The VC industry is competitive. There are thousands of active firms in just 3 cities (San Francisco, Boston, New York). Entrepreneurs have many options and can be selective with who they partner with. In such an aggressive environment VCs need to stand out to attract the right startups.
Thought leadership or content marketing is a great strategy for gaining trust. By building your thought leadership, you can build relationships, credibility and show your expertise. Thought leadership can drive high exposure to the brand of your VC firm.
When deliberately implemented thought leadership can bring big success. Firms should use diverse content mediums to target existing and potential entrepreneurs. Start with a blog and create a Medium publication. Consider participating in or hosting a podcast.
Blog posts, e-books, podcasts and videos are all complimentary to your showcasing your expertise, knowledge and human element. Ultimately, all of this work is concentrating on building your brand.
Credibility goes a long way
Build credibility effectively by understanding your target audience. It’s great to showcase your venture capital fund’s expertise and experience. But be sure that you are representing who you WANT to be. Your brand impacts deal flow. Tell a rich and compelling story to get in the mix of better deals. VCs need to come up with a unique angle to grab the attention of startups, new partners, co-investors, and the community.
It’s great to maintain a blog, but you should be where most VCs are (Twitter, Linked In and Medium). Have a plan to share your content prolifically and submit it everywhere.
Build trust with Video
By 2019, 80% of global Internet consumption will be video content. The best way to build trust to use video. In a video, people can see you as a real person and decide if they like the way you talk and your tone. It’s best to be yourself and talk off the cuff. As part of your thought leadership, you can do some 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.
Podcasts are a thing
Podcasts are an increasingly popular way for brands to reach the ears of their audiences and potential customers.
Build and Leverage Community
As a proxy for referrals, you can create a newsletter that summarizes your podcast. Convert readers into listeners and use the newsletter to communicate with your audience.
Leverage your existing audience (Instagram, YouTube, newsletter, etc.) by plugging your podcast. But be wary: Although effective, this strategy has its limitations after the initial launch.
Interview Heavy Hitters
LinkedIn and highly engaged Facebook groups: A number of Trendsters have used LinkedIn direct messaging and Facebook to find guests. Mike Moll’s LinkedIn lead gen lecture might also be useful here.
Positioning: Instead of leading with, “Hey, I don’t know if I have an audience for you, but you wanna come on the podcast?,” let them know that you are a big fan of their work, or find a win-win pitch.
Baby steps: Start with your immediate network and work your way up from there. Per David Millay, “If you think about it on a scale of 1-10, 10 being Richard Branson, slowly move up the scale with heavy hitters. If you’re starting with 2’s, just go for a 3. Get a few 3’s, then go after a 4.”
Stepping stones: As Bodhi Miller put it, “It’s all about continuously leveraging your last guest’s influence to get the next slightly bigger guest.” Matthew Alexander added, “Once you have a few good guests, use those names on the emails to other people you reach out to.”
We’ve also found that promoting other podcasts and asking for the same is effective. While hopping on other podcasts is great exposure, it’s unlikely to drive massive results right away.
Benefits Go Beyond
Thought leadership benefits more than the VCs – it’s the whole ecosystem. VCs that create articles, interviews, or podcast episodes featuring their portfolio company CEOs help those companies increase their brand awareness, build credibility, and get in front of more (and larger) investors or partners. Do one thing that startups need to survive: MOMENTUM.
Startups, LPs, and partners want to know as much as possible about a VC firm before writing a check or working with them. The most sought-after way to credibility is doing an online search. Content marketing is a key strategy to crafting a VCs brand. By using multiple platforms, you can build trust. Creating and sharing a variety of crafted content can give VCs a significant competitive advantage.