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.


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 http://www.eventbrite.com/e/media-predicts-2014-tickets-5135273742 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!


Write Headlines for Humans, not Robots

How Quartz keeps a journalistic approach in a digital world

reading_stockIf we could paint a picture of information overload, it would resemble a very busy scene out of New York City. Every outlet wants to be heard, every brand wants to cover everything. From the trends of cat photos being featured on blogs, to a list suggesting, ‘Seven Ways to Make Your Morning Commute Better,” brands are competing for attention. So how can you break through this very crowded and noisy environment?

Quartz, a digital, social savvy, and mobile-oriented publication, is a new kind of global business news outlet. A sister publication of The Atlantic, Quartz presents a different model. Instead of trying to cover everything like the major news publications do, the small editorial staff focuses on shifts that are happening in their industry, which they like to call “obsessions.”

While readers of other online publications have to wade through advertisements just to get to an article, Quartz partners up with the brands, so ads become a part of the read, which commands a premium of advertising and results in higher quality readership.

With five million unique visitors online and counting, Quartz attracts daily, social savvy, deep connector readers, creating as little friction as possible. “We write headlines for humans, not robots,” Zach Seward (@zsweard), senior editor of Quartz explained at last night’s PRSA Silicon Valley’s “Inside the Newsroom” event themed “Social, not search.”

If you’re fighting to get your message heard in an information overload-environment, Kevin Delaney (@kevinjdelaney), editor in chief and co-founder of Quartz, said

“Create interesting headlines.  If you can’t come up with a good headline, how important is the news?”

Think of a headline as a tweet or status update. “A click is great, but a share is huge,” Seward added. “That’s where real traffic comes from – not robots.”

That same “less is more” advice can be applied to all content on the web. Remember the last time you were flipping through your newsfeed on Facebook, and rather than clicking on the long paragraph your cousin posted, you were more inclined to engage with the photo your co-worker posted from last night’s staff party? Readers treat your online content the same way.  Unusual photos or graphics will always grab the reader’s attention.

“We realize that business journalism does not lend itself to interesting photography [but] don’t try to write when a chart will do. Include charts maybe in the middle, a photo, etc.” Delaney said.

California Passes Resolution to Ignite Gender Diversity Discussions

By Sarah Meyerrose, ION President

This week the California State Senate passed Senator Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 62 calling for publicly-held companies with boards of nine or more to fill at least three of those seats with women, for boards of five to eight with at least two women, and for smaller boards with at least one woman. With no mandated quotas, SCR 62 is designed to ignite discussions and urge companies to take action over the next three years.

Many people are surprised to learn that in a state as diverse and forward-thinking as California, women hold fewer than one in ten of the highest-paid executive positions and board seats at the top public firms – a figure that hasn’t changed much in eight years. The resolution’s author, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, said that as the seventh largest economy in the world, California can use this resolution as an opportunity to “clear gender bias in corporate America” and that the next step is to “take the discussion out of academia and into the public policy arena.”

When asked how to get corporations to move forward with more gender-diverse initiatives – both in the boardroom and elsewhere — Jackson said that we have to show them the bottom line. If a company sees increased profits and improved productivity, they might be convinced that this isn’t a boys’ club anymore. And shareholders must put pressure on the board.  

ION couldn’t agree more. If you do too, here are online resources to learn how individual investors, mutual fund investors and consumers  can make a difference by taking action.

This post first appeared at www.ionwomen.org/scr62/.

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.

Quantifying Benefits is Like Flossing Your Teeth

By Melissa Junge, Moog Animatics Marketing

In addition to brushing your teeth, you know you should be flossing regularly. But this task takes extra time and effort and is easy to overlook. Same thing goes for quantifying benefits. Most marketers promote their features and competitive advantages, and good marketers remember to equate those with benefits. But how many take the extra time to really clean up their value proposition by quantifying those benefits? Especially in B2B marketing, where what you sell directly affects your customer’s bottom line, quantifying benefits can have a tremendous influence on the buying decision.


To develop a FAB-Q (Features, Advantages, Benefits – Quantify) that differentiates your product or service from your competition, start with the FAB that’s most important to your customer.  For example:

Our motors have an integrated advanced motion controller (feature), so there’s no need for cables and a large control cabinet (advantage), which reduces the cost of materials and required floor space for the customer (benefit).

Now go one step further to quantify the FAB: Machines built with our integrated motor use 50% less floor space than competitive solutions, resulting in $118,000 annual savings in overhead. Plus our integrated motors save customers up to $100,000 in cabling costs.

To arrive at those figures, I used the following quantifiers:

  • Average machine square foot space is 40 sq. ft. compared to 20 sq. ft. with integrated motors
  • Cost of leasing factory in Silicon Valley: $0.99/sq. ft. per month.
  • Average factory floor size filled with competitor’s machines is 20,000 sq. ft. compared to 10,000 sq. ft. with integrated motors.
  • Savings on factory overhead is $118,800 (20,000 – 10,000 = 10,000 sq. ft.  x $0.99/sq. ft. per month  x 12 months)
  • Cables cost $50 each. Competitor’s machines use eight cables compared to four with integrated motors = $200 savings per machine.
  • 10,000 sq. ft. could hold 500 machines (20 sq. ft. each). Saving $200 of cabling per machine = $100,000.

Quantifying and calculating benefits takes time, research and a little creativity. Start by using your best estimates. Remember, those estimates can be changed as more information is gathered. The key is to start somewhere quantifying your benefits. Make FAB-Q a marketing habit and, like flossing, you’ll inevitably see long-term gains.


Growing Pains, PR and Politics

When I started with c3PR, I assumed I would learn about public relations – how to write news releases, pitch editors, promote our clients through social media, etc. Yet, while learning the day-to-day tasks, I actually received a more significant and lasting lesson about communication and compassion.

PR is about finding the best way to communicate ideas to a certain group. To achieve this with any sort of proficiency, you must understand the motivations of each group involved; their desires, concerns, what keeps them awake at night. Your goal must be to really listen and find unique and inspiring ways to address the target audience’s uncertainties and assuage their doubts. Maybe that’s why the senior professionals in the field are called PR counselors, as they provide strategic counseling for business executives.

The ability to perceive and understand someone’s concerns is just as beneficial in politics as it is in public relations. Last fall I volunteered to help elect Eric Swalwell to congress. As a young, unknown city councilman and prosecutor going up against the 40-year-incumbent Pete Stark, most thought he didn’t have a chance of winning. However, his passion for change couldn’t go unnoticed for long. After just a few months, his campaign headquarters was flooded with volunteers coming in on weekends, canvasing door-to-door after work and manning the phone banks. It was the hard work and determination of the volunteers in this grass-roots campaign that helped him make it to Capitol Hill. The excitement of the election and the inspirational work of his volunteers rubbed off on me. When I was offered a position in Congressman Eric Swalwell’s district office, I couldn’t turn it down.

In my short time with c3PR, I learned how to empathize with and communicate ideas to vastly divergent groups. Now I would like to use my ability to identify concerns and communicate persuasively on behalf of our constituents. Personally, I believe that for our government to truly serve the people, our elected officials must actively listen to the people they represent and take those concerns to Washington. I’m grateful that c3PR has prepared me to help Congressman Swalwell do just that. If you live in California Congressional District 15, you’re sure to hear from me in one way or another. If not, I hope you’ll let your elected officials know when you have concerns or suggestions. You can find a list for your district at: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/. And while I’ll truly miss working with all of c3PR’s clients, I’m excited for the opportunity to serve our citizens.

2013 Will be Full of SMAC

PRSA Silicon Valley’s Media Predicts Event honored a premiere panel of  journalists, including Ina Fried (All Things D), Michael Liedtke (Associated Press), Jordan Robertson (Bloomberg News), Maryfran Johnson (CIO Magazine), Bruce Upbin (Forbes), Nicole Perlroth (New York Times & Bits), Joseph Menn (Reuters), Scott Budman (NBC Bay Area, Tech Now!) (Master of Ceremonies),and Jon Fortt (CNBC & TechCheck) (Moderator). While there was a lot of tweeting about one panelist’s comment that Oracle is like Kanye West (no one is really interested but we watch the award shows anyway), the memorable acronym for the night came from CIO Editor-in-Chief Maryfran Johnson. She predicted that 2013 will be full of SMAC. (Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud.)

SOCIAL — While using social media to connect, share, bookmark and tweet has been going strong for years, Johnson wondered how long it will take before these services are monetized. As long as a prospect or customer remains in the social media system, companies are very restricted on how they can market to them. To monetize those fans, companies need to find ways to move Facebook “likes,” for example, into their own marketing and sales systems.

MOBILE — Currently about half of the U.S. population uses smart phones. That means more often than not websites are being viewed on small mobile phone and tablet screens instead of on PCs and laptops. Also worth noting is that more companies and events are implementing BYOD (bring your own device), making user-friendly apps and easy-to-read-in-miniaturized websites even hotter in 2013.   

ANALYTICS — Big data is going to continue to be “big” this year. Major retailers and grocery chains such as Target, Walmart and Safeway analyze mountains of data to calculate what coupons to send and when to email prospects. They probably know more about our shopping habits than do our close friends or spouses. As many large enterprises are also analyzing big data to predict key trends, everything connected with IT will be on the rise.

CLOUD – Storing data and images online in Google Docs and DropBox is nothing new. In 2013, more companies will offer additional “cloud” services such as automatic backups. With more vendors in the mix, the variety of services will go up and costs down.

By Melissa Junge, Marketing Coordinator, Moog Animatics

Social Media: The New PR World Order

Whether it’s challenging constituents through Twitter to ask Presidential candidates trivial questions at town-hall debates or making critical comments concerning President Obama’s late Grandmother, the strong political climate heightened by tonight’s Presidential debate is a stark reminder that in this race social media has become king.

But not all social media makes a negative splash. I recently had the privilege of attending the launch of Eastwick’s sister company, SocialxDesign, a firm dedicated to improving the social engagement of businesses, government agencies and NGO’s. It was at this event that I learned through an experienced panel of speakers – including founders Giovanni Rodriguez, Toby Chaudhuri and Barbara Bates – how social media can be used to empower everyone to become directly involved in the processes that affect them on a daily basis.

Think about it: social media is giving a voice to historically underrepresented groups, such as Asian and Hispanic Americans. In fact, the panel described how social media practices and applications are constantly being adjusted to suit the needs of both citizens and clients. This fluid technology gives renewed meaning to the adage, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Through groundbreaking new social media tools, like Peace on Facebook, even Average Joe’s across the world can make monumental and enduring statements.

Outside of the political spectrum, the global connectedness achieved through social media is alive and well in the PR realm. Using these channels to engage your target audience may seem like foreign territory, but the impact can be monumental with the right strategy in place.  

To learn more about SocialxDesign go to: http://socialxdesign.com/.