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The need to create content
4 min read

The need to create content

If a 100 start, one sees it to the end. Out of those 1% those stay on, roughly 10% of them succeed exceedingly well, 50% of them do okay, and the rest need to pivot.

Growing up, the one thing that my I father said - and continues to say - is that it is easier to start things, but it is seeing them through the end that's more important.

I'm on week 26 of the BlackBook newsletter, and I can tell you, that as time progresses, the process and routine also starts to make things a lot easier - I don't face the inertia to start a post as I used to do earlier.

I strongly believe that as an entrepreneur you need to be creating content - and you can pick your choice as to how you create them. It could be long form content, in the form of blog posts (which you can eventually string together and turn it into a book if you want), or it can be short form content - like in terms of linkedin posts / articles, or it can be creative content like a podcast / infographic like how Jack Butcher does with Visualize Value (Thank you Vikram Ravi for introducing me to him).

Jack Creates content like this, where he breaks down a complex concept into a single visual.

Reason #1 : As an entrepreneur, your job is to take cues from the system that exists and to break it down and to form a thesis of a better world. Communicating, is actually quite selfish - because in the process of trying to make it coherent for others, you actually achieve more clarity for yourself.

Reason #2 : Everything about a startup is "at scale". Take all the basic elements of a business, and add "at scale" to it. You should be able to communicate to a market - "at scale", you should be able to create a product "at scale". you should be able to sell to the market "at scale". You should be able to deliver customer success "at scale". The ability to persuade at scale isn't a skill that comes naturally - we are not natural public speakers - as we take cues, hints from the people we are speaking to and adapt. How do you communicate effectively to a large audience you do not see, let alone persuade them?

Content is the answer to questions asked frequently, as one put it. If there is a large scale discussion to be had, content is a way to effectively engage.

So you've decided you want to write / create content. But you realize after writing for a while that there is nobody reading it. And that can be super disheartening - not just for the serotonin (or lack of it), but it also means you are missing the feedback cycle to make it better.

So like all products there are two parts - one is the product, the other is distribution. If you are someone whose viewpoints aren't very well known yet, I would suggest starting off on a platform that has distribution baked in - even if it is by a little bit.

I started with Quora and Linkedin. And used Twitter to amplify those discussions. The beauty of a platform like quora is that you can decide how deep you want to engage - if you take a question that needs to explain a concept, then you can structure it as a blog post (and in a lot of cases, I've taken the answer, generalised it and turned it into blog posts) or you can simply give an answer, and move on.

Start with a platform that has some level of distribution - like Medium, if you want to write long form content (compared to having a blog setup in your own domain). You can still duplicate content that you write in medium in a blog in your own domain, that over time you can transition your audience over to.

It will take 3-5 years of content writing to know if you are any good, and to meaningfully build an audience / reputation.

The other aspect I want to talk about is where do content strategies make sense. Content helps in three aspects - to engage with the outside world and to start a discussion, and through the engagement understand pain points and then using content to build a case for why the problem you are addressing is important.

This is where entrepreneurs usually have a problem - because they wonder where does content translate into sales. It doesn't - there is a big leap to get to that.

Content marketers will tell you that there are three stages to a funnel - for a startup that has achieved Product Market Fit and developed its ICP (Ideal Customer Profile); The Top of the funnel, the middle of the funnel and the bottom of the funnel - content helps to engage at scale in the top of the funnel. Marketing helps to engage with those in the middle of the funnel and sales engages with those in the bottom of the funnel.

To explain this a bit more vividly, you can look at the five phases of prospects described as such - problem unaware, problem aware, solution aware, product aware, aware / decision point.

There are those who aren't aware that they even have a problem. Then there are those who are aware of the problem, but don't know how to solve it. Then there are those who are aware of solutions - and also know who are possibly offering a service to solve their problem. Then there are those who are aware to the level of products that they are aware of, but need to shortlist one out of those. The last step is essentially the decision point to commit.

Problem Unaware -> Problem aware -> Solution aware -> Product aware --> Decision Point

The five stages goes from the top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel. As a startup, you need effective ways to do the first two - remember everything has "at scale" attached to it - if you don't, you run the risk of either becoming too niche, or your customer acquisition costs becoming too high.

As you move down the ladder, and as the prospect achieves more clarity, the cost of acquiring that customer becomes harder and harder - as someone is walking them through the funnel, and perhaps it isn't you. And any convincing otherwise (and you run the risk of causing confusion) takes expensive effort.

Content - with today's democratized platforms - is the most effective way to build that audience. And it is crucial if you want to build a startup, that you figure out how to communicate at scale.

Also Read :

First, Build an Audience

Messaging to the Tribe

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