One More Look at Product-Market Fit and Standing Out

I often talk to founders that are still in the process of understanding their target buyers.

Most of them are confident in what their current ideal customer persona looks like.

This assumption often sets you up for failure.

That’s because we tend to have an ideal of what our target market looks like. But many other times it’s just because of a low budget or time constraints that halt your research process.

So if you’ve got a product that fixes all issues you’ve ever had, don’t assume others will feel the same way. Even when they have a seemingly similar profile to yours.

How about we looked again at your positioning and if you’re really resonating with the right buyers?

One product, different people 

Looking at your own product, do you know:

  • Who your target buyers are?
  • Who’s in charge of making the final purchase decision?
  • What responsibilities and influencing power the person attending your demos has?
  • Who are the final users of your product? 
  • Which person in a team is best suited to promote your product? 
  • Is there a common buyer profile that’s more likely to use your product for longer?

There’s more thinking points than just these basic questions that you’ll need to adapt to your own company type and business model.

Let’s turn to how you can differentiate between the users of a single tool. 

Due to my extensive experience in the project management industry, we’re taking this example. 

Say your product is Asana. 

There’s three types of users they have. Each responds to different resources, marketing messages, and benefits you’re highlighting:

  1. Managers: They’re in charge of overseeing everything so often need separate features that offer a complete look at the team’s work. Naturally, your content and messaging should focus on similar features and values first.
  2. Users: Most only care about the app’s usability, so you’ll want to make things as easy to use as you can. Positioning can also involve providing handy resources on how people can better manage their tasks, stay accountable, and make their work easier.
  3. The independent user (i.e. a freelancer/consultant): Need entirely distinct functionalities and messaging that speaks directly to them. They also spend time in different communities or want other types of features/benefits.

Most startups take years to figure out the final distribution of the people involved with their product. 

When you don’t really understand the difference between these individuals, you’re making guesses when it comes to your positioning and messaging.

SaaS tools, by nature, attract a complexity of people. Here’s all the details you need to gradually get from every segment:

  • Their pain points and what they’re looking to achieve
  • Their jobs-to-be-done
  • Their journey and touchpoints [yes, this includes where they spend most of their time online and offline]
  • The triggers and message types they respond to [plus, those that make them leave]

Sticking to your industry’s peculiar traits

The best “hacks” for differentiating your product and really understanding what makes people buy ultimately still depend on your industry.

A lot of you have products for developers. The first instinct would be to jump into creating SEO content. And if you’re rushing it, you might want to do it pre-launch.

But with devs, content only works when you cover up-to-date topics and trends that don’t really match with any popular keywords you can find. That’s because devs mostly rely on what their network recommends. And their network is not Google.

But Hacker News or Lobsters can’t always save you.

The challenge is:

How do you transform your audience’s pains into messaging they can resonate with on all platforms?

Building a community is a safe bet for most of you in this space.

Be it GitHub, Twitter, Discord, YouTube, local meetups, or self-hosted platforms.

Product differentiation also affects our project management software example.

In this extensive category, your messaging is likely going to become a victim of sameness.

When I joined the project management space four years ago, Asana had all the money they needed to sponsor whatever event they wanted. Plus, we all remember the monday.com ads on YouTube.

So what did their competitors do in an attempt to stand out? They continuously changed their messaging. 

They also copied each other a lot, if you ask me, but most of them we’re extra responsive to the demands in the tech space.

Monday.com’s messaging and positioning evolution, for instance:

They started as a classic tool to simplify how teams work.

They became a must-try solution for working remotely at the start of the pandemic.

Today, they’re “building a new category”, the Work OS.

While this approach could seem fragile as there’s no solid value they’re sticking to, they’re constantly reinventing their brand and the way they help teams.

This helps them avoid the sameness trap in an industry where other brands like Notion or Airtable are juggling millions of bucks on innovative features.

A better look at positioning via messaging

What if you could be on your way to product-market fit right now, but:

  1. You don’t yet have a full understanding of who your real users, decision makers, and advocates are + what they need from a solution like yours as opposed to market competitors. You can spot this problem if you often hesitate when it comes to trying out marketing campaigns for new or smaller audiences. Also, if you’re afraid that changing/testing your messaging will end up as a waste of time.
  2. You have a great product, better features than your competitors, but your positioning’s off. This is obvious if you’re regularly delivering much-requested features for your users and if you’re able to win your competitors’ clients, but month-over-month growth is still slow compared to industry benchmarks.

To change the way you do product positioning, try building a message map to help you better highlight your product’s values. Aim to achieve message-market fit well ahead of your efforts of measuring for product-market fit.

You can start as early as the beta stage to get your target market’s approval on your messaging. This way, you can improve your value proposition with every stage of your product as you’re eyeing product-market fit.

Any compromise needed?

Only dedicating 10-20% of your resources to the channels that can provide steady long-term growth. And, yes, I mean you should start considering who’s already buying [and using] your product but is not exactly your ideal target market.

Take Notion as inspiration. Their organic growth is largely thanks to the productivity community: not their main ideal customer profile, but highly valuable for spreading the word and turning Notion into a movement. 

Similarly, your product’s probably already got a niche market that can set you up for product-market success. To get there, stay honest and open about who you really want to target and who is actually more responsive to your solution. Adapt your messaging as you go and reach message-market fit with those market segments well ahead of time.

Instagram Guides Best Practices – How to Turn Your Posts into Articles Worth Sharing

Oh, Instagram guides. 

One more content opportunity to showcase your knowledge in the field and highlight your community. This time, free of all the SEO pressure. So you can write as naturally as possible and finally focus on educating without other restrictions.

From now on, you’ll want to consider how your Instagram posts will look like as you add them to a guide as well. Solid branding and similar topics are now key to reusing content within Instagram. 

So if you’re already repurposing your articles or lists and turning them into social media posts, I’ve got good news. It’s that much easier and logical to create Instagram guides.

Whether you’re already running a successful blog or currently rely on your social channels alone, I’ll show you exactly how you can turn your Instagram guides into articles and resource lists people will want to share.

Create a series

If you already have a solid social media strategy in place, you might stick to some themes or series of posts. For example, Monday could be “Tip Day” while Tuesday is used for a product feature and weekend days are dedicated to showcasing customer stories. If you’ve been posting Monday tips on the same or similar topic, you can easily turn that into a guide.

The Parents Instagram account is doing that by referencing their posts on distinct topics like anti-bullying, back-to-school, or thriving as a family:

parents instagram guides

With this in mind, you’ll want to have multiple of your next Instagram posts around the same idea. Use Friday to share 6 new fashion trends, tips on coping with loneliness, or just a couple of productivity hacks. Then add them all up to put together your unitary guide.

Continue reading “Instagram Guides Best Practices – How to Turn Your Posts into Articles Worth Sharing”

How Often Should You Blog? – Blog Post Frequency Recommendation

I’ll just start by letting you know this is going to be a rather long post [and lots of images!] compared to its on-point findings.

I will take you through multiple blogs from all kinds of industries so we can identify primary trends and preferences when it comes to how often we publish articles on our company blogs.

Spoiler alert: There’s no common rule that says companies from the same industry need to opt for the same post frequency.

I’ve chosen my own approach to analyze hundreds of blogs that are actively publishing content in order for us to get a realistic look at what a successful content schedule should look like.

The short version on how often you should blog

Yes, I know you don’t have time to read it all. So if you just want the key ideas of this post, here they are:

👉 Every company has a different content publishing pattern so relying on what your competitors are doing is not a solution. Find your own goals to define exactly what types of posts you’ll incorporate into your content strategy.

👉 Most brands have adopted a blogging schedule based on the resources they have. More in-house and freelance writers = more content.

👉 Companies who are not able to produce written content on a regular basis turn to filling their blog with other media such as podcasts and videos.

👉 Blogs and writers with evergreen content pieces that rank for several years regularly update their articles and even republish their posts to bring more attention.

👉 Blog post frequency remains one of the least important factors to take into account when crafting a long-term content strategy. Consistency, CTAs, quality of research, promotion, and freshness are just a couple of the elements to pay extra care to.

Read on to see exactly how often other blogs post and what kinds of content they prefer to focus on in their strategies. [Plus, a couple of my own secrets. 😉]

So how many blogs should you post every month?

Continue reading “How Often Should You Blog? – Blog Post Frequency Recommendation”

How to Create an Editorial Calendar For Your Startup – A Quick Guide

While medium and large companies often have a complete marketing team to backup their content research, startups often have to start their content strategy on their own. 

One of the hardest feats to achieve when creating an editorial calendar without prior experience is to maintain consistency while also catering to your readers’ needs and using content to reach your various goals.

So I’ve used my own expertise and reached out to other content professionals to help you create a winning content editorial calendar from the moment you set up your blog.

I’m taking a systematic approach so you won’t just guess what topics you need to cover and how to create an editorial calendar.

Expectations for creating your first editorial calendar

These are the goals you have or, in other words, what you want to get out of putting effort into content creation. Marketing and business targets in general are closely related. But different startups have different goals so going with the approach your competitors have taken isn’t always the best path to take. 

Continue reading “How to Create an Editorial Calendar For Your Startup – A Quick Guide”