Why Venture Capitalists Need a Content Marketing Strategy

The venture capital (VC) market is becoming increasingly saturated with the number of micro VC firms on the rise. One list that’s been circulating on Twitter shows more than 630 active firms. Startups now have many options and can be more selective about who they secure capital from. This makes it increasingly difficult for VC firms to stand out and attract desired companies to their portfolios.

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Gaining trust and building relationships with startups is now critical for investors. Content marketing is one strategy that can help venture capitalists demonstrate their expertise and build their credibility not only with startups but also with the media and other co-investors.

First Round Capital is a venture capital firm that implemented a content marketing strategy with tremendous success. They use diverse content formats to target new and potential startup founders, focusing on adding value to business operations. The firm has a blog, First Round Review, and publishes content on its Medium blog, which has more than 46K followers. The team also writes for publications such as HuffPost, Quartz, and Business Insider to drive additional traffic to its website. First Round Capital’s SoundCloud audio content attracts 500+ listens on average per episode.

Why Venture Capitalists Need Content Marketing

Photo source: How 3 Leading Venture Capital Firms Embrace Outstanding Content Marketing — First Round Capital — Part I (Marcos Ortiz)

From blog posts and e-books to podcasts and videos, here’s a look at how and why every VC firm should use content marketing to showcase their knowledge and boost their brand awareness.

Build Credibility With Articles

Blog and bylined articles are a great way to showcase a venture capital firm’s founders or partners’ expertise. But to build credibility with content effectively, VCs must have a clear understanding of their target audience. Every article should add value to readers in some way. It’s also essential for VCs to differentiate themselves to stand out. What can they write about that other VCs cannot? The competition is stiff. VCs need to come up with a unique angle to grab the attention of startups, new partners, co-investors, and the community.

Venture capitalists can use content marketing to maintain a blog on their website and publish articles in third-party technology or business publications to build credibility and increase website traffic. VCs should also leverage existing content platforms, such as LinkedIn Publisher and Medium, to grow their audiences. After publishing an article, there should be a plan for distributing the content via both personal social media channels and the firm’s social channels, newsletters, etc.

Engage With Video Content

By 2019, 80% of global Internet consumption will be video content. VC firms should consider incorporating video in their content marketing. Live streaming videos such as a question-and-answer session or an interview with an industry expert, mentor, or portfolio startup is an engaging way for VCs to demonstrate their expertise.

VCs can also create educational videos. Y Combinator, for example, achieved success with its “How to Start a Startup” series of video lectures that the investment firm initially gave at Stanford University. These videos are popular among entrepreneurs looking for advice on how to get their startup off the ground. VCs can live stream video through social media channels. VCs can use platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn, and archive the video content on their websites and YouTube channels.

Increase Reach With podcasts

Podcasts are an increasingly popular way for brands to reach the ears of their audiences and potential customers. In 2018, 48 million people listened to podcasts, which is up six million from 2017. VCs can use podcasts to share stories best suited to audio, and startups and potential partners can listen to them anywhere and at any time.

Seed fund NextView shares stories of early-stage startups on its Traction podcast, focusing on advice for the first 18-24 months of a company’s growth. Crossing Borders is another VC podcast that shares the stories of startups and entrepreneurs in Latin America and how they scaled internationally. Creating audio content with a narrow focus can help VCs deliver content that’s popular with their specific audience. It’s important to have a distribution strategy for podcast content as well. For example, VCs can make the podcast episodes available on their websites. Then they can also create video versions for YouTube, and upload them to platforms such as Spotify or iTunes.

Content Marketing Benefits Go Beyond the Firm

Content marketing not only benefits venture capitalists; it benefits the companies that VC firms invest in as well. VCs that create articles, interviews, or podcast episodes featuring their portfolio company founders help those companies increase their brand awareness, build credibility, and get in front of more (and larger) investors or partners. Startups don’t always have updates or announcements to share, so featuring the founders helps keep them in the news. When VCs feature their portfolio company founders, both parties benefit.

Startups, co-investors, and many others want to know they can trust a VC firm before securing capital or working with them. When someone researches a potential investor, they will look for signs of credibility. Content marketing is a key strategy that can help showcase a VC’s expertise. It can also build trust and help others learn more about the firm. Creating and sharing a variety of content can give VCs a significant advantage in an increasingly competitive market.

Katie Griffing, Co-Founder and Head of Operations at Launchway Media, a digital marketing and PR agency that works with technology companies and startups.

  • Originally published May 13, 2019, updated March 8, 2024