All posts tagged content strategy

Is it important for a VC firm to have a content strategy? I believe the answer is yes, and here’s why.

Content helps you grow your authority and reputation which leads to a better standing in the industry and consequently, access to better deals.

Just ask Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures who’s been running his popular AVC blog since 2003. If that’s not convincing enough, consider Brad Feld. He and his cohorts have turned Boulder, Colorado into a startup mecca in no small part thanks to Brad’s writing efforts and numerous podcast appearances.

Alan Brody, the author of the must-read Are You Fundable and a fixture in the NYC startup community had this to say:

Blogging puts VCs at the heart of the Startup experience. They become in tune with the marketplace, engender trust and connect with the best entrepreneur prospects.

Brody added:

If you have money, you will always get deals. But if you have the right mindset along with the money – and communicate it – you’ll get those once-in-a-lifetime deals, the unicorns.

With that said, there can only be one more objections…and we’ll cover that next.

I’m Too Busy

The problem with blogging, podcasting, and YouTubing is that executing a content strategy of any sort is time consuming and tedious.

You might say to yourself. “Self, some people are gifted creatives with plenty to say, but that’s not me. Ergo, content is not something I should be doing.”

Don’t worry. I’ve taken that into consideration. However, if you are a gifted content creator like Brad Feld, Alan Brody, or Fred Wilson, all the better.

I will tackle the issue of content strategy as if I’m writing this for a very busy VC with no time to spare and absolutely nothing to say.

So, to summarize. For a VC firm to even consider it, the content strategy must be:

1. Effective
2. Easy
3. Effortless

In considering this strategy, I’ve also taken into account the content landscape. In other words, is there an audience for what I’m about to propose? And the answer to that is a resounding YES!

Let’s get started.

Showcase Your Portfolio

Choose your weapon. It could be a pen, a microphone, or a camera.

Regardless of the medium [writing, podcast, or video], a VC firm will have a portfolio of startups each working on something interesting.

In each startup, there are men and women who are passionate and who are experts in what they do. These men and women make for great conversationalists and can offer a wealth of information to the general populous.

Does this strategy meet our stated requirements? You bet.

Interviewing such people is an effective way of bringing attention to the VC firm itself. It’s easy in the sense that you don’t have to think of “what content should I publish today”. And it’s effortless since the interviewees do most of the heavy lifting, intellectually speaking.

Showcasing the startups from your portfolio meets all three of our stated requirements.

Who’s doing this?

Open View Partners out of Boston does this very effectively, and they’ve even expanded the field by making their blog accesible to startups who are not in their portfolio.

Here’s a video Open View did with my cofounder Dan Cristo.

Showcase the Hopefuls

How many meetings does an average VC take with perspective startups?

For most VCs, that number is in the 100s per month, and each meeting is chock full of drama, tension, hope, desire, and priceless information for future founders. Why not record those meetings?

Of course, not everyone will feel comfortable being on the show, but that’s ok. Some startups will be fine with it and that tells us something about them, don’t you think?

lori cheek

What does this strategy look like in practice?

Think Shark Tank but with little bit more friendly guidance, and a lot less staging.

Does this strategy meet our stated requirements? You bet.

It’s effective in showcasing your VC firm as transparent, a quality highly valued in today’s startup culture. It’s easy since it’s part of the VC’s workflow already. And it’s certainly effortless in the sense that you don’t have to think of content to create, the content comes to you.

Above: Lori Cheek pitching sharks. Cheek’d removes “missed” from missed connections. 

Be the Soapbox

Many startups don’t have a blog nor do they want one. A content strategy can be a distraction and there are valid reasons for a startup to skip it altogether.

soapbox_webBut every once in a while, one of the founders may have something to say. The solution? Your portfolio of startups should know that they can submit content to be published on the firm’s blog.

It would help if this was frictionless for the content creator. For example, a UX designer at startup X doesn’t need to know how to use WordPress or obtain a username/password in order to publish content on the firm’s blog. Just write something up in Word and email someone@VCfirm.com

If you make it that easy, and if you make it known, you’ll get plenty of takers.

And if that content can then be shared by all employees of all startups in your portfolio [see next section for more on that], plus syndicated to INC, HuffPo, or a similar content outlet, then all the better for everyone.

Does this strategy meet our stated requirements? You bet.

It’s effective at raising the firm’s profile since content is being published and shared [see next section for more on that]. It’s easy since you don’t have to write it. And it’s effortless since we don’t have to come up with the content itself.

Be the Hub

What if a single article on your firm’s blog could onboard a thousand users for one of the startups in your portfolio? How far would that go in ensuring that your investment in that startup pays off?

hubLet’s play with some numbers.

Say you have 10-20 startups in your portfolio. Each startup has 10-20 people. That’s 100-400 people who could act as sharers of the content published on your firm’s blog.

400 people sharing 1 article across Twitter, Facebook, G+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn equals 2000 shares. And those are only first-degree shares. Some of those 2000 shares will get re-shared several times over.

Multiply that by the number of articles published per week. Say, one article per day Mon-Fri, and you get 10,000 guaranteed weekly shares.

Also, consider that these are not just any 400 people. The startup ecosystem is tightly nit, so you’re content will spread like wildfire under these circumstances.

Why would employees at startups share other people’s content?

Because they know that when you publish their content, the other startups will share it in kind.

You could even formalize your status as the hub by creating a Triberr tribe.

The 5th Strategy

Your content strategy could be the fuel your portfolio startups need in order to be successful. In fact, a mere associating with your firm could virtually guarantee the startup’s success. And that is a great position for a VC firm to be in.

There is a 5th strategy you need to be doing, and a 6th strategy which you should be avoiding like the plague [this 6th strategy also happens to be the go-to strategy for most firms].

You’ll have to email me to find out exactly what those are.