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Embrace Your Setbacks — and Use Them to Your Advantage




This story appears in the January 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

As we enter into a new year, I’ve thought a lot about something a woman asked me at the end of 2017. I was a guest on the Never Settle Show, a live-streaming talk show, and she sat in the front row of the audience and stood up to speak. She’s experienced a lot of setbacks, she said. A lot of obstacles. Her life often feels stagnant. How, she wondered, can she move forward?

Related: 3 Tips to Transform Setbacks Into Success

And I told her this: Nobody sees your past except you.

Consider this magazine you hold in your hands. You don’t see the five articles that fell apart. Or the two successive freelance editors we’d hired to help who then backed out and left us scrambling. Or the story we rewrote so many times, we thought about scrapping it. Or the fires, the many fires, we put out in the final week. All you see is what we wanted you to see: our final product, as good as we could make it.

Consider the guy writing these words. You don’t see the times I was turned down for jobs. The note from an editor I once had, who wrote, large and in red, that my work was “a lot of words with not much substance.” (Screw that guy.) The time I got fired. The time I misspelled a man’s name throughout an entire 3,000-word story. My clumsy first weeks as editor in chief, as I struggled to figure out how to inhabit the role. All you see is what I want you to see: a professional, as good as I could make myself.

Related: Why True Entrepreneurs View Setbacks As Opportunities

Now extend that to yourself. To you, your mistakes may feel ever-present — always there, always stifling. But nobody knows them. Nobody knows the doubt. Nobody knows the rejections, the insults, the slammed doors, the frustrations, the anxiety that kept you anchored to a chair. These things are not branded on your skin. They’re not stitched into your clothing. They’re only with you if you choose to carry them.

It’s a new year, but we don’t need a new calendar to break with our past. We can do it daily. We can do it hourly — walk out of a bad meeting, collect our thoughts and walk into the next one with a smile. Still, the calendar does at least give us a tidy way of thinking about time: That was then, and this is now. We can think of a setback as either an ever-­present part of our lives or something that happened at a fixed point in time — in a particular month or a particular year, always fading away from us, stuck in the past as we charge toward the future.

I don’t mean to say that your hardships should remain secret. They made you who you are, and I encourage you to embrace that. But the upside of setbacks isn’t just hard-won wisdom; it’s an appealing story that will draw people to you, and to your brand. Everyone loves a hero’s journey — including, frankly, the staff of Entrepreneur magazine, and our readers. We’re all drawn to the tale of someone who went on a quest, experienced terrible setbacks and overcame them on their way to success. If you’ve been set back, it just means you have a great story to tell.

Related: 10 Ways to Move Forward After Suffering a Big Setback

I’ll be honest with you: In a way, I’ve just told you my own hero’s journey. I revealed obstacles in the context of success. I did it because it felt good, and because I knew you’d respond well to it. I knew it’d make you like me more. Even here, now, in this sentence, I’m showing you only what I want you to see.

The new year is here. Let’s tell our stories the way we want them to be told. Nobody sees your past except you.

A daily source of inspiration and information, fuels the spectrum of game-changers that define what it means to be an entrepreneur today. That includes business leaders who launched something from nothing, content creators in the social influencer space, athletes pushing the boundaries of performance, and internal thought leaders innovating inside major corporations. offers strategic insights and how-to guidance for the people that make things happen.



How to Incorporate Influencers into Your Social Content Strategy

Social Media Week



There are many marketing tactics available at your disposal that it can be incredibly difficult to know where to begin. Especially, when it comes to deciding the best one for your business. However, at the core of marketing, you’ll always find social media. And it should be your first stop when you’re looking for ways to share your content with the world.

On the other side, creating shareable content is easier to say than do. But, one of the more up and coming ways to market on social media is by hiring and using an influencer on your profiles.

This has and is being proven time and time again to one of the most effective ways to market your business. It can amount to hundreds, if not thousands of social shares. Sounds like something your business wants or need? Allow me to explain.

What is an Influencer?

An influencer is somebody that has already built their way up in the upper atmosphere of social media credibility. Think Gordon Ramsey when it comes to cooking. Also, think Lonely Planet when it comes to travel. And any blogger, writer, photographer or media-based individual that has thousands of followers that they could introduce your brand to.

Statistically, influencers are a proven and successful marketing method. BuzzSumo conducted a survey of over 100 million articles and found and direct link between influencer-related content and the number of shares that that piece of content received.

Averagely, the figures show that an influencer post has a 31.8% higher chance to get shares that a regular post. Likewise, if three influencers shared a brand’s content, the shares doubled. Five influencers and posts were receiving a 400% increase in social shares. As you can see, it’s a marketing practice worth looking into.

However, many businesses can ask ‘how do you even get an influencer to market your brand, let alone five?’

Hold your horses; we’re getting there. To help you get started, here are three ways you can incorporate an influencer into your marketing strategy.

Building Up Your Online Presence

Using an influencer in marketing strategy can have dramatic effects on your SEO ranking. One of the most important aspects of SEO to consider is the links that you use on your website. This includes both your internal page links and your external backlinks.

One study that was carried out by search engine giant, Moz, discovered that the quality of these links is also essential when it comes to your ranking. This means you can’t simply fill up your pages with poor quality links or receive backlinks from low-quality spam websites. You need to find leading and authoritative websites to link to and to link back to you.

As you’d expect, getting backlinks on these high-authority websites is no easy feat. But, this is where influencers come in. Working with an influencer in this way has two main benefits.

Firstly, the chances are that the influencer you chose is already has a large following and could already be considered an authority site. This means when the influencer links to and from your website, your website is getting a boost in its SEO ranking.

Secondly, an influencer who shares your website means that you’ve increased your chances that other users and other high authority websites will share your content. In short, using an influencer can dramatically boost your quality backlink database.

Influencers Creating Content for You

As you already know, creating successful content is never an easy feat. It can take years to master the art of content creation and a tonne of finetuning to make sure that each piece is perfect. Hand in hand with the consideration above, Google will also examine your content to make sure that it provides real value to your readers, as well as the keywords used and the overall readability of the content.

So, in short, you need fantastic content that makes a real impact on your users. However, why not use an influencer to create this content for you? An influencer’s primary job is to create content that engages with users. They’ve obviously done a good job in the past because they wouldn’t have got to where they are now.

All you need to do is to get in contact with your influencer and chat through what sort of content they would be happy creating for you and their terms and conditions. This content is then hosted on your website with links to and from your influencers website, again boosting your SEO ranking and your levels of user engagement.

One company used influencers in their strategy which was then analyzed by TopRank Marketing. In just two weeks, the company boosted their website and page traffic by 609%, according to figure.

Mary Fowles, a content marketer for Big Assignments, states, “There are two ways you can approach an influencer for content. Firstly, you can work together to provide content and the sort of content that you want. You may want to create a template or a guideline for the influencer to work from.

However, the other way is by letting the influencer have full creative control over the content. Of course, as a partnership, you’ll be able to decide on a topic or subject. But when it comes to actually writing the piece, always let the influencer take control, it’s what they’re best at.”

Using Influencers to Share Your Content

As a marketer, one of the most overwhelming challenges you’ll face is getting your existing, and any future, content seen by your audience. After all, the lifespan of an Instagram post is only a few minutes before it’s lost forever in the ocean of uploaded content.

When it comes down to it, it’s all about engagement with your posts. The more engagement you get, the higher your traffic will be, and that’s where an influencer comes in. A joint survey discovered that internet users actually trust influencers online as much as they trust their friends which you need to use to your advantage.

Consider this. Influencers already have thousands, if not millions, of people that hang off every word that they say, type or share. If you can get an influencer to share your content, it will then be in front of all followers. And this will massively boost your online visibility.

This is a great tactic to use if you’re raising awareness about your business, product or a service. This entire method works based on the credibility of your influencer. People trust what the influencer says so them. Sharing your business means they trust you, and therefore their thousands of followers you should trust you as well.

Tips for Securing an Influencer

As you’d expect, an influencer isn’t going to put their credibility on the line for any business or organisation just like that. They’re going to want high-quality websites and businesses that have a purpose and run legitimately. This means your content needs to be perfect. Here are a few tips and tools to guarantee this quality.

Provide Valuable Content

As mentioned above, you need to provide content that’s informative and holds value. These pieces of content need to be professionally formatted and read well. You can use the writing guides at Via WritingOx Essays and State of Writing to get you started. You can also use online tools to create remarkable, high-quality content. But be sure to check it for errors and grammar mistakes.

When adding references and quotes to your content, which you should do when providing valuable information in your articles, add them professionally using free tools like Cite It In.

Consider the Length of Your Content

The length of your articles and content is vital to its success when providing valuable information and for your SEO ranking. To start with, you’re should aim for around 2,000 words as Google states this is the optimal length. You can easily track and monitor your word count using tools like Easy Word Count.

Guarantee Accuracy

If an influencer is considering working with your business, they’re going to read through your existing content first, obviously. If you have a poor-quality content full of mistakes and doesn’t grab their attention, they’re going to decline your offer.

This means proofreading all your content now and any future content you post, especially the piece you want them to share. Also, don’t forget about plagiarism. You can plagiarise content without noticing it. You can always enlist the help of plagiarism checkers such as Plagium and Academized if you’ve got a lot of content or want to ensure it is unique and you don’t steal someone else’s work.


These are the most notable ways you can use influencers in your content marketing campaign. As you can see, there are many benefits to using them for boosting your SEO ranking to getting hundreds of social shares on your content posts.

Using an influencer is by far one of the most exciting, affordable and effective marketing methods, so what are you waiting for?!

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Bottom Line

How Purpose-Driven Social Impact is Good for your Business, Brand, and Bottom Line

Social Media Week




In the past year, we’ve seen an unprecedented number of brands setting out to do good in the world. Inspired to action by the social and political challenges we face today, these brands are taking a strategic—and profitable—approach. They are creating social impact that directly aligns with their brand purpose, building not just goodwill, but brand equity.

Understanding how social impact and advocacy can boost a brand’s equity, and therefore its bottom line, is complex. When a brand tries to position itself as socially conscious, what makes it credible? How can a brand truly stand for positive change, instead of just paying lip service—or worse, being accused of “brandwashing” and causing serious backlash? In our socially-savvy, always-connected world, how does a brand make a lasting, authentic impact?

In preparation for my upcoming SMW panel “When Doing Good Drives the Bottom Line,” I had the chance to speak with the three inspiring panelists and marketing leaders from Sonos, Absolut Elyx, and Peace First to see how they are tackling these questions. Each are doing good in the world in ways that not only tell their brand story, but also build brand equity through impact.

Sonos is a perfect example of a consumer brand that is creating a real impact by invoking its purpose. Joe Dawson, head of Cultural Marketing and Social Impact, and his team are implementing remarkable programs in support of creative expression that resonate with the brand’s core purpose: “Listen better to Live Better.”

Sonos recognized that while they didn’t have a legitimate history of activism in the space, they did have the resources, a powerful platform, and a deep passion for artistic expression. Rather than starting from scratch, they ‘listened’ to the nonprofit organizations and community leaders already deeply engaged in the conversation around music censorship and artists’ needs and rights, and found ways to provide resources such as Listen Better grants, meeting spaces at Sonos stores, and a platform to amplify their voices. On the eve of the Grammy Awards, they closed their flagship Soho store as a statement to defend Net Neutrality and the vital role an open internet plays in cultivating creativity and music culture. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Sonos exercised its social media power again by pulling its ads from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google for a week. Their social accounts went silent in solidarity with those seeking to build a healthier, more consumer-friendly tech ecosystem.

What makes Sonos’ initiatives in particular so successful are that they are part of a cohesive strategy connected to the brand narrative. As a company at the crossroads of audio, technology, and media, Sonos recognizes its relevance to music, culture, and digital rights. Their cause complements the brand, appearing natural and genuine rather than stunt-like. This is due largely to two things:

  1. Sonos’ expression-focused brand purpose: the higher-order ‘why’ that embodies a brand’s reason for being.
  2. Their brand social capital: the reserve of understood goodwill a brand can generate by making a difference over a long period.

By aligning their social impact and marketing strategies with their brand purpose, Sonos goes that extra mile. They are not doing good simply for the sake of doing good (though that’s certainly not a bad thing!), but are making sure that their every action reinforces who they are and what they stand for. I, for one, am all ears!
To learn more about how Sonos, Absolut Elyx and Peace First bring their purpose to bear in the world, please join me at my panel this week. And stay tuned for a post-conference follow up sharing all the highlights and insights from the week!

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.

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Cinedigm and Dr.Oz’s JungoTV Partner to Launch New 24/7 Channel on Twitch

Social Media Week




This article was written by Matt Lopez and originally appeared on VIDEOINK.

Cinedigm and JungoTV are launching a 24/7 channel on Twitch, the gaming-focused social video platform. The channel, dubbed Combat Go, is the brainchild of media executive and former Crunchyroll Chief Content Officer George Chung, who is a five-time former World Karate Champion and Inductee in the Black Belt Hall of Fame.

The new network will provide over 600 hours of content—including over 100 hours of live fights—specially curated by martial arts experts, catering to both casual fans and passionate enthusiasts alike.

“When correctly taught and executed, the martial arts develop respect, discipline and honor,” said Dr. Mehmet Oz, JungoTV co-founder. “These admirable character traits will be on full display in Combat Go’s carefully curated programming, as the world’s top athletes execute the dynamics, unique styles, and practices that help achieve peak performance in their sports.”

Included in the content to be streamed on Combat Go are MMA and Kick Boxing competitions featuring matchups between internationally ranked fighters from promotions such as CageSport, Canadian Fight Night, Bangkok Fight Night and China’s leading combat league Kunlun Fight. The channel will also feature a variety of alternative combat sports geared toward millennial audiences, according to the two companies.

“There is a real lack of global combat sports among digital-first networks,” said Erick Opeka, EVP of Cinedigm Networks. “We look forward to bringing a diverse, high-quality array of top-tier events to the widely-popular and growing Twitch channel as well as other platforms where fans can not only watch the content, they can engage with it and their friends. We’ve seen great success so far with the performance of our fandom-focused CONtv channel on Twitch and expect similar results with Combat Go.”

Combat Go is the fifth channel from Cinedigm’s rapidly growing Digital Networks Group, which plans, launches and operates owned-and-operated as well as partner networks. Currently, the company operates factual network Docurama, fandom lifestyle network CONtv, gaming lifestyle network WHAM, and the family-focused Dove Channel.

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.

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Unilever Turns Up the Heat on Facebook & Google Over Tech’s ‘Unintended Consequences’

Social Media Week





Unilever has issued a stern warning to digital platforms including Facebook, Google, and YouTube: do more to improve transparency and clean up the “swamp” of fake news, exploitative, and socially divisive content, or be cut off from its multi-billion dollar digital advertising budget.

CMO Keith Weed recently spoke at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual leadership meeting held in Palm Desert, Calif. CNBC quotes him as saying, “We need to redefine what is responsible business in the digital age because for all of the good the tech companies are doing, there’s some unintended consequences that now need addressing.”

Two of the most important consequences being referred to include the threatening of safety of users, especially young children, and loss of trust by consumers and companies at large.

While it’s unlikely that Unilever will turn its back on the two largest digital platforms, Weed’s words matter because of the sheer amount of ad budget Unilever holds across its portfolio brands. MediaPost reports that in 2017, the company spent approximately $9.8 billion on marketing and advertising, a quarter of which went to digital.

Beyond the public denouncements, Unilever is also working with IBM to develop a blockchain with which the company can more effectively reduce ad fraud via a record of what media is purchased and how it is delivered.

A separate MediaPost article shares YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki’s response to Weeds comments on Monday. In her own statement at Recode’s Code Media conference, she assured,
“We want to do the right set of things to build [Unilever’s] trust. They are building brands on YouTube, and we want to be sure that our brand is the right place to build their brand.”

Recent efforts we’ve seen in support of this include significant updates to its Creator Program policy. Further, in light of the recent Logan Paul controversy involving a video in which a suicide victim was filmed inside a Japanese forest, the company has suspended running ads on his channel, per Ad Age.

While brand safety is a concern on the minds of many marketers, Unilever’s public comments this week indicate that brands are viewing the issue with a much broader lens, and seriously questioning the role these platforms play in people’s everyday lives, beyond the world of advertising. In this important cultural moment, people are looking to brands and platforms to assume responsibility and be proactive to keep their spaces safe, trustworthy, and suitable for communities.

To further explore the overarching question of how technology, including digital platform giants, can be used to bring us closer together versus further apart, join us at SMWNYC April 24-27. Register today and save 20%.

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