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Startup Lessons From Career Karma’s Series B Round | Vol 66

Free Content

Welcome to Volume 66!

Most people kickstart the new year with great resolutions, but they don’t last.

A surefire way to ensure you don’t lose steam during the year is to turn those resolutions into S.M.A.R.T goals.

Break down your goals into small, achievable milestones. That way, when you start seeing results from those short milestones, you’ll be inspired to do even better.

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. So don’t beat yourself up for not hitting your goals, especially during a global pandemic.

Speaking of improving yourself, Spotify’s latest feature has the potential of putting it far and above its major competitors.

Before we dive in to read the full story, here’s a peek at what’s to come in this piece:

  • Spotify Calls Out Apple Podcasts
  • Startup Lessons From Career Karma’s Series B Round
  • Stop Publishing Just To Publish

Spotify Calls Out Apple Podcasts

Spotify follows up its viral 2021 wrapped with a new ad format that allows creators to add a clickable card with a custom call to action to their shows’ and episodes’ pages.

With this new card, listeners can either hear your latest offering and take action immediately while streaming your podcast.

Or if they are distracted at the time, they can always find the CTA card on the main profile or episode’s page.

Spotify Calls Out Apple Podcasts

The CTA cards are available for a full week after the listener first hears the ad, or less if your campaign wraps up earlier.

I believe Spotify’s latest addition is a brilliant move to get more podcasters to make the platform their home permanently, bringing loyal listeners along.

A closer look will reveal that this move isn’t the first of its kind.

Spotify has been heavily investing in the podcast industry within the past few years.

For instance, Spotify acquired Gimlet Media and Anchor in 2019 to fuel its ambition to become the world’s leading audio platform.

In 2020, the streaming company struck multiple deals with influencers like Joe Rogan, Michelle Obama, and others to strengthen its podcast streaming library. They also acquired ad tech companies, Megaphone and Whooshkka, to help advertisers and creators scale their organic reach and monetize their shows.

Now, Spotify didn’t just roll out a new shiny feature without hardcore evidence to show users and prospects that it works. Instead, they tested the new CTA cards beforehand, with a few advertisers, including Ulta Beauty.

Ulta beauty hit around 250K unique Spotify listeners from one of its campaigns. Half of these listeners saw at least one CTA card after hearing the audio message or saw it while browsing the app.

The streaming platform’s investment in audio has earned the brand 172 million premium subscribers. Currently, Spotify is the No. 1 podcast platform in the US with its 28.2 million user base, beating Apple (with 28 million users) to the top.

With this new feature, one can only see great things happening for Spotify. If Apple doesn’t pick up the pace soon, they might be left behind soon.

Investing in new product features users will find valuable is a great way to stand out from the competition. Customer needs are constantly changing, and it’s important to stay ahead of the curve by figuring out new ways to make their lives easier.

Spotify capitalized on the users’ need to turn their passion into profit or their expertise into revenue, and they keep innovating to keep these users happy on their platform.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Spotify launched a clickable, customizable call to action that’d help creators and advertisers call more listeners to action. .
  • Spotify capitalized on the users’ need to turn their passion into profit, or expertise into revenue, and they keep innovating to keep these users happy on their platform.
  • Customer needs are constantly changing, and it’s important to stay ahead of the curve by figuring out new ways to make their lives easier and stay relevant.

Startup Lessons From Career Karma’s Series B Round

Early this week, Career Karma raised $40M in Series B funding to empower more students, employees, and contractors to start their journey to a career in tech.

Career Karma raised $40M in Series B funding

Founded in 2018, the San Francisco startup was built to alleviate the blockers that some people face when getting into the tech industry.

Ruben Harris was repeatedly ghosted after submitting resume after resume. Even after he found an opportunity, Harris noticed others struggled with the same problem. So, he and his co-founders set out to hopefully solve the problem.

Harris and twin brothers, Artur and Timur Meyster, started a podcast in 2016 to help non-techies navigate their way into tech. As more people engaged with the podcast, the trio decided to turn it into a tech product to help more people. After applying twice to Y Combinator, they got accepted.

Today, Career Karma attracts over 3M+ monthly visitors, and 25k of them are paired with the right coaches and training programs. They’re quickly making their way to becoming the “front end for all job training.”

CareerKarma,com attracts over 3M+ monthly visitors

The key lesson here for founders is the discipline of staying committed, despite opposition. No one knows the value of your ideas like you, and your co-founders.

People sometimes can’t see the impact on your community and the world unless you show them. The only way to do that is to keep grinding and iterating where necessary.

I stumbled on this article where Ruben Harris gives three key pieces of advice for startup founders. Here’s a quick summary:

📍Stay Disciplined. Results don’t happen overnight

📍Building a community of like-minds is key. They support you even when others don’t.

📍Don’t let a “no” stop you from asking again. Get comfortable with articulating a vision, whether or not people believe you can do it. Then go out and do it.

It’s important to stay on your path and keep grinding. There are people who need the solution your product or service will provide. A better way is to see rejection and failure as feedback. Use what’s been said to improve your product and position it better. With consistency, you’ll start to see the desired results.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Career Karma raised $40M in Series B funding to empower more students, employees, and contractors to break into tech on a larger scale.
  • At the beginning of their journey, Y Combinator rejected the Career Karma idea the first time the cofounders applied.
  • Harris advises startup founders to stay disciplined, get support from a community of like-minds, and never let “no” keep them from trying.

Stop Publishing Just To Publish

2022 is almost 14 days old, and it’s not unusual to find brands and individuals setting mind-blowing goals for the year.

Perhaps, your team has set some goals already, or you’re still trying to figure out what’s important to your organization and customers this year.

A common goal most markets would most likely share is to “publish more content in 2022.” While publishing is a great goal, the way this goal is currently structured sets you and your team up for failure.

Goals that become results are S.M.A.R.T. They are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.

Goals are measurable, realistic and specific

Without these qualities in place, your team will struggle to accomplish much this year.

Here’s how Ryan McCready puts it in this article:

Goals have measurable outcomes and timelines built into them. Without a real goal, you end up publishing content just to publish it, whether it be on social media, in your customer’s inbox, or on YouTube. Just adding more noise to an already noisy year.”

If you want to add value to your readers in 2022, avoid vague, lofty statements like “we want to increase our following on LinkedIn this year.” That’s an aspiration, not a goal.

Instead, a more actionable goal would be:

Share data-driven and thought leadership content 2x daily on our CEO’s LinkedIn page to increase their following by 25% by February 1st.

This goal is specific, has a measurable outcome, is achievable, realistic, and it has a due date.

If you want to set real content goals that you’d actually achieve this year, you can read the full article here or download our content calendar template to get started.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • A common goal most markets would most likely share is to “publish more content in 2022.” Such a goal sets your team up for failure.
  • Goals have measurable outcomes and timelines built into them. Without a real goal, you end up publishing content just to publish.
  • If you want to add value to your readers in 2022, avoid vague, lofty goals.

OTHER NEWS OF THE WEEK:

🔐 Google Cloud acquires Siemplify for about $500M to help companies detect, manage, and respond to threats better.

🔊 LinkedIn is launching interactive Clubhouse-style audio events this month to help creators engage their audience on the platform.

😻 Tinder’s latest update makes finding your perfect match more collaborative. Now, you and your best pals can jointly vet prospects and choose the best fit.

🎧 Disney launches storytelling headphones to give your kids sweet dreams and fun days.

HIRING BRILLIANT B2B MARKETERS:

And more…

BRAIN FOOD OF THE WEEK:

How do you make readers feel like you read their minds while consuming your content?

You do so by finding language/market fit.

You know you’ve found language/market fit when prospects experience an “Aha moment” while consuming a piece of content you created.

When you use words that resonate with your audience’s goals and pain points to describe your solution to prospects, you’re sure to win over their hearts because they feel you get them, and you can help them get the solution they need.

Finding this fit is critical for B2B SaaS companies, especially early- and growth-stage startups.

Matt Lerner, co-founder, and CEO of Startup Core Strengths, outlines four ways SaaS founders, strategists, and marketers can find language/market fit in this article.

Here’s a snapshot:

  • Ask them questions and capture the words they use to describe their experience with your product or service. That’s how you uncover your customers’ or prospects’ goals, struggles, and language.
  • Use your interviewee’s words to draft some headlines.
  • Test those headlines on other people. Listen for feedback to uncover whether or not it resonates with them.
  • Create a simple ad design, and run the same ad with different headlines. See which one performs best with your audience.

As you experiment, you’d find the right words that hit home for your audience, and you can store them in a doc to share with your marketing team. These words would frame the way you communicate on your landing pages, blogs, and other user-facing assets.

Of course, this isn’t a one-off event. You need to keep testing and learning about your customers frequently to be sure you’re communicating the right message to them.

If you’re a SaaS founder struggling to find product/market fit, or you’re a marketer looking to connect better with your audience, you can read the full article here.

TWITTER THREAD OF THE WEEK:

8 tools for presenting your content differently by Tina Donati

IN CASE YOU MISSED SOME OF OUR GREATEST HITS:

WHAT WE’RE WIRED INTO THIS WEEK 🎧:

Monday Motivation Playlist


These round-ups are brought to you by me, Jessica O., every week ✌!

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