Jay Baer: “The key to doing Youtility well is understanding what customers really need, and it’s almost never your products”

Cision har intervjuat Jay Baer från USA, en erfaren talare och författare inom områdena innehållsmarknadsföring, sociala medier, digital marknadsföring och försäljning. Hans blogg Convince & Convert rankades av Content Marketing Institute som nummer ett på listan över världens bästa bloggar om content marketing. I intervjun berättar Jay Baer vad som fungerar när det kommer till innehållsmarknadsföring och hur han spår att framtiden för PR-branschen ser ut, samt de sociala mediernas roll. Nedan följer intervjun på engelska.

You’re one of the best-known influencers, keynote speakers and authors in social media marketing. At which point did you realize social media is your future?
I started the ConvinceAndConvert.com blog in 2008. I wrote about a lot of different digital marketing topics, but every time I wrote about social media, the blog post got much better traffic. That’s when I realized that businesses were very hungry for social media insights.

You’re very well known and successful in the U.S. – among others, thanks to your book “Youtility.” Do you think this concept is applicable to every country?
Absolutely. Youtility is simply a mindset that says that you can (and should) create marketing that is so useful, people would pay for it if you asked them to do so. That type of marketing – which values help over hype – works everywhere, because we are all wired to crave useful things.

youtility-jay-baer

Jay Baer är författare till boken “Youtility”

How should one proceed in order to apply Youtility to a company? Is there a general approach to this?
Think about giving your customers and prospective customers valuable information and education and understand that giving it away now will yield attention and sales and loyalty eventually. The key to doing Youtility well is understanding what customers REALLY need, and it’s almost never your products. Nobody needs socks, they need their feet to be warm. Your products are a means to an end. Figure out what your customers REALLY need, and help give that to them with Youtility.

Is Youtility just as useful for smaller companies or start-ups? Will it help them grow, or are there certain prerequisites?
It’s actually easier for smaller companies to do Youtility marketing, because they usually don’t have a legacy mindset of having to only create marketing that sells hard. One of my favorite examples is the startup Buffer.com. They have an incredibly useful blog that is not very much about their products (just a little). That blog gets 700,000+ visitors per month because it is useful to readers.

How do you think the PR industry will develop in the next few years?
As content marketing becomes more and more the way that companies try to reach prospective customers, PR will increasingly be guiding those efforts. Content marketing IS the new PR because while content marketing assets are owned, the attention they generate is earned – just like PR.

Our Social Journalism Study found that the number of sceptics when it comes to social media has decreased, but there still remain some persistent sceptics. How can this be now that social media are becoming ever more important in all areas?
There should be skeptics. Social media isn’t right for all companies. Neither is PR. Or television. Or direct mail. But, realize that upwards of 75% of all persons in USA and western Europe use social media, at least personally. That’s not a fad, that’s a fact.

You coined the phrase “Content is fire. Social Media is gasoline.” Which social media will serve as catalysts in the future, and which will become less important or disappear altogether?
That’s a terrific question. I really don’t know yet. I think social media itself will become less important as a marketing channel and more important as a customer service channel, but I could be very, very wrong on that.

The Social Advertising Market is supposed to grow to $11 billion by 2017, and more and more people surf the web using mobile devices. What does this mean for content marketing? Which developments will ensue?
It very much supports the Content is Fire, Social Media is Gasoline approach, with some of that gasoline being paid social media advertising.

How will this affect the behaviour of internet users?
Social networks (Facebook, etc.) need to be cautious in how they insert and integrate ads into the experience. If its gets too ad-heavy, or if the ads are not relevant enough, it’s going to frustrate users and diminish participation.

Do you believe traditional advertising has become outdated? Will content marketing be the new marketing?
No. I believe mediocre traditional advertising works less well than usual. You can’t just write a big check and make up for bad strategy and bad execution now. But are there examples of traditional advertising doing great things? Of course, and there always will be. Content marketing is not new; it’s been around since the 1800s. But it certainly is becoming one of the ways companies can reach customers effectively and efficiently.

What is the best approach to content creation? Which materials should you use and what will people respond to most?
It depends entirely on your customers. That’s why it’s so important to not just understand your customers’ needs, but to also understand their media preferences and content consumption habits. Research is key!