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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.

If you’re interested in learning more about this subject, sign up 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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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

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All About Our Summer Interns


Gianna Scheuneman is a senior at North Central College majoring in Broadcast Communication. After she graduates with her Bachelor’s degree, Gianna aspires to branch out in the Chicago Marketing/PR Industry as an Account Executive and hopes to eventually work her way up to a managerial role.

One thing Gianna Didn’t Know Before Starting This Internship
One major lesson that I learned throughout my time interning at Fetch is that it is critical to expand your mindset in this industry. Brainstorm, create and execute as many goals and ideas as you can to ensure that you, your brand and business are constantly evolving.

My favorite thing about interning at Fetch is working around diverse content for clients. I was never doing the same work for just one client each day; there was always something to take on within 3-5 clients and you are able to learn about so many different industries within a role in the Marketing and PR industry.

Gianna’s Favorite Thing About Interning at a Small Business
I especially value working at a small business because this challenges you and your team to work towards as many goals as possible for each client with a limited amount of time each day. You are essentially building a brand from scratch and this ensures that new ideas, digital trial and error experiments and further strategies to consider are constantly flowing in the workplace, and also puts your time management skills to the ultimate test.

All About Gianna
Even though I was born and raised in Chicago, I am always looking for the best places to eat, see or limited events to experience throughout the city. If I was not pursuing a passion for Marketing/PR, my dream job would be a Chicago food and lifestyle blogger. I would love to write, take photos and share my experiences with the world every day, on top of traveling.

David Flores is a born and raised Chicagoan who currently will be enrolled in his junior year at Northwestern University. He is studying Communication Studies with a minor in Entrepreneurship and a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications. David is passionate about his community, music and elevating the people he is around.

One thing David Didn’t Know Before Starting This Internship: I personally did not know how much collaboration there is between small businesses throughout the city of Chicago.

David’s Favorite Thing About Interning at a Small Business: I enjoy the community and close collaboration that a small team provides. It allows for work to share a multitude of different perspectives rather than pertaining to a certain department of a business.

All About David
I enjoy spending my free time learning more about hip hop culture, ultimately hoping to hone my skills in hip hop production and dj’ing.

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Meet the New Faces of Fetch IMC

We’re pleased to welcome two new members to the Fetch IMC team! 


Name: Matt Watson
Role: Account Executive
Alma Mater: Columbia College Chicago

Q: What is your favorite part about working with SMB clients?

A: My dad and grandfather were small business owners, so it’s always been in my DNA. I love working with other small businesses, learning about their pain points and helping to solve them through the creative process. You can really appreciate the impact our work has on these types of clients.

Q: What TV show are you currently addicted to?

A: Right now, it’s a tie between American Horror Story: Apocalypse, and re-watching Game of Thrones for the third time as I count down the days until season 8 premiers.

Q: What’s your favorite place in the world?

A: Obviously Chicago. I moved to San Francisco for four years after college, but missed the deep dish pizza too much – so I’m back! Hawaii would be a close second.

 


Name: Spencer Hopkins
Role: Digital Specialist
Alma Mater: DeVry University

Q: What is your favorite part about working with SMB clients?

A: When I think about a strong community, I envision small- and medium-sized businesses contributing to the community and feeding the economy. That can be measured on a small scale all the way to a global scale. There is also a lot to learn from watching the life cycle of a business and seeing it grow.

Q: What TV show are you currently addicted to?

A: Honestly, I am addicted to a few TV shows. I recently started watching TV again and I can’t get enough! Some of the shows I’m currently watching are Shameless, which is shot in Chicago; Insecure, with Issa Rae; Atlanta, directed by Donald Glover; and a few animated series.

Q: What’s your favorite place in the world?

A: My favorite place in the world is anywhere I haven’t had the chance to visit! There is much to experience in the world, rather than being comfortable in places I’ve been already. Some of my favorite places that I’ve had the chance to travel to are Montreal, New York and Japan. I plan to grow that list.

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Make Your Website a Brand Asset

It’s a common theme for entrepreneurs to spend an immense amount of time – and even money! – on their first website, only to forget about it as the business picks up. This can actually become detrimental to the digital health and searchability of the business. Think of your website as a living, breathing plant — it continually needs water and sun if you want it to grow your brand. When considering a rebrand, it is absolutely imperative that you plan to revamp and optimize your company website.

Websites Have a Shelf Life

Your website is the digital storefront for your entire brand, often serving as the first touchpoint for your potential customers. The backend of your site should be easily accessible to layman users to make it easy to update key points of your business. (e.g. hours of business, new phone numbers, etc.) Unfortunately, due to the perceived complex nature of a site, business owners can become too intimidated make these necessary changes. If this is the case, we can almost guarantee you need a new website. There are dozens of professional website and content management platforms designed for users with absolutely no prior design experience.  

Focus on the User Experience

It’s no secret that online users’ attention spans have grown shorter and shorter over the years. In an effort to keep readers engaged and moving through your website, you’ll need to evaluate the user experience (UX). How many tabs or menu items does the visitor have to click through to get to the information the need? Does your website function well on mobile devices? Can the user quickly find contact info? It can be tempting to use flashy videos or photos, but always remember that the user’s journey should be simple and easy.

Don’t Forget About Copy

Web copy should be just as streamlined as the design experience, written in short succinct sentences that briefly outline your offerings with plenty of calls-to-action (CTAs). As you’re evaluating your current website, read through every single line of website verbiage. You may be surprised at how much your brand language has changed. Consider your SEO strategy (or lack of strategy), and how you can fix that with content adjustments and ongoing contributions.

A subpar online presence will negatively affect your business in a variety of ways. As you’re considering a rebrand, your website redesign should be the centerpiece of your marketing efforts.

 

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Your Marketing Materials Should Reflect Your Current Brand

Consistency in your brand messaging is key in communicating your core offerings. Even if you’ve defined your unique value proposition, this won’t be clear to your target audiences if your marketing materials don’t reflect it. As you’re evaluating your need for a rebrand, gather every piece of marketing you use or have used, and prepare to take a close look at each item.

Start with Your Logo

A business’s logo is the cornerstone of the brand, the starting point in creating that instant recognition among your target audience. However, the design process can cost quite a bit of time and money — two things budding entrepreneurs find are in short supply. Think about how you would do your logo today, knowing what you do now about branding. Now think about how you could put those ideas in place to give it an updated look. Remember, a rebrand doesn’t mean trashing your logo. Simple font and color hue adjustments can make a big impact.

Move on to the Marketing Collateral

Up-to-date marketing materials are important for every business, regardless of whether or not sales are involved in the day-to-day success of the venture. Gather up all of your collateral – brochures, pitch decks, direct mail – and review the messaging and overall design. Are they communicating the brand effectively? Is the message the same across each marketing piece? Does it have the correct address and contact information? It helps to sit down with all materials at once to get a top-level view of your marketing program.

Finish with a Complete Audit of All the Rest

A marketing collateral audit doesn’t only refer to sales materials; take a look at every item that contains your company name or logo. This includes items like business cards, pens, signage, stationary and envelopes. You might be surprised with just how many outlets your brand touches! Not only should you look over everything for accuracy, but also think about necessity. For example, branded USB drives were all the rage 10 years ago, but today this will make you look outdated.

After conducting your audit of all marketing materials, you’ll probably be surprised at just how much your business has evolved since its startup days. Still don’t know whether or not you need a rebrand? Take our quiz!

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Eight Lessons from Eight Years in Business

*A note from Fetch PR partner Lina Khalil

 

Fetch has gone through a ton of changes since Erryn and I started the business in 2009, growing leaps and bounds in clients, staff and even square footage. To celebrate our eighth year in business, the whole team came together for cake and wine and to reflect on the lessons we’ve learned. Here are a few of our favorites.

 

1. Put all the cards on the table.

One of the best ways to keep your team passionate about the company’s goals is to be transparent about where you’ve been, where you are currently, where you would like to go and how each individual plays a role in getting there. When employers put all the cards on the table, their team feels more connected and committed to reaching the company’s goals.

 

2. Be real about your struggle.

Being able to identify where you struggle personally while also being able to have success in those situations provides individual development that will help you grow as a company. Obviously, you want to stay true to who you are, but you can’t always be the same person in every professional situation and rely on just your natural skill set if you want to progress. You need to understand your strengths but not fall back on them constantly to the point where they become a weakness.

 

3. Bootstrapping isn’t cute.

Money isn’t everything, but when you’re running a business, it can feel like the only thing that matters. We like to ask ourselves two questions when it comes to making business decisions: Can we afford to do it? Can we afford NOT to do it? Always remember that any financial venture is an investment in your business. If an opportunity to improve your business may stretch you financially, consider how long it would take you to reach your goals without making that investment. Compare this to the short-term financial strains that you may incur by going after it. We have found that nine times out of 10 that making the investment has paid larger dividends.

 

4. Don’t sell yourself short.

Go after your ideal candidate as soon as possible, even if you’re not currently in the position to hire them. Make your intentions known and start the conversation early with them. Most business owners feel undeserving when it comes to attracting top talent. However, if you passionately sell your vision to them, they may reciprocate by telling you their must-haves in order to make the move. This will put you the best position to secure your rock star candidate and accelerate the growth of your company.

 

5. Wear less hats.

At some point every business owner wears multiple hats. While this approach allows you to launch your company and get off the ground with minimal investment, it was never meant to sustain a company long term. It is important to understand your revenue-generating activities which will help you analyze the value of your time. This will allow you to pinpoint processes that you are currently handling and outsource to a third-party who can do it more efficiently and for less money than what your time is worth.

 

6. Take your blinders off.

In our personal lives, we all know self-care is important – meaning, you have to take care of yourself first in order to help others. This is no different than running a business. While keeping your clients happy is the number one priority, neglecting your own business can stagnate your growth. To ensure your business doesn’t plateau, set aside time each quarter to look at your business as a whole. This will allow you identify areas of opportunity, promote innovation and boost creativity within your business.

 

7. Sh!t happens.

Ultimately, we can’t control when bad things happen, but that doesn’t mean we should sit around waiting for them to happen. While these negative experiences allow opportunities to learn and grow, it’s equally important to recognize the good moments and enjoy the heck out of those times.

 

8. Boy bye.

A relationship with a client is oddly similar to a relationship with a significant other. Sometimes, when the relationship with a client goes south, you automatically try to mend the broken pieces but realize that it can only hold together for so long. When it gets to that point, it’s time to let the client go in order to keep your company intact.

 

We hope these lessons that we learned throughout our eight years in business can serve you well in your enterprise endeavors. Here’s to another eight (plus)!

Check out one of our highlights from this past year