Kyle Poyar (OpenView): How I Do Content
Blake Bartlett: This episode is a follow up to the last episode, which featured my partner, Kyle Poyar diving deep into top of funnel for PLG. If you haven't listened to that yet, go check it out now because he gives answers to all the questions that PLG growth leaders are asking today about driving quality signups at scale to your PLG funnel. Okay. So shifting gears back to this shorter episode today, Kyle talks about his approach to content and building a personal brand. As you probably know, Kyle is a major thought leader on LinkedIn, a speaker at industrywide SaaS conferences, and now a growing force to be reckoned with on Substack. So what exactly has he learned that you can leverage for your own content and personal brand strategy? So Kyle, your reputation proceeds yourself, and a lot of people are well aware of you because they follow you on LinkedIn and see the amazing daily content that you produce there about SaaS, about PLG, about pricing and packaging, you name it. And that's also translated into a growing subscriber base on Substack, where you might go a little bit deeper into deeper thought pieces as well. And so long story short, it seems like you're killing it on the content game these days. And so for folks that are listening, if they have a desire, either as an individual to ramp up their content game in the current landscape and they're considering Substack or whatever it may be, or for companies as well, what have you figured out? What have you found in terms of how to be successful in the modern day of content?
Kyle Poyar: Yeah, it's a great question. And it's funny, I used to think actually that I should write about the things that I knew the most about, and that actually led me to be afraid that I was going to run out of topics, right? I'm going to write about topic A, B and C that I feel extremely like an expert on, and then all of a sudden I'm going to have nothing else to cover. And it actually turned out is the more I've written, the more I've wanted to write about because it's had the opposite effect. And what's happened is I actually learn from the folks who are reading what I'm writing and I learn from our portfolio companies what's top of mind for them? What are they struggling with or what's working for them? And then I go out and try to learn from the experts, learn from people that have actually experimented with that and showcase those insights both on LinkedIn and then in deeper pieces. And it turns into this flywheel where I'll take an idea or a question that someone comes to me with, I'll test it on LinkedIn and usually get a lot of really great inputs, some trolls, but usually a lot of really interesting perspectives and use that as a test of," Hey, does this topic resonate? Is this generating a lot of debate and interest?" If it is something that has been done before, people really don't care about. If I find that it's something that really resonates, that's where I go try to become an expert on it. And so I try to talk to a lot of people and try to feature voices that haven't been necessarily heard before. And that's where I go deeper on Substack or on the OpenView blog and then folks discover that and then they have follow up questions and it all sort of feeds back into itself.
Blake Bartlett: So it's kind of like doing product research. What are people asking for in my product? What are the pain points? How do I prioritize them? Maybe I'll initially build an MVP feature, test it a little bit with the segment of the audience. If it gets the right response, then I'll actually bake the feature in. So you're taking that construct and that idea from product development and user research, and you're applying it to how you do content.
Kyle Poyar: Exactly. I'm writing content with the community rather than trying to distribute content to an audience.
Blake Bartlett: Yeah. It's, again, taking the parallels to building a company with this SaaS product, it's orienting towards what does the audience want? What does the customer want? Not just, what do I like to talk about and what am I suited to talk about? And hopefully folks will also agree that it's interesting. It's really going customer first. Where's the biggest pain points? Where's the biggest unanswered questions? Okay, great. That's what you want me to talk about. I might not have content on it right now, but I'm going to go get content by talking to experts, testing a few ideas, and then getting you the answer you've been looking for. And so that flipping the tables and instead of," I'm a brilliant person and I'm going to share my brilliance with the world," it's what does the world want to hear?
Kyle Poyar: And it's something that it's taken me a while to learn and get comfortable not being the expert, but it's also been fascinating because I get to learn with the community. And then just the other takeaway for folks listening is I try to make everything tactical and how- to. So as great as it is to think about something theoretical or a pine on the industry, people are actually going to content, looking for something that they can test in their business or evaluate," Hey, does this work? Does this not work?" So always try to have a framework, a takeaway, an action item. And I get great responses that people are actually going out and trying these things for their own businesses.
Blake Bartlett: So for folks that want a little bit more of Kyle's wisdom or a lot more of Kyle's wisdom, make sure to follow him on LinkedIn, make sure to sign up for his Substack, Growth Unhinged because there's a lot more good stuff coming.
Kyle is a one-man content machine. If you follow him on LinkedIn or subscribe to his Substack, you know this is true. How does Kyle approach content? What is his personal brand strategy? How did he win at Substack?