Taylor Brandt is an early-stage investor at Headline, the multistage venture firm helping teams win on a global scale. Headline closed another billion dollars on their early-stage funds in North America, Asia, and Europe and is increasing fund size and check deployment.
Recently, Taylor has focused on companies building vertical software, B2B marketplaces, commerce enablement and go-to-market technology. We sat down with her to discuss a variety of topics, including:
- Why early-stage companies should invest in editorial
- How to combine strong messaging and social proof
- The outsized value of creating content flywheels
“For early-stage companies looking for the best multipurpose sales and marketing investment, content is the answer.”
Why VC-Backed Companies Should Invest in Content
Taylor shares the investor's perspective on how companies should think about content:
- The correct point in the company life cycle to turn on content
- How content can boost a go-to-market push
- What it means to invest in content
For Taylor, it’s time to think about content only after you've figured out your customer and ICP, and you've done some solid, initial product testing.
The intention is that you've already gone through betas where customers expressed that they liked the product, and you’ve refined the value prop of what you're selling.
After that, content is a great way to jump-start scaling an honest go-to-market effort.
Content-Assisted Growth Motions
Over the last few years, there's been a lot of hype over product-led growth motions. In reality, Taylor sees most of the companies she works with as having some form of a sales assist model.
Generally, these companies have some amount of traffic that comes in through content, SEO, and demand gen, part of which is self-served through a PLG motion.
Sales assist bolsters some of these motions, and some of that is just top-down for startups targeting larger companies.
Regardless, Taylor stresses that content will continue to drive awareness and provide value throughout the buyer journey, often serving as a vital asset for PLG or sales assist.
When to Invest in a Flywheel
Once you have established value prop messaging, you can talk to potential customers and start building pillar content and SEO to jumpstart that inbound flywheel.
Taylor stresses that the sooner you do it, the better, as the investment of time and resources will only compound over time as the flywheel picks up speed and content drives outcomes.
She notes that it’s only worth investing in content once you’ve ID’d the problem you're solving.
Taylor suggests that a natural way to make content investments is to plan around fundraising rounds – this can either preempt and support a raise or leverage new capital from a raise.
We’ve seen that most companies come to Verbatim after raising a seed or series A, and usually, they raised those rounds because they had a good idea of who their customer is.
From her vantage point, Taylor sees that companies should turn on content after early signs of product market fit. Depending on company size and vertical, you need more or less time to discover it.
Typically, Taylor sees startups turn on content roughly six months after a seed round as part of the preparation for raising an A round.
“Don't front-load the work before you actually know what your business is doing and who you're solving the problem for.”