Member Since 2013
Influence & Co.
Columbia, Missouri Area
Kelsey Meyer Raymond is the president of Influence & Co., a content marketing agency that specializes in helping companies showcase their expertise through thought leadership content. Influence & Co.’s clients range from venture-backed startups to Fortune 500 brands. Kelsey has grown the company from 2 to over 80 full-time employees in seven years, with offices in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Columbia, MO. Kelsey is involved in the community as the President of the Board for Voluntary Action Center, an organizer of Startup Weekend, and a Mentor through the University of Missouri's Entrepreneurship Alliance.
Guest posts are an excellent way to gain publicity for your business. Through this form of content marketing, you'll establish yourself as a credible expert in your industry and gain valuable brand exposure to the publication's audience.
Starting a new business isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes courage, ambition, and a tangible plan. Many people will be eager to support you on your journey, but some may actually give you advice that could hurt your chances for success. Here, members of Young Entrepreneur Council list an “unlucky 13” collection of the worst startup advice they were given, and explain why that misguided startup advice is so harmful to entrepreneurs who are just starting out.
Every business leader should develop some go-to coping strategies for staying calm in difficult situations.
Email marketing is an essential component of any strong marketing strategy. This form of marketing gives businesses the chance to convert their audience members into long-time customers and provide value in a convenient way.
No matter what industry you're in or how tumultuous the market is, hiring the right people for your business is crucial for its success. The right fit needs to have the experience and expertise to perform tasks properly, but more importantly, their personality and values should align with those of the company. Hiring the wrong person to fill a position can cost your business time and revenue.
Are there specific traits of great managers, personal qualities that are crucial to success in any managerial role? It seems that there are, and while some of these traits are innate, others can be learned. In this article, 13 professionals from Young Entrepreneur Council list a few of the most vital traits you should possess if you want to thrive in a managerial position.
As many professionals continue to leave their jobs in favor of new ones, employee turnover has been steadily rising, meaning many HR professionals have been working harder than normal. Whether that means fielding more applications, serving as a mediator when letting go of an employee or listening to burned out employees vent about their working conditions, HR teams often take the brunt of the emotional work at many establishments.
Investing in employee training and development is a great retention tool to ensure continued growth within your company.
As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, it's easy for your team's motivation to decline alongside it. If you don't want to see morale and productivity plummet through the winter months, it's important to take proactive steps to energize and inspire your staff.
As many professional organizations shift toward a remote work environment, maintaining a supportive company culture is more important than ever. The “Great Resignation” has already upended numerous industries where employees report work environments that make them unhappy, leading to labor shortages across a variety of markets. That's why today's leaders must focus on cultivating an appealing culture that people actually want to stay in.
Great customer service is easy to spot but difficult to master. While some tactics are obvious, like treating the customer with respect and fairness, the very best techniques for improving customer service might not be what you expect.
Employees aren’t the only ones who can receive feedback about their performance at work. As a manager or business leader, it’s important to receive feedback from your employees so you can understand how you’re doing and what you need to do to improve. While every manager hopes for positive feedback, they may still receive negative feedback from time to time, and it’s how they respond to that feedback that can really make the difference.
Part of creating a successful team is getting them to buy in on your company’s mission, vision and goals. Those employees who do this are likely to develop an “ownership mindset” in which they feel that they have ownership over their responsibilities and outcomes and are more willing to do what is necessary to accomplish tasks.
Employees, especially when new to their positions, often need guidance to be successful in their work. However, too much direction can be less like helpful and constructive feedback and more like micromanagement.
Since the many layoffs, firings and career pivots of 2020, many professionals have turned their sights toward entrepreneurship. Alongside the attraction of working for oneself came the opportunity to start fresh in a new space and maybe even a new industry altogether. For women, who were disproportionately affected by the economic impact of the pandemic, that meant the chance to enter fields which have historically been lacking female voices.
In business, making an active effort to support the entrepreneurial community can be game-changing for your company’s growth. After all, these individuals have been through similar experiences and challenges as business owners themselves, and can often help you navigate them.
As a new business owner, it's wise to work with someone who has been in your shoes and possesses the experience to help you navigate any uncertainty you might face. Launching and running a successful business requires time, energy and seasoned insight. However, many budding entrepreneurs tend to shy away from spending money on a consultant.
Today's consumers are more skeptical than ever. They crave authenticity and often demand it from the companies they buy from. Today's most successful B2B and B2C organizations across many industries have learned to meet this expectation head-on.
With so many professionals now leaving their current jobs and rethinking their future career goals, companies are looking for ways to retain their employees for the long term. However, it can be difficult for leaders to identify a clear strategy for loyalty-building and employee retention, especially with larger teams.
Pinpointing a target audience is one of the most crucial steps in launching any successful business effort, including creating marketing campaigns and increasing sales. However, determining your audience is often much easier said than done. Before you can narrow down your ideal customer, you need to know how to do it correctly.
Entrepreneurs who are operating and maintaining a business all on their own have a ton of work on their plates. Often, the duties of a solopreneur can seem daunting or unmanageable as they tackle every task, big or small. Even if you can outsource some tasks to vendors and contractors, however, it's still important to streamline your to-do list and make the most of your time.
A critical aspect of gaining recognition online is mastering the all-important blog post. While blogging has been around for decades, many people still struggle with understanding how to utilize blog posts to attract readers and gain more recognition.
Time management can be a challenge when you’re faced with work that’s piled up over a period of time. It can be overwhelming to look at a list of tasks and determine which are priorities and which can be temporarily moved to the side, causing some employees to stress or panic about where to even begin.
Communication breakdowns can occur at any time and in any work environment, but can seem especially prevalent in remote work situations. While remote work has its own unique benefits, it also means employees and managers are relying more on written, phone or video communication and less on the in-person communication and body language cues that can be so helpful for clarity.
Starting a new job can be difficult for anyone, but it can be especially daunting for someone hired for a managerial position. Integrating yourself into an established culture and work environment as a leader can be nerve-wracking and raise a lot of doubts and fears. Will your new employees accept you? How can you earn their trust and respect?
Scaling a business usually means employees will be taking on new tasks and responsibilities and new rules or processes may be put in place. Depending on how fast the company grows, the employees may become frustrated with all the changes, leading to disengagement and low team morale. If not addressed, this lack of connection with the business and its goals can be the first step to losing those employees.
Among the many major impacts the pandemic has had on the status quo, none have so disproportionately affected women quite like its impact on the labor force. Whether they were laid off, furloughed or forced to choose between family and work when alternative child care was no longer an option, millions of women left the workforce during the pandemic, outpacing the rate at which men were leaving. And not all of them are coming back.
Sometimes an employee just doesn’t work out within an organization and needs to be let go. Firing an employee is a task that needs to be handled with delicacy and care, and the process can be intimidating for someone who has never been responsible for terminating an employee before.
For many professionals, making a mistake at work can be a big hit to their self-confidence. The scenario can weigh on your mind and cause you to feel like you’re bad at your job or that you’re not cut out for your particular profession. Recovering your self-confidence after a mistake takes some time, but it can be done, and the faster you do so, the more effective you'll be in the future.
Effective task management can be quite a challenge for many professionals and businesses, especially when dealing with complex assignments or a large volume of projects, each with its own specific requirements, deadlines and deliverables.
It’s no secret that having the support of other leaders can make a major difference to a person's entrepreneurial success. When your network contains others who can identify with your struggles, they can then help motivate you from a personal perspective and deliver timely advice when you need it most.
Writing a business email? Don't hit "send" until you've completed these key steps.
In a market with hundreds (maybe thousands) of competitors, it becomes more challenging for businesses to make a mark that'll impact the core audience they’re aiming for. This is why it’s so important for a business to develop a strategy that will give them an edge over the rest.
In addition to the position itself, company benefits are one of the most important elements that candidates carefully consider when gauging whether they want to join a company. Once an employee is on board, these perks can also play a role in whether or not an employee chooses to stay and whether they get the sense that the company values their contributions. To help leaders determine which benefits to offer, 10 members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) explore the following question:
When you're running an organization, communication breakdowns can lead to severe efficiency and productivity problems. While smaller teams may be able to quickly deal with the difficulties of communication inefficiency, this problem becomes harder to solve as the business grows and evolves.
When you run a business and hire employees, it’s essential your new staff members feel like they are valued members of the team. Your efforts should begin on day one with an onboarding process that will help new employees feel welcome, and that will set them up for success as they start their work.
When your business starts seeing success, it's natural to want to ride the momentum and build upon it. However, it's possible to grow too fast, too soon.
Putting together a book takes time, energy and a lot of effort. And while it accounts for a lot of the book's labor, writing isn't the only thing an entrepreneur needs to concern themselves with. Publishing the book and the marketing associated with it also have a place in the overall success equation. But not all new writers know what to expect from the writing process. To help, 11 experts from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) answer the following question:
There may come a time for certain employees when they notice that their skills or interests are better suited to another part of the company and they ask to switch to a different department to better serve their goals. When this happens, managers may not know how to react as the request may come out of the blue or it could be taken as a slight on their current department.
The world of work has changed significantly over the last year, with many companies moving to fully remote work. With this new environment comes a new way of managing. As teams are physically separated, it becomes even more important for leaders to find ways to bring them together. To offer some ideas on how to build such camaraderie, 11 members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their thoughts on the following question:
Sometimes, even employees who have a track record of excellent work can have bad days. But when bad days become bad weeks or even months, leaders should take the time to investigate. However, because it could be a sensitive situation, it may be best to take it slow and follow a few key steps.
Finding a core audience to market to is a crucial part of making a business profitable. Many marketing departments spend thousands of dollars building a picture of their ideal customer to inform how and where they should market. Once they do that, it's just a matter of unifying their content and media planning to target their product's most viable buyers.
Between investors, customers, employees and all other people with particular interest in a company, business leaders can have a difficult time trying to please all their stakeholders. But because the performance of a business is directly related to how the stakeholders feel about the company, aiming for overall stakeholder satisfaction is a necessary goal.
Managers have the difficult responsibility of achieving their own goals to meet the business objectives of their company while simultaneously overseeing the performance of its employees.
If you’re trying to attract highly qualified professionals to your company, it’s likely that they’re mulling over multiple offer letters in addition to yours. To incentivize a top job candidate to accept your offer, you have to find a way to make it stand out. To help, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) members answered the following question:
Email lists are fantastic tools for keeping in contact with consumers, sharing information and generating leads. But putting together an email list and figuring out how to attract customers to your list can take a lot of time and effort if not done thoughtfully.
When a leader leaves your organization, even on amicable terms, it could prompt a significant upheaval in the department that they were a part of. Depending on how intrinsic they were to that department’s function, their departure may even shift the company's operations.
When a client signs on with your business, they have certain expectations about what your performance will be. The best way to end up with a happy client, however, is to manage these expectations early on. If you don't, and a client feels as though they should have gotten more from your business but didn't, their testimony could severely damage your future business and your reputation. To ensure you don’t end up in this situation, 12 experts from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) share their insights on the following question:
An entrepreneur is only as powerful as the people they surround themselves with. Starting and attempting to grow a business can be a difficult journey, and the sheer amount of outside challenges you need to tackle can be overwhelming. That is why a solid support network is one of the most important things a business owner should create.
As a new business owner, it isn't easy to sort out which business strategies work and which ones don’t. There's no standardized roadmap that guarantees success. Instead, success in business is a series of trial-and-error tests that result in a positive outcome, with plenty of mistakes along the way.
Information can be a valuable resource, and having enough of it is key to helping business owners make smart decisions. But lack of information or experience can also have an impact. Even seasoned entrepreneurs have regrets or moments when they wish they had done something differently if they knew at the beginning what they know now.
Hiring for a senior position at a company usually requires a lot more time and effort than hiring for other positions. In many cases, business owners may have a hard time finding the most effective way to source senior talent for their organization. You don't want to lose out on great talent, but you also need to spot the best talent out of the field of applicants, because making a wrong hire at this level can spell disaster for the organization.
Email marketing is still among the most effective ways to target an audience. However, for email marketing to be successful, you need to encourage people to sign up for your email list. This step might seem like a simple task, but recently consumers are extra-protective about their email addresses. Individuals have been flooded with spam and have become a lot more cautious about who they share their information with.
It’s already well-known that entrepreneurs spend a lot of their time working on getting their businesses off the ground and keeping them solvent. It's not uncommon to hear a business owner working 50 or 60 hours a week. Many of us know how 10- and 11-hour workdays feel and the negative impact this amount of work can have on one’s mental and physical health. To address the issue, busy professionals need to find a way to work smarter and gradually reduce the number of hours spent to run the business. That’s why we asked 12 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:
When you’re young and inexperienced, stepping up to a leadership position can be more difficult than usual. Without a strong standing in their industry, a new entrepreneur may not be able to navigate the terrain as easily as others. However, these leaders can still bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the table.
16 entrepreneurs from YEC share their favorite sales automation tools and strategies and explain why they work.
When you first start your business, every member of the “founding team” -- i.e. you and your first employees -- is crucial to its early success. As your business grows and changes, there may come a time when you feel yourself starting to outgrow your original employees.
When you set out to pitch your idea to an investor, you usually go through the most common questions that they're likely to ask. Discerning investors are careful about where they put their money, but a well-prepared entrepreneur can quickly answer a surprising amount of what they ask.
These 20 entrepreneurs discuss the best features for remote management of a displaced workforce.
A company blog isn't anything like a personal blog, yet many businesses look to individual bloggers to inform their choices on topics and content. Some strike on their own, coming up with their own ideas and fleshing them out by themselves, but the result can be just as underwhelming.
It's often said you only get one chance to make a first impression, and that holds true for your company website. The visual appearance and written copy on your sign-up and landing pages must be compelling enough to grab a visitor's attention and convince them to take the next step in their relationship with your brand.
Taking risks is always intimidating. It can be scary to leave comfort and safety behind and leap toward a potentially difficult and life-altering decision. But anything worth having rarely comes from taking the easy path.
[long-form emailed to Kelsey]
You may measure your effectiveness with several metrics. However, not everyone has the time to dedicate to figuring out their level of daily effectiveness and productivity. As professionals, most of us have to learn how to spot the red flags indicating that we are being ineffective.
Working from home requires paying attention to many small details regarding your mental and physical well-being, with work-life balance tending to be significantly higher among remote workers compared to traditional office workers.
Being able to close a deal is a crucial part of an entrepreneur’s skill set, but sometimes, vendor agreements and partnerships can fall through due to unavoidable circumstances. Knowing that a deal is about to fall through before that actually happens can be quite beneficial for a company, as it gives the opportunity to choose its next steps in advance: pursue the agreement more aggressively, back off and let it fail, or do nothing and see if it corrects itself. However, before the business can take any action, it must be able to identify the telltale signs of a deal collapsing. To help, we asked 11 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:
Remote working has taken the world by storm, as more and more businesses are looking at hiring workers and having them operate remotely. Aside from the convenience of the workers, the company also benefits from higher productivity and worker morale. However, getting those employees onboarded can be a challenging task. Businesses can't rely on the tried-and-true formulae they've used for years to onboard on-site employees and should instead adapt their techniques to cater for remote hires.
Many companies that shifted to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic have helped employees eliminate their daily commute. However, some professionals do still need to make regular trips into the office – and spending time commuting to work can feel stressful and counterproductive. If you use your time wisely, though, there are plenty of ways to maximize your commute and make it a productive one.
As a business owner, you know your company can't remain stagnant and stuck in its ways if it hopes to grow. That growth requires innovation and creativity, both of which are best sourced from everyone on your team.
After a user likes or shares one of your posts on social media, you've got them interested in your brand or product. But how do you leverage this engagement and keep it going?
[long-form emailed to Kelsey]
For online businesses, a high-performing website that encourages engagement and conversions is the key to successful growth. It often takes time to build up a steady stream of website visitors and consistent buyers. However, there are some things you can do to help accelerate the process.
If your company has a blog and social media presence, you know how challenging it can be to keep up with the constant demand for new content. Recycling and updating existing content is a great way to put a fresh spin on what you’ve previously published without the hassle of coming up with a brand-new idea.
Having the right clients can make all the difference in your business’s success. Of course, finding those ideal clients isn’t always easy. You don’t want to be too selective and turn down a good business opportunity, but you also don’t want to overextend yourself for a client who won’t stick around in the long run.
Every professional knows that an eight-hour workday rarely means eight straight productive hours of “real” work. Sometimes there are distractions and emergency situations to attend to throughout the day; other times, your calendar is so booked with meetings that it’s hard to find time in between to concentrate on your to-do list.
Today's world is more stressful than ever. The fast-paced, always-on environment many of us operate in is enough to cause anxiety among even the most organized leaders. Throw in the current global pandemic and an economic recession, and it's no surprise that many people are experiencing doubts and fears in their personal and professional lives.
Motivation works cyclically. There are moments when you feel as though you can take on the world, punctuated by moments when you feel like it makes no sense to do anything. If you've been feeling unmotivated at work recently, you're not alone. Workers worldwide go through the same moments of "boom and bust" when it comes to their motivation.
No other feeling comes close to hitting the ball out of the park for your investor pitch meeting. Unfortunately, many business owners see these small wins as overcoming the largest hurdle. The truth is that nailing the investor pitch is only the first significant hurdle.
Despite the numerous digital communications channels available today, email is still one of the best ways to get and stay in touch with your customers. Email marketing is notorious for its high return on investment, and with nearly 4 billion active email users, there’s a huge potential audience waiting to receive your messages.
“Thought leadership” is a big buzzword in the business world right now, and it’s easy to see why it’s become such an important focus for leaders. When others look to you for your expertise and insight, you can become a leading, recognized voice in your industry.
Entrepreneurship is a journey that no one is fully prepared to take. No matter how much time you spent researching and learning things before you started, there are always things you’ll wish you had done differently in hindsight.
As an entrepreneur, it’s important to create and implement a branding strategy for your business. This will help you better connect with your customers and share your company’s story/personality with your target audience.
Brand loyalty forms a core concept of marketing in the 21st century. In a paradigm shift, thanks to better interactivity with consumers, brand loyalty is now easier to achieve than ever before. With a medium where the brand can interact directly with clients in the form of social media, all a company has to do is use their social media presence cleverly. Once they leverage their following and provide value to the audience, brand loyalty is sure to follow. To help, we asked 14 successful entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:
Social media is constantly evolving, as are the ways people use it. What was once primarily used for connecting with old friends and family has morphed into a platform for sharing perspectives and launching campaigns.
These tools and strategies can make email marketing more efficient and less time-consuming.
Within an organization, some skills are far more valuable than others. If your business is looking at hiring new employees, then these skills should be a primary focus for your interviews. Knowing what skills are crucial for an enterprise to grow and thrive helps you figure out if an employee may be worth hiring, even if they don't fit the ideal. Sometimes the company needs more than just the right qualifications for their employees.
Every job candidate’s goal is to stand out from the rest. However, it’s not enough to talk about your education and work experiences, which may be very similar to other qualified applicants. Great candidates shine by saying things that are truly unique.
Running a business is not easy, especially as a young entrepreneur. It always feels like the industry is stacked against you, and that you're destined to fail. Keeping hold of your morals while navigating a field like this can be a challenge.
One of the most significant elements in helping a business get to know its customers is their data. Over recent years, consumers have started to take notice of how businesses use their data. While many aren't bothered, a few are against a company getting its hands on their information. As a result, they are averse to sharing access to their data.
Employees who work on small teams may need to play multiple roles to ensure everything runs smoothly. With such limited resources, you may not be able to have a dedicated full-time marketing person to help you reach your full potential as a brand. That's why we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:
All entrepreneurs are excited to see their businesses grow, but this growth isn't infinitely exponential. Occasionally, the company's growth may become stalled. This contraction might happen due to any number of factors affecting either the business itself or the industry as a whole.
As a leader, you know your workplace dynamic directly impacts employee morale and, in turn, your bottom line. No matter how great your company culture might be, there is always room for improvement. But to make impactful changes, you’ll have to first understand which areas warrant the most attention.
Internal meetings can be a fantastic strategic tool to help a business get all stakeholders of a project on the same page, but they can easily turn into massive time sinks if they are not properly scheduled and managed. Unfortunately, many companies don't strategize their meetings. The result is a once-weekly report that doesn't have any noticeable impact on the business.
The only way a business can garner new customers and retain current ones is by laying out the benefits that its product or services present to the consumer. In the past, all it took was a flashy headline and a few bullet points that punched home the usefulness of the product or service. Today's world has evolved to a point where traditional advertising no longer makes the same impact. Even newer, more modern methods of advertising are having a hard time getting traction among some demographics.
Businesses have seen a period of massive growth, especially those that deal solely with online sales and services. While this development is promising, it also opens up a business to another problem -- that of having their growth outscale their ability to communicate.
Every company has both the need and the potential to grow over time. Whether a business must adapt to new trends or is simply looking to improve its internal processes, high-level change is simply part of a company's journey.
[long-form emailed to Kelsey]
Within any company, the ambitions of individual team members should aid the overall organization. However, it takes a leader to fuel, direct, and inspire this ambition into a way that helps both the team members and the organization as a whole. One way leaders can get their team members to realize their ambitions is by guiding them toward self-teaching and taking initiative, as a way of expanding their knowledge and skills while also seizing new opportunities within the company. To help, we asked 15 members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following:
When you spend time in the business leadership world, you start to hear a lot of cliché phrases and vague terms that other managers frequently use. Sometimes they use them sound smart; other times they're not sure of a better alternative. Either way, these overused words begin to sound like jargon over time, and may lose their meaning when you're communicating with your staff.
Innovation can change how a company does business and significantly improve its bottom line. That is why innovation should be a core value for any organization, and leaders should spare no efforts to encourage their teams to come up with innovative ideas.
A great digital marketing strategy can drive potential customers to your website. But high traffic doesn't always translate into revenue. Once you get people on your site, you need to ensure they have a reason to follow through on their purchase. To help you do this, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council how they optimize and convert web traffic into real dollars. Their best tips and insights are below.
Influence & Co. makes content marketing simple by providing a full‑service solution to help companies strategize, create, publish, and distribute content that accomplishes their goals. Working with Influence & Co. ensures your company has a dedicated team of content creators, strategists, and editors who drive your content marketing strategy and make content creation simple; access to proprietary content marketing software that makes it easy to collaborate with our team and track your content’s performance; a full-service solution that enables you to reach and engage your audiences at each stage of the customer journey and accomplish your business goals.
Marketing & Advertising