I love publishing content. Content marketing has been my favorite part of the various roles I’ve played as a business owner.
I’m in a unique position of being a serial entrepreneur who wishes to work for an employer in content marketing. This career change may sound crazy: Plenty of Americans dream of owning their own businesses. But, while being your own boss certainly has its perks, it can lead you away from the creativity you love and into the operations management you loathe. Steve Wozniak, who turned down a lucrative job as an Apple executive to work as an engineer, lamented this entrepreneurial paradox:
I never wanted to run a company, never wanted to run things. I just wanted to be in engineering.
Like the Woz, I tire of “running” businesses. I just want to concentrate on a steady stream of one type of work that I love and see myself doing indefinitely: publishing content. As such, I find myself a rare entrepreneurial job seeker.
Some prospective tech startup clients have overlooked my potential content marketing contributions because they don’t see the keyword “SaaS” in my list of publications. But that view is short-sighted: Many of them are looking to reach customers outside of SaaS.
Wouldn’t a successful content marketer for these companies be someone who can bridge the gap between their techspeak and the language that their customers speak? Consider this:
Many tech startups have readily admitted that they have trouble connecting with their target markets. According to a 2017 report by the Content Marketing Institute, tech startups cited “difficulty engaging target market” as their number one content marketing challenge. Interestingly, the startups cited target market engagement four times more than content marketing budget. In fact, most tech startups are flush with cash, with venture capitalists currently pumping tens of billions of dollars in the ecosystem every quarter.
Money isn’t the problem. What these startups are doing with the money is.
Many tech startups have a content marketing problem on the most basic of levels: They have difficulty communicating with their customers in their language. Beyond the esoteric tech speak, many startups’ liberal use of expletives and hyperbolic descriptions of themselves as “heroes” on their websites undoubtedly turn off a great number of potential customers. It’s one thing for tech startups to speak with other tech startups in their jargon. It’s another to use such language when attempting to earn business from established companies or the general public.
Using inappropriate language while citing difficulty engaging their target markets is an indicator of tech startups’ lack of business experience. And business experience is paramount to a company’s success. Two of the greatest tech entrepreneurs in American history realized this. Years before their IPO took Wall Street by storm, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page hired seasoned businessman Eric Schmidt to serve as CEO because they needed “parental supervision”, as Brin put it. They needed someone to bridge the gap between their tech startup and their customers, who, and the time, were MOSTLY NON-TECH ENTREPRENEURS who spent money hand-over-fist for AdWords, like I did when I ran my Spanish-language newspaper and website. (I spent a ton of money on AdWords, but I also got handsome return for my efforts. It was a win-win for Google and me.)
Google hired someone with business experience outside of the tech startup ecosystem, and the rest is history. In this second tech bubble, the next Googles of the world will hire people with outside business experience. People who can bridge the gap between the tech services these startups provide and their non-SaaS customers.
Any content marketer worth his salt can understand the nuances of SaaS. Content marketers with business experience outside of the bubble, however, can excel at something many tech startups’ “purple squirrels” seem to have difficulty with: communicating with their customers from a business perspective.
Seth Mason is a bilingual English/Spanish serial entrepreneur and M.B.A. who loves content marketing and wants to help fellow entrepreneurs grow their businesses through it. You can view his CV here and contact him here.