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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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Educator to Entrepreneur

We open the first season by diving into the dynamic of owning a business with your spouse. Erryn and Mariah Cobb tell their story of how they ended up working together in their respective businesses. Mariah shares how she transitioned from teaching to opening her coworking space, homiey, as well as the challenges and benefits of having a dual entrepreneur family.

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A 10 Year Lesson In Humility

10 years ago today we started Fetch and I embarked on my entrepreneurial journey. There is so much I want to say about the last decade. However, the one constant, through all of the ups and downs, has been me being humbled on a regular occurrence. 

Humility is not complicated, it is multifaceted. There are so many intricacies between being humble, being humbled and having humility, that the result of each is often confused as a positive or negative thing. Over the past 10 years I have experienced all of the above. The reality is, if you are lucky, humility is a gift that keeps on giving. The key is to have the right perspective. Here are a few humbling lessons I have identified as I reflect on my journey over the past 10 years. 

I Have an Awesome Responsibility

I am blown away by the amount of people who have entrusted me with their livelihood. From my co-founder to employees to clients, each one of them trusted me to live up to my end of the bargain. In the times when the answer was not always clear, the collective power of your confidence provided fuel to find the correct path. I am truly humbled by the responsibility you have given me to contribute to your vision, lead your careers and grow your businesses. 

My Network is My Net Worth

I have accumulated some dope people over the past 10 years. While I definitely have not lacked confidence during this journey, there is nothing more powerful than the people that you admire and look up to holding you in the same regard. For me, it always starts with my family. While I can write a whole blog series on how amazing they are, I will just say they represent the standard of which all other things are measured and leave it at that. Lucky for me, in addition to having said family, I have met equally impressive professionals who have rounded out my circle. While knowing these phenomenal people is great, they have also dedicated countless hours of listening, advising and contributing to my journey. My growth as an individual and professional is a direct result of time spent with them. I am humbled that you have found me worthy of your time. 

It is Bigger Than Me

Let’s be real, I was 25 when I started this company. I am sure it comes as no surprise that the perceived earning potential, bravado and autonomy played a small role in me pursuing entrepreneurship. However, as the years progressed and as I matured, my mission became more clear. I am a husband and father now. While all of the points made throughout this blog definitely apply to my wife and daughter, there is more to be said to them. My wife has been with me through almost the entirety of this journey. Through all of the ups and downs, never once has she faltered or doubted the vision. As we proceed together in this, our daughter will also be looking to us as examples of how to manage success, persevere through failure and handle it all with humility. I don’t even know how to begin to quantify that. While I don’t expect it to be perfect, I do expect it to be humbling along the way. Quite frankly, I’m cool with that. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Stay humble. -EC

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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.