Breathing Exercise 

Media Growth

How to build a media property your target audience absolutely loves


Alex on the early days of MB

  • Being naive was their best asset so they had no idea what they “couldn’t do” so they just made a plan and started executing it. 
  • MB came about because all the students were keeping up with business by reading WSJ and others. It struck MB as crazy that these students had no resource to learn from daily. 
  • It started as a daily roundup newsletter. They iterated it from there. 
  • Newsletters was just the next logical step for them the only other options were just to prohibitive (website, app etc). The thing just grew largely organically from there. 
  • How do you build incredible distribution

Fadeke on Cybernaut


  • Worked for many early disruptors in journalism 
    • LA Times test kitchen
  • Takeaways from media companies that she uses today
    • NYTs inefficiency in how they run the newsroom and that carried over into a lot of things. It was due to their high standards but it meant that dishes took 4-5 hours to shoot. It was incredibly un-scaleable. 
  • Researching an audience
    • Sparktoro research on MB shows that the audience is 
    • ST audience research
  • How to use Sparktoro
    • Use it to find what your audience is watching or following or consuming
    • Use it to find out what their OTHER interests are and how you can remix and refresh things
    • Also, think about opportunities to collaborate with people or how to add unique value to the existing audience.  
  • In HackerNews, novelty and hot takes do well. (Well, it has to be a good hot take. Or something substantive.) (typed into chat) 
  • When ST creates content now they dont think people know how to frame those problems in search yet. They are focused on how do you help people identifty where the audience goes and spend time. 
  • Each week they do a presentation in office hours and then follow up 
    • with a blog posts with screenshots 
    • A Twitter thread on it. 

Alex on Newsroom

  • They never saw it as a possibility to build a newsroom. 
  • Their USP was really understanding the audience and what they find important. Then to write 150-350 words on the best stories and serving that up to their audience. 
  • They didnt think that their audience cared about going deep into a topic. They job was to keep them updated in a way that keeps them excited so they are not caught off guard when they are talking to coworkers or their boss. 
  • Now that they have a B2B org is to focus on deeper stories. Those arms are staffed up a lot more. 
  • When assessing a story and covering a story for a remix;
    • MBs assumption a lot is that people already know the story which is they has found to be false. Many people aren’t nearly as up to date as we expect. 
    • People are finding that short bites and in the form that MB does it is something people really enjoy and need. 
    • When writing they don’t tell the 1s, 2nd and 3rd joke they get to teh smarter 4th joke. They don’t try to be funny but to make people smile a little. LOL is not their goal. 
    • Every joke is a quip in the writing and doesn’t try to break the story but keep it all moving. 
  • Remixing isnt just for topical news but also for more evergreen content. 
    • You can use it for really established stuff 
    • You can then introduce them to an essay as well which provides value to your readers and finding those types of 
    • The sources we go to for the best truths or the best takes is hard to find on Google and how we find the answers to our questions? Search isnt the best vehicle for that. Writing what is interesting and needs to be seen isn’t always conducive to any searches. 
  • Distribution
    • Everything he thinks about is a hub and spoke model
      • How to dou identify the hubs and get them to help push you out to the spokes of that distribute. 
      • Hubspot is a good example of this. 
      • Connecting with these people and then having them help push it out.

If you have no content arm of your business

  • Alex 
    • Document why you wnt to launch a media arm because most people are thought followers and many people in media will do things because its being done not because they have something to say.
    • Considerations
      • Why investment in a media arm is a better trade-off than partnerships, acquisition of media asset or paid channels
      • How can we do this effectively when many have proven they suck at it. 
        • “How are you going to prioritise creating great content when it is not your core business?”
        • A media op is a ton of work
        • You have looked at why this is the best way to spend your money. 
        • What is your brand covering that cnat be found – Fadeke
        • Maybe thinking about partnering instead – Fadeke
    • Media companies like never before are more like sports teams than they are families. Institutions used to think about things like this but now they are thinking like sports teams
      • You have players on contract and they are there to be an extension of your brand. You have star players, average and mediocre players. 
      • You are thinking about how to keep a great pipeline not just stars on your team but if a star leaves you want to have new ones. 
  • Amanda
    • Get super clear on the topline vision even witha  simple statement – I want my media brand to be the first source of news for angel funded start ups. 
    • I want to be the X content type for Y audience
    • Angel funded start ups example TA might be; 
      • Founders 
      • Angel investors
      • Other reporters
      • CMOs of start ups maybe 
    • Focus on only a few content platforms.
      • One rented, one owned and one subletted platform
        • Rented – twitter or LI
        • Owned – Blog, Podcast etc
        • Subletted – Partnering with existing players 
  • Fadeke
    • What makes good content vs lazy contenet/remixes
      • She dives deep into topics  they are 2500+ words
      • Dive into the ramifications and the larger phenomenon – not just sticking into one topic
    • Most content marketers would concur that its increasingly hard to rank and that relying on google isnt a great plan. But paid media is tough
    • She gets her articles out there by reaching out to the people who may also be able to add distribution and share it. 
      • Hackernews – she has had great success there although its hard to do

Shoutouts & Things They Read and Love

SaaS Growth

Tactics to grow your user-base, convert trials into revenue, and retain customers.




Hockey stick moments for Amit and Clearbit

  • They were always good at serving the need
    • Played to their strengths and doubled down. 
      • They realised that marketers were the best customers
      • To stand out they went with an easy to use and free content approach
      • A lot of customers would create great things like a form that auto predicts who people are on the site and fills it in for them. Then they would internally create and productise it. 
      • They grew a lot and had a lot of big customers saying ‘we want a salesforce integration’ they didn’t want to build that but built it anyway because those clients were larger, spent more and had more users. 
    • Revenue inflection point
      • Yr 1 from 0-1M ARR, 3-8M$ in yr 3
      • Things really jumped when they added some salespeople. 
      • They were too cheap for bigger clients. Client didn’t want to use them because it looked ‘too good’ so they ended up having to switch to a bigger price point.
      • They built the sales and marketing machine and started to provide 30k per year contracts to large customers.

How do you decide what your priorities are in growing your SaaS

  • First confirm the product market fit
    • Then, work backwards for what you want for the business and what makes sense
    • Outbound email is very cheap vs paid ads
    • Invest in SEO as it is the gift that keeps on giving
    • Make sure you’re putting a good foot forward. Dont underestimate the first impression. 
    • Early days if you’re a technical founder and need marketing
      • Get in touch with customers and talk to them
      • Dont be shy and do splashy things. 

“The market is really efficient, if you listen it will tell you what you need to do”

Amit Vasudev

On selling your product

  • Making early investments in sales is ok just don’t overdo it. 
  • Product doesnt always just sell itself you have to sometimes help facilitate the sale and then have strong onboarding to help push people to that Point of Value as the best incentivise them to pay. You can substitute this with some content over time but, having some salespeople ot customer success people to take care of customers as you grow and learn might be the better play in the immediate. 

Shout Outs and Resources


  • Working on growth at large net base (pinterest/facebook) vs smaller (descript)
    • Larger companies have millions of users to A/B test your hypothesis and get back signal on what will work better.
    • Smaller companies (like Descript) its sort of an art and a science. You are making choices to double down on it. 
      • Eg SEO – they know that its probably not going to help yet and won’t be able to compare it to other channels. So you have to go into it on faith. 

SEO at facebook vs Descript

  • Its wasn’t easy to point to its results and how it was helping because of many multiple touchpoints vs Descript where its easy to point to the lift on their site 
  • You really cant think of success of a test in one company being right for the next company there are always outside things that change it. Everything is context. 
  • Sitting in on a lot of sessions and combining with the historical things they company had done was really important for Sandy in discovering what the next steps for Descript. There was no growth department. 
    • Its an equation of 
      • What is highest impact
      • What is feasible to execute within the team. 
  • Removing friction and letting users get to the point of value for them was something that helped Descript to show more value to the customer before they upgraded to paid. 
    • If you are thinking of increasing price make sure you talk to current clients and confirm they are getting the value from the product you would want them to get to justify the price increase. ← alternative looks like itd be a ton of churn as well as a drop in conversions (have to confirm this, its my theory). 


  • Demand Curve 😉 
  • Connecting with other people in Growth.
    • So talking to other people and understanding what they are using ways you can be more efficient or effective etc. 
  • Reforge – retention and engagement course- 
  • Learning and understanding at a basic level how to be a marketing generalist before narrowing into specific channels to specialise or, to hire those specialists. 

Descript is hiring – shoot Sandy a note if interested –

Content-Led Growth

How to turn your passive readers into active buyers




  • Animalz primarily supports early stage B2B Saas companies
    • Those who have no idea how to do content and need help.They take the ideas that the founders have that are very broad and direct them. 
    • Convergence is another thing they see a lot of. People have invested a lot in ToF content and they try to help them analyse and identify gaps in their funnels. 
    • Common gaps are; 
      • Companies have done a little bit of everything but not really attacked it with any strategy. 
  • Being able to create content and put it out in various formats and repeating the same message is really important. But you MUST know your audience and what you want to say before you scale like that. 
  • Surveying customer success teams and sales teams to get the idea of what is high priority as well as having those conversations one-on-one and getting an idea of the size of the accounts, its importance in the ecosystem etc 
  • The amount of time spent on a piece sadly has no real correlation to how successful that is. 

“Often times great content strategy doesnt need to be complicated it can be just a sentence”

Hayley Bryant


  • Storyblocks believe video is the content of the future. 
    • They think about content in 2 fold
      • 1. creating content that trains the audience that the future is video
      • 2. giving people the tools to be part of that future
  • Storyblocks onboarding
    • Give people access to their entire library right away. 
  • If you start with video you have everything – long form content, podcasts etc
  • Storyblocks is demand driven – they are trying to optimise their library to have what you need when you need it instead of going wide and broad. 

Using data insights is the difference between an average content creation team vs a really good one. 

Sydney Carlton
  • Ceating good content comes from great research too. Talk to your customers.
    Some questions to s to ask during customer research;
    • Listening to the language they are using and the pain points that customers are talking about
    • What is your biggest challenge when attempting to do X?
    • How do you solve X problem currently?
  •  In an emerging category the customer language and words they use is extremely important to knowing what to write or create


  • Speaking to the sales team was a really key thing for them to grow so was auditing the data and seeing what was and was not working. 
  • When she first started Vimeo had 28 personas and needed to pair back and look for the biggest opportunities, then focus on dialling in on them for a year before moving on. 
  • Auditing the content lead to a ton of insights for Vimeo it helped identify;
    • Where customer stories needed to be
    • What type of How-to content needed to be added 

No matter how good your customer questions are the most interesting insights always come from the follow-up questions you ask in the moment.

Robyn Showers

What would a start up content team look lile? What would be the steps to hire those and what would they do at different stage? 

  • Sydney
    • Hire a senior contnet person and strategist who is aware of trends and things. They create the pathway for you to hire people on the lower rungs and make a strategy successful. If you don’t do that first you can waste a lot of money. 
  • Haley 
    • If you hve no one to talk to in your team about content then talk to people around you who know more about it than you and bounce ideas off them on how to scale this, who to hire, and what those people should be doing – find a mentor basically or talk to your mentor. 
    • Try to hire someone from a company that is similar to yours. So, look for someone who has both industry experience and, content knowledge
    • Dont hire someone too jr because it can take a lot of time to ramp them up and you will have to hire someone above them usually which can cause friction. 
  • Robyn
    • Agrees on the hires – hire a strategist, dont hire too Jr and dont hire someone who you expect to be both forever.
    • You need to have a budget set aside for content especially if you have only one person doing both because they can experiment and execute constantly. 
    • One of the benefits you get from a Sr strategist is that they come in with a  playbook and a list of people they can contact when the time is right.

Creating complicated content like tools 

  • Sydney
    • Storyblocks has played with the idea of creating calculators etc and it also is a great play for links, SEO as well as helping to contextualise things for users
  • Robyn
    • Very bullish on creating tools for SEO 
    • Tools will convert much better than “talk to our sale team” or “get a demo” 
  • Haley
    • Animalz created a tool – 
      • It helps identify what content you can refresh and what has been losing traffic etc. Check website as I am looking at this on the fly 

How to distribute the content you create

  • Sydney
    • Campaign Sydney is talking about:
    • When they created the content they thought about a number of “moments” through the year that they could dsitrubte it. 
      • They define these moments as a structured campaigns with cohorts of people and each cohort creates a ton of assets for Storyblocks then they have those creators make up behind the scenes content also. 
      • Build plenty of padding into your deadlines and also, make sure that you maintain a relationship with them before and after the campaign/moment/cohort is done. 
      • In the planning stage all this stuff is planned out with paid teams, social teams, etc before this goes into play. That means that when you are in the middle of execution everything is ready. 
      • A guide – 

Plugs and Final Notes


  • -> Haley works on this by night (like some form of venture superhero)
  • -> One of the backed companies from above that she wanted to shout out. 



  • ?

SEO Growth

How to scale your organic reach and turn readers into customers




  • What is product led SEO? 
    • What its not; doing some keyword research and then writing content for that
    • Product led seo is aligning your product to leverage the structure and architecture to take advantage of searches that happen at scale.
  •  Unlocking millions of pages of UGC content that the leads back to people signing up ie Canva and its templates
  • Offpage SEO
    • You may deserve to rank based on metrics for SEO like domain auth or backlinks but you need to match intent also. 
  • Believes anti-trust is coming in and YT will be balanced in search results on Google to keep them from getting in trouble so he has advised clients not to go all in. Its not consensus on the panel though. 
  • SEO strategy takes a ton of time trying to get something to rank in a 90 day window to hit some targets makes no sense. If you need to get traffic or make sales in a window like that don’t do SEO. Put that money into paid traffic. 
  • In a lot of scenarios for B2B you need to be careful anything that is really expensive and goes out into an RFP you need to look at other channels or at least go light on how you attribute that conversion.


  • The biggest issue that companies have with seo is they just create a ton of content and think that will solve the problem. 
    • Your site needs domain authority for all the other stuff to work and links is what builds that. 
  • Is onpage or offpage ration changing over the years?
    • If anything onpage seo is more simplified and offpage is more important slightly. 
    • Tried to rank for “backlink checker” and created this – but wont rank cos the intent is different. 
  • Still things YT is a super untapped channel and the upside is huge. 
    • They promote you for free
    • They pay you when people watch your content 
    • The biggest downside is you will get almost no traffic from YT they will generally stay there on YT.  
    • YT content is all ToF awareness content but it has scale. 
  • If you want results in 90 days SEO is NOT for you at all but the problem is if you dont start it early you will regret it later because it takes so long to get started on it and get actual traction. 
    • Dont just create anything create something that has a ton of value. The example of that for him is a database of trends you could search now its Exploding Topics – 


  • Clearscope

Brians writing process


  • Reach out to Toni on his email –  
  • His personal website – 
  • UGC is very powerful and Product Led SEO is super helpful as long as you have a really solid product market fit. 
  • Start ups are all about speed and prioritisation and you likely dont have a strong domain to start.  
    • In the initial days just getting some footing and getting set up is the hard part. 
    • When you have some momentum in SEO and traffic from it you start to shift towards siloing content and traffic and then finally to showcasing UGC
  • Tonis creator page – 
  • SEOs should spend less time in ahrefs and more time talking to customers. 
  • Figma is trying to more towards offering incentives to get people over to figma from YT 
  • B2B SEO strategy that works in the first 90 days is working on projects with businesses in the same market. Offer to create some content withthem and do lead sharing if there are conversions from that.The content lives on your site it helps promote you both, you get a backlink from it and make a strategic partnership. 
  • “The best time to start investing in SEO was yesterday, the second best time is today” 


  • Clearscope

Minimal Viable Strategy forS SaaS SEO 

  • Identify the audience 
  • Ideintify what keyword that audience will use to find you – dont chase the top volume keywords – Intent matters!

Paid Growth

See how top DTC brands are acquiring high-value customers through paid ads and influencer marketing.




  • Not really seen any big success in adding an extra step that sits between people and the end goal because it creates friction
  • Great idea; go to people who already are trending on places like TikTok and collab with them because they already have eyes or targeting ads to them or a specific trend
  • A good hack is to try giving something away or discounting it gets a bad wrap but it can be super effective. 
    • Wealthsimples best ad creative recently was giving away 500 Doge for signing up for the app. 
  • Using paid to retain users 
    • Better of using email or notifications first and then you could probably try paid after that – hasnt seen it work specifically.


  • We are trying to find a path to superior economics when it come to paid acquisition
  • One of the biggest problems he sees is that arbitrary goals are dangerous and you ned to have a habit of continuous improvement rather than an arbitrary number like 5:1 LTVCAC
  • We have seen a lot of success with content advertorials . 
    • The general notion of shaking up the idea that the process is only linear -> branded ad -> landing page -> conversion. Is something that can show great results with some testing. 

Privacy changes and implications

  • Behaviours now better than maybe some of the demo targeting due to privacy changes. 
  • Widening your audience to allow for behaviours now is something that can be really helpful 
  • Dont bet on getting anymore PID to track people in the future


How would you build a paid team at a small SaaS

  • Jesse
    • Main mistake is so much care and love is put into the SaaS product but none is put into the marketing facet of it. 
    • At least 50% of one of the founders time + 50% someone who is technical + 50% of a designers time should be spent on the marketing of the product. 
    • As a Founder you need to understand whats happening in the ads and what images work or dont work etc. It helps you direct things. 
    • Stay really close to the marketing and test and iterate
    • Choose the channel in a smart way
      • Fb for example is for small impulse buys vs maybe G Ads which is for more high priced prods that take consideration
  • Simon
    • Org 
      • Preferes to structure his team by products instead of by channels because a growth manager in the team should be able to figure out any channel but deep product knowledge is tougher. 
      • “You help people think more creatively if you don’t put them in a channel box”
      • We do everything inhouse for creative 


  • 10-25k for 90 days MVP (broad idea so take with a pinch of salt). 
  • Find something that works and double down dont get stuck in this test and measure thing because its easy to get excited but remember we are here to make money and if its working well testing new things all the time may not be the best strategy

If you had 5k to acquire 1k customers what would you do? 

  • Pick an industry thats already growing