Entrepreneur Office Hours - Issuer #142
Let's (maybe) get serious about social media content creation
As I’ve referenced a few times in these EOH issues, one of my main areas of specialization is building audiences on social media. In fact, it’s becoming a large part of my research at Duke, and I teach multiple courses each semester about social media and online content creation.
I bring this up because I’m trying to figure out if/how to incorporate content about effective social media content creation (i.e. how to become “social media famous”) into… well… my content creation.
Specifically, is it something that makes sense to include as part of Entrepreneur Office Hours where a lot of you follow along for advice/help/ramblings about entrepreneurship? Or does it need to be it’s own thing?
In other words, are you — the person reading these words right now — also interested in growing social media audiences? Or would articles and newsletters about social media annoy you since you’re mainly here to learn about startups, entrepreneurship, fundraising, sales, etcetera?
To help me answer these questions, I’m experimenting. When you get to the first article below, you’ll see I’ve written a short piece with advice about social media content creation. Read it and reply to this email (or write a comment on the post) letting me know if you do or don’t want more content like that here.
Alternately, if you want more social media audience building content, but you want it in a different place, you can let me know that by filling out the form on this page. I promise, I won’t SPAM you. Heck… I probably already have your email address, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. Instead, if enough people sign up for those social media courses, it’ll tell me I should probably create a second newsletter just for that work.
Hope this all makes sense, and thanks, in advance, for participating in my little experiment.
If You Want to Become a Successful Content Creator, Here’s the First Step
As you can surely tell from the title, this is the aforementioned article specifically for content creators. It’s short and experimental. Again, please let me know if/how/where you’d like more.
3 Subtle Signs the People You’re Pitching Actually Like Your Startup Idea
Nobody is going to directly tell you if they your startup idea sucks. Instead, you have to learn to read between the lines.
Office Hours Q&A
Love all your articles and newsletters and podcasts. They’re always at the top of my reading/listening list.
That said, I was hoping you could help answer a question for me that I have been wondering about. Can you please talk about the best way to meet investors? I have a startup that I’d like to raise money for but I really don’t know any investors. All your articles about talking to investors make a lot of sense, but they do not explain how you were having those conversations in the first place.
I love this question because it reminds me of the advice a fellow online writer once gave me about writing article headlines. He said, “Remember, Aaron – you can write the best article in the world, but, if nobody clicks into your article, nobody is going to read it.”
I suppose something similar is true with investors. You can have the greatest fundraising pitch in the world, but, if you can’t get it in front of investors, then the quality of your pitch doesn’t matter. In other words, you have to get investors interested in talking with you before you’ll ever be able to pitch them.
Luckily, with investors, getting them interested in talking with you is easy. I mean seriously, ridiculously, easy. For example, I didn’t know any investors when I first started fundraising, and that didn’t matter one bit because investors want to talk with entrepreneurs. It’s a huge part of their jobs. In fact, startup inventors literally can’t do their jobs without talking with entrepreneurs.
Because of this, the best way to get meetings with investors is simply to reach out. That’s really it. Assuming you can put a decently coherent sentence together (which, since you emailed me a question, you clearly can), you’ll be able to find investors willing to meet with you. Find them on LinkedIn. Find them on their websites. Find them on AngelList. Reach out, explain your startup, ask for a meeting, and at least some of them will say yes.
If anything, I’d argue getting meetings with investors is actually too easy, and lots of inventors are too willing to meet with entrepreneurs… even entrepreneurs they shouldn’t be meeting with because they know, going in, that the entrepreneur’s current startup doesn’t match with the investor’s investment thesis.
Keeping this in mind, a second piece of advice I’ll give about scheduling meetings with investors is to figure out how to get meetings with the right investors. Make sure you’re only contacting investors who invest in the type and stage of company you’re building. Talking with any other investors is (mostly) going to be a waste of time.
Lastly, while I’m at it, I’ll add a third piece of advice about reaching out to investors. Even though getting meetings with investors is easy, impressing investors and convincing them to invest in your startup is hard. With this in mind, you need to understand that the work of pitching investors doesn’t start the moment you begin your pitch. It starts with the moment you send your first email. That first email needs to be impressive. It should be enticing. It should signal you know how to run companies. It should get the investor excited for the meeting. And it should do all this in 4 sentences… max. In other words, the hard part about contacting investors isn’t getting meetings. The hard part is getting them excited even before your first meeting.
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!
Great advice on limiting your email to 4 sentences… Less is more! And this is why I often remind entrepreneurs that their first message must be truly concise & and that it must articulate their value proposition, razor-sharp. In most cases, the best entrepreneurial pitch is only 50 words long...
We all know that when you invite someone to connect on Linkedin - your invitation is limited to only 300 characters (spaces included). Over the years, I invited thousands of people to connect – and on average, the length of my messages is around… 50 words.
So I say: disregard my advice, and the proverbial: “TL;DR” kicks in. Therefore, I often recommend allocating your precious 50 words allotment as follows:
1. Why Do I Care To Reach You? – Approx. 20 Words
o Example: “John, congrats on a spectacular raise! You’re solving huge ABC problems & I wrote about similar issues in my XYZ posts”
2. Why Should You Care To Hear Me? – Approx. 20 Words
o Example: “IMHO, your present marketing & sales focus makes you still lose 70% of untapped revenues I spoke about in XYZ”
3. Why Should You Respond To My Invitation? – Approx. 10 Words
o Example: “Any plans for expanding into Canada I could help with?”
So, think about the concise message you would like to send long and hard. And use the above guidelines… at will.