4 Ways Anand Sanwal Captures More Than 1,000 Signups a Month
Brands in various sectors are gravitating toward content marketing as a scalable way to build brand capital. And angel and VC companies are no exception, though their ability to effectively leverage content marketing has met with varying levels of success.
So, how can these industry players harness the power of content to their advantage? For one thing, they can look to Anand Sanwal, the founder of CB Insights -- an analytics platform for people seeking VCs and angel investors. Sanwal's content marketing campaigns have helped his company generate seven-figure profits within five years.
For the inside scoop on the company’s success, I sat down with Sanwal to figure out what’s driving CB Insights’ performance.
The role content plays at CB Insights
CB Insights has become one of the most successful companies in the VC space. While its unique angle plays a very important role in its success, Sanwal says that the company’s content strategy is its “golden goose.”
Over the six years since its founding, CB Insights has put out some of the best content related to the VC industry, earning the attention of such major publishers as The New York Times and Forbes. As a result, the publicity from these efforts has led to much-needed brand exposure for the company.
How CB Insights has created its great content strategy
Sanwal told me he recognized that content marketing was one of the best ways for his company to grow its brand after he noticed a deficiency of original, high-quality content targeting the VC industry. He proceeded to distinguish his company from others in the VC sector by creating superior content covering every stage of the funding process. The content hones in on four core components:
1. Data driven -- Readers are more apt to trust content strongly supported by empirical data. Sanwal said he was surprised to find that most of the content being produced in his industry lacked any quantitative analysis; what he saw were primarily opinion pieces by experts trying to sell their arguments based on their industry reputations rather than any real data.
The key difference with CB Insights' content was its focus on data-backed, and therefore insightful, content.
“For salespeople, it’s who is my next potential lead; for corporate strategy, it’s what is the next hot industry; for people in competitive intelligence, it’s what’s Google’s next big move,” Sanwal said in another interview. “We want to use data to provide insight into all of these things.”
2. Identifying trends -- Identifying underlying trends in the industry should be the starting point for any content-marketing strategy. Sanwal carefully studied new developments in the industry and paid close attention to topics gaining attention. This allowed the creation of exceptional content that would stand out within the VC universe.
“The biggest thing,” Sanwal said, “is, no matter what type of content you put out -- longer-form or more snackable pieces -- is to figure out what’s trending and interesting to the market and apply their data to create something interesting.”
3. Collaboration with other industry thought leaders -- The best content often assimilates different experts’ views and expertise. CB Insights has made it a point to reach out to industry leaders to get fresh perspectives and has found -- perhaps not so surprisingly -- that many industry leaders enjoy sharing their thoughts and appreciate being cited by CB Insights.
The company has also hired data scientists to aid its writers. As a content marketing leader in the VC industry, the company has found it easier than some might to attract well-known industry thought leaders and content marketing experts for these positions.
4. A focus on conversions over social metrics -- Content marketing has created substantial exposure for CB Insights on social media. However, boosting social media metrics isn’t the top priority for Sanwal and his team. Instead, they’re more interested in converting visitors into subscribers; they gauge the value of their content by the number of these new subscribers, tnot the number of social shares.
Deliver top-of-the-line content
Content marketing is playing an ever more important role in many industries. The problem is, many brands never gain any traction because they continually produce mediocre or subpar content and lack a clear content strategy.
Sanwal and CB Insights are living proof of the potential that content marketing offers -- if it’s done properly, that is. Other brands would do well to take a page from their playbook to create their own content-marketing strategies.
To learn even more about Anand’s success, check out our full conversation here:
Or share another insight you learned from the interview in a comment below.
Eric Siu is the CEO of digital marketing agency Single Grain. Single Grain has worked with companies such as Amazon, Uber and Salesforce to help them acquire more customers. He also hosts two podcasts: Marketing School with Neil Patel and Growth Everywhere, an entrepreneurial podcast where he dissects growth levers that help businesses scale.