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Will Content Marketing Play a Bigger Role for VCs in a COVID-19 World?

Content marketing is an incredibly useful way to grow a following, build trust and establish authority. However, many venture capitalists simply do not need content marketing; they are very well known in the world as a top VC in their industry, and they don’t want to spend time or resources on marketing tactics. 

The problem for newer VCs, or those that do not have a significant presence, is building notoriety in a COVID-19 world is a challenge–a world where social distancing, in-person events, speaking opportunities and traditional networking practices have been put on pause. So now, becoming a big name in the VC world may begin to rely less on “who you know” and introductions, and more on different tactics. 

Why is this relevant? Because in the VC world, reputation matters. Much of this notoriety comes from large deals and funding successful companies, but building a trustworthy reputation is crucial to get attention from LPs and founders. And now, venture capitalists are forced to do this online.

The number of VCs is growing quickly with more niche firms popping up. The content marketing landscape is also saturated, with a growing number of VCs throwing their hats in the ring in the form of a blog, podcast, or social media presence. 

It all really comes down to having something to say. More importantly, saying something that hasn’t been said before and is useful to the audience. That doesn’t mean it has to be controversial. Getting attention by “saying things people don’t like to hear” is not a great tactic, especially when trying to build trust. It could mean, however, saying something unique. 

Breaking Down A Content Marketing Strategy

The No. 1 goal of any content marketing campaign is to create useful content. Whether pieces are long or short, formal or informal, posted on Medium versus its own website, etc. is secondary. If the article is useful to the audience, if it benefits the reader somehow, it should be posted. Here is a look at where that helpful content can go.

Social Media

VCs can use social media to share expertise, promote portfolio companies, and post updates and announcements. But it’s not necessary to be on all channels. Should a VC be on TikTok? No. Snapchat? No. Reddit? Only if they can handle Redditors. The platforms that count are Twitter and LinkedIn. Monique Woodard, founder partner of Cake Ventures and Monique Idlett-Mosley, founder and managing partner of Reign Venture Capital, both provide excellent Twitter content that includes relevant articles, advice and updates.

Other informative channels, such as Quora and Reddit, are more time-consuming, but VCs have found notoriety on those channels. Jason M. Lemkin, trusted adviser and investor in SaaStr, and Brett Fox, adviser to the CEO at NextSilicon, are top VC writers on Quora who answer user questions related to investment, funding, startups and more. Often, VCs don’t have time to brand themselves on all channels, so they stick to a few where they feel they can add the most value and gain followers. This tactic certainly works and gives founders a place to find VCs, instead of hunting around for their online presence.

Blogging And Article Writing

VCs have started blogging much more. AVC, Both Sides of the Table, David Cohen, and more, are all notable blogs that have gained a massive following. With the surge of posts out there, it may seem daunting to try to compete for readers. 

One way VCs can stand out is by discussing a niche, like Lisa Suennen, senior managing director of GE Ventures, does in Venture Valkyrie. The blog discusses technology and startups, but dives deep into digital health topics as well.

Another way is by contributing content to relevant technology and business publications. For example, Christine Tsai, CEO and founding partner of 500 Startups, contributes to Crunchbase, among other publications, as well to the 500 Startups blog, discussing the importance of funding female founders. Sarah Kunst, managing director of Cleo Capital, has taken to media publications to provide useful content as well. As a writer for Entrepreneur, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and more, Kunst offers unique commentary on startups, marketing and achieving growth.

Of course, these articles can live in many places: Medium, LinkedIn, Quora, Reddit, a personal blog, or a company blog are all places to host content.

Newsletters

Email newsletters are gaining in popularity. Readers have the ease of scrolling through curated content, clicking articles they find relevant, and simply deleting the email when they’re done. 

More and more curated emails have been popping up, covering a range of topics. In the VC world, some are taking to this trend as well. For example, Greg Mitchell, regional director of Angel Ventures and creator of the blog Ruta Startup, curates news about the Latin American and Peruvian startup scene in a weekly roundup email. Accelerated is a weekly newsletter by Justine Moore and Olivia Moore, investors at venture capital firm CRV, with a focus on internships and job opportunities in VC. The newsletter was created on Substack, a platform growing in popularity as a way to manage personal content.

Like with blogging, creating a niche email campaign is useful for founders. Industry-specific resources are beneficial for founders, rather than blanketed startup advice.

Content Marketing In A COVID-19 World

The lack of in-person events will certainly not level the playing field in the VC world. “Who you know” will still play a substantial role, but content marketing has its part and is growing in significance. Other tactics, such as podcasting and long-form content (eBooks, white papers, etc.), are more content marketing strategies that can help VCs grow their presence online. The benefits of content marketing for VCs include personal branding opportunities, but also include adding more visibility of the firm and portfolio companies; a strong tactic in an increasingly competitive landscape.


Nora Leary is the co-founder of Launchway Media, a content marketing and PR firm for funders, founders and technology leaders.