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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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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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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