For the newest installment of Creators Unlocked, we discuss to Josh Ho, a SaaS founder and writer – the latter a time period he does not instinctually use, even though it undoubtedly applies.
Josh earned his founder identify with Referral Rock, a device corporate that eases the method of gathering referrals. However he additionally hosts two podcasts, writes a e-newsletter, and tweets to greater than 17,000 fans on Twitter.
In our dialog, he stocks nice recommendation for marketers and small industry homeowners taking a look to develop on social media with restricted time and assets.
Get used to the trade in the way you’re perceived
Josh would be the first one to let you know that he doesn’t essentially see himself as a writer. “If any person to begin with labels me as a ‘writer’, I have a tendency to be rather stunned. It isn’t my instinctive self-definition.” Then again, making an allowance for the quantity of his ingenious output, from podcasts to newsletters and Twitter posts, the label is the very best descriptor. “In spite of my preliminary reservations, I do certainly include the qualities of a writer, in conjunction with my entrepreneurial characteristics.”
Josh’s hesitations to be categorised as a writer jogged my memory of Steph Smith’s insights about how she’s perceived in public – “I have constructed many stuff over the past couple of years, and that you must say that the ones inputs have a degree of intentionality. However I will’t at all times keep an eye on the issues that folks latch directly to.”
Whilst some other people would possibly right away assume “writer” after they call to mind Josh Ho, he’s extra comfy together with his id as an entrepreneur and founder. “Entrepreneurship got here ahead of content material advent. I first recognized as an entrepreneur and founder, and upon understanding that a lot of the recommendation circulating wasn’t somewhat really useful for many of us, I felt pressured to step into the area of content material advent,” he explains.
Let the paintings you already do, feed your content material
Around the other titles, codecs, and kinds of content material that Josh works with, he’s discovered steadiness by way of considering of every factor as a part of a Venn diagram. Every a part of Josh’s studies and experience feed into his content material. “As I engage with different marketers, the questions that naturally rise up feed into [my content], and after being requested the similar query a number of instances, I will assemble my responses into notes. This will spark different kinds of content material, like a Twitter thread or a podcast dialogue. Since maximum founders are fascinated about advertising and buyer acquisition, there is a important overlap in content material spaces,” he explains.
Some other people paintings neatly considering up concepts and executing them at the fly, however Josh has discovered luck by way of sticking to a standard agenda. The rhythm of recording podcasts at set durations is helping take care of steadiness with out consciously fascinated by it. He sees it as extra of a integrated ritual than a separate effort to steadiness the whole thing.
Without reference to belief, Josh is all about his target market, and his creativity shines when it’s knowledge-sharing first – the whole thing else comes 2d to that.
“At my core, I’ve a robust need to lend a hand others, and I revel in sharing the insights I have won from my very own studies. My pastime lies in delving deep into demanding situations, working out answers, after which sharing the ones answers in a packaged, digestible layout. My purpose is to avoid wasting others from having to move thru the similar lengthy and arduous technique of discovery, doubtlessly shaving off months in their time,” he explains. Via sharing his studies and insights, Josh hopes to steer his target market in the best route together with his content material.
Pick out a distinct segment and create for the target market that includes it
In an ideal instance of choosing a distinct segment and doubling down on it, Josh’s content material may be very obviously aimed toward founders. As he places it, “I create content material that aids founders, particularly bootstrapped founders and SaaS marketers.” In different phrases, Josh has a transparent premise for the content material he creates that matches completely with Jay Acunzo’s ‘XY Premise Pitch’.
The purpose of Josh’s content material is not to seek out ‘the’ solution as a result of there is not one common resolution that matches each and every form of founder. As a substitute, he encourages founders to include nuance and assume severely about their distinctive demanding situations.
Josh’s transparent solution to his personal content material signifies that he’s a large recommend for choosing a distinct segment. He says, “There are lots of subjects I intentionally select to not write about although I’m fascinated about them. As an example, I take part in handball tournaments and revel in smoking meat, but when I integrated most of these sides into my content material, it might change into complicated for my target market.”
To Josh, niching down is very important to provide your target market a transparent thought of what to anticipate from you. That being mentioned, he additionally understands that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to this matter. What in the end issues is that you simply land on one thing you care about sufficient to pursue, even with out financial incentives. Expansion is inevitable if you’ll put up constantly, even with a small target market.
Undertake a sustainable solution to growing content material
Josh’s content material is immediately fed by way of his daily as a founder and entrepreneur, such a lot in order that he refers to it as “the ‘exhaust’ emanating from the engine of labor I am already engaged in.”
He shared an instance of a challenge for his corporate Referral Rock to redesign its homepage. He’d taken a path concerning the matter and sought after to place his newfound information to make use of. His content material additionally benefited as he defined, “I shared some insights from this revel in at the advertising podcast, but it surely did not finish there. For the founder podcast with Nate, we recorded a consultation the place I assisted him together with his website online design. This consultation was once launched by the use of the e-newsletter as a video and we launched a podcast episode about it”
Necessarily, the paintings he was once already going to do remodeled into 4 distinct items of content material. Josh spots alternatives for content material by way of asking, “What am I going to discuss this week? Is what I am lately running on fascinating?”
So in spite of the numerous platforms Josh creates for, the guidelines in the back of his content material all have one root, making it simple for him to understand what he’s growing and the way. He makes use of a set of various gear to assist his ingenious efforts, together with:
- WordPress for writing and publishing
- Substack for newsletters
- Riverside for recording and enhancing podcasts
- Twitter to construct neighborhood with founders and proportion large advertising insights
- LinkedIn for extra complicated and specialised insights
Josh’s content material may be powered by way of repurposing, which permits him to keep up a correspondence the similar thought throughout more than one platforms and mediums. He recognizes the danger that the repetition may well be an excessive amount of for some other people. Josh explains his viewpoint, “I’d recommend creators to not shy clear of cross-posting, particularly when beginning out. Bear in mind, there’ll at all times be people who respect your content material – however they want so that you could in finding it first.”
Josh compares advertising platforms you don’t personal to “borrowed land”, echoing a sentiment shared by way of folks we’ve interviewed for Creators Unlocked. “Your incentives may now not align completely with the ones of the platform,” he explains.
He advises creators who’ve observed any luck safe some a part of their target market – to possess it someway. This may well be by way of construction your e mail record or diversifying throughout more than a few social media websites as coverage. Direct get entry to for your target market additionally permits you to nurture extra profound relationships.
Then again, extra platforms imply extra demanding situations. You’ll be able to’t depend on algorithms for visibility whenever you arrange an inventory or a neighborhood. Many creators try to monetize by way of providing classes or different merchandise, and it is incessantly a troublesome transition. That ‘borrowed land’ is incessantly what facilitated your luck. So, when you may purpose for possession, keep in mind that no person in reality owns somebody’s consideration. You should constantly have interaction along with your target market, take care of their passion, and supply worth.
Along with e mail lists, Josh recommends construction a neighborhood as some other technique for target market possession. Platforms like Discord or Slack can function a hub on your neighborhood, most often requiring an e mail cope with to enroll. Every other plus for neighborhood construction is that it gives a degree of possession that enhances social media efforts somewhat than being immediately equated with them.
3 guidelines for entrepreneurs-in-content, present and aspiring
Josh has an outstanding writer portfolio, all on best of his paintings as a founder, and he’s at all times taking a look to proportion his recommendation. His content material comes from a real wish to assist other people and be told new talents or strengthen present ones – all his content material efforts are compatible this sort of targets. He began Looking for SaaS to assist his co-host Nate Bosscher in his adventure as a brand new founder and apply talking. He invested time in construction his target market on Twitter as a result of he was once excited by what the most productive approach could be.
Listed here are his guidelines for marketers taking a look to construct an target market on-line:
- First off, I would counsel leaning into your curiosities and pursuits, particularly for your explicit box. Even though your online business turns out mundane, like extermination services and products, there may well be parts that intrigue you and may well be interesting to others. Be it sure trojan horse behaviors or seasonal patterns, those reputedly extraordinary main points can give compelling content material. What is standard to you for your line of labor is also new and thrilling to others.
- Secondly, do not shy clear of repurposing content material. Many of us really feel drive to provide authentic subject material however omit that now not everybody sees or keeps the whole thing you set out. You’ll be able to reuse content material, perhaps by way of converting the wording just a little or switching up the medium. Everybody interacts with other platforms for various causes, so do not be too serious about repetition. In truth, repeating a message can emphasize its significance.
- When you fight with producing contemporary content material or worry repetition, get started by way of enticing with others on those platforms. Social media is, above all, a neighborhood, now not a soapbox. View it as a chance to take part in conversations, answer, and engage along with your target market. As you answer for your target market, chances are you’ll notice you may have extra to mention on a subject matter. That you must then rephrase or make bigger upon this in a put up by yourself platform. Call to mind it as an ‘AI recommended’ – responding to a recommended is most often more straightforward than growing content material from scratch.
In abstract, center of attention to your curiosities, do not worry repurposing content material, and have interaction along with your target market. Those are Josh’s keys to rising and keeping up a significant presence on-line.
On his private plans for the longer term, Josh stocks that he’s running on a path for SaaS founders, announcing, “It isn’t monetary drive using me however a need to proportion my information and assist others. My number one goal is to make stronger founders who’re on this adventure, doubtlessly expediting their finding out procedure and sparing them a couple of missteps. Any source of revenue may well be used to provide again to the neighborhood, donate to a motive, or supply a bit of further for my circle of relatives.”
A large number of Josh’s content material to this point has been retrospective, recounting tales and classes from way back to a decade in the past. The following segment will glance against the existing, he explains, sharing his plans, “I wish to proportion our evolution with our target market, showcasing the experiments we are working, what is running, what is now not, on a monthly foundation.” Be expecting to peer extra of Josh channeling his expansion as a writer into rising the Referral Rock logo.