Sahil Bloom on Content Strategy, Brand Voice, and Audience Growth
Sahil Bloom is an advisor at Altamont Capital Partners, a serial angel investor in
over 30 tech startups, and a board member for several consumer brands in his
portfolio. His angel portfolio spans category-defining companies like Mercury,
Alpaca, Pallet, Metafy, and UserGems.
But, you’re more likely to recognize Sahil from Twitter. With 280K+ followers,
he writes distilled educational threads as well as a popular newsletter that demystifies finance and economics.
We sat down with Sahil to get a piece of that expertise, diving deep into
constructing zero-to-one acquisition funnels and designing growth tactics that
compound with each repetition.
“To put it as bluntly as I can, you can’t fake content based on what you think
the market wants from you. Authenticity is at the core of any successful
Distilling Your Authentic Voice
The first step to building your audience is defining your voice. Maintaining
consistency in your brand’s editorial style, and thus broader identity is a
critical part of breeding genuine loyalty.
To find your brand voice, Sahil emphasizes the role of authenticity in driving
results, rather than a false persona you assume the market wants to see. In
this vein, the founder-market fit is crucial because the source of your
company voice should resonate within your market niche and for your vertical’s
When this occurs, take it as a sign that you’re building in the right
In terms of defining channels to amplify your voice, Sahil comes back to
written content. A basic Twitter account and newsletter can be high leverage
tools for early acquisition if you can stand out against the landscape due to
the fundamental quality of your ideas, not their flashiness.
“The sign of a great brand personality is when it doesn’t feel like a brand
speaking to you at all. It feels like there’s a person behind it: someone who
relates to you.”
Network Amplification Tactics
A common refrain for founders might be that they can’t find time to build an
audience because they’re busy perfecting the product or assembling a team.
Sahil insists that one doesn’t have to come before the other. Rather, they
should be developed in tandem.
Sahil points out that one way to scale an audience while your company is still
young is to hone in on precisely that fact. Put simply, share insights on what
you’re learning as you build it.
Building in public is a powerful amplification driver, or doing and learning
interesting things than sharing them for your audience’s benefit. He notes
that you can attract an audience just by reporting what you’re learning in
real-time. Though, of course, the reality is that someone who lives and
breathes their product likely won’t have time to share well-crafted tweets all
To this end, Sahil emphasizes the importance of designing tight-knit networks,
or groups of people who support each other by boosting one another’s content
in their respective niches and pockets of the market. As a result, each node
in the network can scale their audience together.
“A great network of creators doesn’t just drive retweets. Rather, it forms
tight connections between nodes in a collective, in turn shifting attention
back and forth to each other’s content. This was massively important for my
Zero-to-One Acquisition Funnels
To Sahil, Twitter will always serve as the ideal top-of-funnel channel because
it serves as your company’s largest, easiest discovery mechanism. In his
words, you’ll be able to capture the most people you would never have
encountered in traditional social acquisition channels.
You should then drive Twitter followers through to an email base. Emails can
be collected through a landing page, organic SEO, or any other entry point for
this stage of the funnel. You’re now developing an owned audience but without
the typically associated platform risk.
Eventually, that email base responds to direct calls to action, whether
that’s purchasing, generating organic noise about your brand, improving
event attendance, or otherwise.
In terms of common mistakes to avoid, while building out your funnel, Sahil
advises that teams should be wary of an ineffective platform push, or failing
to drive people from one platform to another.
For instance, turning Twitter followers into email subscribers requires more
than tweeting a link to your newsletter.
After all, Twitter’s algorithm works to keep users on the platform, so linking
to an off-platform site will mean even fewer eyes on your post. Instead, Sahil
recommends embedding an off-platform link deeper within a piece of content
that could go viral, since that’ll guarantee far more views than an
“To unlock channels like Twitter, you need to deeply understand how the
platform works at its most intimate level, rather than just blasting content
The Unbundling of Acquisition
As someone with access to various parts of the ecosystem — audience
development, creation, and investment — Sahil shares his unique view on what
trends are emerging in full force.
Founders and investors alike are realizing there are novel ways to scale a
business to new users that don’t involve spending money on paid ads or other
traditional customer acquisition efforts.
In fact, the practice of customer acquisition as a whole has essentially
According to Sahil, creative audience development tactics enable access to new
ecosystems, verticals, and user bases for effectively zero dollars. Or, with
the rapid ascent of party rounds, entirely untapped networks can be now
accessed in the form of minor dilution to your cap table.
“The speed at which acquisition is getting completely unbundled is one of the
most fascinating trends. It’s happening in real-time, right before our eyes.”
Founder-First Investing Criteria
Given his extensive record as an angel investor, we asked Sahil how he
evaluates early-stage startups and founders. In his words, while he’s enough
of a data nerd to understand what good metrics look like for a young company,
he hones his focus on the people behind the numbers.
After all, early businesses will always run into growing pains, so the
question is whether the founding team is capable of working through them. That
degree of grit — the ability to be resilient and succeed regardless of past
failure — is the trait that draws Sahil to a founder.
“I tend to focus more on people because I have a good eye for people. What I’m
looking for is grit, and that’s hard to teach. You either have it or you