Rachelle Kuramoto

Vice President of Content for BIP Ventures

Rachelle Kuramoto on the Future of Content Marketing

In a world where content is king, marketing leaders are constantly seeking innovative strategies to engage their audiences and drive business growth. One such leader is Rachelle Kuramoto, the Vice President of Content for BIP Ventures, a venture capital firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. With over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur and content creator, Rachelle brings a unique perspective to the table. In a recent conversation, she shared her insights on the evolving landscape of content marketing and the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in shaping its future. 

Here are some excerpts. 

1. Could you please give us an introduction to your journey?

I am working as the Vice President of content for a venture capital firm in Atlanta, Georgia. Our company is called BIP Ventures and we have been operating since 2007. A few years ago, we changed our investment strategy to focus on finding exceptional founders who are doing interesting things in the tech industry.

Regardless of where they come from, certain places have traditionally made it difficult for entrepreneurs to get the funding and resources they need. Our portfolio is made up of talented founders from different backgrounds. My role is to share their stories and create content that helps them learn important skills. I also want to show our investors who is in our portfolio and what they are working on. I'm excited about this role because I have been an entrepreneur for 20 years myself.

In my last job, I started and managed a small branding and content company. I later sold it. Now, I want to use my experience to help other entrepreneurs. Every day is different for me. The content we create varies from personal stories to technical and regulated financial content. I enjoy learning, which makes my work enjoyable.

2. What got you into the content space? 

So this is a funny story and I have to give credit to my parents for it. When I started college, I thought I would study biology. I really like science and technology, and I also discovered that I enjoy business. However, I found out that I'm not good at biology or technology. What I am good at is reading, writing, listening, and having conversations with people who excel in those areas. I enjoy being a sort of translator, sharing my knowledge with people who need it. That's why I switched my major to English and have a minor in business. This way, I can use my skills in writing, reading, and learning in a meaningful way.

I got my master's degree in literature by chance. It was a great opportunity that came up. After finishing, I realized I wasn't good at writing creatively or interested in writing a book. I didn't think I had a personal story to tell. However, I enjoyed analyzing companies and founders who were doing interesting things and helping them with their storytelling and brand identity. I've built a successful career out of that. I consider myself fortunate to make a good living as a writer, but I believe my strength lies in listening and translating ideas.

3. How will AI impact the future of content marketing?

I believe this is a top concern for everyone. I don't think AI will completely replace writers, but I think it will help other writers. I am currently working on creating an AI playbook for my team and company because there are so many tools available that can help us be more productive and intelligent. It's important to know which tools to use and how to build an AI tech stack that actually benefits your team, rather than just being a distraction. I do think that AI will likely replace some jobs.

I believe that technology trends have significantly changed industries since the late 1990s. The introduction of the spreadsheet was a game-changer for accountants, and now accounting has continued to improve as a result. I like to think of this as an analogy. I have had interesting discussions with other content marketers about the role of AI. My conclusion is that AI is a helpful tool for starting a piece of content, rather than ending it. It allows me to begin with a strong foundation and create well-researched content more efficiently.

I am seeing about a 20% increase in my productivity with the work I do. This is mainly because AI helps me with research and repurposing. However, relying solely on AI to write is not beneficial. People often focus on whether AI gets the facts right or if it lies, but the more important question is whether it produces good content. Using AI as your own voice or content is not recommended because it is often formulaic and not very good.

Having a content professional who understands voice and tone and nuance and audience resonance, I think that those people are going to become even more important.

4. What are the characteristics of a good piece of content?

So I believe that this question has two parts. First, is the content good for your brand? It needs to answer a few questions: Does it sound like us? Does it match the kind of content we usually create? If our logo was not there, would people still recognize it as ours? Or does it sound generic and could be from anywhere?

When you're talking about good content from the brand standpoint, it has to be honest to who the brand is. It needs to sound like the brand. It needs to be relevant to the things that you do and aligns with your values. A lot of people use the word authentic and I think authentic is more of a measure. I think it needs to be honest.

From the audience standpoint, I always wonder and ask myself if this is engaging and helpful. If it's not, then it has failed because it means you're sharing content that lacks thoughtfulness.

Content should be a dialogue, a conversation, and not didactic.

So if you're creating content using AI based on keyword research that shows a lot of people will be interested in it, you might wonder about the quality of that content. 

If something feels like it's made specifically for me, if it's interesting and useful to me, then it will not be successful. Most companies, whether they admit it or not, create content to connect with their audience and grow their business. If you're not providing content that makes your audience feel heard and understood, the content won't be effective. If you try to sell to them, they will be annoyed. It's a tricky situation. Good looks like when you have earned the right to talk about your brand because the audience knows you care about them.

5. What is the importance of having a community in the content marketing space?

I think it's really important to consider your audience before creating any content. If you don't think about who you're trying to reach, you might end up creating content just because you enjoy it. I write a journal every morning, but I don't expect anyone to read it. It still has value for me. During the day at work, I create content for other people or organizations. It's important to have a specific audience in mind so that you can make a meaningful connection with them. I like to compare this idea to dating. If you go on a first or second date with someone who wants to find you interesting, it's not a good idea to only talk about yourself.

They won't find you interesting for very long. But if you sit down with them and ask them about themselves, you can understand their story, what keeps them awake at night, and what excites them. Then, you can relate to them. This builds a relationship that overcomes suspicion. They start to trust you and see that you genuinely care about them. This feeling of belonging is strong and it also turns them into your advocate. You can talk about yourself all day, but it's more powerful when someone else, especially someone credible, talks about you as interesting, useful, and dedicated to the community. This will take you much further.

That process needs to occur. That community building needs to occur. Specifically, when you're considering your brand's messages, voice and tone, presence, and channels, you need to understand your audiences. Otherwise, you won't know your channels. So it's crucial.

6. How do you structure your content teams? Is it in-house or outsourced? 

Our team is lucky because we are small and efficient. We mainly do in-person events for marketing, which is enjoyable. Not many companies do that anymore, so it's a benefit for us. We have a person who is great at organizing and promoting live events. She is a more traditional marketer and has many valuable relationships. My work supports her outreach efforts. We also have a team member who is skilled in social media strategy and design. We work closely together to combine my strategic ideas and words with her visually appealing designs. We use multiple social media platforms to reach different groups of people.

So our main team is just the three of us and my role is focused on content. This includes writing blogs, newsletters, and managing social media. I also handle content strategy and overall brand strategy. Additionally, I oversee our podcast and provide support to our internal team with sales assets and presentations. Essentially, my job covers everything a content marketer does. I find that my day goes well when I can start by writing, as that's when I have my best ideas and can create content efficiently.

For me, that's early in the morning, sitting on the couch in my office with a cup of coffee and my dog at my feet and I can just be really productive. As the day goes on, it tends to involve more deployment, more meetings, and more strategy sessions. And then we have an outside agency that we recently rebranded with and are currently working on a new website. There are some technical things that our in-house team doesn't have the expertise to do. It's really important to have that group of outsiders who can listen and provide feedback, even if they don't understand it like we do. Having that outside source with technical skills is really important. So we keep an agency to help us with that too.

When I was a business owner, my agency focused on things like messaging, voice and tone, and naming. These were really important aspects to me because I understood their significance. When I worked with companies that didn't prioritize these things, it made me worried as a writer, especially when I was ghostwriting. I would often ask them to tell me who they were, because otherwise, the writing would sound like me and wouldn't feel right. Whether you're an agency working with a company or a client working with an agency, lacking agreed-upon standards can be problematic. To avoid this issue, it's best to have the writer create the initial draft at the highest level and then have the person or people who the content represents review it.

And have them put themselves into it. Sometimes that's best done verbally, it's best done in a conversation. Read this back to me. How does this sound to you? What is not right? And as a writer, you are setting yourself up for some criticism. If you give somebody some content and you say, tell me what's not right about this. But people are so kind generally if you give them content and it's generally good and you say, well, what's right about this? They're going to be like, oh, it's great. It's so well written, it's well polished. If you ask them what's not right about this, more often than not what you're going to get is, well, I say things this way, I never use that word. Or in a highly regulated industry, I can't use that word. So asking what's not right is a really good way of honing and polishing and getting to what actually is right.

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