why?

I would have a glass of wine with my manager and the founder of Smarketers Hub, Aisha Owolabi. She is a force, an inspirational woman, and a leader. She’s the kind of person you meet who makes you do self-reflection in a good way. She relates with you in a way that shows you that there are possibilities. 

I’m grateful that I have access to her, and she seems like someone who is adventurous and wants to enjoy life. 

Where can we go to learn more about Praise Ojekudo?

My two favorite channels to be on are Twitter and  LinkedIn. 

Besides the fact that I can work and learn on Twitter, it’s a chill platform. People say it’s toxic, but I’ve never been on the toxic side of the app. 

On Twitter, I’m Praise Ojekudo, and on LinkedIn, Praise Ojekudo

You can also find me on Instagram at Praise Nkem Ojekudo.

Read other career stories from different marketing professionals around the world.