Tech PR, Healthcare PR, Financial PR, Sustainability PR, and others require the best public relations

***This post originally appeared on Medium***

In-house marketing and communications professionals all face the decision at some point in their career: to hire an internal public relations professional, or outsource to a PR firm that specializes in your industry. This is especially true in the start up space, especially for companies seeking tech PR, healthcare PR, and sustainability PR solutions. Rapidly evolving industries require nimble media relations strategists to execute the best public relations efforts.

However the size of the company, the stakes can be high and also very expensive. Should you choose in-house, you must be prepared to add a new dynamic to your office, and also extra costs in the form of employee salary, taxes and benefits.

On the other hand, should you choose to retain an agency, you must be prepared for monthly retainer costs. Depending on the scope of services provided, you’ll also likely need someone internally who is capable of managing the firm.

The point is, these are both commitments that need to be outlined upfront and navigated appropriately to succeed.

There are pros and cons for doing each, and as someone who has survived nearly a decade of agency life and also managed communications/marketing teams internally, I feel just qualified enough to show you were to start.

First, determine why you want to hire a PR firm. Is it to support a major news announcement? Build online search using articles and media mentions to bolster SEO? Create sales and marketing literature? Your answer to this question will impact your need for hiring to meet these objectives. Let me explain.

If you’re the one responsible for managing the marketing and communications department and functions, your title is likely Director of Communications, VP of Marketing, Head of Business Development, etc. This means you’re expected to achieve media visibility, put a blogging/content marketing schedule together, write press releases, etc. All fun and good, right?

But what happens when your company attends a trade show? You’re likely the one organizing the booth and giveaways. One of your biz dev or salespeople needs a sales deck by end of day? Guess who’s jumping on that. Website a little stale? They’re looking at you to manage the brand refresh.

VPs of Marketing…I can sense you nodding along, maybe even screaming “that’s me!” at your computer screen showing a web browser with 35 tabs and seven versions of a PowerPoint presentation.

ESPECIALLY in a startup environment, you’re wearing a lot of hats, many of them far outside the traditional marcomm responsibilities so carefully outlined in your job description. When you jump on these items, what happens to the media coverage, SEO boosts and social media presence you set out to build? They can very easily fall by the wayside.

If you have the bandwidth to hire graphic designers, SEO specialists, writers and media specialists…I get it. It’s not a bad idea, and it’s the same route I took in 2011 when I was building out a corporate comms function. Having an internal team to manage media outreach for enabled us to have the best public relations program possible put into place.

But what if you don’t have the budget, time or infrastructure? Hiring a PR firm capable of managing key initiatives you were hired for — media relations, email marketing, social media, SEO and content writing — may be the better solution.

Perspective is also an important aspect of this discussion. Working in-house, especially for a startup or in any fast-moving corporate environment, often means taking orders directly from and consistently interacting with the c-suite. Sometimes it can be very challenging to push back on creative ideas, media/marketing campaigns, and other ideas that company leaders cook up in their downtime. Hiring a PR firm, especially one who knows your respective industry very well, means you’re going to get real-time feedback from a group who’ve been through dozens or hundreds of campaigns, and can push back appropriately to ensure things are done right, not done because it’s the CEO’s vision. This perspective can mean everything, and the difference between the best public relations support or something that is rendered ineffective.

If you’re reading this and convinced I’m advocating to always hire a PR firm (after all, I’m biased), that’s only partially true. I think hiring the right PR firm capable of providing the best public relations support is much more important than hiring one at all. If you can find a group that not only manages the marketing and communications functions you don’t have time for, but more importantly understands how they all work together, you’ll be in a better place.

If you hire a firm that does one or two things well but requires your hand holding to complete ideas or doesn’t understand your big picture objectives, I’d recommend hiring in-house…even if that means a contractor model.

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

Technology PR

FischTank is pleased to announce that President Matthew Bretzius and Senior Account Director Kate Caruso-Sharpe will present an overview on corporate communications and media relations strategy with an emphasis on technology PR, for international technology companies at the CANUTE Program hosted by the Royal Consulate General of Denmark in New York on Wednesday, October 9.

Supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Denmark and Danske Bank, the Royal Consulate General of Denmark in New York is hosting more than a dozen select technology startups from Denmark for an entrepreneurial bootcamp, offering a tailored program on how to successfully enter the U.S. market. During the three-day event, startup founders will engage with investors, recruitment specialists, and marketing experts to gain a better understanding of how to scale their company to one of the largest markets in the world.

Bretzius and Caruso-Sharpe will lead an interactive discussion centering on marketing and communications strategies that are critical to the successful launch into U.S. markets, including media relations, content marketing, search engine optimization, social media, and email marketing. Participating startups will have the opportunity to ask business-specific questions relating to their own marketing initiatives, while also learning about the work FischTank has done with a number of international brands, both startup and established, to develop and deploy effective messaging to reach U.S. business audiences. Technology PR remains a core practice area for FischTank for companies both domestic and abroad.

“Entering the U.S. market can be an overwhelming task for any international technology company, often leading to marketing and communications functions falling by the wayside,” said Matt Bretzius, President, FischTank Marketing and PR. “We look forward to discussing tactics to fully integrate and scale digital and traditional public relations activities so that companies flourish in their new markets and achieve the brand awareness necessary to stand apart.”

Following the educational portion of the program, VCs, business angels, accelerators, incubators, and others are invited to participate in this year’s Investor Day. During that event, ten selected startups from Denmark will pitch their tech businesses to a panel and audience with the goal of raising their next funding round to expand into the U.S. market. FischTank looks forward to providing technology PR insights for these companies.

“We are excited to bring some of the best startups Denmark has to offer to the U.S. for this valuable program. While many have found success in the Danish market, the next logical step is to expand to larger international audiences, and this event will give them a head start toward doing so,” said Mia Grosen, Founder of the CANUTE Program. “We look forward to working with FischTank and the other participating experts to provide the knowledge and resources our startups need to succeed on a global scale.”

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

Technology PR

Where did the summer go? This one felt busier than most, but I suppose everyone who comes off a hectic season filled with growth and excitement says that.

I could wax poetic on FischTank’s PR, marketing and digital offerings, blah blah blah, but instead I’ll share a few updates about our team and observations about the industries we work in.

We welcomed Michael Canova, an Account Executive, in June. A graduate of Kean University a few years ago, Mike has previously handled media relations as an in-house practitioner, giving him a unique perspective in working with clients. Mike is an avid sports and music fan, and even though he doesn’t root for Philly teams across the board, I think we’ll keep him.

We also added Glo Lindenmuth as Account Director earlier this month. Glo brings a wealth of expertise in media relations and marketing, especially with respect to emerging technologies, a significant practice area for our firm. Perhaps most importantly – Glo is an animal lover which enabled her to fit seamlessly into the office and improve our standing as the #1 Pet Loving PR Firm in the world, according to the Wall Street Journal and Good Morning America.

As the amount of fish in our tank grow, so do our clients. We are paid to get the job done, but our equally creative and inspiring clients are what motivate us to go above and beyond to achieve their marketing and public relations objectives. What’s been exciting?

  • The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) category continues to grow at a rampant pace, as companies are seeking new and innovative ways to connect buildings, people and ideas.
  • The job market and evolution of technology companies are driving change in real estate markets around the country, leading builders, developers and investors to eye innovation in commercial and residential real estate…
  • …proptech, proptech everywhere. Real estate technology continues to spur the aforementioned innovation, and we’ve been privileged to work on client products and services that are making properties smarter and more efficient in every way.
  • So much of what I just touched on is centered around a subject that’s more than a practice area, but a passion at FischTank. Energy efficiency, renewable energy, connectivity, and exciting products and services lead the optimist in me to believe they’ll one day change the world. Politics aside, climate change is happening and needs to be addressed. Admitting that to ourselves is critical, and the adoption of clean technologies and more sustainable business practices, is and has always been prominent client subject matter at FischTank.
  • You don’t need me to tell you the healthcare sector is changing. Progressive products and ideas designed to benefit the patient and consumer continue to emerge, despite uncertainties around healthcare policies. We are fortunate to provide healthcare PR support for a number of companies that welcome this change.
  • We are also experiencing exciting changes in terms of corporate leadership and structure. At no time in my career has diversity, opportunity and culture been such a popular topic and goal for companies in the U.S. While this represents growth and progress, we’re not there yet. Not even close. We are excited that many of our clients are at the forefront of this corporate cultural shift, and we hope they remain outspoken in their desire for a more balanced and transparent business world.

Every day our clients bring us exciting subject matter, growth and stories, and it’s our job to use media relations, email marketing, social media and content writing to achieve their goals. A public relations and marketing firm is only as good as its people and the companies it works with, and we look forward to coming to work every day for these reasons.

We are four months shy of 2020, but as the Greatest of all time once said, “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” 

See you in September!

 

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

PR and Digital Firm

I’m always looking for ways to make my job easier so I can be more productive. Working in a fast-paced industry like PR forces you to adjust your day on the fly, often leaving your schedule in shambles so you can jump on the breaking news that just popped in an effort to get your client some press. It’s fun, exciting, and why I love the industry – but it can also sap productivity and leave me wondering at times how I can be more efficient.

One way I’ve been able to improve my daily workflow is by taking advantage of some of the great technology that’s been created for just that purpose. If there’s a tool to automate process, improve my efficiency, or just flat out save me time, I’m always interested in giving it a look. I’m not adverse to help – especially if I know it’s going to make me better at what I do.

Below are a few of my favorite technology “helpers” that help boost my productivity.

Boomerang

 I’m as guilty as anyone of living in my email (as most PR people do). I receive and send hundreds of emails a day, and at times my inbox is a disaster – sometimes I wish I could just turn it off to work for an hour in peace. With Boomerang’s Inbox Pause I can actually stop emails from coming into my inbox for any specific period of time, schedule emails to only be delivered in batches during hours I choose, and allow emails from only specific people (like that reporter I’m waiting to hear back from) while I’m heads down on an important new business proposal.

Boomerang has a ton of other great features for email too, which have helped me get as close to Inbox Zero (more like Inbox Seven) as possible, such as:

  • Email scheduling, for sending at optimal times
  • Follow-up reminders if someone doesn’t respond to your email
  • “Boomeranging” messages out of your inbox to a later date
  • Respondable: real-time analysis powered by AI to let you know if your email is likely to get a response (also an eye opener to learn how you write)

Boomerang works for Gmail and Outlook.

Capsulink

 Speaking of email, one of the biggest drains of my day is dealing with all of the spam and junk that hits my inbox. As the PR contact for many clients, my email address often goes out on press releases, corporate websites, and other public-facing documents. As such, I get crushed with spam, and spending time vetting and deleting severely hinders my productivity.

Capsulink is a custom URL shortener that lets me convert my email address into a hyperlink, which helps to avoid being grabbed and stuffed into a spam campaign.

Even better, Capsulink also provides detailed click statistics, including which channels and geographical locations clicks are coming from. This is especially beneficial in social media campaigns and other digital marketing initiatives where we want to track activity driving traffic to certain landing pages. The metrics allow us to see our most successful channels and then adjust our campaign as needed.

Asana

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a proponent of the hand-written to-do list. Anyone in my office will point to the scribbled and highlighted paper I keep next to my phone on my desk. It’s worked for more than a decade, but as I increasingly travel more and work remotely, I often find myself forgetting to bring the paper home. Enter Asana.

Asana is my electronic to-do list, but it really serves as a work management platform for PR and Marketing entire teams. I use Asana to track my tasks with due dates, what is prioritized, add long-term goals (like writing more of these blogs), and more. Some of our team members use Asana for similar purposes, helping them track and balance the daily tasks they juggle across multiple clients. It’s easy to use and super clean, and while I may never throw out my scribbled paper, it definitely has improved my productivity when I’m on the move.

What’s a tool that helps you get through the day? Comment below or track me down on Twitter @MattBretzius.

Matt Bretzius is President and Partner at FischTank Marketing & PR.

LinkedIn is a social platform FischTank utilizes to augment many a client's PR program

One of the things the entire FischTank team advocates is the importance of consistent messaging across web, media relations, sales literature, email marketing and social media.

For B2B industries, LinkedIn is such an important tool within marketing and communications, and has the ability to positively impact the public’s perception of a brand or individual. People and organizations need to be informative, compelling, knowledgeable and most important – authentic.

I shared some of my thoughts on this subject, specifically with respect to authenticity and frequency of posting, with Kiely Kuligowski of Business News Daily for an article entitled LinkedIn for Business: Everything You Need to Know.

It’s a small tidbit, but I hope readers find it useful. I’ve always placed a premium on my LinkedIn network, and its been instrumental to me and FischTank as we’ve grown this business.

Your PR firm should be asking about your social strategy and thinking about how it can improve your marketing and communications functions, and ultimately achieve your organization’s objectives.

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

The old days for a PR firm consisted of the daily grind to achieve media coverage in any form, not really understanding how or why it would move the needle for their client. Sometimes this directive came from the client itself, everyone scrambling for exposure without knowing why.

Public relations meant press release writing, drafting a vanilla statement when things went bad, and distributing boilerplate pitches to reporters that more or less reiterated what your website says. “We are innovative,” “we are groundbreaking,” “we are first-of-our-kind,” and “we anticipate tremendous growth” and last but not least, “we are making a difference for the future!”

PR firms were mostly “media relations” outreach factories, and many of them still are.

Now? Companies need to look for a heckuva lot more in a public relations firm. There are simple questions like “who is your audience?” and “what is your wish-list for media coverage?” but those are just that – simple and unlikely to evolve into any real strategy with tangible results. More important questions your PR firm should be asking include:

  • “Why do you feel media coverage is important?”
  • “How has your target audience traditionally found you?”
  • “How important are online search results for your brand?”
  • “What is your SEO strategy? Are backlinks important to you?”
  • “What’s your content marketing strategy?”
  • “Where does your site traffic come from? May we have access to your Google Analytics?”
  • “How do you plan on using media coverage?
  • “Do you have an e-mail marketing program?”
  • “What keywords and searches do you want to rank for?”
  • “What is your business development strategy?”
  • “Why did Kawhi Leonard’s shot fall against the Sixers in Game 7?!”

That last bullet is still on my mind. I’m writing this following two days of business in Toronto, site of where my beloved Sixers had their hearts ripped out, and where I’ve been subject to passing by at least two dozen “We the North” signs reminding me of last Sunday.

Sorry, I just blacked out. Back to business.

People at PR firms who sell its services, people like me, are in the business of meeting a potential client or customer and immediately telling them what they can provide. “We can definitely get you top-tier press.” “We will post to your social channels every day!” “We have an expert team of writers who can draft all your press releases.”

This is wrong, for so many reasons. It’s 2019. People, whether investors, potential customers, clients and partners, etc. digest information much differently than they did 15 years ago, or ten years ago, or five years ago…or last year.

The one size fits all approach has long-since given PR firms a bad name and led to numerous journalist shamings on Twitter and LinkedIn. I’ve probably earned one or two myself over the years.

If your PR firm isn’t asking you about SEO, sales and business development, web traffic, or why you want to hire a firm – they’re not doing their job. There is the old way, “messaging documents” that take three months for some firm to rehash everything you already know about yourself, and there is the new way – understanding how an integrated approach should serve as an extension of your company’s public relations and marketing approach.

Take your pick!

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

Content publishing is a great way to engage employees

Article contributed by Jennifer Keck, Technology Writer & Founder of Keck Marketing

Tech companies often struggle to create messaging that connect with customers. Yet no matter what you’re selling, you have one underused tool in your marketing arsenal: employees. Only about 3% of employees share company content, but employee advocacy has a huge impact on a brand’s success. Here are four ways an employee advocacy program can benefit your tech company. 

  1. It improves organic reach and engagement.

This one is the most obvious. If you’ve watched your organic reach on Facebook plummet, you’re not alone. Since the platform moved to prioritize user-generated content, only about 1.2% of a page’s fans saw any given post in 2018.

This doesn’t mean promoted posts and social ads aren’t worthwhile. Yet employee advocacy is one of the most powerful techniques out there. When employees share branded messages, these posts get a 561% boost in reach and are shared 24 times more frequently, according to MSLGroup.

  1. It helps build brand trust.

 It’s no surprise that people trust their friends over brands. But did you know 90% of buyers trust a recommendation from someone they know? Compare that with just 33% who trust the brand, and you can see why employee advocacy works so well. Building trust is especially important for startups that don’t have years of brand loyalty from a dedicated customer base. So, when your marketing manager tweets about how much she loves the SaaS platform you just launched, it will do more to get her techie followers to try it out than a promoted tweet ever could.

  1. It grows your pipeline and increases sales.

If you only get one department on board, pick Sales for the biggest returns. Here’s where we drill down into a sub-genre of employee advocacy: social selling. Simply put, social selling is the process of building a relationship with prospects over social media. That could mean anything from sharing a relevant article on LinkedIn to congratulating a follower on his recent award via Twitter. This helps sales reps build trust and show off their industry knowledge, without sounding salesy.

It takes time, yet it’s worth it. Case in point, Genesys, a call center technology company, saw 2.2x the pipeline growth, a 16% increase in win rates, and a 42% increase in deal sizes thanks to its employee advocacy program.

  1. It supercharges recruitment and retention.

Last but not least, employee advocacy programs can double as a recruiting tool. By encouraging employees to share job openings, you may just discover that your next rock star programmer was your product manager’s college roommate. In fact, 30% of consumers find employee-shared job posts helpful, according to a 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer.

And employees can do much more than share job posts. Pictures of company retreats, happy hours, and the resident pug dog go a long way to demonstrate that your office isn’t all work and no play. Recruits who want more than a great salary and benefits can see first-hand how much their friends enjoy working there. They’ll also likely be happier once they start –47% of referral hires have greater job satisfaction and stay longer, a Jobvite research report found.

Make no mistake, building and maintaining a successful employee advocacy program is no easy task. It takes time and requires commitment to see the results. Fortunately, there are over a dozen employee advocacy tools out there to help. But before you dive in, consider your goals. Is it brand building, boost sales, or to find new recruits? As with any marketing program, a SMART goal will help you get the most from your employee advocacy.

Marketing Summit in D.C. - SEO in 2019: New Strategies, New Tactics

The good news: a very kind industry contact has invited me to speak on a panel titled, SEO in 2019: New Strategies, New Tactics, at the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit in Washington D.C. on Friday, April 26th.

The bad news: I need to prepare to speak in front of hundreds of marketing and communications executives throughout the region attending an event to discuss high-level issues through a series of panels, keynotes, presentations, exhibits, and networking.

OK, it’s not all bad (just a little intimidating), and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t really looking forward to the Marketing Summit.

In addition to my genuine interest in FischTank’s practice areas, I’m equally interested in why and how public relations can impact marketing. This is why our team has put so much time into understanding the intersection of Public Relations and SEO, the practice of utilizing media relations and content marketing to impact search engine results and position. This is a strategy we employ for our clients that conduct their business primarily online, generating leads to support business development, increasing traffic to ecommerce platforms, and other objectives that come with the daily grind of online marketing.

I can wax poetic (sure?) and explain why companies should hire FischTank (yes, you should!), but I’ll take the rest of the time in this blog ahead of the Marketing Summit to ask some friends and peers in my network what they think about this topic:

“In a world of links of dubious value, true, expertly done PR generates not just publicity for the business, but good links that continue to reverberate throughout search engines. We typically see media earned links as some of the most valuable links when conducting SEO analysis. I’d encourage everyone to look at their business for hidden opportunities for press.” – Josh Greene, CMO for The Mather Group and the moderator of the upcoming panel at the Marketing Summit.

“The intersection of PR & SEO is critical as PR provides one of the best opportunities to attract links from high quality publications to your site. With links still remaining one of the top two search engine ranking factors your PR efforts can increase your sites authority, rankings & traffic. It’s important for your PR & SEO teams to be on the same page and to know for instance that getting links to the primary website is much more important than social media channels and to also push your contacts to make sure they include proper link attribution in their coverage.” – Ryan O’Connor, Founder of One Tribe Apparel

“Content is meaningless if no one can find it in search. Whether it’s a hard earned news article, a well-crafted blog post, or even a mention by an influencer, ensuring that your content is properly tagged, titled, optimized, and focused on your brands keywords are critical for ensuring search success. A properly curated digital reputation need not rely on a deluge of content but rather a few well crafted, strategic pieces that reflect the best about you or your business. It makes no sense to waste precious space in your search results for poorly written, meaningless content merely designed to fool the algorithm. Better to leverage the power of search to shape the reputation you need and want.” – Sam Michelson, CEO and Founder of Five Blocks

“Google is smart. Once upon a time, if you threw enough links any links at a site, it would rank. That’s not the case anymore. A site needs live mentions on topically relevant, high authority sites (with or without a link). Google’s bot is smart enough to know when your brand name is mentioned in an article in the Wall Street Journal or New York Times. A link in that article is the icing on the cake.” – Alex Deckard, SEO Manager, Aeroflow Healthcare 

“Companies looking to raise capital from either the public or institutional investors need to be cognizant of their message to the market, but also the results search engines show when people are doing their due diligence. This is especially true in emerging industries, such as cannabis, cryptocurrency, renewable technologies, and others where competition is fierce and there is an increased need to separate yourself from the rest of the pack. This is where media relations and content marketing come into play, ensuring both transparency and a high quality of results appear when someone Googles or otherwise searches a brand.” – Kendall Almerico, Principal at Almerico Law

“In recent years, SEO has become much more precise, more transparent, and more results oriented. As a result, public relations has started to play an even more important role in the successful management of SEO. It has become obvious to marketers that if you want your business to be visible and easily found, you have to understand that there is no successful SEO without proper PR.” – Larissa Pitersky, Chief Financial Officer of Apex Capital Partners

 

 

 

 

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

Public Relations and Marketing

FischTank Marketing and PR Founder Eric Fischgrund will speak on an upcoming January 31st panel entitled, “How to grow your B2B business in 2019 – what works best for organic growth?” He will discuss the role of media relations, content marketing and digital strategies to achieve this goal.

The free event is hosted by B2B Growth (B2BNXT), and will include other speakers including Forrest Leighton, Scott Swanson and Patrick Charron. To learn more, please click the link here or below.

How to grow your B2B business in 2019 – what works best for organic growth?

Thursday, Jan 31, 2019, 6:00 PM

85 Broad Street
27th Floor, 85 Broad Street New York, ny

23 Members Attending

The event is free to attend, featuring awesome food + drinks and an even better panel discussion! We ask that you are working at a B2B company in a marketing/business development capacity (or you’re the owner). We bring 5 special panelists (including the VP of Marketing at MakerBot), all with extensive experience helping B2B companies beat their co…

Check out this Meetup →

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

FischTank Marketing and PR

I’m not sure how to start this post. As I begin, I’m at 33,000 feet – cruising altitude as they say – and some guy two seats up on the right has been taking selfies of himself for the last 10 minutes, grinning as he reviews them. Insta-worthy? Maybe. It seems pretty weird to me, but no one else seems to care so why should I? I’m returning from a business trip to Asheville with two colleagues, making this as good a time as any to start reflecting on the past five years of FischTank.

The LLC paperwork for EMF Media d.b.a FischTank was filed in late December 2013; I put in notice at a place where I was very unhappy, and brought my first client aboard shortly into the new year. I had limited experience in business development, even less experience in bookkeeping, and now – very little income. Still, I was excited in a professional sense for the first time in a long time.

The first few months were not easy (try working at home when you only have two clients). I took meetings that went nowhere, attended networking events that had no purpose, and at one point went door to door to try and win contracts from small businesses in Jersey City. I also drove my wife crazier than usual. There were sleepless nights, stressed out mornings, and a never-ending supply of self-doubt. Those feelings haven’t gone away and I don’t think they ever will, but in early 2014, that was my 24/7. Funny how something can suck and be so exciting at the same time.

But this story isn’t about me or the “entrepreneurial struggle” that many of the self-proclaimed experts drone on about on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The FischTank story is and has always been about people. I was joined by Matt Bretzius, my partner at FischTank, who is smarter and more disciplined than I am. There is a 0% chance this company is anything beyond me in my apartment living room without him. We made one hire, then we made another, and now we have a growing group of bright, creative, and really unique professionals people. Gone are the days of my personally PDF’d invoices, disorganized spreadsheets, and envelopes stuffed with receipts from coffee shops and cab rides. We now have a bookkeeper who is actually good at math and record keeping. We started partnering more strategically with other marketing, SEO/digital, creative, and PR agencies, building a stronger referral network filled with individuals who have also helped shape the company.

Our clients are awesome. I don’t write that to kiss ass, it’s just reality. Collectively they’re a group of innovative and smart risk-takers, and a pleasure to work with each day. Nothing drives us more than when we see how hard they work to achieve their own goals. We enjoy telling their stories.

To everyone who falls into a category above, I’m eternally grateful for what you’ve done. You know who you are. To all of my colleagues, past and present, this five-year milestone is for you as much as it is for Matt and I.

It’s not all roses and sunshine. We’ve learned many lessons, some of them painful but each of them valuable. Sure there were partnerships, hires and clients that didn’t quite fit, and while not everything ends well, through it all we’ve maintained our integrity and evolved. From these experiences, we’ve built a positive culture we can be proud of.

The only takeaway or piece of advice I have for others, should you choose to listen, is to place a premium on resiliency. Bad days, weeks and months will come. You will get home late after a bad day and think maybe you’re not cut out for this stuff. Self-doubt will creep in when you’re at your most vulnerable and it will eat away your confidence. When this all happens, you cannot give in. Get up, show up, and keep coming at them.

The last five years have been the best education and experience I could ask for, exceeding any and all expectations I had on January 15, 2014. Will FischTank last forever? No, nothing does, but we’re having a helluva lot of fun today.

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.