The uncomfortable marketing tactic Devin Reed is living by: Niche Knowledge

If you started a company or if you are working for one, you know the company’s reason for existence.

It helps you market it, sell it, and so on.

But when it comes to what you want to become or to be better at, do you know your path and your why?

Knowing what you want will move you forward motivating you to learn more, experiment more, and be better.

Build for yourself and success will follow

If you don’t know if you should create a personal brand or not, don’t forget who you are creating it for.

It’s for you.

You should create content, products, or services based on your personal interests and values rather than solely focusing on market demands.

I’m not saying that you should ignore what is needed in the market, just to focus on self-expression similar to what Stephanie Smith did when she launched her ebook about content.

When you build for yourself, you are more likely to produce work that resonates deeply with your own beliefs and interests.

It will make you genuine and this authenticity will often translate into higher quality content or products.

Why? Because you will more likely stay motivated to your craft, leading to a higher level of consistency and creativity.

Another important thing is that building for yourself allows you to explore and experiment with different ideas and formats without the pressure of meeting external standards.

It makes room for continuous learning and growth which will make room for new opportunities coming your way as it did for Devin Reed.

Who is Devin?

Devin has more than 10 years experience in sales and marketing.

He started as a Customer Success specialist back in 2013, then moved on to Senior Account Executive at OneMob and then EventBrite.

Then he transitioned to Content Strategy Manager, and ended up being the Head of Content Strategy at Gong and finally he became Director of Content and Thought Leadership at Clari.

He is also an advisor for AudiencePlus and also a Limited Partner of Stage 2 Capital Catalyst.

While he worked at EventBrite, he founded The Reeder.

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What started as a forum to share what he learned working in the tech industry ended up transforming an entire +6 figure business around the Reed Between the Lines podcast, The Reeder newsletter, consulting, ebook, and the LinkedIn course.

At The Reeder Devin creates content strategies for fast-growing startups and solo creators who want to grow their audience, brand, pipeline, revenue, and income.

How did Devon…. and how did he build his personal brand?

  1. Created an audience of B2B creators
  2. He’s a content-led growth strategist
  3. Created an entire business around The Reeder
  4. Talks about what Clari

A. Created an audience of B2B creators

Some of Devin’s content can be addressed to a more broad audience especially when he’s offering advice on career development, but his main topics are about content, marketing, personal branding and leadership.

On LinkedIn his main audience is formed of B2B professionals including CEOs and founders.

How do I know? 

Well it’s not so difficult to figure it out, just look at his comments section on LinkedIn.

If you look at the post he created talking about how Clari’s CEO started posting on LinkedIn, there were 254 comments and 3,098 interactions.

In the comments you can find all sorts of CEOs and founders among which Sharma Hyder, Founder and CEO of Zen Media, Evan Hughes, VP of Demand Generation at Refine Labs, Matthew Stammers, Global CMO at ScaleWise, Alina Vandenberghe, Co-founder and Co-CEO at Chili Pepper, or Kyle Coleman, CMO at Copy.ai.

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Sometimes he directly speaks to his CEO and founder audience when posting things that people in leadership positions should do for their subordinates.

Another post that got huge engagement from his audience was about how important it is to show the real version of you on social media especially on LinkedIn instead of just putting on the corporate mask.

In this post he says that “people see through the corporate front and they mentally unsubscribe” and that they will prefer the real you over some fake personality.

This post got 6,743 interactions and 516 comments from his audience.

Which leads us to his top post on LinkedIn somehow linked to the topic mentioned above of being your true self.

In his post about how the 27 tattoos that he has didn’t impact on finding a job got 15,337 interactions and 622 comments.

If this isn’t a post showing how much people want to see the real person behind a LinkedIn account I don’t know what is.

Indeed this one appeals to all his followers not only to the B2B industry, but it was definitely a strong one.

I also had to include my favorite post from Devin which aligns with what I am trying to create with my newsletter.

The post is about the LinkedIn profiles which aren’t owned by the company you work for.

In the survey I had a while ago, some of the respondents talked about being afraid to post because their manager might see, but they must remember that their LinkedIn is a personal asset.

They can post about the company they work for because they choose to or simply don’t talk about it at all as no one can force you to post something you don’t want.

B. He’s a content-led growth strategist

Devin encourages companies to adopt a high-level perspective, akin to viewing the business from a unique point of view.

For instance, while many revenue leaders might perceive revenue as a mere outcome at the end of a financial quarter, Devin and his colleagues at Clari redefine it as the most important business process within a company.

This viewpoint enables them to approach challenges and opportunities with fresh insight.

Devin emphasizes the power of storytelling over product promotion. 

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Most marketers promote the product without using it so they only talk about the product’s features.

But marketing professionals should build stories for the persons who’ll be using those features.

They should create narratives that resonate with their audience’s emotions and aspirations.

Marketers should think about what’s the before and what’s the after, spend more time and energy on the problem, and find out what is the specificity of that problem.

And when they finally launch or talk about their product people will be drawn to it because they evoked so much emotion in the story that their product becomes the obvious solution.

Devin also believes that content marketers don’t create top of the funnel content for brand awareness, that can simply be an ad or a logo.

All types of content you create are for building trust at scale.

He says that people are more inclined to buy from brands they know, like, and trust. 

So the primary aim of content marketing should be to establish trust-based relationships with the audience to create a foundation for long-term loyalty.

But how do you build a content marketing strategy?

Devin created a content strategy flywheel that goes from planning, unlocking niche knowledge, to producing and observing.

In a webinar created by Metadata.io, Devin shares his content strategy flywheel and talks a bit about each step.

The first step is to create a plan to understand why and what you want to create.

You must keep in mind that it’s important to grab and maintain the attention of your readers.

Think about creating a unique point of view different from your competitors and then plan out your topics.

The second step is to unlock your niche knowledge.

This refers to transforming the expertise of people in the company and industry leaders into extremely valuable content.

People like SMEs have highly valuable specialized information, skills and experiences.

This is what Devin calls niche knowledge.

So you need to unlock these insights and turn them into valuable content.

After you settle the plan and you have the niche knowledge, it’s time to produce and distribute content.

And lastly, you observe your audience’s interactions with your content and get their signals: what they enjoyed, what they didn’t.

Observe their comments, how they interact with your content, if they reply to your emails, on social media.

Devin says that if what you create is content market fit then this flywheel will move faster.

It will be a sign that you are creating content for the right audience, on the right channel at the right time. 

C. Created an entire business around The Reeder

Devin started The Reeder back in 2017 while working at EventBrite.

But why did he create it after all?

He had two reasons:

  1. He wanted to gain more experience and show hiring managers that he could be really useful as a full time marketer.
  1. Devin wanted to find a way to boost his confidence and to prove himself that he is good at content marketing and he could actually make a career out of it.

Building a side hustle while working 10 hours a day selling software was not an easy job.

He stood his weekends and nights writing content such as blog posts and emails.

After a couple of years his hard work paid off as he landed his job at Gong.

Since he built out a habit of working afterhours for his side hustle he kept on going and managed to launch his website in August 2022.

Since 2022 Devin helps his audience with advisory and consulting services for building content strategies, offers a self-guided video course for building your LinkedIn presence and continues to write his weekly newsletter.

With time he also wrote an ebook about everything he knows about content from how to grab attention to how to get clients in less than a month.

A few months ago, in February 2024, he launched his podcast Reed Between the Lines. 

I must say that’s a great pun right there.

Since he liked to have fun while trying new things, his podcast is not like the regular one that everyone has.

He travels through America and films his podcast in different locations to make it interesting every time you watch a new episode.

His guests talk about creativity, marketing, and talk about how they bend or create new rules for themselves.

The reason for creating his podcast is similar to the one which started The Reeder which is to continue to grow his career as a marketer, creator, and entrepreneur.

If you ask me, he likes a good challenge and he’s stepping up to do something he never did before.

Everything he does at The Reeder helped him scale his business to 6 figures with 7 revenue streams on top of his 9-5 job at Clari.

He says that the reason he was able to grow his side hustle was because he always provided quality and valuable content for his audience.

So keep this in mind if you want to create a personal brand that will help you gain more revenue or open new possibilities.

If you’re wondering how LinkedIn is helping Devin’s business, he wrote a post in 2022 saying that his business increased so much that it was 100% inbound and almost entirely sourced from LinkedIn.

Being present on LinkedIn, providing valuable content, helping people who reach you on DMs can have a high impact on your personal brand and can help you build a new revenue stream or more.

D. Talks about what Clari

Many B2B creators like to promote the business they work for on their LinkedIn accounts.

Contrary to what others might think, they do it by choice.

They know that because they have a certain authority on LinkedIn, talking about the company they work for will only have to gain.

The company can increase its traffic or even new clients.

Devin’s first post about switching jobs and moving to Clari gained 2,884 interactions and 297 comments.

In one of his posts about Clari he talks about a social media campaign they did on LinkedIn.

CNBC published about revenue operations being the fastest growing job in the United States, and since Clari built this category decided to create some news around this.

Clari’s CEO, Andy Byrne, created a post talking about the news and some of the employees reacted and commented on his post while others shared the post and wrote their point of view. 

The post reached thousands of people, but this metric doesn’t really show the potential of using LinkedIn as people inside a company right?

But what about the fact that they saw a 33% increase in inbound demo requests that week coming from people who wrote that they saw something from Andy or something on LinkedIn shows the true impact.

What lessons can B2B creators learn from him?

1. Build for you and good things will follow

When Devin first started The Reeder he started it for himself to prove that he knows content and can create an entire career around it.

That’s because when you create something that genuinely resonates with you, it often resonates with others as well.

If you focus on what interests you and motivates you, you’re more likely to create a more authentic work that attracts an audience.

And it’s not just about building an audience on what you like, but that also builds a state of fulfillment and satisfaction you have in your work.

Plus, putting passion into something you like will definitely won’t go unnoticed by those around you.

2. Create valuable content

Valuable content informs your audience, it’s engaging and relevant to its interests and needs.

Get to know your target audience well and provide them with meaningful insights.

This will help you establish yourself as a trusted authority in your field, it will help you attract and retain followers and drive engagement.

It’s a great way to help others grow by teaching them what you know.

This can easily transform in a side hustle or open up new possibilities for your career as it happened for Devin.

3. Remain authentic

I think this is Devin’s most important lesson.

It should come as no surprise that if you are genuine, transparent, and true to yourself in your interactions with people it will be easier for you to create a connection with your audience and make them trust you.

If you’re not your true self, people will soon realize and all their trust will vanish.

It’s just like in any other relationship.

Final Thoughts

What I like most about Devin is his motivation.

He started without having a clear path where things might go.

He just wanted to get into marketing positions and to do that he realized he shouldn’t just wait for things.

Devin put himself out there and created for him and for others. To have something to show, something to keep getting better at.

So why should you be afraid to create something for you?

If you won’t, no one will.