Jay Baer on Content, Marketing and More

By PRSA-SV President Mar Junge

@PRSASV connected with Youtility Author Jay Baer on our #PRSAvoices lunchtime tweet chat. Jay said he was “. . . wearing chambray, drinking iced tea and ready to fly to Napa tomorrow for a speech” and confessed, “I’ve never been to Silicon Valley. Only SF/EastBay. I may be the most active VC that’s never been!”

The conversation was lively and his insights appreciated. You can find Jay at convinceandconvert.com or jaybaer.com. Stay useful!

In your book, Youtility you talk about being helpful. Can every brand be helpful?

Every brand SHOULD be helpful, but not every brand CAN be helpful. And that’s not because they can’t do it tactically. Brands must provide content of value and that helps! Brands that aren’t good at helping don’t have a corp culture that supports long-term customer relationship-building. I think you can be a brand evangelist without being helpful, but it doesn’t hurt, for sure. Helpfulness comes from listening: “strategic eavesdropping” on Twitter, talking to customers etc. Just listen!

Is there too much content out there?

I don’t think there is too much content, but there is definitely too little content that matters.

What is the best way to break through the clutter?

The best way to break through the clutter is by being useful. #Youtility is marketing so useful, people would pay for it if you asked them. That’s the bar you have to try to reach. The path to success now is paved with marketing people cherish, not marketing people tolerate. Look at these vine videos from @Lowes…totally useful. They are #Youtility. Being useful with your marketing requires courage and trust, and not every brand has those things.

What do you mean when you say marketing people cherish vs. tolerate?

“Strongest pieces of creative content connect w us as humans in a way that computers cannot understand”

What is your best advice for getting clients who are less socially savvy onto social?

I have found it is hard to “convince” someone that social media matters, but showing them customer usage helps. If you don’t love social media, you probably suck at social media.

How do you manage the client/exec/legal approval process that often transforms cherished content into mundane content?

You have to embrace the value of not turning marketing into a trojan horse, and sometimes that’s hard!

How does content differ B2B vs B2C? Key tips on how to address each?

B2B content must be more comprehensive, and cover more buyer stages because the purchase has more consideration behind it. B2C content needs to be more obvious and snackable. Decisions to buy/not buy are made more quickly, with fewer inputs.

What’s a metric to show how “deeply a person engages?”What’s beyond a “like”?

Here’s an ebook I wrote on the 4 types of content marketing metrics at slideshare.net/jaybaer. Think Net Promoter Score. Measure NPS for peeps connected to the brand in social vs. not. Friend-of-mine awareness is replacing top-of-mind awareness. Brands can be useful, like our friends are.

How do you measure success with content?

Make sure that what differentiates you is hyper-relevant to customers. Breaking through the noise vs. information overload. But remember, we are surrounded by data yet often starved for insights. “Listening” doesn’t mean download spreadsheet People don’t want to be sold to anywhere, not just in social media. See both sides. Check out @HiltonSuggests for the best example of “strategic eavesdropping” in the world.

What is one trend you are seeing as it relates to investment in social startups?

I’m seeing a lot more interest in aggregation, curation, filters used to make sense of all the content.

As a VC what social media advice do you have for SV startups? Should they be doing more or less of anything?

I have LOTS of advice for startups, but I’ll stick with the marketing advice here. 1st, do your homework. A lot of startups haven’t really researched competitive landscape. 2nd, realize that sales>>marketing in early stage. 3rd, create marketing that transcends the transaction. http://blog.bufferapp.com blog is HUGE, isn’t about their product. As a startup health & wellness network we saw competition, but we stand apart & that keeps us motivated/encouraged.

What tools do you recommend to do marketing research? Any favorites?

Four research tools I use: http://rivaliq.com #investor, http://getlittlebird.com #investor & http://grouphigh.com I’m very bullish on brands using Slideshare, actually. Lots of untapped potential there. Instagram and Instagram video. Perfect for short-form #Youtility.

Any advice for navigating social media in highly regulated industries, like healthcare?

The key is getting customers/fans/advocates to create and spread the content.

Curious to hear what you and others think about Medium, a new platform to share stories in an easily digestible way. Don’t you love how how Ev Williams (former Twitter founder) went from 140 characters to “long-form” content platform?

I like @Medium. Great format. Challenge is that you are building relationships on rented land, but that’s pretty common now. Twitter/FB are so link-driven I’d argue they are amplifiers for content residing elsewhere. Medium is a content hub itself.

What is on your reading list?

“DuctTape Selling” by @johnjantsch. Then “Marketing the Moon” by @dmscott. Read “SpinSucks” by @ginidietrich recently.

Do you sleep? No, really, how do you keep up with all of your “social” life?

I’ve gotten good at diving in/out of social in short bursts via mobile. And I have an AMAZING team http://convinceandconvert.com.

 

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