Three types of marketing content every founder needs

Chase Roberts
Vertex Ventures US
Published in
4 min readFeb 8, 2024
Source: Midjourney

For technical founders, developing a content strategy can be a daunting task. The right content increases awareness, makes the business case for adopting your product, and helps buyers verify it meets their needs. So, where do you start? Is it possible to publish a single canonical piece of content and call it a day? Unfortunately, the answer is no — but the correct answer isn’t complicated. I’ll lay out three blog types that every early-stage founder should consider. I’ll indicate each type’s purpose, when to use it, the target audience, and include a few examples.

The WHAT: The Reason to Act

Purpose: This content type aims to give your prospects reasons to act. Keep in mind that your buyers don’t sit around analyzing their problems and the measurable business impact — instead, they’re running their companies. This kind of analysis is the job of a salesperson! For example, a CTO might not realize the organizational overhead that could be avoided if they traded homegrown infrastructure for cloud-hosted solutions. Or a sales leader might not recognize the time their AEs could save with an automated sales prospecting and research tool. Explain what problem your product uniquely solves and its potential business impact.

When to use it: Early in the sales process. In fact, this should be the messaging you lead with when prospecting and one of the main topics during your early customer meetings. The key points are to call out the problem and describe the impact of solving it.

Target Audience: The financial buyer. This person manages the budget you hope to unlock, so this content type helps instill the urgency necessary to unlock it. The secondary audiences include the executive sponsor and champion. The former will provide air cover for the financial buyer, and the latter will echo your message among stakeholders about the potential business impact of your solution.

Example post: How Artificial Intelligence Supercharges the Hiring Process

The HOW: A Product Overview

Purpose: This type of content explains what your product does and how it works. While a product’s documentation is typically the best explanation of how a product works, sometimes it’s helpful to distill key concepts into a high-level overview.

When to use it: It’s easy to commit unforced errors with product overviews. This is because it’s tempting to assume that communicating how a product works is the best way to sell. Communicating the “how” should occur later in the sales process — only after you’ve verified the prospective customer realizes they have a reason to buy. Don’t lob a product overview and assume your prospect will map it to a problem they realize they are desperate to solve. The only exception is when a prospect is already searching for solutions and understands their requirements well enough to qualify products’ features and modus operandi.

Target Audience: The technical buyer. Your sales cycle involves many personas: the sponsors, budget-holders, champions, coaches, detractors, etc. While these roles can describe the same individual — for example, the person with budget authority may also be the sponsor — they’re typically different people. In most cases, the financial buyer and executive sponsor are less concerned with the technical details of your product and care instead about its value to the organization. On the other hand, the technical buyer’s objective during a sales process is to determine if your product meets specified requirements (e.g., works with existing systems, satisfies feature needs, has the required security certifications, etc.). Note: this person isn’t necessarily “technical” but is better thought of as the subject-matter expert. For example, a financial controller might be the technical buyer for accounting software.

Example posts: Getting Started With LaunchDarkly Migration Flags & Introducing Boomerang — Vectara’s New and Improved Retrieval Model

The WHY: A Manifesto

Purpose: A manifesto sets the context for why a problem exists, highlights current solutions, explains why the current way of doing this is broken, indicates the catalyst for change or why a better future is possible, and introduces the better future (your product). These types of content are rallying cries: they reveal antipatterns and reasons for change. You should leave the reader feeling that the incumbent way of doing things deserves a better solution. And you’re going to give it to them. I love this quote from Mike Maples that summarizes this idea:

Breakthrough builders are visitors from the future, telling us what’s coming.

When to use it: When building awareness. These posts are effective in two scenarios. The first is during category creation, one of the most challenging tasks for a founder. Manifestos help buyers realize their discontent with the current mode of doing things. The second is when battling incumbency. If a sizable competitor dominates the category you hope to penetrate, it takes a call to arms to plant the idea that perhaps the favored solution needs replacing.

Target Audience: The executive sponsor. Being an executive requires leaders to consider shifting macro trends. They often think about the bigger picture and how their companies operate within it. The ideal outcome of a manifesto is an executive forwarding your blog to someone on their team with the note, “Hey, we should take a look at this.”

Example post: Kafka is dead, long live Kafka