#7 Jay Baer Interview – Helping Your Way to Success

Helping Your Way to Success – Why Content Marketing Can Work for Your Business

JayBaer #7 Jay Baer Interview   Helping Your Way to Success

If you think publishing consistently is hard as a small business, try being a corporate with 1,000′s of employees and still gaining success.

Jay Baer, the current owner of the #1 Content Marketing blog in the world title, provides incredible insight into the process of helping his enterprise & mid sized clients understand, implement and execute content marketing and social media strategy.

Jay outlines what has worked for him to become an authority and a market leader in his field, and the issues and challenges in implementing the same strategic outcomes for his larger clients.

Most importantly, he provides advice on how to tackle a market leader in your industry using the same techniques.

I’ll give you a hint, being ‘useful’ has a lot to do with it.

This Podcast Answers the ‘Why Content Marketing‘ for Business is Important

If you’re still unsure why or where content marketing should fit in your marketing structure, this is the info you need.  Powerful stuff.

No Social Media Tools

Best of all, this is another ‘grown up’ discussion about social media that does not focus on the tools, but more on the internal cultural, planning and business objectives that social media and content marketing can achieve for any sized organisation.

Soak up the Knowledge

Jay’s time is high value and high ticket so his services may be out of reach for the average small business.  Listen to this podcast and find out what he knows for free!

Listen to Audio Here

 #7 Jay Baer Interview   Helping Your Way to Success

Click to View Table of Contents Here

  • 1:46 Jay is inside his own igloo
  • 2:01 Jay Baer’s Bio & Background
  • 4:22 #1 ex prison correctional facilites social media / content marketing expert in the world
  • 4:39 Worlds most unsexiest industries for content marketing
  • 5:51 Content marketing in B2B industries with complex sales cycles
  • 6:09 Is there still too much hype around social media?  Is it guru’s or tools?
  • 9:03 The Now Revolution – How did you come about developing the thinking behind it?
  • 10:52 Every Customer is a Reporter / Every Employee is in Marketing – keeping the team consistent, trusted to keep on message, is this the biggest challenge for big firms?
  • 13:51 The single business element that has fundamentally changed since the 80′s to now is?
  • 15:43 Planning _________ is key to social for businesses
  • 17:32 The results social media and content marketing are getting for corporate clients
  • 18:36 The business model behind content marketing and social media
  • 20:08 Offline content marketing strategy that works for Jay
  • 22:26 How’s Jay’s new book different to previous book and why should we read it?
  • 23:58 What is the definition of value?
  • 25:53 Jays experience, is there a publishing frequency versus quality trade off?
  • 27:51 Short term results versus Long Term gain, does corporate have the patience?
  • 28:25 Content annuities – engagement lasts forever
  • 30:14 Adding value and helping to create brand recognition
  • 32:20 Right content at the right time, being there when prospect has the need
  • 33:00 “Social media is the darling of the passive aggressive” comment
  • 34:28 ‘People are scared’ to talk directly, hence keyboard bravado and engagement
  • 35:12 B2B scenario: “potential customers on average have made 60% of the buying decision before contacting the sales person!”
  • 35:50 The new role of the B2B sales person is?
  • 36:04 Good content marketing ~ is about  _________  &  ___________
  • 37:01 How to out market a market leading competitor?
  • 38:38 If a prospect does ________, they’re not a customer you want.
  • 38:55 Is giving away your IP via content marketing a threat to your business: example
  • 39:40 Content Marketing World in Sydney

Watch YouTube Interview Here

Click to Read Transcript Here

Wes:   Welcome to Inside the Igloo; the number one podcast show for people who like winning. And today we have a very special guest; he’s the Big Daddy of the social media and content marketing world. He’s none other than Jay Baer who runs Convince and Convert as well as jaybaer.com. But most importantly for people who’ve been living under a rock and have never heard of Jay before, he has the number one content marketing blog in the world as voted by the Content Marketing Institute. But also he has the number three ranked social media blog as ranked by Social Media Examiner; Jay Baer welcome to Inside the Igloo, thanks for dropping by.

Jay:      Delighted to be here Wes and sorry that the guys with the number one and number two social media blog were not able to make it today.

Wes:   Well, give them time.

Jay:      That’s right; we’ll be on the show eventually. I actually feel like I’m in an igloo. I’m in Bloomington, Indiana. We got a bunch of snow last night so my kids are actually out making an igloo about an hour ago, so good timing.

Wes:   That is fantastic because here we are in sunny Australia enjoying and getting ready for the Christmas break. And it’s nothing like cold but now that we’re Inside the Igloo, we can get things underway. Jay, you’ve got a really, really interesting bio even before you started Convince and Convert. I’ve done quite a lot of research prior to this interview, and you started your internet career back in 1994; is that correct?

Jay:      Yeah, I’ve been in online marketing about as long as you could have been in online marketing; before we even had a web browser, I was involved in that. My first internet company was called Internet Direct and my former partner invented virtual web hosting quite literally. He created the algorithm that allowed you to partition a server so that you could run multiple web domains on one server. Before that, it was “One server, one domain” and you’d had to have your own separate box to host your website and he created essentially virtual hosting which is what now, and we now have with Rackspace and GoDaddy, and millions of other ones; he kind of figured out how to do that a long time ago.

Wes:   Wow, so you are obviously on the train very, very early. Were you thinking content marketing back then or were you thinking how we’re just gonna get our message out, how’s this gonna work?

Jay:      I appreciate you even thinking that that is an option and even to say that I was on the trend is absolutely not true. I was working for the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections before I joined the internet world. I was in charge of giving tours of juvenile prison and making sure that we were not in the newspaper and it was a really bad job; A because it was prisons, and B because it was working for the government, which doesn’t really satiate my entrepreneurial spirit. And so I quit and I was ready to do anything; like I would have done any job other than that. And as it turns out, two friends of mine from university had started this internet company and said “We really need some marketing help because this company is starting to grow and we don’t understand marketing”. And I said “Well that’s great because when you say the word internet I don’t know what you mean”, so I ended up as the Vice President of marketing in a fast-growth internet company having never been online. So I was definitely not on trend, it was a happy accident and the only thing I’ve ever done right since then, is to say “Maybe I should stay in this internet industry”, and so I have.

Wes:   So basically not only we have the number one content marketing blog in the world, you could also say you’re the number one, you know, ex-prison correctional facility social media guy as well.

Jay:      I think that’s probably true and before I had the juvenile prisons job, I worked for waste management and gave landfill tours. So I can also probably tell you more about how a landfill works than anybody else who is in the social media consulting business.

Wes:   So you could basically set off an industry around the world’s most unsexiest industries to be a market leader in.

Jay:      You know, it’s funny you say that because some of the consulting work we do is for, you know, larger B2B companies and who are not sexy in the classic sense. And I actually feel that content marketing in particular and to some degree social media, is as important if not more so for those kind of companies. And so it’s funny but I do feel like some of my background which was in politics before those other positions, some of the things I did before I got online really helped me think about; “Look these principles apply to all companies not just Pepsi Cola, and Snickers, and things like that”.

Wes:   That’s really, really interesting, you know, the further I get down on my content journey; I’ve been like yourself in the online space for quite a while. I think those B2B, those hidden brands, that inside products, really need to get their story out and people just assume that they just work, or whatever. But getting those stories out, I think that’s a really gonna be big opportunity especially at the bigger companies; the corporate, the enterprise, and your service provision around that exposes you to a lot of that.

Jay:      Well a lot of those companies have a very complex sales cycle too; with a lot of decision points and a lot of inflection points. And so you have to win the war of information or you simply are going to be leaking leads and sales to your competitors who are.

Wes:   Absolutely, now part of your bio is that you’re part of the hype-free content marketing and social media. Focusing on the word hype-free, do you believe that there is still a lot of hype surrounding social media? Is it more in the practitioning, the implementation, or the service provision, or is really around the tools that is creating this feeling of hype around this industry?

Jay:      It’s a good question. Yeah, we bill ourselves as a hype-free consultancy because we’re really trying to look at everything and all the recommendations we give to companies from a business prism, right. We think about what are you trying to achieve as a business, how does marketing support that, then how does social media and content marketing support that, and then how do individual tools or campaign support that; and so it’s sort of a pyramid approach. And you know, I’m a business guy and a marketing guy, and I happen to use social media and content marketing to achieve those objectives today. But in the past, I’ve done it with radio, or email, or newspaper, or a number of other tactics and techniques, and so we try not to get too excited about whatever the flavor of the day is. And I think there is still a lot of hype in the channel in two areas Wes; one is in “What can social and content do for your business”? I think there’s a belief amongst some people out there that these techniques are all powerful. Rather I’ve heard people say “Well if you’re really good at social media, you don’t need to spend any other dollars on marketing” and I think that’s just crazy. Same thing with content, right, I mean, you know, I do a lot of content consulting, and write about all the time, and have a new book coming out about content but the reality is it’s part of the story; it’s not the whole story. And to suggest that it is, I think shows a pretty severe lack of understanding about how business actually works. And then I think there’s also some continued hype about individual opportunities whether it’s “Hey you’ve got to make sure you’re doing Pinterest and Instagram, or whatever the new thing is”. Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s better and somebody asked me the other day a question, I actually get a lot that drives me crazy; “What’s the hot new thing” and I said “The hot new thing is doing today’s thing well”.

Wes:   Yeah, I like that a lot. I sometimes just shake my head looking at all.., a lot of this industry and just say “Hang on, these are just tactics and they’re completely irrelevant except for maybe in 1% of the time because it’ll be a fluke that the reader actually needs that in their business because they probably haven’t stepped back and have a look at the wholistic approach to their business including their marketing”. And you know, if you drill down social media and content marketing, it can be a tactic of your overall marketing strategy which is offline, online, an integration or hybrid of both; and I think that’s really, really important to look at that bigger picture. And that’s, as we move on, something that I’ve really taken out of your approach with your book “The Now Revolution”. And the further I got into it, I realized this is really not a lot about social media. How did you come about developing it? Was it just an evolution of what was working for you or, you know, it was a collaborative book as well? But it reminded me of some classic management text that I studied in the 90′s when I was at university.

Jay:      I’m really glad to hear you say that Wes because that was exactly what we were shooting for. My co-author, Amber Naslund and I sat out to create a book that describes not how to do social media, and how to be good at Twitter, or whatever but how companies need to change from the inside out; to be able to operate in a world that is much, much faster and more transparent, and where customers demand more of them that they ever have in the past. And the first portion of the book is all about corporate culture, and how you organize teams, and what kind of employees you should hire, and the implications of social media and content marketing on staffing. Because at the end of the day, you can have the best Facebook page in the world but if you don’t have a company culture to support that, you haven’t really accomplished anything. So what we like to say is, it was sort of the first book about social business and so much so that we don’t even use the word “the social business” in the book because that term of phrase had not been put out there yet. So we feel like we were ahead of the curve a little bit with that book. But I just reread it the other day actually and was really happy that even though it’s been out two years now, well it’s really not that long but in our world, it is of course; that it’s been two years that have still really.., it really holds together. I think that the vast, overwhelming majority of the things that we talk about in the book are still true today.

Wes:   Well, a very interesting premise and I’d hypothesize there’s a central tenet of what you’re talking about, is that every customer is a reporter. And as a result of that, you’re taking the viewpoint that “Okay, assume this paradigm is true, what does your business now need to adjust to look like”? And you’re starting to look at things, for me look like “change management” as well, you know, improving culture which could argue is a part of “change management” or an outcome of it; obviously your com structure. But I’ve been working with a couple of corporates this year and one of the top things that came out is your frontline personnel have got to be on-message in terms of your culture. And you know, a consistency there which really demands a framework that the entire organization can trust so that, you know, the guy in the mailroom has just jumped on to Twitter and could help out with the customer support query via Twitter, is pretty much gonna be in alignment with someone else in a completely different part of the organization. Do you see that this framework, you know, and people talk a lot about empowering but that’s well and good if the training’s not there, the trust, or the skill set, or even the enthusiasm’s not there, is that probably the biggest challenge for these larger companies where they got diversed spread of employees and cultures as well, you know, across the globe?

Jay:      Definitely, yeah it’s absolutely a challenge but you’re exactly right, I mean there’s two kind of central tenets to the book; one is that every customer is a reporter and the other is that every employee is in marketing. Whether they’re in marketing or not is immaterial; you know, they are in marketing because they have an email address, and they have a Facebook page, and they have a Twitter account, and they probably have a LinkedIn account. And if everybody knows where they work, so all of your employees are unofficial spokespeople until they’ve got to all be rowing in the same direction as what we say in “The Now Revolution”. And that’s not easy; as you said “change management” is a very tricky subject and if it was easy, everybody would do it. And it takes a long time; part of it is getting there through hiring, through attrition, by bringing the right people on to the team. Every time you’re looking to add somebody to the team, that’s certainly part of it, part of it is empowerment and part of it is ongoing training. A lot of companies will say “Well, we train people about social media or, you know, whatever. Well, when did you do that? Well, we did it two years ago” and say “Well, you know, things have changed in two years”. And especially in the social media and content marketing world, we really advocate, you know, ongoing training of employees and teams and say “Okay, take 90 days to train everybody and then start over” because 90 days will have passed and that’s a tremendous investment for companies of course to do that. But they’re doing it; companies like Dell who have trained 7,000 people in social media and enterprise, IBM, same thing is happening because they realized it’s really, really important to their success.

Wes:   It’s interesting just hopping back on to the point that this book reminded me of management takes in the 90′s and even the 80′s that I’ve read up. The only difference here and the premise that you just made, that every employee is in marketing held true back then. But what the critical fundamental difference is today, everything is just moving faster. And that’s really the point of what you are advising, what you’re advocating, is that the speed in now there; that the customer is putting, you know, a bad review or testimonial out there on the web, that you’ve got people that need, and an organization that needs to act fast. And it’s really the technology that’s brought forward that speed, is that pretty much what social media is really doing; is just speeding up the interaction between the marketplace and all parts of your organization. Is that really it?

Jay:      Yeah, absolutely, in fact the original title of the book was “Faster”; that’s what we were going to call it. And that’s exactly it; you can’t call a committee meeting every time somebody sends a negative tweet about your company. And by the time you send out the meeting request, you’ve missed it, right; you’ve missed the opportunity. Customer service is a spectator sport now so you have to have the right people and you have to have a level of empowerment in consistent corporate culture that people are going to make, as often as not, the right decision right now.

Wes:   And that’s sort of terrifying for a CEO I would have thought…

Jay:      Oh, absolutely.

Wes:   And they go “Hey, I can’t directly manage this”.

Jay:      That’s right, you can’t and it is terrifying; you know, but my job as an author is not to terrify you, it’s to terrify you.

Wes:   Absolutely, and I can see it, you know, if you had a thousand employees and trying to run this strategy, there’d be a lot of planning in this I believe. And once the planning is right, then the training to get the attitude and the culture right, before you can start even doing the content and the social media over the long and short term.

Jay:      Yeah, certainly the content and the social media I think are better and more consistent if you have the cultural part nailed. The reality is it usually happens in parallel. Very few companies are gonna be able to hold off on being active in content and social while they get their cultural house in order. And we understand that, I mean, that would be ideal but it’s unlikely.

Wes:   And so you’re doing this for clients at the moment? You’re not only advocating it, but you’re implementing it for clients like Caterpillar?

Jay:      Sure, yeah we work with a lot of big companies in the U.S. and they’re around the world on three types of business. One is sort of social business implementation like the things we’re talking about; corporate culture, employee empowerment, training and activating employees to use social media in individual lines of business. We do a lot of social media strategic planning for companies and say “Okay, look we know that you’re on Facebook, and Twitter, and YouTube, and Pinterest, and Instagram, and blogs but you really have no idea why. You’re not sure how to measure it. You don’t know how to allocate resources. You don’t know how this actually builds your business. You’re just doing it because you feel like you need to”. So myself and my team come in and try and add some thinking to that process so that they can determine how this actually build their business, and then we do the same kind of work on the content side. So we do a fair amount of content strategic planning, content audits, and giving people a content framework to communicate more effectively with their customers and prospects.

Wes:   And so how is that working out? In this field, there wouldn’t be an endgame; it’d just be continuously evolving. But taking that sort of intellectual rigor and applying it to the bigger companies, is it working out?

Jay:      Yeah, it’s been fantastic. We’ve been successful with that over the last few years. It’s been almost five years now at Convince and Convert; the last two years have definitely been pretty high-growth on the consultant side of the aisle. The challenge is that, once that sort of strategic guidance is implemented or on the way to be implemented, you almost have to go back and do it again because the rules of the game change so quickly. It’s good job security for us but it’s a tricky consulting proposition. And in fact, in many cases, we are on retainer with bigger companies where we work with them a few hours a week, forever, to sort of be a sounding board for ideas and recommendations, and what’s going on today.

Wes:   And it’s really interesting that even with Convince and Convert, you’ve got an incredible content marketing strategy in play and you’re getting the results but this consultancy model is the business model behind it or one of them? For people out there, you know, trying to get a take on.., they may not necessarily be corporate or they could be, and they’re trying to think “Okay, I agree with the central premise. The branded storytelling is the way to go. We need to educate our market”. But it’s not like an advertising campaign where you just go in and out, and then just measure what happened. Having, I believe, you got to have a business model behind it to support it. That has been working out very well for you because you just said that, you know, there’s two years.., in the last two years, your consulting has really risen; that’s because of the content marketing even the offline work that you’re doing such as speaking?

Jay:      Yeah, for my business, the way we look at it is social media; Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, SlideShare, LinkedIn, etcetera, drives traffic to our owned resources. So our blog at convinceandconvert.com, my podcast “Social Pros”, and our daily email newsletter “One Social Thing”; so social media drives traffic to our owned content. That owned content kind of gets people into the tribe and generates, in some cases direct leads from new business opportunities and also drives a lot of speaking engagements, and then speaking engagements also drives client opportunities. So it all works as a funnel; we don’t have it perfected by any stretch of the imagination and we’re always tinkering with it and trying to make it better. But it’s been effective so far and certainly having the book out there really helped them to speak inside as well, and excited to see what the new book does too.

Wes:   Absolutely, we’ll get to that in a minute. I’m just curious; you do, you know, 75 to 100 speeches per year up on the stage, I’d say that as content marketing as a way of getting out even though it’s offline. That would be building up your authority and presence in line with the book; that would be developing and establishing you as a market leader. For the people out there, you know, this is a great strategy and it’s clearly working really well for you. How many speaking gigs have you got this year.., for 2013 lined up?

Jay:      Oh, I’ve got about 25 or 30 lined up so far. And then once the book gets closer, it’s gonna get insane; not necessarily in a great way for family but it’s gonna be a busy year, there’s gonna be a lot of demand which is fantastic. The challenge Wes is that figuring out when to tap the brakes on either side of the equation, right. So people who embrace content marketing I find sometimes including myself, embrace it too tightly and you end up spending so much of your day creating pillar content that you leave too little room to actually do the things that that content is bringing to your doorstep. So I find myself constantly trying to juggle speaking engagements and consulting engagements, and trust me, I’m not complaining; that’s all good things but it does create some friction where you say “Okay, I know if I take these two or three speaking gigs back to back and I have a client project due the same week, that’s gonna be a difficult scenario”. So fortunately, I got some great people on the team who can chip in and do, and they’re better at a lot of things than I am but it’s one of the things you got to keep in mind; as you do more content, you create more opportunities and those opportunities force you to create more content and you sort of get into this cycle. And I wrote a post about this, a couple of months ago because I was sort of pondering it and I said “You know, one thing that we’ve got to consider is, is are we getting better or are we just getting busier?” and you got to make sure that you’re doing it right.

Wes:   I think that’s a really, really good analysis. I think leading up to the middle of the year, you’re releasing a new book. It’s been a couple of years or, when was it, 2011 when you wrote “The Now Revolution”; what are we looking forward to seeing in June and how’s it different to your previous work?

Jay:      A new book is called “Youtility”, Y O U tility, “Youtility: Why Smart Companies are Helping not Selling”. It’s all about content and not just content in terms of creating branded storytelling but really a specific kind of content. The premise of the book is that, what if, what if your marketing was so useful that people would theoretically pay you for it. They’re not actually going to charge people for your marketing but what if everything you did was of such high quality and so useful for customers and prospective customers that if you ask them to pay for it, they gladly would. That’s the challenge that businesses are going to have to meet because we are now being forced to compete for attention with friends, and family members, and loved ones in Facebook, and on Twitter, and in blogs, and videos; the difference between our personal and our professional lives has faded away to nothing. And now that everybody has high-speed internet access at all times in their pants via smartphones, they can consume content and are everywhere. So making content is no longer the objective; making content that is massively, inherently, truly useful is the objective. And that’s what the book is all about; tons and tons of case studies and interviews of companies doing it well, really excited about getting out there in the marketplace in June, have a great publisher, and a big plan behind. It’s gonna be fun.

Wes:   Oh, would definitely feature it here on Inside the Igloo when the time comes about. You raised a really interesting point about “Youtility” and it immediately got me thinking about what’s the definition of value. Because, you know, if someone has a high utility for all the information, they would gladly pay for it. Well, what are those characteristics, you know, if you’re looking at a business trying to implement these types of content ideas? I put it down to relevance and maybe even how close the potential prospect is to the buyer; buyer decision, whether they need it now or need it in six months’ time. The definition of value is really, really interesting; wanna be in just in your thoughts there because I would have thought that you may be even exploring some of these tenets in your book.

Jay:      Yes, absolutely, there’s some different conditions of “Youtility”; some is just hyper-relevance, some is location-specific. For example there’s a chain of supermarkets in the States called Myer; and Myer has a mobile application that allows you to find any individual item in the store. So you just say “Okay, I need this kind of beans” and you press a button and it gives you a GPS map to where the beans are located in the store. Now generally speaking, you don’t need that but when you’re in the store, you massively need that or you could. So it’s circumstantial utility, is typically how that’s going to work. And then in some cases, it’s utility in the consideration phase, right. So things like, you know, being really, really good at FAQs and explaining your business, and answering every customer question. That sort of level of information provision I think is going to be important for every business.

Wes:   Absolutely, and it sort of got me thinking again that for the business owner, the marketing manager, the corporate implementer of these types of things; in your experience and as wide as it is and also with clients, there’s a bit of a debate going on in my mind and I’m sure in a lot of other people’s about, they’re starting the journey, they do publish good content but they realized they’ve got to up their game. They’ve got to get the quality up so the engagement is there. When it comes to utility or value, it’s gonna take longer to produce really, really good content theoretically so then it comes down to frequency versus quality potentially. Is that a trade-off or it can be done both with just superior planning?

Jay:      I think planning is absolutely a part of it although I don’t know that it takes longer to create useful content. I think it takes longer for useful content to create customers.

Wes:   Okay, good point.

Jay:      But that’s okay.

Wes:   Yeah.

Jay:      That’s okay; I don’t think you have a choice there, right. I mean, as we say in the introduction to the book, “If you sell something, you create a customer today. But if you help someone, you could potentially create a customer for life”. And so “Youtility” in that premise is sort of taking the marathon approach to content as opposed to the sprint approach to content. I think too much of content that we’re seeing today Wes is about “Hey, let me get somebody to fill out a lead form in the next 30 seconds so the sales guy can call them and close them”. Consumers are not that stupid, right? They’re just not, you know, every single person who’s listening to the show has purposely not filled out a “contact us” form at some point despite having it be good content because they don’t wanna be hassled by a sales rep. So we have to realize that this is now the era of self-serve information; that customers and prospective customers are gonna do their digging themselves. They’re gonna surf around, and check you out, and read all your materials, and look at your content, and then they’re gonna take the first move. So I think what people have to do is redefine how they think about content from a calendar standpoint and also how they think about the relationship between content and lead gen that’s maybe not quite as linear and not quite as quick of a conversion as we have thought about in the past.

Wes:   Well it’s interesting because that puts a lot of pressure. I think the bigger the firm, the more bureaucratic, the more layers, maybe the more demanding especially if they’re publicly-listed companies. They probably got a short-term nature in their thinking which would be a very big challenge for a wholistic content story approach where you can’t really say, it’s not like a campaign that, you know, there is no lead gen forms getting filled out at the end of this week. Joe Pulizzi from Content Marketing Institute put forward the concept of a content annuity and I really, really like that concept. And touching on what you’ve just been explaining that the engagement utility of the content, it’d last forever once it’s published; but you can’t demand or expect results in the first two or three weeks. The customers will come; and that’s what you’re found.

Jay:      Yes absolutely, Joe and I do a lot of work together. In fact, he and I worked on that annuity concept together quite a while ago. And you’re right about big companies, and one of the things that I very much try to do in the book is interview both small companies and big companies, big companies like SAP, and folks like that because they have a really unique set of circumstances and a set of challenges with regards to this principle. But it’s amazing how companies like SAP are saying “Look, yeah maybe we can’t change the entire company to do utility marketing but we can pilot it in this one area”. And there’s some great success stories of them saying “You know what, what if we don’t put forms on everything. What if we just put great information out there and see what happens”. And they’re starting to see some amazing results and it’s gratifying that even huge companies like that can make it work even in a small way.

Wes:   Oh absolutely, and I think people are either in two states of mind. If they’ve done it, completed a search query, they’re already part-qualified in the industry

Jay:      You’re preaching to the choir at that moment

Wes:   Exactly, so I say it with clients, they get really nervous about even email marketing or whatever, they, “Oh I don’t want to spam”. You know, and I say “Well spam is just completely irrelevant information to an untaught targeted audience” you know, that’s all it is. If people are researching a query, they’re either just inquiring; they have a need now or sometime in the future or they may have a need some time in the future. If you can put compelling content that adds value and changes their life in some small way, you’ve got brand recognition. So when they are ready to go, what do they type in; not the search query but the brand.

Jay:      That’s right.

Wes:   And I think that’s the goal, surely.

Jay:      Absolutely, and that’s the whole premise of “Youtility” as a book; I sort of break down the three types of marketing. You have top of mind awareness which has been around forever. You have frame of mind awareness which is sort of the whole premise of inbound marketing; and somebody will search and find you, and when they’re ready to buy, they’ll stumble across you, kind of HubSpot inbound marketing thinking. And then you have what I call, friend of mine awareness which is where you are building relationships with customers; the same kind of relationships they have with their friends and family members but you’re doing it through “Youtility”, through highly useful content. So for example, one of our customers is Columbia Sportswear and they make lots of jackets, and pants, and outdoor gear, etcetera. They have a mobile application; I wasn’t involved in this, I don’t wanna take credit for it but I love it and I chronicled it in the book. They have a mobile application that shows you how to tie 20, or 30, or 40 different knots, right; you know, all kinds of different knots. And so if you’re in an outdoors environment and you’re trying to secure your backpack to a tree or whatever your circumstances are, that mobile application at that snapshot in time is massively useful. You’re gonna keep that on your phone if you are that type of outdoorsy person and you’re gonna keep that on your phone the same that you keep things that you like, that aren’t branded. And so the whole nature of “Youtility” is how do you introduce your company and your brand in the same context that consumers are operating with friends, and family members, and things that they choose that aren’t branded. And you’re not gonna do that with a product catalog, you’re not gonna do that with marketing, proactive marketing information; you’re gonna do it with things that are inherently useful.

Wes:   It just, yeah, I’ve just, my brain’s buzzing right now I’m going “When there’s a need, that’s when you show up”.

Jay:      That’s right.

Wes:   And you know, if you’ve got your knot-tying application in the supermarket, there is no need; so there is no relevance, so there is no engagement. You know, you’re out in the woods and you wanna tie down your boat; there’s a need then that’s, you know, turning up for the right place at the right time and potentially getting your name in front of them. And that’s what you’re suggesting is as far as it goes; just getting your name in there, just to stamp brand retention.

Jay:      Yeah, and clearly the premise is that you will then eventually take the next step, and give them money, and drive loyalty, and those kind of things. Now that’s a correlation not a causation in some cases but I think it’s certainly more effective than just trying to run more ads and shout louder.

Wes:   Exactly, now we’re gonna shift gears just slightly before we wind up the show. There’s a statement in your book and I just love it, “Social media is the darling of the passive aggressive”. I love it. I just had to put it in and ask you about that; how you came about that term.

Jay:      Well I find it all the time that we as I said, we do a lot of ongoing consulting for companies in social and they call me or email me and say “This person said this crazy thing on our Facebook page” which we do and I get a lot of those kind of questions. And you know, the reality is everybody is emboldened by the keyboard and so you see that dynamic, right; you see that aggressive part. The passive part comes because nobody wants to actually have synchronous conversations anymore. That’s why I do so much podcasting and go on a lot of podcasting shows because it’s an opportunity to actually have conversations with people in real time. It’s funny we think about social media as real time but it’s asynchronously real time, right. It’s post, response, post, response; it’s like a very, very fast forum but it’s not real time in the true sense. And one of the things I talk about in the new book actually as sort of take that concept of passive aggressive and put some data around it, is we look at the percentage of people who actually make telephone calls now versus the percentage of people who use texting. And it’s an unbelievable stat; I don’t have it at the top of my head but it’s crazy. The phone call usage is like through the floor. Nobody wants to talk anymore. I mean, you know, I’m old enough and you are too Wes. I remember the days when I would get, no joke, dozens of phone calls a day; dozens.

Wes:   Yeah.

Jay:      And now if I get two, it’s unbelievable.

Wes:   You know, I’ve done a lot of personal development courses and a lot of things have come up; that people are inherently scared. Unless they truly know someone, you know, they generally sit in their comfort zone and that sort of approach on the keyboard is one step removed from direct engagement or even direct confrontation. And I think the texting is another reflection of that. It doesn’t really surprise me that that’s occurring and we’ll probably see more of it until you can sort of, I think as content owners, draw them away from that, you know, viewing platform.

Jay:      That’s right.

Wes:   And actually contributing; getting on the court starting to play the game rather than sitting in the bleachers and watching.

Jay:      That’s right. There’s a stat in the new book about, and you may have seen this, it’s got a lot of content implications; that in a B2B scenario, in B2B customers on average, prospective customers on average, have made 60% of the buying decision before they contact the salesperson.

Wes:   Wow.

Jay:      So, you know, I was talking earlier about self-serve information and that’s why that concept is I think really important for companies that it used, and has huge implications for sales, right; for salespeople on what they do. It used to be that we would create loyalty and relationships with people, and now we create loyalty and relationships with information. So the role of sales used to be cultivating relationships and closing deals, now the role of sales is closing deals because all the cultivation has been done online in a passive aggressive way right under your nose.

Wes:   Yeah, and this is just really, really powerful point that good content marketing, the storytelling, the use of social media to deliver that, is really about authority building and market leadership. And having those tenets covered, is going to help with those people that, you know, as you said the statistic was 60% of people have already made up their mind. Why have they made up their mind? Because they trust the market leaders; because the authority is there. You know, if they’re the leader they must be the best; it means it’s gonna work, “I’m not gonna make a bad decision which means I’m not gonna get fired”. I think, you know, do you agree with that? Because I’m quite passionate about this authority building, and market leadership, and all the opportunities that it can provide for a business.

Jay:      I think that’s absolutely true. And the way you compete against that if you’re not the market leader, is to “out information” them; to win the war of information, to answer every customer question. And Joe may have talked to you about that as well. He and I talk about that same premise a lot that you.., the best way to start in content marketing is to figure out every conceivable question that a customer might have before buying from you and answer that question proactively in multiple formats.

Wes:   Absolutely, and that’s what I advise…

Jay:      That’s about how you go against them.

Wes:   Yeah, sorry to interrupt there that, you know, I’ve got corporate clients that, they go “Well we’re behind the scenes. No one can tell what we’re doing”. I say “Well this is really simple”, who is your target customer and what’s their biggest objections; create the most amazing content to help them overcome them.

Jay:      Absolutely, and this idea that, you know, we have secret sauce, we can’t possibly tell people our magic formula in a series of blog post is just ridiculous, its just bull. You know, Joe and I did a series of presentations last year at South by Southwest and elsewhere called “You Have To Open The Kimono”, right. And all about “Look, you know, you can’t pretend that your intellectual property is so amazing that you can’t share it publicly” because if you do, nobody has any idea what you actually do. They can’t secret shop you, they can’t do the self-serve information thing, and you’re not gonna get leads that you deserve. And you know, the reality is this, and I’ve been in professional services a long, long time; if you have a potential customer and the circumstance becomes, well they were going to hire you but they decided not to because you told them all the stuff that you do on your website and they’re gonna do it themselves or take and hire somebody else, that’s not a customer you wanted to begin with. A list of ingredients doesn’t make you a chef.

Wes:   I like that. It’s interesting when I speak to clients who are in service provision and I do get a little bit freaked up by their concept; they’re giving away their IP, all I say is I used to do a lot of speeches and talks about online marketing. But everyone wanted to know about SEO two years ago, like had to know everything, and I just say “I would tell stand-up and tell them everything I know”; absolutely everything, where to go, where to look, blah blah blah. And they would scribble notes down like you wouldn’t believe, thinking they’ve just stolen the secret sauce. And all they find out is that after six weeks, they can’t remember half of it, it’s very overwhelming, it’s much harder than they think, and all they’ve concluded is “Wes knows what he’s talking about so I better go back and speak to him”.

Jay:      That’s right.

Wes:   I love it.

Jay:      That’s exactly it, well done.

Wes:   Well, you have mentioned that you do a lot of work with Joe Pulizzi and you will be out in Sydney in March 2013 for Content Marketing World. You’re coming out for a few days, is it a flying visit or you actually gonna soak in the sunny shores of Sydney and take a look around in our fair country?

Jay:      My first time in your fair country actually and very excited to be out there; gonna do some work with Joe at Content Marketing World, gonna keynote that event, doing some other speaking while I’m in Sydney. Bringing out the family; the kids and my wife, we’re gonna spend a week or so in Sydney. And then we’re gonna go up to a tiny little island in Vanuatu and get a little beach time. So we figured while we’re out there, we’re going to pull the kids out of school, and do all kinds of other stuff and try and enjoy it.

Wes:   Well you can get outside of your own igloo out there in Indiana where it’s freezing cold.

Jay:      That’s right.

Wes:   We’ll just tie up today. It’s been a really, really awesome time speaking to you today Jay. Just a quick reminder; your book “Youtility”, can you just rename the title and when we can expect to see it on the shelves.

Jay:      You bet, “Youtility: Why Smart Companies are Helping not Selling”, June 27th in the States. Not sure what the Australian release schedule will be but June 27th will be the day and we’ll have pre-orders and all that, available here this Spring. And people from anywhere in the world can pre-order book and I’ll ship it to you when it comes up myself.

Wes:   Okay, well definitely let us know about the pre-order. We’ll set up a page on the website so people can check it out. Once again, thank you very much for being on the show. Everyone, if you have comments or questions, or just anything that we’ve been speaking about today, we’d love to hear from you either in the comment section within the podcast or even below on our blog post page. My name is Wes Ward. You’ve been Inside the Igloo; the number one content marketing show for people who like winning. And you’ve been listening to one of the biggest winners of all, Jay Baer from Convince and Convert. Bye for now.

Your Turn

  1. Do you agree with Jay that usefulness is more important that publishing frequency?
  2. Can content marketing overcome the ‘results now’ campaign mentality?
  3. What is working for you?

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