Why Most Venture Capital Content Marketing is So Bad: Actually why MOST Content Marketing is BAD in general
I was chatting recently with a new Venture Capital friend about content marketing. As a new Fund, how do you standout? VCs now have a well worn playbook of becoming media companies, particularly in Silicon Valley. But this has led to a massive deluge of content ranging from medium posts, newsletters, Podcasts, Youtube Channels. As a regular reader and admittedly very amateur investor, I try to read or follow all of them, especially from the top tier firms. And let us be very honest, most of it is AWFUL, Useless or even worse…plain BORING. Rene Girard-esque Mimicry. They all seem the same. Bland.
Yet there are some standouts. The firms I would rank highest are NFX, First Round Capital, Village Global, SaaStr Fund & the grandmaster A16Z. I think most founders and even their investor competitors would admit that these listed firms are able to provide amazing content. I always learn new things. No one firms come anywhere close.
I think the universal thing they all do well is: Voice, Format & Consistency.
Having a very clear editorial positioning, reflecting other media players ie. taking a clear opinion or point of view. So for example Financial Times is conservative, New York Times is leftish. So in our specific case for Venture Capital content, First Round Review is about sharing the lessons and practical learnings from operators and investors across Silicon Valley. A16Z is almost always talking about future trends and implications, which started from Marc Andreessen’s “Software is Eating the World” 2011 Op ed. Basically building the content strategy around this key voice and theme.
The choice of medium is really important. Whether it is podcasts from Village Global VC, written long form and write ups like First Round Review, useful frameworks from NFX. A16Z has done a great job for their video interviews and thought leadership pieces in Enterprise software, Consumer, Crypto and Biotech: all the key categories they invest in. Many new investors have done a great job building up content and followings on Twitter (Sheel Mohnot or Leo Polovets) or Clubhouse (Zach Coelius and Sheel Mohnot again). Jason Lemkin of the SaaStr Fund pretty much kills it on Twitter, Linkedin and written content. Garry Tan is crushing it on Youtube.
You want to have a regular publishing schedule. It’s better to do fewer pieces of content say once a month versus putting out 10 pieces of content irregularly, so 10 one month, zero the next month. Readers or watchers want to know when to expect the next piece of content. If the content is good, they even expect it. Ask any top newsletter writer. Once again, I’m incredibly impressed with what SaaStr Fund has done. They are so regularly prolific I am tempted to ping Jason to see if he is alive when I don’t see any new posts or tweets for a few hours in a day. :)
If you look at most of the other content strategies of other VC funds, they only follow some of these. To do content marketing well, these are the basics that you have to follow and do well.
I should also note in my humble opinion, that these are highly relevant for any content marketing initiative outside of venture capital.
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