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Family Business

The second episode of our first season keeps the focus on family. More specifically we dig into the lessons passed between generations of entrepreneurs. Bill and Diana Himmelstein own Tenant Advisory Group, a Chicago based commercial real estate brokerage. In addition to highlighting Diana’s journey from brain surgeon to broker, we also discuss how entrepreneurship impacts the entire family. From Bill’s experience as a business owner’s son to how they are raising their own sons to be entrepreneurs and everything in-between, we dive deep into inner workings of generational business ownership.

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How to Build Your Defacto Board

Whether it’s for a non-profit or a major corporation, boards are essential for different perspectives, ideas and professional development. While having an actual board for your business is a milestone to strive for, you can also curate a defacto board out of your personal network. Building a network that serves as your small business’ board can provide you with the same great benefits that larger organizations enjoy and can elevate your company to new levels. When putting together your go-to team, be selective, and look for the types of people we’ve outlined below with whom to begin establishing mutually-beneficial relationships.

Someone who has spent their career at large corporations

This type of person is especially important for any business owner and that’s because this person can help provide insight into various ways companies are structured – from department breakdowns to the hierarchy of positions. This person’s perspective will help fill in the gaps on how you build your business and can be a great reference for what your business is doing right and also what can be improved. 

A successful career sales professional

Behind every business, there’s the aspect of sales. While sales may come easy to some, it’s a skill that must be cultivated. Having a successful sales professional in your network is golden for the small business owner who is great at what they do but didn’t come into business ownership with a sales background. This person can provide fundamentals and advice on how to properly navigate the sales process. From establishing funnels to creating packages and services to closing a deal, the insight gained from these conversations is priceless. 

A career professional in your field

This person does not have to be a business owner themselves, but they do need to have done what you do for a longer period of time and at a higher level. While most industries have changed over time, it helps to have someone who has been there and done that. While the potential to have innovative conversations is definitely there, the larger takeaway is having someone who understands the fundamentals of what you do.

A good listener

This person may or may not have experience in your industry or in business at all. However, this person is great at listening and is ready and willing to give you their ear. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to talk it out and by having the opportunity to have conversations without the expectation of a response, you can do just that. In fact, by having an unbiased listener, you can often talk through things and arrive at your own conclusion or solution. 

Building a personal network takes time and patience, but it’s an important aspect of business development that can elevate your company to new heights. Always remember, you are who you surround yourself with and the same can be said for your business. By placing yourself among people who are smart, talented and experienced, you and your business will benefit.

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Fetch Named One of the Best PR Firms in Chicago!

For the third year in a row, Fetch has been named one of the top public relations firms in Chicago! Expertise, a platform designed to locate local experts, surveyed 712 PR firms that serve the Chicago area to select the top 25 to feature.

Firms were scored on more than 25 variables across five categories, then analyzed the list to hand-pick its recommended companies. Fetch also received this honor in 2017 and 2018.

 

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The Basics on Thought Leadership

The Basics on Thought Leadership

There are always buzzwords floating around the business world: productivity, transparency, ROI (just to name a few). And while thought leadership might be a topic you’ve seen, it’s so much more than just a buzzword. It’s essential for the growth of your business. So let’s dive into the basics. Thought leadership is being an expert on a specific topic or in a specific industry that people and publications can rely on to learn the newest trends. It’s a simple way for your business to reinforce your expertise on a given topic or industry.

So what’s the big deal? Well, other than the obvious fact that every business wants to be an expert in their field, it’s crucial to position yourself as an expert in front of your target audience.

How does one become a thought leader? By creating timely, knowledgeable and expert insight on a subject through branded content. Here’s how:

Long-Form Written Content

Blogs are a major player in helping your brand become a thought leader. They engage your audience and they offer up an easy way to get across expert information. After reading your posts, your audience should leave knowing how to do something new or with valuable knowledge they can apply to their life, business etc. By integrating a robust, knowledgeable blog presence on your website, you’ll not only reinforce your authority to website visitors, but you’ll also increase searchability and have the functionality to share across digital channels such as social media and newsletters.

Visual Content

As we mentioned above, relevant content is key to a successful thought leadership campaign, but it isn’t just enough to write blogs. You need visual elements to capture your audience’s attention and relay key points of information. Not everyone has the time or attention span to read blogs, so utilizing visual content like infographics makes your expert information easily consumed by social media scrollers. According to Facebook, on average, most audiences spend about 1.7 seconds on a piece of content. In order to get the most out of this very short amount of time and hopefully capture someone’s attention, a strong visual presence is key.

 Publicity

Another great way to increase brand authority is through publicity. Once your business has scored a media hit due to your excellent thought leadership content, you can not only expect a wider reach to your target audience via the media publication you’ve landed, but also increased credibility. When the media is relying on you as a source of expert information, this will solidify your status as a thought leader among your target audiences as well.

Stay tuned to receive additional blog posts as we take a deeper dive into the elements that lead to a successful thought leadership campaign. 

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How to Craft Long-Form Written Content

Blogs are a major player in helping elevate your brand to thought leader status. They engage your audience and offer up an easy way to get across expert information. After reading your posts, your audience should leave knowing how to do something new or with valuable knowledge they can apply to their life, business etc. Here’s how to get started.

The Topic
The entire idea behind thought leadership is that you are publishing content that places your brand as an expert, so that’s a great place to start when brainstorming content ideas. You want to be very intentional with what type of information you’re providing your readers. For example, one subject has many different angles. You could write a How-To Guide on making cupcakes, but you could also write a piece on Top Cupcake Trends. Both posts are placing you as an expert on cupcakes, but take very different approaches. The key here is whether you’re offering a How-To Guide, the Do’s and Don’ts or even Three to Five Things You Should Know about a certain subject post, you need to provide insider information that you (someone who is an expert in the industry) would know and your audience wouldn’t.

The Structure
Due to the flexible nature of blogs, there isn’t a hard and fast rule on the best way to structure them, although you should also be aiming to make your blogs as digestible as possible. You should also ensure that each of your blogs have an introduction and conclusion.

See your introduction as an appetizer. You want to get your audience hungry, you want to hook them in. Introductions should be brief but also inform your readers in an interesting way what the next course is going to be. Your conclusion should wrap up the ideas you introduced in the blog. View this section as your dessert. Your readers are mostly likely pretty full on information, but they’re looking for a little something sweet to end the meal. Now we get to the entree, whatever happens in between the intro and conclusion is up to you. You can structure your blogs with bulleted lists, paragraphs and even graphs and charts, the only thing to keep in mind is that you don’t over serve. Make sure your main ideas are clear, easy to read and don’t present an overwhelming amount of information.

Making a Content Series
One great way to increase your thought leadership credibility is by implementing a content series. A content series is basically just a series of blogs. For example, you would have a mother blog on a certain topic, such as thought leadership. Then you would have 2-3 subtopics of that main topic outlined in that mother blog – like long-form written content, visual content and media. Having deja vu? That’s right, you’re currently in a content series. The beauty of a content series is that you have the ability to take a deeper dive into a specific subject in a cohesive way.

By integrating a robust, knowledgeable blog presence on your website, you’ll not only reinforce your authority to website visitors, but you’ll also increase searchability and have the functionality to share across digital channels such as social media and newsletters.

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How to Upgrade Your Visual Content

how to upgrade your brand's visual content

People are busy and constantly scrolling – it can be tempting for your audience to scroll right past that carefully crafted blog you wrote. So how do you get someone to pay attention in the world of short attention spans? Visually interesting content. 

When it comes to thought leadership and visual content, the same principles apply as they did for creating long-form written content. Whether you’re creating an infographic based off of a blog or sharing a testimonial, you have to make it consumable and you have to relay expert information in a way that requires little to no effort from your audience. Your visual content has to be strong, unique and relatable to your consumers, and it needs to be aligned with your end marketing objective. 

Here are some top tips on how to create visuals that will catch your audience’s eye. 

Consistent Branding:

Your branding needs to be immediately clear to any social media scroller, that’s why it’s important to incorporate your brand’s color palette and logo. The idea here is for your audience to start to recognize your branding so it won’t take more than a moment for them to know this is your business’ content. Optimal use of brand colors and logo in designing can give a voice and personality to your brand. 

Composition:

It’s important to strike a balance between text, color and negative space. It can be easy to want to fit as much text as possible on a graphic to inform your audience, but that actually does the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish. By using the rule of thirds formula and erring on the side of using less text and more icons, you can create harmony in your designs, making them easier for your audience to digest. 

Tools for Design:

You don’t have to be a graphic designer to design great visual content. There are many tools and softwares available online for you to use to create content. Canva is one of the preferred websites used for designing any kind of visual content. With a few pre-designed templates, Canva is fast, easy and extremely user-friendly.

By integrating visual content as part of your digital marketing strategy in tandem with long-form written content, you have a much better opportunity for your audience to take in your content and boost your credibility as a thought leader. 

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Using User-Generated Content

You’ve created it. Your friends have created, and you’ve seen it all over social media whether you know it or not. We’re talking User-Generated Content (UGC). User-generated content is an affordable and inexpensive means of building credibility for your business. It’s about showing your customers that you care about their needs and it helps foster a human connection. UGC can prove very beneficial for your business. Why? Because your offerings are being praised by your audience’s peers. It can take the form of a nice comment on Facebook, a curated photo of one of your meals posted to Instagram or a rave review on Yelp. Think of it as word of mouth but digital.

Now that we know what UGC is and how beneficial it can be, the next step is to determine the type of UGC you want and strategize towards it for the best results. Here are some tips to help you devise a UGC plan for your business:

Engage Your Audience:

In order to engage your audience, have them interact with your brand and provide you with UGC, you need to put a focus on engaging content. A simple way to do this is by asking questions in your social media posts. For example, if you’re a restaurant, you can ask what everyone’s favorite dish is. You can also encourage people to leave reviews on Google, Yelp or Facebook. If you want to amp things up a notch, you can partner with micro-influencers or you can host giveaways where an entry requirement is to leave a review, comment about what they love about your business, etc.

Selecting the Best UGC:

Not all UGC is created equal. When selecting which content to share or repost, first look at things like grammar, quality of any visuals and overall shareability. Then, once you’ve compiled some options, strategize on how to get the most mileage out of these posts. To put this in context, pretend you’re the owner of a clothing store and you have a pair of jeans that are about to go on sale. Say you also have a great review of these jeans. Instead of just randomly selecting content, use the review of the jeans to also highlight that they’ll be going on sale.

Post Branded Hashtags:

Hashtags are a secret weapon for optimizing user-generated content. Consumers can easily look up content through branded hashtags. Try to keep your hashtags short, simple and unique to your business. Look at your competitors’ hashtags and think strategically about phrases and words that best describe your offerings. 

Sponsored and paid advertisements on social and digital have become redundant, and consumers may have a tendency to scroll past them. The right UGC strategy can be just what your business needs to create a connection that’s meaningful, engaging and profitable. 

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F.A.T. Stacks 101: What is a MarTech Stack?

Over the past decade the tools and techniques we use to increase brand exposure have evolved. While some marketing technology requires industry and tech knowledge, there are several easily accessible, user friendly marketing tools that any entrepreneur can implement on their own. However, not all of these tools are created equally. In addition to that, most small- to mid-sized business owners are lacking the time to figure out how to properly use this technology and implement them on a consistent basis. We created the F.A.T. (Financially Accessible Technology) Stacks series for SMBs who know enough to be dangerous, but don’t have the bandwidth to keep up with all of the moving parts.

The term “stack” is used because each portion makes up a layer in the user’s journey and how they interface with your brand. For example, an SMB will typically utilize a website service (e.g. Squarespace), an email program (e.g. Constant Contact) and a social media business page (e.g. LinkedIn). These tools make up the company’s marketing technology (martech) stack. However, there may be better and more efficient options, as well as additional tools that should be adjusted and added to the stack to increase productivity and simplify the customer outreach process.

The basic components of an optimal marketing technology stack include:

  1. Website built on an easily accessible content management platform
  2. Backend analytical tools to measure website performance and searchability
  3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program for email marketing and sales tracking
  4. Customer outreach program via email automation and digital ads
  5. Appropriate social media channels, and an all-in-one dashboard to monitor and post to each channel

Under each of these components, there are potentially dozens of options a business owner can choose from that vary greatly in complexity and price point. What’s more, it’s important to consider scalability in both technology and team size when selecting the products in a the business’s marketing technology stack. For example, an e-commerce startup might not need much more than MailChimp to send out customer thank you emails, but the lack of automation and integration with the established web ordering system will cause major delays as sales grow.

Successfully installing a marketing technology stack and ensuring staff is appropriately trained to use the tools involved is a crucial component in attracting and engaging with the target audience in the most efficient way possible.

If you’re interested in learning about Fetch IMC’s stack install, click here to get in touch!

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Celebrating the 16th Annual Sound System Block Party

On Saturday, July 20, The Silver Room hosted their 16th Annual Sound System Block Party in Hyde Park. The Block Party is a free event that fosters a space for diversity and inclusivity, artistry, bumping music and activities the whole family can enjoy. That’s why Fetch was so excited to be able to participate in the festivities for the second year in a row!

Thousands of Chicagoland community members showed up in support of the event and with multiple dances and concerts, The Silver Room Block Party was a huge success. People from all over Chicago came to Hyde Park to admire the artistry of the many creatives that performed.

But how did attendees know which stage to stop by to catch their favorite artist or what time the movie festival started? That’s where Fetch comes in. We had the unique opportunity to design an app that detailed everything guests needed to celebrate The Greater Good. From artist bios to stage locations to the festival’s schedule, we were able to organize, optimize and stylize an app to enhance the Block Party experience. And even though the party is over, you can still keep the good vibes going by checking out the Block Party playlist and downloading the app on the Apple Store or Google Play.

Photos by: @stoptime.live & @schtephyy