Doesn't it sometimes feel like you need to be in some sort of exclusive "in" crowd to get in front of investors? For startup entrepreneurs in the fly-over states, the idea of approaching a VC firm on one of the coasts might seem as foreign as writing that first line of code is for the non-technical founder.
You read all these articles on how to effectively pitch investors, what information should be in your pitch deck and how to close the deal -- but you're still scratching your head on how in the world you even land that meeting in the first place.
The most obvious answer is that you have to come up with a strong product or service and start building traction. But even then, you might still come across as a small fish in a big pond when you've got no real connections. So your goal becomes gaining exposure for your startup and for you as a serious entrepreneur.
Why content marketing works for building investor relations.
Original content that your startup's founders create and leverage can mean the difference between gaining controlled, strategic exposure and remaining that small fish in a big pond. Utilizing content marketing can help you gain investors' attention, attract funding (which our vice president recently wrote about), land those critical meetings and close deals -- and it all starts with staying top of mind. Here are three ways content can help you achieve that top-of-mind status with investors:
1. It gives you a reason to reach out.
Investors receive dozens of emails a day, each with a one-paragraph pitch for a startup and the founder's vision for how it's going to change the world. What investors receive far fewer of are thoughtful emails from founders researching a concept for an article and reaching out for valuable input about the industry.
During your content efforts, reach out to an investor you're interested in meeting with and ask her to provide a quote for the article you're writing. If you're in financial tech, reach out to an investor of other financial tech startups and ask her for her thoughts on relevant industry trends. By doing this, you're not only receiving value in the form of a connection and a strengthened article, but you're also delivering value by providing free coverage of that investor and showing her that you respect her opinion.
2. It shows that you know your business.
Investors invest in founders, not ideas, so if he believes in you, your expertise and industry thought leadership, you have a much better chance of landing a meeting -- and closing a deal in the future.
If you're sending that second or third email to an investor trying to explain why you and your startup are worth looking into, include a link to an article you've written that showcases your understanding of your industry and how your vision fits into (and leads within) it. Be sure to briefly discuss what your article is about and why you see so much opportunity with your startup, and ask for his input on your ideas.
3. It broadens your network.
Each time you write an article, you're increasing the chances of serendipity. Maybe someone tweets your article and an investor you admire reads it. Or maybe an investor you want to work with writes for the same online publication, allowing you to more naturally share your article with her and compliment one of her pieces. Every article you write expands your network — through those you mention in your articles, those you share it with and those who read and share it online. To better organize your distribution efforts, use a Google document or content promotion template to ensure your team is consistently sharing your company's published work.
Creating and leveraging your own content can be a powerful tool for entrepreneurs looking to fund startups because it's a natural, valuable way to reach out, showcase your expertise and expand your network. Gaining this kind of controlled exposure is great for getting yourself, your startup and your message in front of the right people to land investor meetings, stay top of mind and finally raise that Series A funding.