5 Ways a Small Team Can Make a Big Impact

Hang out with people who have the same job as you. You’ll find that often you are going through the same challenges, and there are plenty of opportunities to learn from each other’s experiences. Community can be especially powerful if you are the only one at your company who does your job every day. 

I took part in just such a gathering recently in San Diego at VC Comms Con, where the communications agency BAM brought together media, marketing and communications professionals in venture capital for a day at The New Children's Museum. No, it was not Comic Con. Yes, there was a lot of play, colorful art, and even a few big-name appearances — the very generous Fund/Build/Scale host Walter Thompson (formerly of TechCrunch+) and Fortune Term Sheet reporter Allie Garfinkle.

The conference was chock full of tactical tips and case studies for comms pros. But more importantly, I left with some high-level takeaways that are shaping how I think not just about my specific job, but generally how to drive success and maintain sanity in a fast-paced role on a one-person team, which is common at startups, venture firms, and emerging ventures of all types. Here are five ways to add value that multiplies your impact on a company:

Tell your story. Media and marketing professionals spend a lot of time helping people craft their narrative. As I listened to presentations, I found myself turning inward. What’s the story of my role? Why do I do what I do, and how does it move the needle? Professionals tasked with providing value to an organization must do what they do, and talk about what they do.

Make it easy for your colleagues. No one has time to create content, and comms pros also wear many hats. There was a lot of time spent discussing how to make it easier for journalists to report, and partners to write and move their pieces to completion. Plating. Parbaking. Templating. There’s a process behind all of the writing you see on LinkedIn!

IMG_7889Squadra Head of Media Stephen Babcock at VC Comms Con. 

The power of no. When ideas start flowing, it’s easy to say yes. After the meeting, comms pros are tasked with making them a reality. You are the expert, and you can call on that expertise to say no. There is an art to this, and it must be applied differently with different people. But find ways to give yourself permission to consider what you don’t have to do.

It’s OK to play. “When we’re outside of our comfort zone in a place where we don’t care if we make mistakes, that’s where the magic happens.” That was the first quote of the event I wrote down, and it is staying with me. Set up activities that cause you and your colleagues to move and think in new ways. Change the context, get talking, and collaborate. Creativity will follow.

Follow up. As a newspaper journalist, I learned the importance of calling until you get the quote you need for a story. This lesson still applies. People are busy and easily distracted. Send the second email as a reminder. Send that additional piece of content. Send the thank you note. You won’t only be more likely to get an answer, people will remember that you took the time to follow through.

aIMG_7881A breakout session at VC Comms Con. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Pro tip: Start your conference with some music! An 8:30 a.m. performance from the improvisational hip-hop combo Freestyle+ got the crowd moving, and laughing. Nothing sets the stage for a great day more than a little fun.

Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is the Head of Media at Squadra Ventures. Stephen works to grow the Squadra brand through content, PR and events. Working closely with the Squadra team and portfolio companies, he tells stories, builds audience and makes the creative a driver of value. Stephen has built new media products across B2B and general interest news. He built, launched and served as editor of The Current, a B2B media platform for ecommerce professionals, and supported the marketing and brand activities of parent company Incremental, a retail media attribution and measurement platform. Over a 15-year career as a journalist across print and digital, he worked as an editor with outlets such as the tech news network Technical.ly, and a reporter with publications such as The New York Times, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, The Rio Grande Sun and The Patriot-Ledger.


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