‘Talk Triggers,’ ‘Conex,’ and the Future of Content: An Interview with Jay Baer

Introduction

Jay Baer is a seasoned digital marketing pro. He is the founder of five multi-million dollar companies including Convince and Convert and he is the New York Times bestselling author of ‘Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help, Not Hype.

Baer has written four other critically acclaimed books including ‘Hug Your Haters,’ and is a globally recognized keynote speaker and emcee.

He has brought his extensive knowledge and wit to conference giants like Content Marketing World, Uberflip Experience, Social Media Marketing World, and Oracle. He delivers around 50 keynotes a year and has worked for the United Nations, Oracle, and dozens of other Fortune 500 companies.

Baer is committed to guiding businesses to marketing success and, according to his LinkedIn bio, he is passionate about “helping businesses turn their customers into volunteer marketers.” At Convince and Convert, Jay Baer, and his consulting team, work with iconic brands to accelerate their digital success.

Baer is also the host of the Social Pros podcast, named best marketing podcast. He is also apparently “an avid tequila collector, and certified BBQ judge.

In 2018, Jay Baer will release his sixth book entitled ‘Talk Triggers’ and will partner up with Uberflip and Randy Frisch to  co-produce Conex: The Content Experience.

We were fortunate enough to chat with Jay about his new book, his goals for Conex, and his thoughts on the future of content marketing.

You can keep up with the marketing pro on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.

Interview

What inspired you to pursue marketing as a career? Did you ever see yourself delivering keynotes all over the world?

I wanted to be a journalist. And then, in college, I found politics and I became a political campaign consultant. I realized after a couple years that was a tough gig if you have a family, so I figured if I could get someone elected, I could market a product. I was fortunate to get involved with the Web way back in 1993, too.

Can you tell us a little more about what you do at Convince and Convert?

Convince & Convert Consulting is a boutique analysis and advisory firm that works with leading brands to level up their digital marketing. We also work with marketing software companies to boost their exposure and generate leads through our network of podcasts, digital magazines, videos, webinars and other media. And we have a live training division that delivers nearly 100 presentations and workshops each year, all over the world. My job is to set the strategic direction for the team.

What helps you stay motivated on the day to day?

Every day is different, but each day includes quite a bit of working with business people to improve their companies. I teach, mostly. It’s the best job in the world.

What’s your favorite book?

Pretty much anything by Bill Bryson.

You recently announced that you, and the Convince and Convert team, will co-produce Conex: The Content Experience. What are your short term and long term goals for the conference?

We’re creating an event that is by marketers, for marketers. One track (no breakouts). Great speakers (no panels). Super relevant, affordable, and awesome. I can’t wait for August 20 in Toronto!

You have a new book coming out this October called ‘Talk Triggers’ (congratulations by the way) Can you give us a little synopsis? What do you hope content marketers will get out of it?

Talk Triggers are operational differences that compel customer conversations. Content marketing powers talk triggers by giving customers the context and the stories that they then pass along via word of mouth.

Content is the gasoline for the talk triggers word of mouth machine. The book explains exactly how this works, and how to do it, with a 6-step process and a ton of amazing examples.

You’ve been listed on Content Marketing World’s Hall of Fame and many consider you to be a highly influential voice in the world of content marketing. Who has influenced you over the years?

Everyone is a teacher and everyone is a student. Literally hundreds of people have influenced me, and they do so each day.

What content marketing trends are you excited to see unfold in 2018 and beyond?

Video, of course. Also, audio and augmented reality. UGC and EGC (employee generated content) are going to skyrocket in importance because they are more trusted than brands.

Tech like Amazon Alexa and the recently announced Apple Homepod are really blowing up. Do you think content marketers should start exploring AI and machine learning in 2018 and beyond?

100% yes.

More and more marketers are using video to share branded content. Do you think brands should start prioritizing video content in 2018? How much should they invest in it?

Absolutely. Total investment depends on category, but I could probably make at least a decent philosophical case that 100% of your content should be video.

Do you think there’s a real future for augmented and virtual reality content marketing?

I’m more bullish on AR because it adds depth and context to existing information (and you can access it via a mobile app). VR is, of course, amazing but its’ uses are more limited, partially because you have to wear a headset to take full advantage. So I’d say AR will be more pervasive, but VR will be more persuasive.

What game-changing trends do you think marketers will be latching onto this year?

Hopefully, understanding that current customers are the best “influencers” and that word of mouth is still the most effective form of marketing.

Storytelling and content marketing go hand in hand but I’ve noticed that a lot of brands are focused more on quantity than quality. How can we grow not just as marketers but as storytellers?

You can do quality storytelling in quantity too. It’s not impossible. The problem is that most companies are creating marketing that is essentially a bullet point about a feature. That’s not a story. If people can’t remember it, it’s not a worthy story.

What’s your best social media marketing tip?

Not really a tip, but I’m really enjoying Linkedin video right now, and am going to start doing a lot more of it.

What piece of advice would you give to young professionals who want to get into marketing?

My daughter is a freshman in college, studying advertising and marketing. I told her there are only three possible careers in the business, going forward. You can either be really good at data and AI; be really good at creative; or be really good managing people and projects. There is no fourth option, in my estimation.

Last but not least, any news on when we can pre-order your book?

Talk Triggers (written with my good friend Daniel Lemin) will be out officially October 2. Probably another month or so before it’s up for pre-sale. Go to TalkTriggers.com to request notifications though!

You can keep up with the marketing pro on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.

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