In 2009, the Boston-based venture capital firm OpenView Venture Partners was not satisfied with its branding. Rather than hiring a marketing firm, OpenView founder Scott Maxwell found his solution in a book called Get Content Get Customers. He was so inspired by the potential of content marketing, he brought in co-author Joe Pulizzi to lead a workshop, which in turn sparked OpenView’s marketing and content strategist Amanda Maksymiw to use content as a means of establishing the firm as a thought leader and build a solid brand.
Since launching OpenView Labs—the company’s content hub, featuring blogs, a podcast, videos, and more—website visits have increased by 600 percent. Newsletter subscriptions have risen from 200 to 11,000. And on March 16, OpenView was heralded as a Top 10 VC Brand by Heardable.
Maksymiw, who helps support a content creation team of 25 staff writers and a dozen freelance contributors, recently took some time to talk with us about her favorite tools, the importance of sticking with your core mission, dodging bandwagons, and more.
Following: I rely on a series of blogs to get great information in addition to my Twitter feed to stay up-to-date. I subscribe to a handful of marketing blogs or bloggers (Content Marketing Institute, Business2Community, Convince and Convert, Ardath Albee, and David Meerman Scott, to name a few), but I do find that a lot of great information is shared via Twitter. It helps me cut through the clutter and identify content that I want to check out.
Creating: I get most excited about the content on our OpenView Labs site in general. I smile when I talk about it because we have worked really hard to share the information senior managers need to help build bigger and better companies. We are creating something really unique from any other venture capital firm, and that is what keeps me going.
Geeking: Professionally, my favorite tool is HootSuite. I manage the social media accounts for my firm, and this tool makes it really easy for me to seamlessly update the different networks while maintaining consistency across platforms. It is such a time saver! Personally, I love Instagram. I am a really visual person, and I like the simplicity and graphic nature of the app. All in all, I really enjoy looking at the pictures that everyone posts!
Listening: I always keep an eye out on startups and other companies in the tech industry to see what ideas we can apply to our model. OpenView’s M.O. is to always improve and try new things, and you never know where the ideas will come from. I try to always carry a small notebook with me so I can jot down my thoughts to bring back to the office.
Branding: In general I really think that our overall content marketing strategy has positioned OpenView as a thought leader. It wasn’t one tool, one piece of content, or one event. Collectively, we have been working to share the best new ideas for senior managers of growing technology companies through our corporate blog, content site, e-newsletter, and social media channels, and that has made the impact. Our audience can see that we haven’t strayed from our core focal point of offering valuable information about helping companies make it through the expansion stage. And I think that is one reason why we have been able to see the success we have.
Mentoring: My biggest piece of advice is to not jump on any bandwagons. There are a lot of trends and new technologies popping up out there. Every day. Before you dive in completely, it makes sense to do some research and testing to see if the new tool, network, tactic, etc. makes sense to help your brand achieve its goals. As an example, your target audience may not care about infographics or Pinterest, so you wouldn’t want to allocate a lot of resources to them. But, smart marketers should always be willing to experiment. Otherwise you may miss out on an opportunity!