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Why Private Equity Firms Should Publish

John Grimley jgdigital | June 15, 2015

As Forbes magazine recently outlined, the US economy is now the number one focus for foreign private equity investors seeking a global safe haven.  But what they’ll find here, as Forbes explains, is “more capital in the hands of a growing number of PE funds chasing too few good assets…a classic prescription for inflated acquisition prices.”  Bidding wars will ensue – and therefore in the years ahead – it will be imperative to get into the auction process at an early stage.  But how?

Like many have before them, the private equity community needs to embrace marketing techniques that allow them to gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly crowded and complex industry. One way to do this is to publish thought pieces and content, whether this means investment updates, industry insights or trend pieces, and use this as a way to communicate and differentiate one’s expertise to potential platform companies.

How can private equity professionals benefit from publishing?

A recent article demonstrated the benefits professionals of all types have realized by publishing online. Some of the most salient statistics include:

  • 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content.
  • 7 in 10 consumers prefer to learn about a company through articles, not ads.
  • 90% of consumers find custom content useful.
  • 78% of of consumers believe that organizations providing custom content want to build good relationships.
  • 68% of consumers spend time reading content from a brand they are interested in.
  • Social media and blogs account for 23% of all time spent online.
  • Interesting content is a top 3 reason people follow brands on social media.

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A case in point

Mark Suster, a 2x entrepreneur turned VC after selling his company to Salesforce.com – and now a General Partner with UpFront Ventures, wrote in 2014 that: blogging produces “the best source of high-quality deal flow imaginable.” As Suster explains: “The sheer number of relationships I’ve built through being public, transparent and being willing to engage in comments and through social media has enabled me to get to know entrepreneurs even before they launch their next company.”  And Suster’s reasoning applies equally to non-venture private equity – and to other forms of communication online – including regularly publishing articles focused on investment targets ideal to your fund.

How to publish effectively?

As marketing expert, Barbara McKinney explains in an article published on exploreB2B: “With every content marketing [effort seeking] ways to stand out from among the competition…mediocrity [isn’t an option].” The only way to compete, McKinney explains, is to offer uniquely high quality content.

Related Reading: Do You Need Social Media to Secure More Deal Flow?

McKinney goes on to outline the various components any private equity professional should consider essential to the production of uniquely high-quality content.  They include: Podcasts, eBooks/whitepapers, video, and interactive content.  All of these are worth exploring in-depth.  I noted in particular McKinney’s mention of eBooks and whitepapers.  With these, she explains their importance:   “eBooks and whitepapers offer thorough information and/or data on industry specific topics. This form of content should be a cornerstone of your overall strategy.” And sophisticated content is uniquely effective means by which private equity professionals might connect more effectively with discerning middle-market C-suite executives.

Publish articles uniquely tailored to your key audiences

As the figures and trends I’ve just cited reflect – private equity professionals would be wise to publish well researched articles containing useful information of unique appeal to middle market C-suite executives and their advisors.  A well thought out publishing plan would place any private equity firm in an advantageous position in seeking to engage investment targets and their intermediaries online.

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