Ep. 87 | How to become the next Jay Baer

It may just be me, but it seems that Jay Baer is everywhere.

He has the number one marketing podcast, and content marketing blog. He is a New York Times best-selling author. He seems to be a keynote speaker at every conference. I recently met two marketers at one event who had hired his Convince and Convert consultancy. And he is an investor in MarTech companies you may be familiar with such as Terminus, Buffer, Co-schedule and Uberflip.

But have you seen the video where this iteration of his entrepreneurism began in a Flagstaff, Ariz., basement recording an out-of-focus, backlight, poorly-framed, bad audio, video on the 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media?

In this week’s episode, we chat with Jay about a range of topics, including:

  1. AI and machine learning, and the future of customer service
  2. The key to sustaining a positive and long-lasting relationship with a customer
  3. The role your employees have on social media
  4. The role of MarTech
  5. How to define content strategy?

We also ask his advice for the marketer or other professional that wants to become the next Jay Baer.

Check out the 7 Deadly Sins video that still remains on YouTube.

So, did Jay envision what his company would be become 10 years later?

Listen to the podcast, or read the transcript below.

NATHAN: I was watching some of your early YouTube videos. The first ones I saw …

JAY: Those should be taken down.

NATHAN: I’m amazed that they’re still up there. But there’s something authentic about that. But the first one I saw there is from nine years ago, Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media. So the question …

JAY: That was shot in my basement in Flagstaff, Arizona.

NATHAN: Did you envision when you were shooting that video, what your business would become today? I mean was that like, ‘OK, this is step one on this long journey?’

JAY: A couple things. One, that particular video and videos of that era seem authentic, under-produced, not because I had this great epiphany about authenticity. Just that I didn’t know any better. And at the time hardly anybody was doing video. Now of course, ironically, the pendulum has swung completely all the way across the board, where we went from that to produced videos succeeding. And now we’re back at the point where Facebook Live and kind of lesser produced videos tend to do really well. I was nine years ahead of the curve. But that would be disingenuous at best.

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If you think about what I was doing then, this is almost a decade ago. It was just me and Jess Ostroff was my virtual assistant at the time, and now she runs all the media stuff. We’ve come a long way both she and I. So just the two of us back then, and now of course we have a whole organization. We’ve got team members all over the world. A lot has happened.

Did I think this was going to be the case? No. And I’ll tell you why, Nathan. Because Convince and Convert is the fifth marketing services company I’ve started in my career. And I sold the last one about a decade ago. And I said at the time, what I don’t want to do is build the same thing again. I don’t want to have an office, and all these people, and all this overhead, and payroll, and paperwork, and hassle. I just want to do good work for a few people and hang out.

And then all of a sudden, fast forward and here I did it again. I feel like that, oops I did it again, Britney Spears song, is sort of applicable to the current state of my business. I really didn’t set out to build another consulting services organization, but I did.

NATHAN: Well, maybe the key point there is you weren’t trying to, so maybe that’s why you were successful, and you were just focused on doing good work, your passion.

JAY: There’s something to be said for that. There really is. My dad told me something when I was a kid. My dad was an entrepreneur. I’m a seventh-generation entrepreneur, actually. And he said, the thing about it is clients can smell fear the same way that dogs smell fear.

And he said, if you go into a potential client scenario and you really, truly don’t necessarily care if you get that business, the chance of you getting that business is a lot higher than if you desperately care.

And I guess the nice thing about our world at Convince and Convert is that we’ve had enough success and we’re structured in such a way that we never need any particular project. There’s lots of things we’d like to work on, but we’re not going in at a point of need. We’re coming in at a point of want. And we’ve been very selective about who we work with. We really pick and choose our clients. And that’s obviously a first world problem. But I think it does help.

NATHAN: I think in a way you’re answering my next question which is, what advice do you have for that person that wants to become the next Jay Baer, whether they work in marketing, education, manufacturing, or something else?

JAY: So much of it is just consistency. As I say, this brand is based on producing value and content based on perspiration, not inspiration. I think one of the challenges that people have who want to sort of use a “personal branding” approach to success, is that they want to make a blog post or a podcast or a video sort of when they feel like it or when they feel disproportionately inspired. You can’t do that. You have to be your own media company at some level.

So it’s not like Sports Illustrated says, ‘Well, it’s summer, so we’re just not going to have any magazines for a while.’ There’s a magazine every week. And you have to think about it the same way. And then of course I wrote a whole book about useful content. It’s called, Youtility. And in that book we talk about this idea that if you create stuff that people feel is so valuable they would pay for it, but you give it away for free, eventually you will be rewarded for that. And I would say my entire career is based on that principle. Just give away things of value for free and then wait. And eventually it all comes back to you.