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Alexis Hall

Jay Baer’s Youtility – Content So Useful People Will Pay for It

By Alexis Hall     Content Marketing, Online Marketing

Content Marketing WorldIt sure is hot in Cleveland! On a humid morning in Cleveland, OH over 1,700 people gather in the beautiful Cleveland Convention Center to learn the secrets behind the best content marketing leaders in the industry.

Content Marketing World kicks off with a keynote from Jay Baer (@jaybaer).  Today, Jay is speaking all about content utility or Youtility.

More so than ever before, businesses face competition from more than just other businesses that do what they do. They are also competing on your Twitter feed, Facebook stream and inbox with every other business, acquaintance, friend and family member jamming  your news feed with shoes sales, baby pictures and cat videos.

As a business, you are probably creating content.  You may be creating awesome, interesting, visually compelling content, but no one is paying attention. Jay proposes that if you create Youtility, customers will want to/have to keep you close.

So how do you create content so useful people will want to pay for it?

Three Types of Youtility

1. Self-Serve Information

In 2011 the average American consumer needed 10.4 sources of information to make a purchase, compared to 2010 when the same consumer needed only 5.3 sources.  The same person needed twice as much information in order to make the same purchase.

B2B customers contact a sales rep only have 70% of the purchase decision has been made. So not only do consumers need more information, they are looking to find that information on their own. Jay points out that customers often avoid contact forms because they don’t want to be contacted by a sales rep yet. In fact, if a customer has to call you to figure out if they should buy your product you are doing something wrong.

Part of your content strategy should be creating content that is useful for your customer as they are making a buying decision.

2.  Radical Transparency

Consumer trust is key for business success. Radical transparency is a way to build trust among consumers.  This is the strategy Dominos took during their Pizza Turnaround campaign, which was up front about improving the quality of a formerly less than stellar pizza.

Companies should be less concerned with selling better or marketing speak and focus more on truth telling and teaching. For example, Lowe’s has a series of Vine videos featuring short How To’s for around the home.  Some of these practical tips may even render certain products irrelevant, but these Vine videos place Lowe’s into the daily life of consumers, placing the value not on selling, but on teaching. This builds brand advocacy through trust and goodwill.

3. Real-Time Relevancy

It’s better to be extremely useful in one context, than moderately useful in all contexts. Give yourself permission to make your content story bigger than just your products and services.

Content should be focused around your consumer and what they need, instead of on the story you would like to tell them.   So create content that is relevant to your customer beyond the transaction.

Three Steps to Create Youtility

Now that we’ve convinced you to create content that is useful – now you have to figure out how to create utility content.

Here’s your answer in three easy steps:

Step 1: Find out what your customers need

Of course you can start with Google Analytics, social media  and other data sources to find out about your customer behaviors, but do not treat your customers like just a number.  Businesses should be talking to their customers.  Surveys, focus groups, and conversations – this is how businesses can gain insight into what customers really need.

Step 2: Determine how you can address that need?

Once you know what your customers need, then start thinking outside the box.  Blogs, white papers and infographics are great, but extend your definition of content beyond these more traditional content pieces.

Step 3: Market Your Marketing

It’s happened to all of us before – we create a piece of content and no one shares it, Tweets it, reads it. It’s likely not an issue with the quality of the content, but the juice behind your promotion. Leverage paid advertising, social media and your personal contacts to help with the promotion of the utility of the content, not promotion of your company.

As content marketers, we can sometimes get stuck thinking we have to create the most unique, creative, brand new piece of content in order to get any attention among the flood of content inundating our consumers.  The idea of Youtility urges us that creating  awesome, attention grabbing content doesn’t have to be hard. We just have to listen to our customer to create content that they will want to pay attention to.

Is your business creating Youtility content?


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