For the newest installment of Creators Unlocked, we converse to Josh Ho, a SaaS founder and creator – the latter a time period he does not instinctually use, although it undoubtedly applies.
Josh earned his founder title with Referral Rock, a software program firm that eases the method of amassing referrals. However he additionally hosts two podcasts, writes a publication, and tweets to greater than 17,000 followers on Twitter.
In our dialog, he shares nice recommendation for entrepreneurs and small enterprise house owners seeking to develop on social media with restricted time and sources.
Get used to the change 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 creator. “If somebody initially labels me as a ‘creator’, I are usually considerably stunned. It isn’t my instinctive self-definition.” Nevertheless, bearing in mind the quantity of his artistic output, from podcasts to newsletters and Twitter posts, the label is the right descriptor. “Regardless of my preliminary reservations, I do certainly embody the qualities of a creator, together with my entrepreneurial traits.”
Josh’s hesitations to be labeled as a creator jogged my memory of Steph Smith’s insights about how she’s perceived in public – “I’ve constructed many issues over the past couple of years, and you possibly can say that these inputs have a degree of intentionality. However I can not all the time management the issues that individuals latch on to.”
Whereas some individuals could instantly assume “creator” after they consider Josh Ho, he’s extra comfy along with his identification as an entrepreneur and founder. “Entrepreneurship got here earlier than content material creation. I first recognized as an entrepreneur and founder, and upon realizing that a lot of the recommendation circulating wasn’t fairly useful for many individuals, I felt compelled to step into the realm of content material creation,” he explains.
Let the work you already do, feed your content material
Throughout the completely different titles, codecs, and types of content material that Josh works with, he’s discovered stability by pondering of every factor as a part of a Venn diagram. Every a part of Josh’s experiences and experience feed into his content material. “As I work together with different entrepreneurs, the questions that naturally come up feed into [my content], and after being requested the identical query a number of occasions, I am going to compile my responses into notes. This could spark different types of content material, like a Twitter thread or a podcast dialogue. Since most founders are all in favour of advertising and marketing and buyer acquisition, there is a important overlap in content material areas,” he explains.
Some individuals work nicely pondering up concepts and executing them on the fly, however Josh has discovered success by sticking to a daily schedule. The rhythm of recording podcasts at set intervals helps preserve stability with out consciously fascinated with it. He sees it as extra of a built-in ritual than a separate effort to stability all the pieces.
No matter notion, Josh is all about his viewers, and his creativity shines when it’s knowledge-sharing first – all the pieces else comes second to that.
“At my core, I’ve a robust need to help others, and I get pleasure from sharing the insights I’ve gained from my very own experiences. My ardour lies in delving deep into challenges, determining options, after which sharing these options in a packaged, digestible format. My goal is to avoid wasting others from having to undergo the identical lengthy and laborious means of discovery, probably shaving off months of their time,” he explains. By sharing his experiences and insights, Josh hopes to information his viewers in the suitable route along with his content material.
Decide a distinct segment and create for the viewers that comes with it
In an ideal instance of picking a niche and doubling down on it, Josh’s content material could be very clearly geared towards founders. As he places it, “I create content material that aids founders, particularly bootstrapped founders and SaaS entrepreneurs.” 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 search out ‘the’ reply as a result of there is not one common resolution that matches each kind of founder. As an alternative, he encourages founders to embrace nuance and assume critically about their distinctive challenges.
Josh’s clear method to his personal content material implies that he’s an enormous advocate for selecting a distinct segment. He says, “There are a lot of matters I intentionally select to not write about despite the fact that I’m all in favour of them. For instance, I take part in handball tournaments and luxuriate in smoking meat, but when I included all these sides into my content material, it will turn into complicated for my viewers.”
To Josh, niching down is important to provide your viewers a transparent concept of what to anticipate from you. That being mentioned, he additionally understands that there’s no one-size-fits-all method to this matter. What finally issues is that you just land on one thing you care about sufficient to pursue, even with out financial incentives. Development is inevitable if you happen to can publish persistently, even with a small viewers.
Undertake a sustainable method to creating content material
Josh’s content material is immediately fed by his day-to-day as a founder and entrepreneur, 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 venture for his firm Referral Rock to revamp its homepage. He’d taken a course in regards to the matter and needed to place his newfound information to make use of. His content material additionally benefited as he defined, “I shared some insights from this expertise on the advertising and marketing podcast, but it surely did not finish there. For the founder podcast with Nate, we recorded a session the place I assisted him along with his web site design. This session was launched by way of the publication as a video and we launched a podcast episode about it”
Primarily, the work he was already going to do reworked into 4 distinct items of content material. Josh spots alternatives for content material by asking, “What am I going to speak about this week? Is what I am at the moment engaged on attention-grabbing?”
So regardless of the various platforms Josh creates for, the concepts behind his content material all have one root, making it straightforward for him to know what he’s creating and the way. He makes use of a set of different tools to help his artistic efforts, together with:
- WordPress for writing and publishing
- Substack for newsletters
- Riverside for recording and enhancing podcasts
- Twitter to construct group with founders and share broad advertising and marketing insights
- LinkedIn for extra superior and specialised insights
Josh’s content material can also be powered by repurposing, which permits him to speak the identical concept throughout a number of platforms and mediums. He acknowledges the danger that the repetition is perhaps an excessive amount of for some individuals. Josh explains his perspective, “I’d recommend creators to not shrink back from cross-posting, particularly when beginning out. Bear in mind, there’ll all the time be people who recognize your content material – however they want to have the ability to discover it first.”
Josh compares advertising and marketing platforms you don’t personal to “borrowed land”, echoing a sentiment shared by people we’ve interviewed for Creators Unlocked. “Your incentives won’t align completely with these of the platform,” he explains.
He advises creators who’ve seen any success safe some a part of their viewers – to personal it someway. This might be by building your email list or diversifying throughout varied social media sites as safety. Direct entry to your viewers additionally means that you can nurture extra profound relationships.
Nevertheless, extra platforms imply extra challenges. You may’t depend on algorithms for visibility when you handle a listing or a group. Many creators attempt to monetize by providing programs or different merchandise, and it is usually a tough transition. That ‘borrowed land’ is commonly what facilitated your success. So, whilst you would possibly goal for possession, keep in mind that nobody actually owns anybody’s consideration. You will need to persistently have interaction together with your viewers, preserve their curiosity, and supply worth.
Along with e mail lists, Josh recommends building a community as one other technique for viewers possession. Platforms like Discord or Slack can function a hub to your group, normally requiring an e mail deal with to enroll. One other plus for group constructing is that it provides a degree of possession that enhances social media efforts fairly than being immediately equated with them.
Three ideas for entrepreneurs-in-content, present and aspiring
Josh has a powerful creator portfolio, all on prime of his work as a founder, and he’s all the time seeking to share his recommendation. His content material comes from a real need to assist individuals and be taught new abilities or enhance present ones – all his content material efforts match one in all these targets. He began Searching for SaaS to assist his co-host Nate Bosscher in his journey as a brand new founder and follow talking. He invested time in constructing his viewers on Twitter as a result of he was interested by what the most effective methodology can be.
Listed below are his ideas for entrepreneurs seeking to construct an viewers on-line:
- First off, I might advocate leaning into your curiosities and pursuits, particularly in your specific area. Even when your small business appears mundane, like extermination companies, there might be parts that intrigue you and might be fascinating to others. Be it sure bug behaviors or seasonal patterns, these seemingly unusual particulars can present compelling content material. What’s regular to you in your line of labor could also be new and thrilling to others.
- Secondly, do not shrink back from repurposing content material. Many individuals really feel strain to provide unique materials however overlook that not everybody sees or retains all the pieces you place out. You may reuse content material, possibly by altering the wording a bit or switching up the medium. Everybody interacts with completely different platforms for diverse causes, so do not be too involved about repetition. In reality, repeating a message can emphasize its significance.
- For those who wrestle with producing contemporary content material or worry repetition, begin by partaking with others on these platforms. Social media is, above all, a group, not a soapbox. View it as a possibility to take part in conversations, reply, and work together together with your viewers. As you reply to your viewers, you would possibly notice you’ve extra to say on a subject. You would then rephrase or broaden upon this in a put up by yourself platform. Consider it as an ‘AI prompt‘ – responding to a immediate is normally simpler than creating content material from scratch.
In abstract, focus in your curiosities, do not worry repurposing content material, and have interaction together with your viewers. These are Josh’s keys to rising and sustaining a significant presence on-line.
On his private plans for the long run, Josh shares that he’s engaged on a course for SaaS founders, saying, “It isn’t monetary strain driving me however a need to share my information and assist others. My main goal is to assist founders who’re on this journey, probably expediting their studying course of and sparing them a number of missteps. Any earnings might be used to provide again to the group, donate to a trigger, or present a bit additional for my household.”
A variety 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 section will look in the direction of the current, he explains, sharing his plans, “I need to share our evolution with our viewers, showcasing the experiments we’re operating, what’s working, what’s not, on a month-to-month foundation.” Count on to see extra of Josh channeling his progress as a creator into rising the Referral Rock model.