Author Archive

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 or 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 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. 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: #investor, #investor & 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


Sizzling Line Up for MEDIA PREDICTS: 2014

If you haven’t heard already, MEDIA PREDICTS: 2014 is going to be one of the best ever! PRSA Silicon Valley’s annual black-tie-optional event is THIS THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5  from 5-9 p.m. at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.  There are still a few tickets available at but they’re going fast. Don’t miss out on being one of the first to hear what companies make the list of “What’s Hot and What’s Not in Technology for 2014.” Join us for a gala evening of networking with Silicon Valley’s business leaders, marketing and PR professionals, venture capitalists, authors, analysts, journalists and bloggers. Scott Budman (@ScottBudman) returns to moderate this year’s outstanding panel of media luminaries:

Join the conversation by: 

See you Thursday!


Lost in Translation

Lost in TranslationTranslated word-for-word, the French phrase “Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir tué” means “Don’t sell the bearskin before killing the bear.” But as this isn’t a common phrase in the U.S., Tongue Tied (Manchester) Ltd. notes that it is often translated as “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” Drastically different words, same meaning.  

My son recently studied abroad in Montpellier, France. For six months he spoke nothing but French. I asked him to translate the phrase and was surprised when he replied with the “counting chickens” version. This got me thinking about how, in client/agency communication, what is said is often “translated” into something completely different after it goes through our perceptive filters. And because of this, agencies and clients have to work especially hard to avoid misunderstandings. 

PRSA-SV President Dave McCoullough posted a great blog from the client’s perspective on the top ten reasons agency/client relationships fail. I can’t wait to read his next installment from the agency perspective. I bet “lack of communication” tops the list.

7 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress

 Stress. We all have to deal with it – marketing and PR executives more than most. In fact, we probably experience more stress before lunch than other professionals cope with all day.

While not all stress is negative, too much shifts the body’s natural production of hormones – like cortisol (which stores fat) and ghrelin (which aids in the feeling of hunger). The result is an all-too-familiar influx of symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, sugar/salt cravings, fat storage, anxiety, headaches, viral infections, fluid retention, irritability, difficulty multi-tasking and much more.

It’s actually relatively easy to reverse or prevent these symptoms. For example, according to Dr. Ron Sinha, regular exercise reduces stress by increasing BDNF (brain-derived neurotropic factor) levels, which in turn, boosts productivity and energy levels. Here are seven simple things you can do now to reduce stress:

  1. Delegate projects to other capable team members
  2. Eat a rainbow of fruits and veggies, plus healthy fats and proteins
  3. Achieve a fitness goal, like walking more miles or taking a new class
  4. Part ways with exceptionally difficult people – even if it’s a customer
  5. Step away from the computer and go outside for at least 30 minutes
  6. Get more sleep – at least eight hours per night
  7. Spend more time on your favorite hobby, or discover a new one

You went into marketing because you love it. That’s what makes you great at your job. So approach stress management with the same vitality and attention to detail. Because at the end of the day, your career will suffer if your body can’t keep up.

Use Opinion Research to Guide Marketing, Create News

The upcoming presidential election is a good reminder of the impact of public opinion. Both parties frequently use poll results to demonstrate the popularity of their candidates. Customer surveys can be just as useful for a company’s marketing and PR efforts. At a recent PRSA Silicon Valley Professional Development Workshop on “Surveys, Research and Measurement,” David Metz of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates explained how opinion research can be used to test and determine a company’s:

  • Market Position (Where are we currently?)
  • Strategy or Message (How do we go further?)
  • Campaign Performance (Did we get there?)

 To generate new ideas, make real-time adjustments to an ongoing campaign, or gain deeper insight into your audience, Metz suggests using a combination of survey methods, i.e. focus groups, ad testing and field polls. To determine which method will produce the most relevant data, first decide on whether the survey needs to be formal or informal and the data qualitative or quantitative.

 Let’s assume you’re going with an informal, qualitative approach. To reduce survey costs, we can help you leverage existing resources such as incorporating publically available data, including published social media polls, integrating customer feedback from your CRM system or website, and more.

 Metz reminded us that opinion research is only as useful as your ability to act on the results. So once you’ve gathered and analyzed your data, it’s time to generate the news. Reporters love polls, and many publications cover newsworthy research. Survey results that can be tied to a trend are even more interesting to editors.

For more info about different ways to enhance your brand through opinion research, email Mar Junge.

Hag Sameach

This week was challenging for PR professionals. With the Fourth of July holiday on Wednesday, some audiences were gone at the beginning of the week, others at the end. Many PR agencies and companies, c3PR included, delayed releasing news and sending out newsletters until next week. While it was great to have a day off in the middle of the week, it was also a bit of an inconvenience. This story by Louis Fried, a fellow writer and friend spending some time in Jerusalem, brought it all back into perspective:

“Happy Fourth of July! The following really happened. Wednesday, July fourth, in Jerusalem was a usual day … business, traffic, tourists, shopping in the farmers’ market nearby … everything as usual. That night we watched a movie on television. Our living room windows were open to catch the cooling night breeze. They also let in the traffic sounds from the street on that side of the building. About eleven-thirty we turned off the TV and prepared for bed. The bedrooms of our flat overlook a paved courtyard about a hundred feet wide between our building and the hotel across from us. There was a noisy late-night party going on the in the courtyard. Shouts, laughs, hoots, whistles, talk, screams, the yells of a few young men kicking a soccer ball to each other made me close our double-paned window and pull the heavy drape. We lay down, but the noise, which echoed off the stone buildings, still penetrated our barriers. Then, as if at a signal, the noise stopped. I glanced at the bedside clock. It was just before midnight. I was curious. I rose from the bed and went to the window, pulling aside the drape I looked at the courtyard seven floors below us. There must have been over a hundred young men and women standing quietly. A few had automatic rifles slung over their shoulders … Israeli settlers or soldiers. The only sound beside street traffic was the hissing of three fireworks fountains that someone had lit in the square. The silence continued for a few seconds and then a woman’s clear voice began singing. God bless America, Other voices joined hers and soon it seemed they were all singing. From the rolled “Rs” and the slightly guttural pronunciation of the “c” it sounded like many were Israeli voices. Land that I love. In my mind I automatically started singing the familiar words. Stand beside her and guide her Through the night with a light from above. I swallowed the piece of nostalgia stuck in my throat. From the mountains to the prairies To the oceans, white with foam, Someone absent-mindedly bounced a soccer ball. The man next to him grabbed it and held it still in his hands. At the edge of the crowd a man and a girl set off two more sparkling fountains. God bless America, Our home sweet home! God bless America, Our home sweet home. For a few moments the silence held again, then someone who had obviously been to too many ball games screamed a rebel yell, “Yaaaaahoo!!!” “Hag sameach!” an Israeli shouted back. “Happy Holiday.”

Thanks, Professor Bentel

Portrait of Dwight Bentel, a former distinguished journalism professor at San Jose State University, at his home in San Jose on April 4, 2007. (Joanne Ho-Young Lee/Mercury News) ( Joanne Ho-Young Lee )

Today is the convocation for 130 San Jose State University School of Journalism and Mass Communications students. Every one of them, and the thousands of alumni before them, are in debt to the school’s legendary founder, Dwight Bentel. Professor Bentel died one week ago today at the age of 103. He left quite a legacy:

  • 77: Number of years the Spartan Daily has been publishing. Now also online at
  • 10,500: Number of Spartan Daily issues produced over those years. Staff motto: Never missed a scheduled day of publication.
  • 6: Number of Pulitzer Prizes won or shared by graduates of the Journalism and Mass Communications Department.
  • 240: Number of internship hours that students must serve to earn an undergraduate degree.
  • 9: Number of awards the Spartan Daily staff won this semester from the California College Media Association.
  • 29: Number of faculty and professional staff in today’s department.

In a San Jose Mercury News article, former student and retired Merc columnist Leigh Weimers said, “Just look in any newsroom in the Bay Area (and beyond). The professional standards he instilled live on.”

I spent many hours in Bentel Hall, the SJSU journalism building named after him. It smelled of old newspapers and damp wood. There was certain reverence; we knew we were learning from the best. At today’s convocation ceremony, I’ll thank Professor Bentel for giving us all such a great start. If you agree, consider leaving a message in his memorial guest book.

Women are like teabags . . .

. . .  you don’t realize how strong we are until you put us in hot water.” That quote from Eleanor Roosevelt was my “best advice” speech at the 2012 Silicon Valley Women on Influence gala dinner. (Photo is of fellow honoree and Sidemark President Sandi Jacobs (left) and me.) I’ve sat in the audience at these WOI events for years, wondering if someday it would be me up on the stage. But after reading the profiles of each year’s amazing women, I always doubted I could measure up. Then last summer when the call for nominees came out, my daughter Melissa, a fellow Silicon Valley marketing professional, asked “If not now, when?”

That’s when I realized the time couldn’t be better. My PR agency, c3PR, had been doing a lot of pro bono work, which answered the “community aspect” of the competition. I was on the board of PRSA Silicon Valley, so I was giving back to my profession. And c3PR was doing well after having launched a cool new website.

But no matter how influential you think you are, it’s the equally influential people who take the time to nominate you that makes the difference. To each and every one of them I send out a big thank you. And a special thanks to Bridgelux for sponsoring two tables at the event, enabling me to surround myself with friends, family and clients. (Buy Bridgelux LEDs!)

If you’re a Silicon Valley-based businesswoman and haven’t won this honor, start now to strengthen your chances. If I had another “ten” best words of advice, it would be that in today’s networked world, “It’s not who you know – it’s who knows you!”

The Real Rosies

Close to 200 professional women and students gathered at Ebay in San Jose this month to learn from a strong line up of Bay Area executive women. “Bridging Inspiration & Achievement,” Santa Clara University Women in Business Network’s tenth annual conference, began with an inspiring keynote by MetricStream CEO Shellye Archambeau. In one of the last sessions of the day – a panel on “Consensus Building, Negotiation & Communication” – NxGen CEO Liz Fetter and Oracle Senior Director of Product Management Charu Roy, joined me to discuss how we’ve used those three skills to build our companies and advance our careers.

Just like we hope our experiences and wisdom will help inspire the next generation, Filmmakers Anne de Mare, Kirsten Kelly and Elizabeth Hemmerdinger were inspired by the extraordinary women who in 1941 went to work when their men went to war. “The Real Rosie the Riveter Project” features 48 filmed interviews conducted over the last two years. And none too soon, as these pioneering women are now in their 80s and 90s. Yet they remember their workdays like it was yesterday.

 “They don’t talk just about walking into the factory. We get their whole lives. We get stories of the Depression; of racial, class and gender divides – a story of America. I hope young people will look at these real-life Rosie interviews and gain insight and inspiration for their own lives,” said Elizabeth Hemmerdinger, who began spearheading the research project as a graduate student at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Between 8 and 16 million women were employed during World War II building ships and aircraft, manufacturing electrical equipment, and producing 6 million tons of bombs and 41 billion rounds of ammunition. They did jobs that were previously considered too dirty or physical for women. But they did what they had to do for their country and for their husbands, brothers and sons fighting overseas.

When World War II was over, the returning soldiers reclaimed their jobs and the Rosies went back to traditional women’s roles — homemakers, maids, laundry workers and waitresses — making 20 to 30 times less money than they did in the factories. How far we have come in the 70 years since Artist J. Howard Miller published the iconic “We Can Do It!” poster.

I invite you to join us at the Women in Business Conference this Saturday and view clips of the event later this month. In the meantime, I hope you’ll watch the videos of the Real Rosies – our mothers and grandmothers who inspired generations.

Did You Miss the Ides of March?

Are you being extra careful to peek around corners? Today in 44 B.C. Caesar was assassinated in Rome by conspirators. Shakespeare immortalized the moment in his play, Julius Caesar, when a clairvoyant warned the dictator to “beware the ides of March.” Fancying myself a bit of a clairvoyant, every year on March 15 I lightheartedly caution others to heed this warning. Turns out this year I was too late, says the International Business Times.

Apparently the Roman calendar measured months by the phases of the moon. During March, May, July and October, the full moon always fell on the fifteenth. When Caesar died on March 15, it really was the ides. But since our Gregorian calendar is based on earth’s orbit around the sun rather than the moon’s orbit around the earth, the ides can happen on any date. This year, it was on March 8. And there won’t be another full moon on March 15 until 2052.

Point is, it pays to do a little research before issuing warnings – or news. Prior to sending out a news release for our clients, we check out what else has been said or announced on the subject. Sometimes we find an angle that makes our client’s new product or service more interesting and newsworthy. Research also helps ensure the news is really “news” – not last week’s event, like the ides was this year. Fortunately, in 2013 the ides of March is on the 27th, giving us a dozen extra days to beware.