What Articles Are Startup CEOs Most Interested In?
I ran a small survey to find out what types of content do startup CEOs read, like and share.
I write this blog with an audience in mind: founders, entrepreneurs, their teams and investors.
After trial and error I've found that some posts are more interesting (read and shared) than others. I didn't really understand why. More customer discovery was needed. So I ran a survey to find out what you're all really interested in.
The sample size was relatively small (18 responses), but very relevant - 17 are UK based CEO/founders of early stage startups, 1 is an associate in a startup investment fund.
Here's what I found out...
1. The most relevant channels for reaching CEOs are Twitter and LinkedIn.
I asked How often do you visit the following for interesting (work related) things to read?
The main challenge therefore to reach my audience is to cut through the noise on Twitter and post at times that they happen to be browsing Twitter. I've recently started using Buffer on the recommendation of a @elsatancio - this allows me to post several times a day and gets statistics on what's working.
I also asked "where did I miss?" and had the following additional sources;
- Feedly (2)
- Economist (1)
- Hacker news (2)
- Instagram (1)
- Flipboard (1)
- Techcrunch (1)
2. CEOs like to read original content from VCs who were previously operators
I asked Do you have any email subscriptions to blogs?
(Implication; this is the quality and type of writing that startup CEOs are interested in)
- Benedict Evans (3)
- Mark Suster (3)
- A Founder's Notebook (2)
- Ben Horowitz (2)
- Seth Godin (2)
- Derek Sivers (1)
- The Equity Kicker (Nic Brisbourne) (1)
- Techcruch (1)
- Fred Wilson (2)
- Andrew Chen (1)
- James Altucher (1)
- Mattermark Daily (1)
- Stephen Follows (1)
- Hubspot (1)
- Saastr (1)
- Ometria (1)
- Noah Kagan (1)
- Bill Gurley (1)
- Pando Daily (1)
- Business Insider (1)
- CNN - Termsheet (1)
3. CEOs like "How" articles best, but also read "Why", "What" and "Who"
I asked "Please give me a few examples of great articles that you've read recently"
Having clustered the examples below I can see that founders like practical advice, the "how" category had more examples than anything else....
- A SaaS Metric designed to Increase Free Trial Conversions by Lincoln Murphy
- How Google Sets Goals: OKRs bu Google Ventures
- The Option Pool Shuffle by Venture Hacks
- Cold calling techniques by Businessballs.com
- How Small Companies Can Get Big, Fast! by Michael Skok
- How to Build an Extraordinarily Innovative Organization by Bill Murphy Jr.
- Hub Spot Blog Marketing: The Best Cold Email Pitch I've Ever Gotten! by HubSpot
- One of the Biggest Mistakes Enterprise Startups Make by Mark Suster
- Why There's Never Been A Better Time To Found A SaaS Startup by Tom Tunguz
- Why consumer metrics are all terrible by Andrew Chen
- Will invest for food by the Economist
- The Full New York Times Innovation Report by Mashable
- 10 million „e-Estonians“ by 2025! by taavikotka
4. CEOs would like me to write authentic "how" articles and give examples
I asked asked "What topics would you like me to write about?"
First of all, CEOs are looking for authoritative authenticity. "Write about what you really know about but offer a unique perspective that is really your own. Too many people just rehash other peoples content"
Secondly, CEOs are looking for how. Examples of topics they'd be interested in are;
- "Scaling operations in a small growing company (e.g. when should you hire someone into ops)"
- "Tips for entrepreneurs regarding fund raising, eg what is normal chunk of equity for different stage companies to give up during seed"
- "Marketing hacks and PR tips"
- "Attracting investment. How to present yourself to investors - what they look for, how they think"
- "Best way to run a funding round (there's not much on how to best run the process, just the technical stuff)"
- "Tips on motivation"
- "Finding Product market fit / idea validation"
- "As a new early stage VC, advice on concept validation, testing, how to spread limited budgets plus continued advice on operational topics like the option scheme"
CEOs like stories. Stories of success and stories of failure.
- "Experience tackling specific issues from previous startup life"
- "Your observations about start ups and why they succeed or fail. Stories about successes and failures"
Some CEO's are also looking for futuristic opinion, e.g.
- "Where the market is going"
Thanks for your feedback. It hass helped enormously.
If you are a startup founder / CEO or reader of this blog and would like to complete the survey, feel free to do so here.