Convince and Convert – Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting http://www.convinceandconvert.com Fri, 25 May 2018 14:13:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.6 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/cropped-convince-convert_C-orange-32x32.png Convince and Convert – Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting http://www.convinceandconvert.com 32 32 Our Top 10 2017 Social Media and Content Marketing Articles http://www.convinceandconvert.com/baer-facts/our-top-10-2017-social-media-and-content-marketing-articles/ http://www.convinceandconvert.com/baer-facts/our-top-10-2017-social-media-and-content-marketing-articles/#respond Wed, 27 Dec 2017 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=148328 Top 10 social media and content marketing articles from Convince & Convert in 2017, including tips, tricks, templates, and more.

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Our Top 10 2017 Social Media and Content Marketing Articles

As we close each year here at Convince & Convert, I like to take a look at our most popular articles, posts, and podcasts over the preceding 12 months. It’s not 100 percent scientific because articles get traffic in multiple ways (search, social, email, etc), but looking at the top 10 from among more than 300 pieces of content does give an indication what you—the amazing audience that visits our corner of the web—found most valuable.

It’s also a good compendium of useful content for folks that may have fallen behind on their reading and want to catch up. Here are our top 10 best-performing posts this year.

The 11 Critical Podcast Statistics of 2017

The 11 Critical Podcast Statistics of 2017

This is the second or third year I’ve written this piece, inspired by an annual study by our pals at Edison Research. Podcasts continue to soar in popularity (do you listen to our own Social Pros, Content Pros, or Experience This!)? I love that so many people find value in this summary every year!

How Social Media Has Evolved Over the Past 12 Years

How Social Media Has Evolved Over the Past 12 Years

We ran this last January and it FREAKED ME OUT. I mean, you obviously know that social has changed a lot in a decade, but to have it all spelled out in one article? Wow. It really hits home. Great job on this by Matt Banner.

4 Goal-Specific Ways to Measure Influencer Marketing ROI

4 Goal-Specific Ways to Measure Influencer Marketing ROI

The success of this post doesn’t surprise me. Nothing was as hot in social/content circles as influencer marketing in 2017, and this straightforward article by Kim Westwood helps frame up some potential measurement protocols. We’ll cover this topic more next year, as well.

The Truth About How Often to Post in Social Media

The Truth About How Often to Post in Social Media

This was one of the mini-rants I wrote this year (I think I’m getting cranky in my middle age). Our friends at CoSchedule released a roll-up post about social media posting schedules. Good advice there, but my take is that you should publish . . . when you have something worthwhile for your audience. This one got a lot of chatter on Facebook and LinkedIn too.

8 Ways to Optimize Your Facebook Page

8 Ways to Optimize Your Facebook Page

This one is super helpful because it includes step-by-step walkthroughs and specific screenshots of where to click and what to do. A great one from Ann Smarty that could be updated just about every quarter, considering how many changes Facebook constantly throws at us.

An A-to-Z Guide to Google Analytics for Content Marketers

An A-to-Z Guide to Google Analytics for Content Marketers

This was quite a collaboration! Andy Crestodina and Orbit Media Studios wrote a terrific post on Google Analytics. Then, Payman Taei used the Visme tool to create a nifty infographic of the key concept. Payman pitched us to run his summary and infographic on Convince & Convert, and voilà! One of our most popular posts of the year. Thanks to everyone involved. The info and insights in this one are spot on.

11 Visual Storytelling Tools and How They’ll Help Your Content Marketing

11 Visual Storytelling Tools and How They’ll Help Your Content Marketing

Kayla Matthews is one of the best in the business at writing posts that round up useful tools and apps. Here, she used that superpower to pull together a great list of recommended tools (a bunch I’d never heard of) that content marketers can use to improve their visuals (which is SO important now).

The Formula to Calculate Content Marketing ROI_

The Formula to Calculate Content Marketing ROI

This one of my favorite posts this year. There’s so much confusion out there still about what ROI actually is, and how to calculate it legitimately for content marketing. Warning: This one has math (but that didn’t seem to hurt its popularity!).

6 Trends in Digital Advertising That Take Us from 2017 to 2020

6 Trends in Digital Advertising That Take Us from 2017 to 2020

Loved this future-casting from our very own Zontee Hou (who co-leads our strategy division). Are robots going to be doing ALL the digital advertising by 2020? Maybe!

The Proven Mechanics of Successful Social Media Writing

The Proven Mechanics of Successful Social Media Writing

I mentioned CoSchedule above and their meta-study of social media publication cadences and timelines. Nathan Ellering led that initiative and also contributed a killer post here at Convince & Convert, full of VERY specific templates for how to phrase your content on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and beyond. Bravo, Nathan!

On behalf of all of us at the Convince & Convert blog, huge thanks to the millions of you who spend time with us every year. We appreciate your trust, and we’re looking forward to a great 2018 together!

~ Jay Baer, founder

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Why We Rebuilt Our Content Marketing Editorial Calendar http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/content-marketing-editorial-calendar/ http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/content-marketing-editorial-calendar/#respond Tue, 14 Nov 2017 14:00:04 +0000 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=147290 When we noticed our website traffic beginning to decline, the Convince & Convert team decided to rebuild our content marketing editorial calendar.

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Why We Rebuilt Our Content Marketing Editorial Calendar

It started in a hotel lobby. Not the kind where there are cocktails and canapes. (After the show, it’s the afterparty—holla!) No, this one had Starbucks and notebooks and a problem.

The problem was two-fold:

First, a survey that many of YOU filled out earlier this year revealed that most people don’t recognize Convince & Convert (tear) without our esteemed leader, Jay Baer. Jay is the person our audience trusts. He’s the thought leader in our industry with the household name. His insights are the ones that resonate.

Second, our website traffic has plateaued and was starting to decline. This is something we cannot have here at C&C.

As a result, much of our strategy, our branding, and our vision needed a major refresh (and the C&C team ego was offended—just kidding!).

An Identity Crisis

You see, the Convince & Convert you experience through the blog has other parts as well. The extended team includes some of the most experienced and highly qualified consultants on the planet. The consulting team services clients every day by creating strategic programs that double clients’ results in digital marketing. This part of the business is not only fulfilling work but also a significant part of our business, making up about a third of our overall revenue.

Yet, Convince & Convert Media (including our blog and so much more) is competing against some of the biggest content marketing companies that work almost exclusively as media companies, not as a combo-pack of media, consulting, and speaking like we do. In some ways, we don’t have the level of resources to keep up the same level of production and analysis as other giant media companies, nor, arguably, would we want to. But our small, scrappy team works hard to bring the “and therefore” of digital trends that Jay is so well-trusted for to the blog each day.

A Drop in Organic Traffic

While we thought we were doing a good job keeping relevant, consistent content flowing on the blog, our traffic began steadily declining without apparent reason. We had a 30 percent drop in traffic to blog posts over the course of three months, so we knew it wasn’t a fluke.

After a few rounds of internal debate and hypothesizing, we reached into our network of experts for an outside analysis of our traffic dip. As you know, Google updates its algorithm periodically, and publishers experience a positive or negative effect of this change. Lucky for us, most of Google’s algorithm updates have not severely impacted our traffic negatively over the years. The latest update, however, favors answering user’s questions, being extremely mobile-friendly, having a fast load speed, and updating old content.

As with many other publishers, we were definitely hit by this update.

We also had to take some of our own consulting medicine in realizing (again) that more content doesn’t mean better content. Couple that with the pressure of maintaining a rotating editorial calendar including podcasts, emails, ebooks, and it was a little too crazy, even for us. We needed a reset on our content calendar that was data-driven and would boost our organic, social, and search traffic.

Analyst on Board!

Enter Christina Moravec. Christina is a new addition to the Convince & Convert team and has been helping us crack the data code since the summer so we can understand what’s resonating, what we should do more of, and of course, what we should stop doing immediately.

Which brings us back to that hotel lobby in Toronto. We knew we had a problem. We knew some data around why it may have been a problem. Now, it was time to brainstorm ways to solve the problem.

A Strategic Content Shift

The truth is, we have never had a real CMO or Content Marketing Director at Convince & Convert. Those roles have always lived under Jay’s umbrella. But if you’ve ever had a look at Jay’s Google calendar, you’ll know that combining 50 weeks on the road with overseeing the entire consulting division plus providing direction for the media side of the company is a lot for one person to handle. (Jay is a superhero, though, and has managed to do it for many, many years!)

It was time for the strategic content marketing hat to go back on the Baer head, and together, Jay and Jess created a new editorial calendar that, based on data, research, and years of marketing experience, would make a positive difference in the number new and returning visitors to our blog. Our content would be well-researched, well-written, and continue to bring the “and therefore” content of digital marketing to you.

This new editorial calendar’s launch would coincide with the website launch. We would also launch a new podcast (Experience This!) and switch to a new email marketing service provider (ConvertKit).

October 1st will live forever in our memories as the day when we launched all the things! (It is also International Coffee Day. Coincidence? We think not.)

Why “Shows?”

Often in our consulting practice, we advise clients to think like a television network. This means that each “show” has a defined audience and a narrative arc. Shows have consistent schedules (Walking Dead Sunday nights, anyone?) that audiences look forward to and plan around. By shifting our blog editorial into this type of thinking, we created two distinct benefits:

  1. We put our audience first by ensuring consistency and the content you care about is always available.
  2. We allowed our editorial manager (Hi Jess!) new focus because she now matches content to shows and can be increasingly selective.

(Can you feel the zen?)


Think like a television network. Give each 'show' a defined audience and a narrative arc.
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How Are We Doing?

It’s only been a few weeks since we launched all of these new things, and time will tell how they affect our traffic and rankings. In tandem with this new editorial approach, we have also implemented a plan to refresh old content that previously was performing well. This is an ongoing strategy that we’ll be revisiting every quarter. So far, though, we’ve received some positive feedback from you, and our internal team has regained confidence in our content selections. And that is an early win.

Finally, we are working with Written to identify duplicate content around the web that could be sucking away some of our SEO juice. We’re determining a plan of action for getting the right canonical tags on those pieces of content or asking the publishers to remove them entirely if they are simply scraped.

But we’d love to hear more about how you like our new podcast, our new editorial calendar, and our new Shows. What do you think? Are we providing anything that knocks your socks off or makes you fall asleep? Is there more or less that you’re seeing that you like (or dislike)?

In marketing, a big part of our job is constant improvement, so we’re always tinkering and tweaking everything we can to make it right. Of course, as soon as we get it “right,” we’ll have to go on changing things again, but isn’t that fun?

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Are You Making the Most Common Marketing Mistake? http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/the-most-common-marketing-mistake/ Wed, 09 Aug 2017 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=40869 The most common marketing mistake, and the lie that every marketer tells themselves, according to Jay Baer.

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Are You Making the Most Common Marketing Mistake

The irrepressible Michelle Joyce is my agent. She handles all of my events and speaking opportunities over on the JayBaer.com site.

On her blog, she runs a Friday series where she interviews speakers that she represents. She interviewed me recently, and I thought I’d post it here as well, as the topics are relevant for Convince & Convert readers.

What’s the most common marketing mistake companies make?

Every marketer in the history of the world tells themselves the same lie, and when doing so, makes the same mistake.

The lie they tell themselves is, “My customers are just too busy.” They believe customers are too busy to read the blog, watch the video, sit through the demo, or interact with the Instagram post.

This is completely untrue. It’s not about busy. Are people busier now, or when there was no microwave, ATM, or Uber? We are less busy than ever.

What’s changed is that there is more competition for attention. So when a customer says they are “too busy” to interact with the company, that’s a euphemism. What they really mean, but rarely say, is that what you have put in front of them is simply not RELEVANT enough.

If you give a customer or prospect the information she needs, in the format she prefers, at the moment when it’s convenient, the time needed to consume and interact with that information will magically appear.

Relevancy is the killer app, and relevant marketing creates attention.

When a customer complaint is received, what is the best way to address it?

Answering a complaint (not necessarily solving the problem, just answering) increases customer advocacy by as much as 50 percent. Not answering a complaint decreases customer advocacy by as much as 25 percent.

This is because no response IS a response—a response that says, “We don’t care about your dissatisfaction enough to even acknowledge it.”

This is why I recommend answering every complaint, in every channel, every time. 

What are the critical steps to providing an exceptional customer experience?

Customer experience is how we make our customers feel.

Done well, customer experience creates new customers for free, as remarkable customer experiences (I call these Talk Triggers) compel word of mouth.

The best ways to create Talk Triggers are to observe how customers really use your products and services, and then find ways to consistently deliver something that’s differentiated. For example, there are many car rental services, yet only one has a Talk Trigger: Enterprise, because they’ll pick you up. 

How can a company benefit from your presentations?

I help companies clone their customers. I combine 24 years of experience, advising 700 brands and nearly 40 FORTUNE 500 firms, with day-to-day knowledge of the real-time changes in customer expectations and technology.

I identify the marketing, customer service, and customer experience shifts that create winners and losers within industries; translate those shifts to actions; and then give the success recipe away, one audience at a time.

I do this with hyper-relevant examples, a big dose of humor, a hopeful message, and a crazy plaid suit. It’s why meeting planners call me the world’s most inspirational marketing and customer service keynote speaker.

Why is it so important for organizations to align their sales and marketing teams?

Results, plain and simple. Aligned sales and marketing teams (Smarketing, ftw!) increase revenue at rates that far exceed companies that are not aligned.

If you just showed up on this planet from another galaxy, or you just finished a 40-year stint in prison, and someone told you that the way most companies run is that one division focuses on marketing, and a whole separate group focuses on sales, you would think that structure to be ridiculous. Yet, it’s the norm.

It doesn’t work, and it’s one of my missions to bring the sledgehammer that breaks down the walls between the two groups.

(If you haven’t visited the JayBaer.com site to peek at the four programs I offer to audiences, take a little virtual trip. There’s a nifty, free ebook over there too!)

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This Is Why I Still Write Books http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/this-is-why-i-still-write-books/ Wed, 07 Jun 2017 07:00:00 +0000 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=40078 Nothing creates change like a book, which is why Jay Baer is starting work on his sixth one.

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This Is Why I Still Write Books

“Do people even read books any more? Why spend your time on it, when you could do more videos?”

Right now, these are questions that are being asked of me, and by me, as I begin the long and involved process of creating my sixth book.

And they aren’t ridiculous questions. Indeed, the business of books (and long-form content of all types) seems more than a little counter-cyclical at this point, with brevity and images preferred for great swaths of learning and entertainment.

Maybe, I wonder, I should convey the ideas of the book in a more “modern” format? Podcast. Video series. Daily Instagram story. Blog. A conference? All of these are viable at some level, and I might very well execute some of them. But, I’ll do them in addition to a book, not instead of a book.

Because as soon as I start to embrace the concept of “maybe I should just stop writing books and communicate in some other way,” I am reminded that there is no replacement for books.

Nothing is as comprehensive as a book.

Thus, nothing is as powerful as a book.

Thus, nothing changes behavior like a book.

Thus, nothing creates results like a book.

And that’s the goal: to create results for the reader.

Sure, writing books accrues benefits to the author, but if you’re not writing books to help other people, you’re just engaging in a very involved process of self-gratification that requires killing trees to complete. I don’t write books for me; I write them for the reader. I write them because I see a trend that must be explained and illustrated, and in doing so, I know I can help people improve their businesses (which hopefully also improves their lives in some small way).

Writing books is hard. It forces you to divert attention from your business and your family. And writing books is a layup compared to marketing and selling books. But I still do it. And I’ll keep doing it.

Because every once in a while, I get an email from a reader that makes every hour of time put into a book absolutely worth it. It’s pure fuel for my fire. I know that by no means does every reader experience the same outcome, but it doesn’t take many emails to compel me to get back up on that book horse and ride.

Franco Salerno and his wife own Darianna Bridal outside of Philadelphia. It’s a family business named after their two daughters, dedicated to providing the best wedding and formal wear for brides, grooms, and other celebrants.

Franco sent me this email last week:

Mr. Baer:

I just finished your book Hug Your Haters.

I wanted to thank you for writing such a thoughtful and useful book.

It took me several weeks to read it (my wife and I work 7 days a week so it can be challenging to stay awake at night reading!). Over the weeks of reading your wonderful book, I felt myself becoming calmer and less stressed in handling customer issues and running our business.  Your book and the techniques it taught me allowed me to reduce my stress in handling customer complaints and our business overall.  I put many of the techniques to use immediately and they were magic.  We turned around so many complainers who became our biggest fans.

Thank you again.

Kind regards,

Franco Salerno

Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo

So, here I go again. Many thanks in advance to everyone who still reads books and takes the time to make changes based on what they learn. I’m dedicating this next one to Franco and his wife Wendy, as I dive in to try to help people in some small way.

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6 Reasons I Blew Up My Email Newsletter and Started Over http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/6-reasons-i-blew-up-my-email-newsletter-and-started-over/ Wed, 22 Mar 2017 16:01:32 +0000 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=38833 A behind-the-scenes look at why Jay Baer and the Convince & Convert team overhauled their email strategy, embracing video and humanization in all-new ways.

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6 Reasons I Blew Up My Email Newsletter and Started Over

Email has been a big part of Convince & Convert since we started in 2008.

Our ONE THING email newsletter was among the first curated emails to focus on social media and content marketing, bringing readers hot news and insights.

A couple years ago, we killed ONE THING and spun up DEFINITIVE, a daily email that goes deep on one topic of interest to marketers (B2B Snapchat ideas, for example) and showcases the 3 best resources about that topic from anywhere on the Web.

Now, we have put DEFINITIVE to bed, and launched Convince & Convert ON, a totally new email experience.

Here’s what’s different, and why I detonated a very successful email program to start over with something new:

(btw, if you haven’t subscribed to the new email, do it right here.)

Focus on Intermediate and Advanced Concepts for You

The reader survey we conducted last year very clearly showed that Convince & Convert fans are experienced marketing and customer service professionals. Most are managers, directors, and VPs, and three-quarters of our audience have been in the business for over six years.

The new Convince & Convert ON email embraces these findings by delivering 301/401-level advice and insights and adheres to our editorial mission, which is to provide “and therefore” content to our audience. We don’t want to tell you what’s happening, as other people do a great job of covering news and trends. We don’t even want to tell you why it’s happening.

Our role is to tell you what to do now that it has happened. That’s “and therefore” and the new email is all about it.

Use Video to Tie Trends Together for You

Video consumption continues to soar, especially short-form, explanatory video. In fact, I wrote a post recently called “Why Video Is the New Blogging.” We create quite a bit of video at Convince & Convert, including my Jay Today series. We decided to integrate video with email in a new way, to help narrate “and therefore” for the audience.

Each issue of Convince & Convert ON includes a video about three minutes long that covers a key move in the industry, and what you need to do next. We’re really excited about this feature, and I hope you are too. Feedback is welcomed! Videos don’t auto-play in the email yet, but we’ll be exploring that in the future.

Greater Synergy Between Consulting and Media

We have two divisions here: Convince & Convert Consulting, which provides social, content, amplification, and influencer strategy to some of the world’s most interesting brands. And Convince & Convert Media, which produces this site, our network of podcasts, the email program, and a ton of other stuff (including producing podcasts from several major companies).

The two groups have functioned mostly independently, and that’s probably less than ideal. With the new Convince & Convert ON, our strategy team takes turns identifying the trend, curating the related resources, and shooting the overarching video. We have some of the brightest minds in the business on our team, and I finally figured out a way to insert their thinking into the Media side of the house.

I’m Not Going to Waste Your Time

DEFINITIVE has been a four times per week email for two years. Our research shows it’s just too much. Nobody says, “Gee, I wish I could get more email!” So, we’re scaling it way back to one to two emails per week. We’re also doing a lot of list hygiene, removing people that don’t open the emails, etc.

As I wrote recently, the right time to publish in social media is when you have something worth publishing, and the same is true in email (perhaps even more so). This reduced cadence will reduce subscriber fatigue. I want you to be fired up when ON hits your inbox.

Better User Experience

DEFINITIVE had a defined aesthetic, but it wasn’t always the easiest to read, especially in mobile. Also, our significant use of orange (our signature color) is not the most friendly option for visually impaired subscribers. We have totally overhauled the look and feel of ON, making it a lot simpler and more streamlined.

Humanity Equals Trust, and I’m Not Going to Be a Hypocrite Any Longer

I’m proud of what we did in DEFINITIVE. The resources we provided were on-target and useful. But, DEFINITIVE lacked a personal touch. Convince & Convert created and produced DEFINITIVE. With ON, we are moving to a real person at Convince & Convert telling you what they think, and why it’s important for you and your business.

In my books Youtility and Hug Your Haters I wrote extensively about the power of humans to build trust bridges. Simply, we trust people WAY MORE than we trust organizations of any type. Yet, I foolishly neglected to follow this advice in my own email program.

That stops today.

With ON, we are showcasing our people, not just our company.

Our vision statement says it best: “We will become North America’s most-trusted source of digital marketing and online customer service advice and counsel.”

We don’t want to be the biggest, we want to be the most trusted.

In a world where you’re not sure what’s true and what’s useful, trust is currency. This is why I blew up our entire email program, and started over with a focus on “and therefore” and building human-level connections between you, and our team.

I hope you love it.

And thank YOU, for your trust and attention. It means the world to me, and I don’t take it for granted.

(To give our new ON a try, please go here.)

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3 New Things Digital Marketers Will Love http://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/3-new-things-digital-marketers-will-love/ Wed, 04 Jan 2017 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=37438 3 new content series from Jay Baer and Convince and Convert designed to educate marketers and business owners in 2017

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3 New Things Digital Marketers Will Love

I’ve been in online marketing since 1993. That’s a long time. How long?

When I started in online marketing, Meatloaf’s “I would do anything for love (but I won’t do that)” was the number one song in America.

Now, nearly 25 years into my career, I make it an annual priority to assess the marketing and customer service landscapes, and add new ways that the team here at Convince & Convert and I can use to help move the industry forward.

Last year, we launched the Marketing Marvels technology reviews show, and the Influence Pros podcast.

For 2017, we’re unveiling three new education assets that I hope you absolutely LOVE.

Jay Today is BACK

I recorded more than 100 episodes of my video show, Jay Today, before pressing pause in late 2015. Now, Jay Today is back and better than ever, with two weekly episodes sponsored by our friends at Emma.

Here’s the first episode of Season Two, broadcast to Facebook Live (recordings will be available on Youtube, this blog, Linkedin, and Medium).

If you have topics you’d like me to cover in Jay Today, leave them in the comments below, or just comment on any episode. thanks! 

Webinar of the Week

Marketers and business owners have an almost comical array of Webinars to choose from. There are dozens (maybe hundreds) each week about social, content, influencer marketing, customer service, mobile, and more.

But which ones are worth your time?

We’re going to tell you.

On a regular basis, the team and I are going to work with one of our partners and tell you about a Webinar that we guarantee will be great. Strong content. Solid presenters. Not an icky sales pitch. Webinar of the Week will be sponsored content here at Convince & Convert, but I will NEVER tell you to tune into a Webinar that I don’t personally believe in 100 percent.

I hope our new Webinar of the Week series helps you make better decisions when choosing which Webinars to attend.

First one will be coming up soon here on the blog, probably published on Mondays.

Webinines: Smart Ideas in 9 Minutes or Less

And speaking of Webinars, one of the problems with them is that they are often too long. Sixty minutes (even 45) feels like an eternity in this era, doesn’t it?

It’s one of the main reasons people register for Webinars, don’t attend live figuring they can watch the recording, but then never actually watch that recording!

In a lot of Webinars, it seems like the presenters are trying to tell you everything they know because “hey, the audience signed up for it.”

We’re going to start changing the conversation around Webinars with our new series: Webinines – Smart Ideas in 9 Minutes or Less

I’m going to create a bunch of these in 2017. They will be short, punchy, interesting, sharp webinars that are no more than 9 minutes long. How’s that for using your time efficiently!

Stay tuned for more on Webinines.

Thanks as always for your trust and the faith you put in me and our team. We don’t take it for granted, and are looking forward to a fantastic 2017 with you and all of our readers, watchers, and listeners.

(P.S. We are doing more and more strategy and operations consulting on this kind of stuff for corporate clients. For example, we are producing podcasts for several companies now. If we can help you, let us know.)

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Your 10 Favorite Blog Posts in 2016 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/your-10-favorite-blog-posts-in-2016/ Fri, 23 Dec 2016 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=36462 Jay Baer lists the top 10 blog posts of 2016 and examines the underlying trends for digital marketers.

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Your 10 Favorite Blog Posts in 2016

Including podcast recaps, we published more than 500 (!) posts this year on Convince & Convert.

Our goal is to give you information, analysis, and insights you can’t get on all the other marketing sites out there. We do it this way because more than 70 percent of our readers have been in marketing for six years or more, and nearly a third have been doing it marketing-style for 15+ years.

In short: Convince & Convert is the home base for the experienced digital marketer.

We’ll be finalizing our 2017 editorial calendar soon. We’ll keep it pretty much the same I think, but we’re for sure adding regular features on social media customer service—a huge trend next year, and also something with which we have a lot of experience on the consulting side of our business.

(and if you’re interested in publishing here in 2017, visit our guest post guidelines/submission form)

Jess Ostroff, our Managing Editor, recently sent me the list of 2016’s Top 10 posts, ranked by page views, and we’re going to re-run each of them this week, two per day, to give you a fresh glimpse at the content you liked best this year.

Your 10 Favorite Blog Posts in 2016

It’s a fascinating list because these top 10 posts coalesce and coagulate into four key trends:

  • Statistics and research
  • Video
  • Content creation
  • Social customer service

Statistics and research and content marketing were big trends for us in 2015 as well. The other two are new, and I can’t wait to see what bubbles up in 2017.

1. The 5 Key 2016 Podcast Statistics, by Jay Baer

Based on a study from my friend Tom Webster and Edison Research, this post lays out the staggering growth of podcast listenership in the USA.

2. 5 Snapchat Statistics That Prove Its Power, by Jay Baer

Remarkably, this is another post based on a different section of the same research report from Edison. Stats are catnip!

3. Why 2016 Will Be The Year Of Video Marketing, by Eric Hinson

A terrific summary post (with lots of statistics included) that showcases top of the funnel, mid-funnel, and bottom of the funnel video use cases. Nice job from a guest contributor from Explainify.

4. 6 Unforgettable Lessons From Southwest Airlines’ Social Media Crisis, by Jay Baer

I wrote this post on-the-fly, when I saw Southwest’s Facebook Live video explaining how they were handling their massive cancellations earlier this year. I don’t write spur-of-the-moment much anymore (my schedule is more crazy than it used to be, and our editorial calendar is more locked than it used to be), but every once in a while you can catch lightning in a bottle, like the old days of blogging.

This is one of my personal favorites of the 60 or so I wrote this year.

5. The Shocking ROI Of Influencer Marketing, by Jay Baer

Another post in the statistics and data realm, this is one I wrote based on some fascinating research from our former partners at TapInfluence, who managed to pin down precise (and very strong) ROI for influencer marketing programs.

This one combined two trends: stats and influencers.

6. 17 Content Creation Secrets to Wow Your Readers, by Thiam Hock Ng

A fantastic, detailed, process-driven post that includes step-by-step instructions and examples. A great list post from Thiam, who runs an inbound marketing agency in Singapore called 3Pal.

7. The Right Way to Ask For Customer Reviews, by Jay Baer

From last January, this is my story of our company-wide retreat in Mexico, and a remarkable interaction with a waiter who absolutely NAILED how to ask for a review on TripAdvisor. I now use this lesson in many speaking engagements too.

8. 5 Content Marketing Predictions for 2017, by Joei Chan

Nice guest post and trends summary from Joei, who does content marketing for the social listening tool Mention. Prediction posts are everywhere, but Joei nailed it here and ended up with more page views than my own predictions post!

9. How Brands Are Using Live-Streaming Video Successfully, by Kathy Klotz-Guest

I’ve known the very smart Kathy for years. She’s the founder of Keeping it Human, a business storytelling consultancy. She uses that background to great effect on this post, where she documents all the ways businesses can use the red-hot live-streaming video options.

10. 10 Simple and Reliable Digital Marketing Metrics, by Rahul Alim

One of the best posts this year in the use of graphics and screenshots. Rahul is managing director at digital agency Custom Creatives, and he spills the beans here on precisely how to run the reports that matter. Super useful!

Huge thanks to all of our contributors for sharing their wisdom with our community this year. Big hugs also to Kelly Santina, who leads our Media division, as well as Jess and our editorial team for keeping the Convince & Convert machine oiled and operating.

Can’t wait for next year! Enjoy this week, as we re-run the top 10 blog posts of 2016.

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How Can I Help You Get More Customers? http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/how-can-i-help-you-get-more-customers/ Wed, 02 Nov 2016 15:58:48 +0000 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=36199 The 2017 Media Kit from Jay Baer and Convince & Convert Media has been released with robust options for partnerships with companies and brands.

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Digital magazine. Email. Podcasts. Webinars. Sponsored content.

We make a lot of stuff, and I believe it’s our job to provide the best possible education for marketers and business owners, and then help connect our audience to worthwhile, trusted companies.

My team at Convince & Convert Media and I help our partners increase leads and generate sales by putting the right message in front of the perfect audience.

This year, for the first time ever, we’ve developed a full media kit for 2017. It describes:

  • All the options we offer
  • How we work with sponsors
  • Descriptions of new opportunities (2 new podcasts this year)
  • Prices
  • Statistics on the Convince & Convert audience

Highlights for 2017

Our Convince & Convert digital magazine is one of the most popular marketing resources on the planet, and has been named the best content marketing blog and #3 social media blog.

Our network of podcasts delivers hyper-targeted audiences in a compelling weekly format, and I’m bringing back the Jay Today video show soon. 

Our Definitive email is extraordinarily popular world-wide among marketing professionals, and we generate hundreds of leads for our partners each time we send an email on their behalf.

We also work with our partners and sponsors on joint Webinars, ebooks, events, retargeting ads, and a variety of other executions.

I am SO excited about what we’re doing on the Media side, and what we’ve got planned for next year. I love our partners, and I’m excited to do a ton of cool stuff.

Our current sponsors include Salesforce, Oracle, SproutSocial, Cision, TapInfluence, JanRain, RivalIQ, Uberflip and many more. We’d love to work with your company, if you’re interested. How can we help you?

We Help You Create Media And Content Marketing Too

convinceconvert-media-vertical-1Your company IS a media company (or at least it can be). Our media division and our consulting division converge to provide outstanding digital media advice and counsel to major companies like Insight, Cisco, and The Motley Fool.

We take our world-class media expertise and deploy it on your behalf, helping you create your own podcasts, blogs, video series, and other executions that will become required reading/viewing/listening for your customers and prospects.

Contact us and we’ll be in touch immediately to set up a no obligation, pain-free conversation.

The post How Can I Help You Get More Customers? appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

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I Asked My Readers What They Want and They Said This http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/i-asked-what-my-readers-what-they-want-and-they-said-this/ Wed, 19 Oct 2016 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=35761 A reader survey at Convince and Convert found a fascinating array of topics of interest to the modern, digital marketer, says Jay Baer.

The post I Asked My Readers What They Want and They Said This appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

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Earlier this year, we passed our 10 MILLIONTH visitor to this site. As part of our promotion around that milestone, we asked Convince & Convert readers and subscribers to our Definitive email what topics they would like to see my team and I cover more, and the answers were remarkable.

The marketing (and customer service) industries continue to change and morph with new platforms, new best practices, and new things to avoid. And of course, our consulting team is working with big companies all over the world on these issues, but it’s very interesting to get a broader perspective from readers.

Here’s a word cloud of reader/subscriber responses to the question of topics they want us to cover more of on this site, and in our email:

word-cloud

Despite the fact that I think we cover content marketing quite a bit, it seems VERY clear that more on that topic is desired, with emphasis too on strategy; social media; and best practices.

Here are my 10 favorite requests that I want us to address in the coming weeks. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments, or on Twitter or Facebook or Linkedin.

From Sharon Goldmacher:  What’s the best ratio of new content to refreshing existing content?

From Keri Toomey: How do you know if you’re creating too much content?

From Judson Voss: What are be the 5 required daily activities you should partake in if you have a small content marketing department?

From Sarah Beatty: What do you see as the role of employee advocacy in content marketing efforts?

From Winnie Anderson: How do I get my social media contacts to join my opt-in email list?

From Aaron Edgell: What does the ideal content marketing team made up of? How is it organized? (lots of variations on this question about content marketing structure)

From Eli Becker: How do you track conversions with influencer campaigns?

From Jenell Webber: What are the differences in engagement rates between video and picture content?

From Elizabeth Whitten: How much should you rely on competitive analysis when developing a blog strategy?

From Anna Hetzel: What is the next blog content format after the incredibly successful list posts? (I don’t know, this IS a list post!)

One note on this list. I don’t expect people to read everything we publish here, but we have covered a lot of the topics that were requested by readers. We have more than 2,500 posts on this site, so make sure to use the search box if you’re curious about a particular issue in content marketing, social marketing, influencer marketing, or customer service. We may have answered your question already.

Also, our Definitive email (which covers one topic per day) has an Archives feature where subscribers can access our complete library of curated content for a huge array of digital marketing topics. It’s super useful!

What didn’t I include in this top 10 list that you REALLY want us to write about? Let me know below, and I’ll write about it or will pass it to our editorial geniuses to make sure we get it created for you.

Thanks as always for your ideas, your interest, and your faith in all of us at Convince & Convert. We don’t take it for granted!

~ jay

The post I Asked My Readers What They Want and They Said This appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

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We Just Hit 10 Million Blog Visitors and I Need Your Help http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/we-just-hit-10-million-blog-visitors-and-i-need-your-help/ Wed, 17 Aug 2016 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=34702 The Convince and Convert blog just reached 10 million lifetime visitors, a huge milestone that carries an important request for readers.

The post We Just Hit 10 Million Blog Visitors and I Need Your Help appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

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We Just Hit 10 Million Blog Visitors and I Need Your Help

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Here’s some real talk:

I hate soft focus.

The inspirational athlete profiles are my least favorite part of the Olympics.

“Take a moment to appreciate your accomplishments” generally seems like a waste of time to me.

But, this is the exception:

Yesterday, Convince & Convert was visited for the 10 MILLIONTH time!

The blog that I started it my home office in 2008 with me writing every post has now been visited by an audience the equivalent size of Portugal.

(Alas, only 29,948 visits have actually come from Portugal, although I did vacation there last year and loved it)

Now, I need your help.

It is woefully insufficient, but all I can really say is “thank you.” There are a LOT of blogs out there, and a LOT of blogs that cover topics similar to what we do here at Convince & Convert. So for anyone to pick us is an absolute honor, and for that to happen 10 million times? I can’t even.

And a huge thank you to our incredible editorial team and our extraordinary content contributors. Without you, there is no ConvinceAndConvert.com.

Please know that our entire team recognizes what a privilege it is to do what we do, and we’ll never take your trust for granted.

Our goal is simple, yet difficult: to be the most useful source for online marketing and customer service advice and counsel. Thank you for letting us try to meet that test.

But the only way we can meet that goal is to get more and more (and more) relevant, and to provide you exactly what you need to know.

I can’t do that without information.

So, I need your help.

Please, please, please take just a moment to complete the survey below. (you might even win a cool prize from our Vault of Awesome).

We’ll use your responses to help guide our content plan, our podcast plan, our email plan, and more.

Thank you!

(Note that if you ever get to Portugal, eat as many of these amazing pastries as you possibly can. You’ll thank me for this advice)

Create your own user feedback survey

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Marketing Lessons from The World’s Most Interesting Brands http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/marketing-lessons-from-the-worlds-most-interesting-brands/ Fri, 03 Jun 2016 13:07:09 +0000 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=33144 This is episode one of a brand-new series we've started here at Convince & Convert called Talk Digital to Me. Kate Volman interviews the team at Convince & Convert about who they are and what they do, starting with Jay Baer.

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This is episode one of a brand-new series we’ve started here at Convince & Convert called Talk Digital to Me.

We spend a LOT of time here working with big, amazing companies all over the world, helping them solve their customer experience, influencer marketing, content marketing, and social media challenges.

But we don’t talk about what we’ve learned or what we know very much. Even here on our digital magazine, a lot of the content is created by our remarkable cast of guest contributors, not Convince & Convert experts.

So, in each episode of Talk Digital to Me we’ll hear from a different member of our team, talking about what they do, and what they know.

Talk Digital to Me is hosted by Kate Volman, who is a total pro and a great video interviewer.

In this debut episode, I talk about what I’ve learned about marketing and business after working with hundreds of big companies since 1993.

Please ask any questions in the comments below the transcript, and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Kate: Welcome, everyone, to the very first episode of Talk Digital to Me. So exciting. This is going to be a really fun project because the people over there at Convince & Convert, all the team is doing amazing work. Jay kind of leads it up. We all see him out and about and speaking and writing books and all over the place. But there are so many things that go on behind the scenes that you don’t know about and it’s all of these amazing team members.

So every time we do one of these shows, I’m going to be interviewing one of the Convince & Convert team members and we’re going to be talking about a different strategy, a digital-marketing strategy to help you with your business. Of course, today’s first one is with the President and CEO, Jay Baer.

Jay: Thanks so much for having me. Thanks for being a part of Talk Digital to Me. Yeah. So here’s what happens. I’ve had Convince & Convert now for eight years. People see me at conferences or whatever, in airports, and we start talking about the business and they can never believe how many people there are at Convince & Convert and how multi-faceted the company is and we’re doing all this consulting work for amazing brands like the United Nations and Adidas and SAP and Cisco and all these great brands.

And then we have the whole media divisions. We have six podcasts a week that we produce and an award-winning blog and a daily email and all this stuff. People think, in some cases, it’s still just me. I’m like, “It’s definitely not just me. There are a lot of smart people who are doing a lot of amazing work at Convince & Convert.”

So we wanted to do a series that kind of showcases who those people are and really what they do. The company is a lot different than a lot of companies. It’s purely virtual. We have people all over the world.

We have consultants living in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. So we operate a lot differently in a very modern kind of way. We have one company meeting a year. We get together once a year. We just do things really differently. People seem to be really interested in that.

So we’re going to do this series and each episode we’re going to take a different person on our team, have Kate asks them questions about what they do, their area of expertise. You’ll learn a little bit about Convince & Convert, but you’ll also learn lessons about social media, about content marketing, about customer service, about digital, about influence marketing.

The kind of work that we do at Convince & Convert Consulting and Convince & Convert Media. So, I couldn’t be more thrilled to be making this happen. Kate, thanks so much for leading the charge.

Kate: Absolutely. I am super excited. In addition to all these great strategies, we’re going to get to know a little bit about what each of you do and your roles. So, as the President and CEO, what do you do? What are your days filled with?

Jay: Well, it’s changed a lot over the years as the company has grown. We were on the Inc. 5000 list last year as one of the fastest growing small businesses in the U.S. It was just me for a little while. It’s certainly not anymore, as I mentioned.

I spend a lot of my time actually speaking. I’ll probably end up doing 60-65 events this year and getting to those events and speaking at those events and preparing presentations for those events is a significant part of what I do.

I also create a lot of media, so my own podcast, Social Pros, my other show, Marketing Marvels, where we demo really interesting marketing software and talk about that, plus the blogs that I write and a lot of other things and guesting on other people’s podcasts, etc.

I would say my job is speaking, setting the strategic direction for the company, creating content and then approving and overseeing our consulting deliverables. I don’t do a lot of the consulting day to day or slide to slide if you will, at this point, but I do look at everything before it leaves the company and before it goes to clients. I want to make sure that we’re on point with all those recommendations. That’s how I do it.

Then also a lot of joint ventures and partnerships. So when people say, “Jay, we’d like to work with you guys on a podcast. How would that work and what’s the deal?” So, I so a lot of that kind of deal cutting as well.

Kate: You’ve been at this a long time. So, what do you think has been the biggest change that you’ve seen over the past five years the way that companies are approaching digital marketing?

Jay: Since 1993, I got involved really, really early, kind of accidentally. I was working for the Department of Juvenile Corrections in Arizona. My job was essentially to give tours of the juvenile prison, which is awesome.

Kate: Wow.

Jay: I did not like that job, big surprise. I met with some friends of mine from college who started the very first internet company in Arizona. They said, “Hey, this internet company is getting kind of big. We don’t know anything about marketing.”

I said, “Well, I don’t want to give anymore tours of this prison, but when you say the word “internet”, I don’t really know what that means,” because I didn’t. It was 1993. But I said, “I’ll do any job to not do this prison job.”

So I quit my government job and started working at an internet company without ever having been online, which was an interesting first day at work, for sure. I have seen a lot of changes since then, for certain.

But in the last five years, as it relates to social in particular, I think a couple of things. One, the shift from organic reach to paid reach is huge, right? It wasn’t that long ago that social media was mostly an organic reach game. You would create content, put it out there and your fans would find it.

That clearly doesn’t work as well as it used to because of competition and because of the way algorithms have changed and continuing to change. Social is becoming much more like advertising than it used to be. That requires different personnel. It requires different strategies, different measurement schemas.

Then I think the rise of content marketing, we’ve always had content. Content has been around forever as many people have written about and talked about. But now, you wouldn’t even think of having a business that’s strong online without a distinct and viable content marketing strategy and that has catapulted a lot of organizations, including ours, into the spotlight and I think it’s a terrific trend and it obviously works for a lot of businesses.

But even that’s getting harder as well because of competition and you have to spend a lot of time now thinking about content amplification, not just content creation. Of course, that’s some of the work that we help people with too.

Kate: You work, like you said, with some of the most interesting brands like Nike and Best Buy, Infusionsoft, really, really big brands. When you work with them, how do you help them approach digital marketing different than the average company out there?

Jay: Well, a couple things. One, we’re not an agency. Convince & Convert is a strategy firm. We don’t make stuff. We think about stuff. So we work very closely with our clients and their agencies to say, “Okay, where are you today and where could you go? Let’s give you a roadmap to level up what you’re doing in social and content and influencer marketing and customer service.”

We are always thinking about how do we tie these things back to business outcomes. We are huge advocates, almost ridiculously so, about look, the goal of social is not to be good at social. The goal of social is to be good at business because of social. The same is true of content.

So we’re constantly harping on how are you making money, saving money or both based on social, content, etc.? If you can’t articulate that, then you really don’t have a reason to do any of it. Ultimately, this is about business, not about likes. You can’t pay your mortgage with retweets. So we really spend a lot of time helping people think those things through.

Then we also very much help organizations play the long game. It’s very easy to get caught up in, “What are you doing today and how many likes did you get on this one picture?” All the things that we do in digital today force us to think short-term. It’s very dangerous. It’s not a good way to run a marketing department.

We’re constantly helping our clients think longer, longer horizons and determine how do we actually build our businesses using social and digital and content over quarters or years as opposed to trying to figure out what we’re doing the next 20 minutes.

Kate: Right. Kind of building on that, when companies now are working on their digital strategies, there seems to be a real big disconnect between the departments, still, especially with like marketing and sales.

So when you talk about putting together teams and how they all have to work together and build this longer term strategy, what should companies be doing now to bridge the gap between all departments so these efforts work well and everyone is on the same page?

Jay: It’s funny. I just finished a blog post that I wrote for Workfront, which is one of our partners, great software company that helps businesses collaborate better internally, etc.

The blog post is called “The Death of the Org Chart” and it’s all about how I believe we’re going to get to a point where marketers and marketing departments don’t actually have a job or a job title, that everybody will be a generalist.

You’ll be good at writing and video production and content management and community management and analytics. You’ll have to know bits and pieces of all of this. That the future of marketing is to collect a bunch of Swiss army knife people in one department and then let them interact and collaborate on individual projects as opposed to having an org chart, which is, “You’re in charge of this one thing.”

It does move quickly. The roles and the responsibilities are blurry and intersecting so much now, that the best marketing teams are very much cross-functional and you can just move people in and out on projects like Legos. So that’s what I think the future is.

Kate: You know, I think for a lot of small businesses, even in a small business that’s really challenging. With these bigger brands that you work with, can you give an example of someone that you went in and you were able to help them kind of restructure their team in a different way to be more productive?

Jay: We’re in the middle of a bunch of those projects right now. I can’t say any that have all the way figured it out because you have to do it over time. You can’t just like walk in and say, “Hey, you guys who have a specific job, you’re fired. All the generalists, you get to come.” It takes years to actually kind of reconstitute major enterprise marketing departments. We’re in the mix.

Kate: What do you think is one of the biggest mistakes that businesses are making today with their digital marketing?

Jay: I just touched on it earlier, impatience, just thinking that everything has to pay off in the next five minutes or the next week or the next month. If you’re looking at monthly reports and making decisions, real decisions based on monthly reports, you’re doing it wrong.

The time horizon is too short. You can have all kinds of anomalies that will change your results over a 30-day period. You’ve got to start thinking about how does digital impact your business over time. That’s why you need to look at trend lines, not necessarily individual data points. That’s the biggest challenge, just being impatient.

Kate: And for companies that are always having that conversation around budget, what kind of guidance would you give someone that’s trying to figure how much they should allocate in their budget towards digital?

Jay: I don’t know that there’s a set number where you can say, “Invest 10%.” But what’s fascinating, I did a panel session at Oracle’s Modern Marketing Experience Conference in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago and the subject of the panel was marketising, marketising, that marketing and advertising are converging and they very much are.

One of the fulcrums for that conversation was the fact that in 2017, which is around the corner, there will be more dollars spent on digital than television for the first time ever.

Kate: Oh wow.

Jay: That’s crazy. Right? You’re like, “Oh boy, wow,” And you think about that and it’s remarkable. Like, “Wow, more than television.” But when you actually kind of break down the numbers, digital in terms of the time spent, the amount of time that people spend online and the amount of dollars spent is still under-advertised, especially mobile.

Even though we have a lot of promotion, we have a lot of advertising, we have content, we have a lot of everything in digital, it’s still sort of under-optimized, in terms of messages and consumers. So we’re just scratching the surface.

Kate: We can track better than ever before where we’re spending and what kind of results we’re getting. So, two things, what should people be tracking and measuring and then do you have great apps or tools that you recommend most of your clients use to help them do this?

Jay: You’ve got to track in multiple levels. So when we think about content marketing, for example, we’ve got a very popular presentation on my SlideShare account called “The Four Main Types of Content Marketing Metrics.” You’ve got to measure consumption. So how many people actually consumed your content, your social object, etc.?

Then you have some sort of behavior metric. That could be a like, could be a comment, could be a click, it’s some sort of activity metric.

Then the third level is some sort of lead generation metric. So, did people who interacted with this piece of content, this social object, did they then take a subsequent action which indicates interest in whatever it is you want them to be interested in?

For example, not everybody’s in the ecommerce business, of course, but even in our case, you can’t buy Convince & Convert services on our site. It’s not like you can pay for consulting with PayPal, although maybe…

But if somebody, for example, watches this show and clicks a link that will be embedded in this episode and then subsequently comes to our site and visits one of our consulting pages, consulting services pages, that’s a behavior that while not a trackable lead in that we’ve collected their information, clearly shows that they have an interest. So capturing hat behavior is really, really important. That’s the third level.

Then the fourth level, of course, is actual sales. To say look, this person became a customer, gave us money, etc. as a result of this content or this social object. So you always have to build metrics around four layers. Consumption, activity, leads and sales. So, you create a metrics narrative that checks all of those boxes.

Lots and lots of great tools out there. We use Rival IQ a lot for tracking and competitive analysis. That’s a company that I’m invested in. There are a lot of other great tools out there. There is no bulletproof tool though? Marketers are always like, “What’s the one tool that I can use that will spit out my ROI reports for social media?” I’m like, “There is no such thing.”

And you know what? Here’s the dirty truth, Kate. Somebody says, “What’s the very best tool for measuring social media and content marketing?” Excel. That’s the truth. Pulling the numbers and actually analyze them instead of just trying to push a button and print out a report. Actually knowing the numbers and being able to study them, that’s the truth.

Kate: When you meet with a new client or a prospect, can you kind of walk through the process that you go with them in determining what kind of digital strategy to put together for them?

Jay: So, we have a process called STARS. It’s a methodology where for each of the four disciplines that we offer, social media, content marketing, customer service and influencer marketing and other folks on this series, Talk Digital to Me, will reference those four kind of areas of service that we have.

Within each of those area, STARS stands for S is Speak. So, we’ll come in and do a keynote presentation. That’s the first thing we can do. T is Train. That’s when we do sort of a workshop, half-day, full-day workshop about social, for example, or content. A is Assess, where we’ll come in and really look at where a company is today and do a lot of, kind of, SWOT analysis. How are they doing in content marketing today? What are their competitors doing? How can get they get better over, say, a 90-day time horizon?

R is Roadmap, which is sort of the assessment times the assessment, so the assessment plus. We do a much more deep dive analysis and we give them a 12-month roadmap for how to get better at social content, customer service, etc.

Then S stands for Step-up projects, which is where we tackle a whole series of self-contained projects like, “Find us influencers,” or, “Build us a content marketing scoreboard,” or all those kinds of projects. We tackle those over the course of a few months.

So, when we bring on a new customer, the first thing we do is a significant amount of brand anthropology, where we actually do a lot of research, a lot of looking under the hood, look at a lot of what they’re doing. We get access to all their reports, all their data, all their customer profile information.

And then we have them complete a very, very detailed brand anthropology questionnaire, so we really understand what they’re trying to accomplish at the business level and where they’ve come. A lot of times people are like, “Yeah, we tried that once. At one point we did Google+ and now we don’t.” Or whatever, and you want to kind of have some of that history so you’re not recommending things they’ve already tried.

Kate: Why do you do this every day?

Jay: Well, two reasons. One, what I really am is a teacher. What I wanted to be doing at this point in my life was to be a college professor. Then I realized that actually that’s kind of what I do now, just for a really, really big classroom. So, the knowledge transfer part of it, the opportunity to help people, whether they’re marketers or business owners or executives, make their business better, I just have a deep passion for that.

My mom was a high school teacher. My stepdad was a high school teacher. My aunt was a very well-known corporate trainer. So my dad’s a financial planner, which is a lot of education. So, that sort of teaching is in my DNA. It’s like at the molecular level for me. So I have a real passion for that.

Then the second part is if somebody tells you that they really understand digital marketing, they either do not understand digital marketing or they are a liar because nobody understands it and nobody can. You can understand little pieces of it. That’s why I surround myself with incredibly smart folks at Convince & Convert because I don’t know everything and I don’t try to.

There is no job like this job, where every single day is different and every single day. I don’t mean, I’m not just saying “every single day,” I mean every single day you have to continue to aggressively get smarter because you have to stay ahead of your own clients. I personally read or at least skim 20 to 30 email newsletters and blogs a day still, every day and I have for 25 years, right?

You have to continue to sharpen the axe in a way that you simply don’t in a lot of other businesses. Yes, continuing education is important in all professional services companies, but for what we do, what we recommended to clients 30 days ago or three months ago is totally different than what we’re recommending to clients today. That is exhilarating and it’s also really hard.

Kate: Do you have one like favorite client that you work with you were able to help that you got great results and you like you share?

Jay: Man, that’s a good question. I don’t know from a results standpoint, necessarily. We try and produce results every time. I think we do or we wouldn’t be in business. One that I was just really honored to work on that we do some stuff with is for the United Nations. The division of the United Nations that we’ve worked with is called FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization. They’re based in Rome.

And I got a chance to go out there to Rome and do a speech to a lot of different delegates in the United Nations and talk about how to help solve global hunger with social media, which is a pretty exciting and challenging topic to take on and do a speech about. Their role, their mission statement is to eradicate hunger.

Kate: Wow.

Jay: It makes you feel pretty small when you’re like, “Well, my mission statement is to get more clicks on my blog post.” And they’re trying to feed the world, right? You’re like, “I have an awesome podcast.”

It’s just so humbling to work on a project like that and with people like that who not only are incredible professionals. So smart and really fantastic, but just a higher calling in the true sense of that word. So, that’s probably one of the clients that we have worked with that I’m the most proud of.

Kate: That’s awesome and so true. I think about that all the time when you see those bigger purpose-type things. You’re like, “Oh, really? I’m in marketing.” Not saving the world.

Jay: I’m doing a podcast in ten days live, doing a live episode of Social Pros with Scott Harrison who’s the founder of charity: water. I saw him speak recently and we got to talking and I said, “We should do a show together.” He’s a great guy, same kind of story. I mean, this guy has committed his whole life and all of his money to cleaning water for the whole world. I’m like, “Hey, can you come on my podcast?” I’m like, “I’m such a loser. I could have done something with my life.”

Kate: Come on, Jay. Step up to the plate. You don’t do enough.

Jay: My background is in politics. I was originally a political consultant. That’s what I did. I ran political campaigns.

Kate: You’ve had your hands in all different areas.

Jay: No doubt. People ask me, “Don’t you want to run for office?” I’m like, “No.” I know way too much about how that actually works.

Kate: Oh my gosh.

Jay: I’m not interested.

Kate: Yeah. No. I would never be either, ugh. But good for those people who do. We need them.

Jay: Hey, but if people are going to get elected with social media now, maybe I’ve got a chance.

Kate: There you go.

Jay: I don’t have Trump Twitter followers, but I’ve got a lot. Maybe. We’re going to make the internet great again.

I need a hat. I need a red hat. Somebody send me a hat.

Kate: Jay Baer, leading the charge. Look, you’re trying to produce love on the internet, “Hug Your Haters.”

Jay: That’s true. It’s funny you mention that because we had an idea. It didn’t materialize but with my PR firm, we had this idea that we were going to just send boxes and boxes of copies of my book, “Hug Your Haters,” to Trump rallies and just hand them out as just like a viral media stunt. It ended up not materializing for a bunch of reasons. Yeah.

Kate: That is awesome. You know what I think is so interesting, just speaking about politics and just different people online, the way that people communicate online where you feel like you know someone just because you’re tweeting them or you get to see the great work they’re doing and we all just kind of get to be cheerleaders of each other before you’ve even met them. Then if you go somewhere and meet them in person, you’re in awe of them standing there.

Jay: Or the opposite.

Kate: Yeah. That is true. Obviously people need to be looking ahead and not really taking this day by day. How can companies get better at doing that, strategically thinking about what they should be working on now, to be able to have a recognizable brand, even if it’s in their little niche?

Jay: I think part of it is always understanding what you’re trying to accomplish, ultimately. Let’s continuously… like here’s a practical example. So, a lot of times companies kind of fall into this trap of, “We need to be everywhere in social media. We have to be on every single channel.”

What I always tell them is, “No. What you need to do is every 90 days, you have to make those channels audition for your own attention. Make them audition for budget. Make them audition for time.” Say look, the default state isn’t doing everything. The default state should be doing nothing. You have to prove a rationale for every single thing you do. If you do that, it forces you to think about outcomes. It forces you to think about long term.

The other thing that really helps in that regard, Kate, is to spend as much time with customers as possible. It’s one of the great disappointments in my marketing career. I’ve been in marketing now for almost 30 years and one of the things that’s changed a lot because of technology is we just don’t talk to customers the way we used to.

We rely on data and reports, whereas when I was a young professional, just coming out of college, we spent tons of time in focus groups, even casual conversations on the phone with clients. My boss used to tell me at the PR firm I worked at, he said, “Look, no good idea has ever come from behind your desk. All good ideas come from talking to clients and talking to the customers of our clients.”

I really believe that to be true. We have gotten away from that. We’re like, “We can learn all we need to learn if we just press this button and read this report.” Nothing substitutes for actual interactions and conversations with real people and real clients. So, the companies that do that, that are really aware, hyper-aware of what their customers actually need, and how their customers use technology, are the ones that are going to succeed long-term.

Kate: I love that. That alone is awesome tip for everybody out there. And one of the things that I really appreciate about your content and what you do with your books is you give such great examples of how companies do that to help other companies see how they can just engage with their clients and customers a little bit more.

Bonus round. But before I do, do you want to kind of share any other tips or little recap of today’s session?

Jay: I would say that of all the companies that we’ve worked with and there are lots of them, the ones that are the most successful, the ones that are the best projects for us, and the ones where I think the outcomes are the best, are the ones that have the same attitude we have, which is we don’t know everything and we’re totally okay with that.

When it becomes a contest between the company and its consultants on who’s smarter and who knows more and all that, then it’s typically a very counterproductive engagement.

So, we love people who have the courage to say “We don’t know everything, but we know how to find out.” Because that’s how we approach the world and I think it’s a very healthy attitude, especially in digital, where you don’t know everything. You may pretend to, but you really don’t.

That’s one of the things I don’t like about right now in sort of the digital environment, there are a lot of people whose personal brand is based on the thesis that they have some sort of secret sauce and there is no such thing as secret sauce. There’s first-mover advantage. But being first doesn’t make you smarter. It just means that you’re first. I hope we can wring that out of the industry at some point.

Kate: Awesome. Okay. Are you ready for your bonus round question?

Jay: I’m ready.

Kate: Okay. What is your marketing superpower?

Jay: I think I’m a pretty good writer, but that’s not really a superpower. I would say my actual superpower, I’m going to give you two. One is pattern recognition. So, I can see patterns before most people can see patterns and I pick up on them and I can identify them and talk about them. “Youtility” is a good example. The concept of utility and useful marketing and turning that into a marketing thesis, I saw that coming before a lot of people saw it coming.

But I would say my best superpower is I can identify talent. I tend to hire and surround myself with extraordinary people, which is why we’re doing this Talk Digital to Me series and not just at Convince & Convert but in all the companies that I’ve run, this is the fifth marketing services company that I’ve started and I have hired, I don’t even know, probably 250 people, 200 people, I don’t know, a lot of people, all of whom are marketers. Of that batch, two didn’t work out.

Kate: Oh my gosh.

Jay: And among the people that have worked with me as young professionals, something like, I haven’t run the numbers recently, but it’s something like 15 or 16 of those people have gone on to start their own companies. So I have, I don’t even know how, it’s not like I have some amazing interview process or whatever. I’ve just got a really good sort of natural knack for within 20 minutes, being able to identify, this person has the magic or doesn’t. So, that’s served me very, very well because you’re not having to replace people all the time.

Kate: Oh my gosh, yes. Most business owners envy that, I’m sure because that is a process-and-a-half to hire people, especially the right people. So, number two, what digital marketing trend are you most excited about?

Jay: I really am excited about bots, the Facebook messenger bots, SDK, WhatsApp–this whole opportunity to use chat bots for marketing and for customer service. There are going to be some missteps there. There’s going to be some spam. There’s going to be some craziness. But it reminds me of when email first came out for business, which is going back a while. That’s like when I first got started in the early ’90s. It is going to change everything.

I’m telling you, folks, if you’re not really focused on bots and the opportunity for your business, get on it because it’s going to happen way faster than you think and it’s going to be way more transformative than you think. I’m really excited and fascinated about where that’s going to go.

Kate: Cool. If you could only have one mobile app for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Jay: Well, I don’t know about the rest of my life, maybe like a funeral planning app would be a good idea. Is there one of those? I’m sure there is. But I would say, given what I do now, which I probably won’t do forever, but based on my current life and for the foreseeable future, probably the app that is the most indispensable for me is TripIt, which is where it stores all of my travel plans. So here’s when the flight leaves, here’s where the hotel is, here’s what time sound check is.

It organizes all my travel and where I’m supposed to be at all times. Literally without that, I don’t even know how people used to do that. I kind of do know because I used to travel pre-smartphone, but we used to print out a ream of papers and you’d staple it together. You’d carry your batch of papers with you and when you got to one destination, you’d rip that one off and throw it away. It was ridiculous, right? So being able to have all my travel stuff in one app in TripIt is probably the most indispensable to me.

Kate: Awesome. Yeah. Not everyone is on the road 200+ days out of the year.

Jay: True. That is true. 280, actually is what it will be this year, which is plenty.

Kate: Awesome. Well, Jay, thank you so much and thanks to everyone for joining us on this episode of Talk Digital to Me.

Jay: Talk Digital to Me.

Kate: I know. I feel like I want to dance every time I say that.

Jay: Yeah. Let’s commission some sort of sound effect for the end of the show.

Kate: Oh please do. Yes. We need some little sound effect, something we can dance to, something fun.

Jay: Who’s the next guest on the show?

Kate: Jess. Jess is the next guest on the show.

Jay: The mighty Jess Ostroff, who is our managing editor and executive producer of Convince & Convert Media. She is also the president of Don’t Panic Management. Some of you may know her brand. Jess is one of those people who started with me a long time ago, as an intern, and now has her own very successful business. So I couldn’t be more proud of her.

Kate: You guys went to college together, right?

Jay: We didn’t go to college together, but she interned for me when she was in college. I’m old enough to be her dad almost, so we didn’t go to college together. Pretty damn close, so yeah.

Kate: You have a youthful glow, though, Jay.

Jay: I do. You know why? I’m always indoors. I’m an avid indoors-man, which keeps you youthful, I think.

I have very soft hands from lack of physical labor. The tips of my fingers are calloused from the keyboard, but that’s it. It’s not like I’m swinging an axe anytime soon. I have a guy for that. I have an axe guy.

Kate: You’ve got a guy. Everyone needs a guy.

Jay: I have a whole Rolodex of guys. Rolodex, there’s a nice reference. There’s a nice 1975 reference for you.

Kate: Right?

Jay: Thanks everybody for tuning in to Talk Digital to Me. Tune in next time for Jess.

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The Best Teachers for Influence Marketing http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/the-best-teachers-for-influence-marketing/ Wed, 17 Feb 2016 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=29965 The new Influence Pros podcast from Convince and Convert is the best way to get educated about influencer and advocate marketing.

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The Best Teachers for Influence Marketing

Succeeding with content is harder than ever for at least four reasons:

1. 70% of companies will create more content this year (according to Content Marketing Institute). This increase in competition makes it harder to find ears and eyes for your content.

2. Consumers of all kinds continue to spend more time online, and less time in other information channels, where the relationship between content and audience is more linear. Online, content has a reliable reach problem.

3. Ad-blockers and related technology will make it harder to promote content through paid channels, and is driving the move toward native advertising (advertorial).

4. Consumers trust recommendations from real people overwhelmingly more than they trust advertising from companies (according to Nielsen, and others)

So what do you do now? How do you get your content seen, heard, and played?

Increasingly, the answer is to work with influencers and advocates.

People Are the New Media

Whether it’s a YouTube star, a SnapChat phenomenon, a B2B industry thought leader, or a particularly passionate customers with little audience but a lot of enthusiasm, real people have become the broadcast networks of the modern age.

You’ve probably heard and read a lot about influence marketing and working with advocates. You may have even done some experimenting with it. If so, you know what I know from working with our clients at Convince & Convert, and that’s the fact that influence marketing is still very much an ungoverned space, with a WIDE variety of approaches, metrics, best practices, and guidelines.

Influence Marketing is the Wild West, if all the cowboys had big social media followings.

The Best Influence Marketing Education

There are a lot of great case studies in the nascent influence marketing and advocate marketing community, as pioneering brands are doing some amazing things. And on the influencer side, there are incredible stories of people who started to create content, built an audience, and now run a media empire – almost accidentally. It’s a fascinating time to be a marketer!

But as I looked around I found that other than a few blogs (including killer content here on Convince & Convert) and some occasional coverage in marketing publications, there wasn’t a go-to place for influence marketing education.

So I decided to fix that.

Influence Pros: the podcast for real people doing real work in influence and advocate marketing

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Today, Convince & Convert Media launched a brand-new podcast (our fifth), called Influence Pros.

The show is hosted by two veterans of the influence and advocate marketing scene:

Heidi Sullivan from Cision
and
Todd Cameron from TapInfluence

Influence Pros is also sponsored by Zuberance, the leaders in advocate marketing solutions.

I’ve had the pleasure of listening to the initial batch of shows, pre-release, and they are OUTSTANDING.

Heidi and Todd know their stuff, and combine timely discussion on the latest and greatest in influence marketing with insightful questions of each week’s guest.

And speaking of guests, what a lineup! So far, guests have included: Heather Whaling, Jason Keath, Jim Tobin, Allie Ingalls and Jennie Hughes from Whitewave Foods, Rebekah Iliff, and Gini Dietrich.

Many more great guests on the way for Influence Pros, and if you have ideas on companies that have a great influence or advocate marketing story to tell, please let me know.

How to Get Influence Pros in Your Life

The show launched today on iTunes et al. Please go to iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app and subscribe to Influence Pros right now, so you’ll get each weekly show. Note that we’ll be publishing a blog post for each episode here at Convince & Convert, too.

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9 Productivity Tools I Use to Run My Company http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/9-productivity-tools-i-use-to-run-my-company/ Tue, 31 Mar 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=23041 To run the all-virtual consulting and media company Convince & Convert, Jay Baer and his team use more than 50 tools. Here are his 9 favorite productivity tools.

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9 Productivity Tools I Use to Run My Company

Around here, we always have a lot of balls in the air. The Convince & Convert Consulting division provides digital business counsel to some of the world’s largest brands. And the Convince & Convert Media division provides digital advice to marketers and business owners via this blog (10 posts per week), our daily email (The One Thing), our 4 podcasts, ebooks, books, speaking and beyond.

Yet, our entire team is 11 people, with nine of them half-time. And, we’re totally virtual with team members located coast-to-coast.

How do we keep everything straight and the trains running on time?

Well, the real secret is hiring AMAZING people, letting them do what they do, and making sure you treat them well enough that they want to stay. In our nearly seven years, we have 0% turnover. I’m pretty damn proud of that.

But beyond great people, we use a bunch of technology to replace the meetings and b.s. that causes so many companies to waste time and leak effectiveness like a 1973 Gremlin dropping oil in the driveway.

The whole list of the tools we use routinely would be a VERY long post, as we have more than 50 pieces of software in our bag of tricks, but this batch of 9 are our most important contributors in terms of team interaction and efficiency.

1. Sococo

This is probably our newest tool and has quickly become indispensable. Sococo provides a virtual office layout that also includes IM, click to talk voice and video calls, status updates and more. It’s like an easier-to-use Skype with an office metaphor.

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Here’s how our “office” looks today. (i’m writing this on Saturday, so nobody’s “in” their office) Soon, we’ll be big enough to upgrade to the next tier, and we can do more customization. And yes, our conference rooms are called Casa Yvonneka (the huge house in Mexico where we stage our annual planning retreat), and Thug Life (named after the hilariously brilliant – AND NSWF – Youtube collections)

2. Teamwork

Like Basecamp, but better (for us). Teamwork is our baby and our bible. It’s where all projects are set up, tasks and deadline are assigned, and files are stored. Anything we have due, for anybody, it’s in Teamwork.

We particularly like the ability to assign multiple people to a particular task, and to create job templates that can be easily replicated (keynote speeches, for example, or the Social Pros podcast).

3. CoSchedule

We love these guys so much, they are a partner and sponsor now. CoSchedule is the editorial calendar we use to manage this blog and the 10 posts per week that appear here. Super easy to use, great way to work with guest contributors, and automated social when new blog posts go live. Garrett Moon and his team there are also incredibly easy to work with, and are always innovating. We’re lucky to have them in our corner.

4. Buffer

Not only am I a very proud investor in Buffer, I use it every day. I do all my content curation in Buffer, both on laptop and mobile, and it saves me a TON of time. I read more than 33 blogs routinely, and I just click posts I like, and Buffer sends them out in social throughout the day. It is the easiest-to-use social posting and scheduling tool, and the analytics available just keep getting better. Plus, the company has a remarkable blog of their own, and the team at Buffer is widely recognized as leading the charge toward business transparency world-wide. I love them. Period.

5. Sprout Social

For our team, this is the more collaborative side of our social posting and engagement program. I post all of my own content on Sprout Social, our publicity manager Lisa Loeffler also stages a lot of social posts in Sprout, and she also used it to run our nights/weekends program where we retweet/repost very popular posts each night and weekend day. I like Sprout so much that we routinely recommend it to big corporate clients, and they are the exclusive sponsor of my Jay Today video podcast. A remarkable combination of power and ease-of-use.

6. Amy from x.ai

Ready to have your mind blown? I was lucky enough to get into the beta group for Amy from x.ai which is an artificial intelligence robot that SCHEDULES MEETINGS FOR YOU! Seriously, this thing is a game-changer. Here’s how it works. You know how when you want to schedule a meeting or a call you have to go round and round with someone playing the options game? How about Wednesday at 2, 3, 6, or 9? etc. Amy fixes all that.

You just cc Amy (the robot) on an email that says something like “Amy will work with you to get this scheduled” and the artificial intelligence engine will email back and forth with the person with whom you want to meet; figure out the right time; and put it on your calendar. We’ve been using it for a couple months now, and NOBODY can figure out it’s a robot. It’s that good. It’s scary good.

7. Candidio

These guys are video wizards. I just shoot my Jay Today episodes on my iPhone, upload them to Candidio’s web-based platform, and they do the rest. Fast and easy, they add the graphics, clean up the audio, and make the videos better. Fast and easy. They are a sponsor of the Jay Today show, and I proudly recommend them in every episode (108 and counting!)

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8. Canva

Force of nature. These guys went from approximately zero customers to nearly two million customers in one year. How? By filling a need and doing it with crazy ease-of-use and a super low cost. Social media is almost entirely visual now, and Canva IS that trend in many ways. Facebook, Twitter, G+, Instagram graphics + a lot more. Everyone is a designer with Canva. We use it to make the 10+ graphics we use every day to promote these blog posts and other stuff at Convince & Convert Media.

9. TripIt Pro

This one is exclusively dedicated to the speaking side of our business, but it’s probably the most important one to me personally. Every plane ticket, hotel reservation, rental car, sound check, speech, restaurant reservation and more goes into TripIt, just by forwarding an email to plans@tripit.com. It totally organizes your entire travel life for you.

Plus, the PRO version alerts you to flight changes and other real-time drama, usually before you hear about it from the airline or other company. If you travel even a modest amount and don’t have TripIt Pro (web and mobile) you are making your life way harder than it needs to be.

Those are the nine we use most for time saving and collaboration. What do you use or like? Let me know on our Facebook page, Twitter, or beyond.

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The time I spent the World Series in handcuffs http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/the-time-i-spent-the-world-series-in-handcuffs/ http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/the-time-i-spent-the-world-series-in-handcuffs/#comments Sun, 26 Oct 2014 14:45:00 +0000 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=20440 We take for granted our ability to text, tweet, Instagram, Snapchat, and email at a moment’s notice. But we shouldn't.

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Handcuffbadge-jay-saysWe take for granted our ability to text, tweet, Instagram, Snapchat, and email at a moment’s notice. Our hyper-connectedness seems altogether natural, but it wasn’t THAT long ago that we were unable to communicate, share, reach out, or ask for help….even when we really needed to do so.

I’m writing this on an airplane, returning from Kansas City where I gave a presentation at a digital storytelling conference, amidst a local populace fully frenzied about the Royals’ first World Series appearance since 1985.

Being in KC at this time, and speaking at such a profoundly modern event, made me recall the autumn of 2001 and the last time I attended a World Series game – much of which I spent in handcuffs.

And so I share with you that story, which I’ve heretofore never written down or discussed publicly.

The Scene

2001 was a most unusual World Series, on many levels. It was just weeks after 9/11, and emotions ran high as jingoism ran rampant. Bush and Giuliani were at the height of their popularity. And amidst this tumult, the New York Yankees made the World Series, suddenly cast in the entirely unfamiliar role of the team most of America actually wanted to win.

The foils from the National League were the upstart Arizona Diamondbacks. Two friends and I split Diamondbacks’ season tickets since their inception, in 1998. My office at the time was located almost walking distance to the stadium, and I took in 25 games each year, rooting on the 1-2 punch of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. Toward the end of the regular season, my buddies and I were offered the chance to purchase playoff tickets, and we did so.

The First Snafu

My pal Pete was the actual account holder of record, so the tickets were mailed to his house. But he never got them. It’s a snafu that remains unexplained even now, but best guess is that they were mailed incorrectly, they were stolen from his porch, or he lost them.

A few days before the first playoff game, we realized that we never received the tickets, and had to go down to the Diamondbacks ticket office to sort it out. Somewhat skeptically, they printed us a new set using the in-office dot matrix printer. Satisfied that we had solve the issue, we split the tickets and proceeded to enjoy the Division Series and League Championship Series. The Diamondbacks won both, and all of a sudden the World Series was coming to town!

A chance at a championship – ANY championship – is pretty damn rare in Arizona, as the Suns have been to two finals since 1968, The Cardinals have been to just one Super Bowl (and that was well after this series of calamities), and the Coyotes have never made it out of the first round of the NHL playoffs. With that historic lack of success, this was a big deal, especially squaring off against sporting royalty like the Yankees.

I attended Game 1 of the Series, and it was fantastic. Saying the crowd is “electric” is a well-worn descriptor, but its commonality makes it no less apt. It was amazing. The Diamondbacks put the hurt on the Yankees early in the series, and it looked like it would be a short, uneventful matchup. But then the Yankees, buoyed by the extraordinary emotion in New York fueled by 9/11, rallied back and won two extra-innings games at home, sending the series to a decisive Game 7, in Phoenix.

I won a contentious three-way card draw against my friends, and got our two seats to the biggest game in Arizona history.

There was only one person in the world I was going to bring with me to that game….my brother-in-law Alfonso.

The Duo

Al grew up in Yonkers, New York and moved to Arizona in third grade. By fourth grade, we were best friends and pretty much stayed that way for the next 23 years. So much so, that Al married my wife’s sister, and thus we became brothers-in-law.

I’ll just digress here for a moment to tell you that having your best friend as your brother-in-law is a great gig. If you can engineer such a thing, I highly recommend it, as it makes family gatherings far more entertaining.

After Al married my wife’s sister, the four of us (and often 2-3 other couples) spent a TON of time together. Parties. Dinner clubs. Card games. Concerts. This was in the days when nobody had kids, or if they did (like me), they were babies, and you could just bring them everywhere. Good times and some of the best memories of my life.

But in 2000, Al (we were both then 32) was diagnosed with brain cancer. It’s a different story, but that diagnosis is what prompted me to quit my job and start my own company. By the time the World Series came around 15 months or so later, Al had been through several tricky surgeries and rehabilitations. He was a little wobbly, and had mostly lost the power of speech.

A high school baseball player (and a good one) Al and the Yankees had a love affair. Super fan, in every way. So, there was no question he was coming with me to Game 7. He was crazy about the Yankees, and had been through so, so, so much.

The Long Arm of the Law

Remember that this was the first big sporting event in the USA after the bombings, so security was very, very tight. Tons of extra law enforcement everywhere around the stadium. Lots of bag searches, and the like. They even welded shut the manhole covers in the surrounding area.

We get to our seats, and in the middle of the first inning Al says he’s going to grab a cigarette (don’t judge. a LOT of people smoked then, including me). I said I was going to stay put to watch the Diamondbacks bat, but I knew where he was headed – to the smoking area outside the left field entrance.

I watch the bottom of the first. And the top of the second. And the bottom of the second. And the top of the third. Still no Al. Longest cigarette ever? And during the World Series?

Begrudgingly, I decided to investigate. Off to left field I went. As I approached the glass door to the smoking section, I spied Al being interrogated by a sheriff’s deputy.

WTF?

I headed out the door and caught Al’s glance (confused and worried), and asked the officer what was going on? The deputy asks me, “are you with this guy?” I said I was, and he barks “let me see your ticket!” I show my stub, and as I do so I realize that Al’s hands are cuffed behind his back. “What’s the deal? Why is he in handcuffs?”

“You’re going to be in them too, in a second,” shouts the deputy. “These tickets are fake, and this guy is super shifty and won’t even answer questions!” He gets on the radio and calls for backup.

Me and Alfonso at Game 7, before it all unraveled

Me and Alfonso at Game 7, before it all unraveled

The Detention

I explained that the tickets weren’t fake, but that indeed they DID look different. They were small, not big. They didn’t have the fancy World Series logo and hologram on them. They were dot matrix reprints, not the collectible souvenir tickets that everyone else in the stadium had.

I further detailed that Al was UNABLE to answer questions, due to the series of brain surgeries and all, but it was not a fruitful conversation. The deputy stated plainly (and not graciously) that all law enforcement were instructed to detain any holders of counterfeit tickets because of rumors that terrorists might use them to penetrate the stadium security.

The Helplessness

Within two minutes, I was handcuffed behind my back and joined Al up against the cold exterior of Bank One Ballpark, while Game 7 of the World Series was being played just inside.

Although the handcuffs would have been a problem (no David Blaine am I), looking back on it, this would have been an entirely different scenario had smartphones been in existence at the time. I could have texted friends of mine who worked for the team. I could have publicly tweeted for help. I could have at least been live streaming the game! (as it was, we had to rely on bits of information from fans popping out for a quick smoke). Because as it turned out, we weren’t detained for a few minutes…

We were in handcuffs for 4 innings.

Occasionally, I would plead our case to the more reasonable of the two officers, beseeching him to radio someone in the Diamondbacks ticket office around the corner, who could verify the tickets. “We’ll do that,” he would say. “But we’ve got a lot of other things going on right now.”

Eventually, after more than an hour, it worked. Someone from the ticket office came over, took one look at the tickets and said they were fine, and we were unshackled and sent on our way.

No apology. Just “you’re free to go.”

The End

Stunned by the entire affair, we shuffled back to our seats (after procuring a MUCH-needed beer on the way) by the 7th inning stretch, when the game was tied 1-1.

The next forty-five minutes or so are some of the most legendary and memorable in baseball history, as the Yankees went ahead 2-1, but the Diamondbacks scored twice in the bottom of the ninth off of Mariano Rivera, and won the World Series amidst absolute pandemonium in the stadium.

When Luis Gonzalez blooped a hit to win the game and the series and defeat his beloved Yankees, Al just turned to me and gave me a sad shake of the head, and a little smirk.

Sports Illustrated named the contest the best post-season game of the decade.

The Postscript

I was delighted that the D-backs had won, and the scene on the streets of downtown Phoenix afterwards was like nothing I’d ever seen (and haven’t seen since). But a day or so later, that jubilation wore off and I became downright angry about the handcuffs incident.

I wrote a long letter to the Diamondbacks, and another to the Sheriff’s Office, asking for an explanation and a refund on our World Series tickets. Nothing. Not even an acknowledgement, and certainly no apology or action.

And as I fly out of Kansas City during their World Series, I realize that if I just had a smartphone (and Twitter and Facebook) back then, not only would I have been out of handcuffs quickly, but a public apology would have followed right behind.

We take the ability to get real-time answers, real-time help, and real-time apologies for granted, because they are the norm today. But it wasn’t the norm in 2001 – the year the Diamondbacks won it all, and me and Al missed half of it.

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A Brand-New Youtility Book From Jay Baer That Will Help Build Your Business http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/a-brand-new-youtility-book-from-jay-baer-that-will-help-build-your-business/ http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/a-brand-new-youtility-book-from-jay-baer-that-will-help-build-your-business/#respond Sun, 12 Oct 2014 18:00:00 +0000 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=19803 The new Youtility for Real Estate from Jay Baer and Erica Campbell Byrum is available now. Less than 3 dollars on Kindle, this book will change the way real estate professional think about business. Plus a free Webinar upcoming.

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Youtility for Real Estate Available Nowbadge-jay-saysReal estate professionals are all the same (or at least that’s the common perception). How can real estate professionals stand out by creating marketing so incredibly useful, people would pay for it? I wrote a book showing them how, and it launches November 4. The book is full of case studies, examples, tips and advice for real estate pros looking to massively change their business and stand out with help, not hype.

Youtility for Real Estate is the second in the Youtility Professional Series, following Youtility for Accountants, which I released earlier this year. Both books (and the hard-cover Youtility) were published by Portfolio | Penguin books.

Youtility for Real Estate was co-authored by my genius friend Erica Campbell Byrum, head of digital marketing at Homes.com and ForRent.com.

Screenshot_10_12_14,_1_30_PMYoutility for Real Estate is available on pre-order right now for just $2.99 on Amazon Kindle or BN Nook (only digital copies for now). I really believe this is the best book in which I’ve been involved, even better than the full-length Youtility book.

Do you know a real estate professional? Of course you do. Do them a favor and gift them a Kindle copy of Youtility for Real Estate. Even better, invite them to attend the free Webinar on October 29 that Erica and I are doing that will discuss the key themes in the book, and a ton of amazing case studies and examples.

Free Webinar on October 29 talking Youtility for Real Estate. More than 2,000 RSVPs already!

I would really love your support of this new Youtility book. If you know a real estate professional, spend less than $3 and send them a copy. And encourage them to attend the free Webinar. They’ll love you for it. And even if you’re not in the real estate biz (or know someone who is), there are lessons in this book that apply to us all.

Thanks for your support. I’ll have another post next week sharing some of the amazing examples in the book. You won’t believe a couple of them, especially the ones from Australia!

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How the World Sees You Should Govern Your Social Media Style http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/how-the-world-sees-you-should-govern-your-social-media-style/ http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/how-the-world-sees-you-should-govern-your-social-media-style/#comments Sun, 03 Aug 2014 13:45:00 +0000 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=18939 Sally Hogshead says that the key to success in social media, business, and life is understanding how the world sees you. Here's how to figure it out.

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How the World Sees You Interviewbadge-jay-saysA few weeks ago, we gave Convince & Convert readers the chance to take a free assessment ($37 value) to determine how the world sees them – and more than 600 people participated.

The assessment and the methodology were created by Sally Hogshead, a consultant, hall of fame speaker, and New York Times best-selling author. I recently chatted with Sally about her new book How the World Sees You (upon which the assessment is based) and the interesting commonalities among Convince & Convert readers. Video below, partial transcript below that.

Jay Baer: I think a lot of people watching this video who are frequent visitors to the Convince & Convert blog are somewhat familiar with the book and the premise because we had hundreds and hundreds of blog readers and social media contacts of mine take the pre-assessment. We’ll talk about that in a little bit but for anybody who’s not familiar with the book or the premise of How The World Sees You, maybe you can set that up for them.

How the World Sees You CoverSally Hogshead: Sure. There are certain situations that give you a huge advantage in communication. When you can focus on these types of situations, you’re very likely to be impressive and influential with your listener. There are patterns within your communication that if you could predict which types of situations are going to put you at a real advantage, so that you’re seen in the absolute most positive light, then you can be very strategic about how you communicate with clients, co-workers, partners, etc.

On the other hand, there are other situations that put you at a real disadvantage in which you’re very unlikely to be seen in a positive light. You’re not going to win, you’re going to be exhausted, you’re going to be de-moralized. I took my branding background, my decade of work with brands like Coca Cola, Nike, and I applied it to personality, and how we communicate on line, and in job interviews, and in meetings with prospects. I found that there are really clear patterns within our communication that if you can understand how people see you at your best, then you can simply focus on those areas where you’re most primed to succeed and avoid the areas that are going to be like quicksand.

Jay Baer: Who couldn’t benefit from that? I mean everybody in every job and every circumstance. Tell me how that extends to social media. One of the things I love about the book is you talk about this “tag line for yourself.” Can you use your fascination advantage, how the world sees you and apply that in social media?

Sally Hogshead: Imagine that experience in looking at your Twitter feed or at Tweetdeck. There’s a fire hose of information coming at you, there’s simply too much, you feel distracted. One Tweet starts to blend in to another. The same way in the job market. It’s the same way in conversations, it’s the same way we’re trying to pick up with somebody at the bar seat next to you. Any time you communicate, you have to figure out how can you win in that immediate first moments of an interaction?

What I found is that once we can measure your personality, then we can tell you the five adjectives that are going to be your most effective way of communicating. When you read the book, you take the assessment and it literally gives you the actual five words that you need based on the patterns hidden within your communication style so that you can literally cut and paste this, and put it on your Linkedin profile.

Where you can adapt it, or it might just be a mind set. It might be that you could say to yourself, I am most likely to win in situations in which I’m going to be creative out of the box, social, energizing. That would be mind, I’m a catalyst. I know that when I’m communicating with my Twitter followers, or writing a new business proposal, I would be seen in my most positive way and I will deliver the most value when I can be creative out of the box, energizing, and social. I’m not going to deliver value when I have to be meticulous, analytical, strategic, methodical. I can do it but I’m at a real disadvantage if that’s what they want.

In the same way, when you take the assessment it tells you the top five advantages that you need, and then you go to the book, and it shows you exactly how to apply that in creating a tag line for your personality.

Jay Baer: One of the things that we did in the run up to the release of your book, was we had Convince & Convert readers who wanted to take the assessment do so. We had six or seven hundred people who read the blog actually went through the How The World Sees you process. We thought it would be fascinating to see where the majority of Convince and Convert readers lie on that continuum. Is there a grouping? Are there different characteristics that are more likely to be present among people who read this blog and follow me on social media, etc. What did you find out Sally?

How the World Sees You Convince and Convert Results

Sally Hogshead: The population of people who took the assessment is different than the average population. There were two categories where your readers tended to fall more so than the general population. The first one is prestige which is all about higher standards. Prestige personalities know how to improve things. They are competitive, they like to over achieve, they like to constantly see how can I improve what I’m doing? How can I up my game?

The second thing that we noticed is that they score very high on mystique. Mystique is all about watching and observing. Being able to see all those little pieces and put them in order in a way that’s almost like a chess game. People in social media circles tend to score much higher on mystique because they’re really good at taking everything in and seeing. To be able to build conversations strategically and to look at things in terms of a plan.

Jay Baer: One of the things I thought was so fascinating about that exercise and getting all the people to fill out the assessment in my community and many other communities, is that it gives everybody a taste of the book before the book comes out. Which is, as an author and as a content marketer, is a brilliant, brilliant strategy. It’s truly fantastic. But you were telling me before we began here that you actually changed your own approach to content and book marketing in the very late stages of the book promotion process. Tell me about that a little bit, it’s interesting.

Sally Hogshead: We realized we were treating the book launch more like a traditional media buy because we weren’t creating a dialogue. So, we did three things that were pretty radical shifts along the way that were very uncomfortable that not only taught us a lot, but got the results that we wanted.

First thing that we did was, we had always charged for the assessment. It’s $37 a person, and when you buy the book you get one assessment. We were kind of coming from a place of scarcity because this was a product that we sold. We said instead of creating a barrier to getting a taste of this, what if we did the opposite, and not only made it free, but actually encouraged people to share? I’m going to be honest, my team totally freaked out. It was like, how could you possibly take the thing that is sold on the shelf that’s our inventory . . .

Jay Baer: There’s Youtility and then there’s insanity, right? There’s a fine line there.

Sally Hogshead: I knew from branding that if you can give somebody an experience and they find value in that experience, they want to come back for more. So I said let’s create something that we called project fascination. You can check it out at projectfascination.com. We invited people to sign up and throughout the summer you put in your name, you immediately get a code, and the code allows you to share with a hundred people, your Twitter followers, your team at work. We were finding people were donating their code to a non-profit. It was a complete shift of pay it forward and help somebody else find their highest value. That helped us. We now have about 2,000 people a day who come into that program so that helped us scale quickly.

Another thing we did is we had a whole bunch of what are called galley copies. Galley copies are a paperback version that only goes out to the media. If I buy this from the publisher, you can see it has my notes on it, it was $2.00. If I buy this from the publisher it’s $20. We said, let’s have 6,000 of these so we created buy one get one. If you buy a produced copy, then you get a galley copy signed.

The last thing we did is we created very, very targeted messages that were specific to the personality type of the person. Jay, you are very achievement oriented, you’re results oriented, you want to know what’s going to be the outcome. You don’t really want to get in the weeds, and you don’t really want the touchy feely thing, you want to know what’s the result, right? So I should communicate to you differently.

So imagine if I’m sharing about this book, I wouldn’t want to be like, this book is going to make you feel warm and squishy inside. I shouldn’t say this book is going to help you prevent problems. Instead I should say, “Hey, this book is going to help you get better results, and you’re going to be more competitive, and more respected within your market place.” Well for you, if I can give you some tangible examples of that, ding, ding, ding. We did that with each of the seven personality types. For the passion personalities we talked about, here’s how you’re going to feel when you read the book. For detail personalities we made it all about the research behind it and the rigor of the system.

Jay Baer: There are 49 different personality buckets, do you grade on a curve? Are those evenly distributed, or are there certain buckets within there that are much more likely to be common among people who take the assessment. Not just in my audience, but across everybody who uses the assessment tool.

Sally Hogshead: There’s some that are really rare, and those are the people who are often the most valuable. In other words, if everybody in your company is really good at a certain thing, and you’re good at this, well then you should become more intensely valuable. The problem that happens within companies is there’s a value judgment on certain types of outcomes because managers want to replicate themselves. The key to a great team is, you don’t want similarities, you want differences.

The key to a great team is that you don’t want similarities, you want differences. (tweet this)

When we go into companies like AT&T and GE and we measure their population, we compare it to the average population, and we compare it to other industries, then we can say. For example, there’s a Fortune 10 life insurance company that we went into. Their problem was that people were staying so there was a lot of tenure among their employees, but there was no innovation, and they weren’t bringing young people into the brand. We tested them, and guess what, they were disproportionately good at trust, so great at patterns, but disproportionately low at creativity and innovation. We showed them how to hire differently and how to bring it out in people that already had it but were probably getting squashed.

Jay Baer: That’s amazing case study and I suspect organizations like that have this nagging suspicion that something is mis-aligned, but when you see it broken down that way, when you see it, here’s your entire work force and when they tend to clump in an area that doesn’t necessarily breed innovation, I’m sure the light bulb really goes on when you see it on paper like that.

I suspect a lot of people in the Convince & Convert community have purchased the book because they got the assessment, they loved it. If you haven’t, I really recommend that you do. You will get a lot out of it. If you don’t like the book, but you will, but if you don’t, I’ll send you one of my books for free. If you don’t like my book or Sally’s book, I don’t know what to do. We’ll hook you up one way or the other.

Also, if you get a chance to see Sally up on stage, she is one of the finest public speakers ever in this country. I don’t say that lightly so she’ll be up there, out on the road talking about How The World Sees You and fascination. If you get a chance to see Sally anywhere near you, take that opportunity. I really can’t recommend it highly enough.

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The 12 Startups I’ve Invested In and Why http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/the-12-startups-ive-invested-in-and-why/ http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/the-12-startups-ive-invested-in-and-why/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=18940 In this post, Jay Baer writes about the 12 startup companies he's funded, describes what they do, and discusses why he invested in them.

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badge-jay-saysI was having dinner with a friend at the National Speakers Association conference a few days ago. During dinner, this friend (let’s call him “Chris Ducker” because it was Chris Ducker) said something about Buffer. I mentioned that I am an investor in that company, and Chris said, “You are? I had no idea you did that kind of stuff.” And it got me thinking about how I almost never write about the work I do as a venture capitalist and advisor. It’s probably silly, but I’ve long felt that what I do in that arena isn’t particularly relevant to Convince & Convert readers (or clients), which is why information about my investing and advising is now located on the JayBaer.com site.

But, given the rise of participatory financing via Kick Starter, et al and Angel List syndicates (a great way to get involved with startups with a smaller cash commitment), combined with the fact that many of the companies I’ve invested in are tools that we use daily here at Convince & Convert, I figured I’d write a post about what I’ve supported financially. And since your visits to this site, and your email clicks, and your podcast listens help generate the sponsorship revenue that (in part) allows me to make those investments, I’d argue that you’re a part of these companies too, at some level.

I’m by no means a Vaynerchuk-esque investment mogul, but here’s where I’m at as of July 7, 2014:

Addvocate – Employee Activation in Social

I’m probably most involved day-to-day with this company, as I’m also on the board of directors. Addvocate is a leader in the fast-growing field of employee social enablement and advocacy software. If you want your employees (or your team) to share something in social, or your employees want to recommend content to the marketing hub, etc. Addvocate makes it happen. It’s secure, mobile-friendly, super easy to use, and affordable. This is a corner of the social media world that will be accelerating quickly, I believe. We use this tool every day to find and internally distribute topics for our One Thing email.
Addvocate.com

the Breather mobile app

the Breather mobile app

Breather – Quiet on Demand

Breather is the brain-child of the uber-smart Julien Smith. It’s Airbnb for privacy. Breather rents unused office space in New York, Montreal, and San Francisco (your city coming soon) and then allows people to rent the space for an hour or three at a time. Great for a conference call, small meeting, a quick “breather” when you’re traveling, actors working on their lines, etc. The space is booked via smartphone app, and the door is also unlocked that way, using electronic locks. It’s incredibly slick. I’m in love with this idea.
Breather.com

Buffer – Social Scheduling and Content Recommendations

Probably the best known of the companies in which I’ve invested, due to their very large customer base and colossally popular blog. Buffer does everything right. It makes social media participation way easier, and their new iPhone app – Daily – that recommends content for you to share is genius. It’s an honor to be associated with these guys, and I use Buffer daily.
Bufferapp.com

Captora – Automated Marketing Optimization

I get excited just thinking about this company. Captora has a very powerful engine that analyzes the entirety of your digital marketing efforts and the efforts of your competitors, in real-time (and all the time). Then, based on that data, Captora automatically creates new campaigns (including landing pages and other Web copy); and/or changes existing campaigns. Imagine having an entire department of data analysts and digital marketing geniuses, but deciding that maybe you could build a freaky robot to do their jobs. That’s Captora. It’s a game-changer for B2B.
Captora.com

CloudPeeps – Remote Community Management

My newest investment, CloudPeeps (I think) is the right idea at the right time. It’s a collective of eLance-style free agents working inside a match-making platform that enables companies (or even solopreneurs) to find, select, and hire community managers to handle their routine social media tasks. It’s going to be very, very popular among SMEs.
CloudPeeps.com

Command Post – Social Media Segmentation and Disclosure

Formerly known as cmp.ly the recently re-branded Command Post has pivoted to focus on providing useful social media analytics, and delivering nuggets of insight and intelligence that help you identify hidden advocates (for example). The firm still has its cmp.ly disclosure capabilities, originally developed to ensure that brands are in compliance with FCC guidelines. You’ll see an example of those disclosure “badges” at the bottom of this post.
GetCommandPost.com

Green Nurture – Crowdsourced Sustainability

My second-oldest active investment, Green Nurture has a turn-key platform that allows companies and government organizations to solicit sustainable, green ideas from their workforce in an easy, gamified format. Some exciting new customers are starting to kick the tires on Green Nurture, and its nice to have an investment in the environment category.
GreenNurture.com

Lesson.ly – The Easy Training Software

These guys are on fire! They gained 50 B2B clients in just one year, and are picking up momentum quickly. Two reasons for that. First, they have a terrific team (very similar to Buffer in style and values). Second, the product is outstanding. Lesson.ly offers quite literally the easiest way to create and distribute training for anything. Fully drag-and-drop, you can have a course up and running in minutes. I use Lesson.ly for the Agency Pulse resource center that agency clients of Convince & Convert have access to exclusively.
Lesson.ly

A few of the 1,000 top influencers about beer, via LittleBird

A few of the 1,000 top influencers about beer, via LittleBird

LittleBird – Social Business Intelligence

Another one that’s really rounding into form, LittleBird helps you find influencers and experts in any topical category, and then keeps you updated, alerted, and informed about what’s happening with those influencers in that category. Amazing tool for keeping tabs on thought leaders about anything. Very smart and creative team.
GetLittleBird.com

RivalIQ – Social Media Analytics and Competitor Monitoring

I got introduced to RivalIQ by Marcus Nelson, former CEO of Addvocate, who used some Rival data in a board of directors presentation. I immediately started using the tool for Convince & Convert clients, and invested right away. RivalIQ gives you easy, fast data about how your company is faring in social media versus its competitors. Reasonably priced, and lots of slick features like the ability to automatically export data into a Powerpoint doc customized with your own branding.
RivalIQ.com

Senestech – Safe Sterilization of Pests

My oldest active investment, and it still blows me away. Senestech is a biosciences start-up that formulates special baits that, when ingested by the targeted species (only), sterilize undesirable mammals. This reduces the need for poisons and other toxins. Huge trial under way right now with the NYC subway system to reduce the rat population in the tunnels. They also have technology (currently on the back burner) that can sterilize dogs and cats using an aerosol spray. Enormous implications for shelters and pet over-population.
Senestech.com

Unified Social – Comprehensive Social Marketing Platform

I originally invested in Facebook analytics start-up Pagelever, which was then purchased by Unified Social. Top ranked by Forrester, Unified has a true end-to-end solution for social marketers. Rich content creation tools, deep analytics, and best-in-class programmatic ad capabilities.
UnifiedSocial.com

So there you have it. Those are the 12 I have in play today. I’m also an investor in two venture funds/accelerators in Indiana: Gravity Ventures and Sproutbox. I’m an advisor to another five or six startups, as well, with minor equity grants associated with that role.

If you have any questions about these companies, or the angel investing process, etc. please feel free to leave a comment.

Business Relationship

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Free Assessment – Let’s Find Out How the World Sees You http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/free-assessment-lets-find-out-how-the-world-sees-you/ http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/free-assessment-lets-find-out-how-the-world-sees-you/#comments Sun, 29 Jun 2014 15:00:11 +0000 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=18930 Today is the six-year anniversary of the Convince & Convert blog. Since 2008, this blog and the community that surrounds it has grown from me and my Mom, to hundreds of thousands of marketers and businesspeople from all corners of the world. It’s been an amazing ride, and I thank every one of you for […]

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Today is the six-year anniversary of the Convince & Convert blog. Since 2008, this blog and the community that surrounds it has grown from me and my Mom, to hundreds of thousands of marketers and businesspeople from all corners of the world. It’s been an amazing ride, and I thank every one of you for your support.

But really, WHO ARE YOU? I don’t know, and I’m not sure YOU know.

Here’s a 100% free way ($37 value) to find out in a just a couple of minutes.

FREE: How The World Sees You Personality Assessment (first 499 participants)

Until 7/7/14 the first 499 readers of Convince & Convert (that’s you!) can take the amazing How The World Sees You personality assessment for free. It’s a very quick process (5 minutes or so) and the findings are simply remarkable. You’ll understand your strengths and weaknesses in ways you never did before, and you’ll know how to improve your business and your life. You’ll receive a very detailed online analysis, as well as a downloadable PDF, all at no cost ($37 value).

Editor’s Note: Thank you for your support – our codes have all been used! You can still take the assessment by paying the $37 fee. You’ll love it!

Take the Free Assessment

1. Go to: http://www.HowToFascinate.com/YOU

2. Enter the code JBAER where it says “book code” and enter your name and email address. Pick a password so you can access your completed assessment at any time.

3. Answer a few questions about yourself.

4. You’ll immediately receive your in-depth, custom report, which identifies your personality Advantages.

Why Am I Giving This to You?

How the World Sees You bookThis assessment is produced by my friend Sally Hogshead, whose new book “How the World Sees You” is amazing and available for pre-order. Sally sent me an early sneak peek copy. She knows more than anyone about personality types and how to improve your life based on who you really are.

To help promote the book, Sally gave me 499 (only) free assessments for Convince & Convert readers, so I can get a better feel for who YOU are as a group….and of course you get a better idea of yourself, too.

In a couple weeks, I’ll be doing a video interview with Sally, where she’ll be analyzing the Convince & Convert community as a whole, and telling us all what we have in common. Fascinating stuff! (just a quick note here to let you know that I will not have access to any of your individual data, only aggregate info for Convince & Convert readers)

I’d love it if you took the free personality assessment now. I promise you’ll LOVE it.

Here’s My Personality

I’ve take this assessment myself, and of the 49 potential personality archetypes, I am The Maestro. Here’s what the assessment says about that (there are pages and pages and pages of more detail, this is just the summary screen shot).

How the World Sees You

Here’s my personality archetype.

I can’t wait to find out what we’re all about. You’re going to learn a lot about yourself, too.

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How I Became the Person Most Mentioned by Digital Marketers on Twitter http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/how-i-became-the-person-most-mentioned-by-digital-marketers-on-twitter/ http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/how-i-became-the-person-most-mentioned-by-digital-marketers-on-twitter/#comments Sun, 01 Jun 2014 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=18417 Jay Baer become the most mentioned person by digital marketers on Twitter through the help of hundreds of other people. Here's what it takes to build an audience in modern times.

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A quick parenting tip:

If you want your pre-teen and teen kids to listen to you (at least temporarily) beat out Pharrell and Jimmy Fallon on an Internet list.

That happened to me – and you’re damn right I dad-milked that sucker – when it was announced last week that (among digital marketers) I am the most retweeted and most mentioned person on Twitter (PDF). In the latter rankings, I bested Mr. Fallon, Mr. Happy, and some guy named Barack Obama.

Screenshot_5_28_14,_9_42_AM-2The same study concluded that this blog – the blog you are reading right now – is in the top 25 most shared information sources among digital marketers, alongside enormous websites like Mashable, TechCrunch, The Next Web, ClickZ, AdAge, etc. Wow!

I had a few immediate reactions to these announcements:

1. What was the methodology, and can this possibly be true? (Leadtail analyzed the Twitter accounts of 515 digital marketers, manager level or or above in North America, so it’s based on what people actually do, not on what they say they do.)

2. Lots of great people that I consider to be colleagues and friends were on the list(s) too, and sites I adore like Social Media Examiner, MarketingProfs, Buffer, Social Media Today, and Hubspot made the top 25 sources group as well.

3. These lists would be a lot different if they were focused on G+, Linkedin, Youtube, Pinterest, or Instagram.

4. How is Pharrell the #10 most mentioned person on Twitter among digital marketers? That guy is EVERYWHERE!

I’ve been on some lists in my day, but I never talk about them much here. I’m not a big believer in using a blog dedicated to marketing education to take a victory lap on your attention nickel.

But after I pondered it for a few minutes, gave a speech to the Marketing Association for Credit Unions in Montreal (thanks for having me), endured a flight delay and finally boarded the tiny aircraft where I am writing this post in TextEdit (no Wi-Fi), I decided to embrace this development because it gives me a chance to remember some things. Some of this may be slightly out of sequence, but I’m old and on a plane.

I Remember

I remember selling my digital agency in 2005 and planning to teach at a university when my earn out concluded in 2008.

I remember the simultaneous real estate and stock market collapses in 2008 putting that plan on indefinite hold, resulting in me starting a new consulting firm.

I remember that this consulting firm (which was a “firm” in name only, since it was just me in my house) originally being devoted to conversion rate optimization, hence the name “Convince & Convert” – which was partially chosen because the domain name was available.

I remember hiring my good friend Chris Bohnsack to create a series of logo options, and over beers at a craft brewery outside of Tucson, settling on the very distinctive one you see here.

I remember deciding that the website for this new firm would include a blog, which perplexed me since I’d only written about 3 blog posts in my life.

I remember waking up early and reading dozens of great blogs and online newsletters and trying to figure out the news of the day in social and digital, and then writing a “here’s what I think” post as fast as I could, and then going back to all of those sources and writing strong comments with links to my posts attached.

I remember the biggest traffic day on this blog over the first three months being 242 visitors.

I remember Jason Falls, who I’d never spoken to and didn’t know at all, tweeting one of my blog posts. It was the very first sign that maybe I was doing something worthwhile. I’d been blogging for several months at this point, writing four posts per week.

I remember Bailey Gardiner (now called I.D.E.A) , an agency in San Diego, becoming my very first client (and we still work with a ton of agencies every day).

I remember being on vacation in Los Angeles with my wife when Chris Brogan tweeted a post of mine for the first time. I actually cried, and printed out the tweet. The post was about Janelle Monae and used her as a metaphor for customer experience (if you’d like to cringe at how much I sucked then, click away).

I remember shortly thereafter when Ann Handley (whom I’d never met) agreed to let me speak at MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Mixer in Scottsdale due to the urgings of my friend Stephanie Miller, who curated the email track. In those days, I still mostly wrote about email, as that was one of our major points of focus in my previous agency.

I remember writing a “Guide to Enjoying the MarketingPros Digital Marketing Mixer” based on my insider’s knowledge of the area (the conference was not far from where I was living at the time) and being overjoyed when Ann shared it with all conference attendees ahead of time, giving me a dose of name recognition.

I remember enjoying the email part of the event, but being enthralled by the people and the topics in the social media portion.

I remember meeting Chris Brogan for the first time. Mythical. And CC Chapman. And of course, Ann. I remember meeting Amber Naslund for the first time, and can picture so clearly in my head her and Chris sitting alone on a couch by the elevators late at night, and thinking “those are people with whom I want to spend time”.

I remember meeting Gary Vaynerchuk, who was just hitting his stride with his video wine blog (which taught me a ton about wine), and playing poker in the casino next to the conference with Gary and my pal Jeff Rohrs from ExactTarget (a long-time friend and now the co-host of Social Pros).

I remember my idea to start interviewing people live on Twitter, which had never been done before, Joseph Jaffe being the first guest in the long-running Twitter20 series of live twitter chats and blog posts, which helped put me on the map among social media thought leaders.

I remember – vividly – hiring Jess Ostroff to be my virtual assistant based on a tweet for help. Jess had been my intern for a summer when we both lived in Phoenix. She’s been with me ever since, is the managing editor of a blog that is a top 25 information source for our target audience. Congratulations Jess!

I remember going to SXSW for the first time the next spring and hanging out with Mack Collier, and meeting Jason Falls in person, and seeing Patrick O’Keefe talk about his book, and meeting Shawn Morton and David Armano and Richard Binhammer and so many other people who are truly brilliant and kind and caring and supportive.

6147543920_0784f25b10_zI remember debuting my bottle opener business cards at that event – a trademark to this day.

I remember being a Mixologist at a MarketingProfs B2B event with Stephanie Miller and Beth Harte and Michael Brito, and that opportunity starting to position me as something other than an attendee and occasional speaker.

I remember my old friend and colleague Chris Sietsema joining C&C to help provide exceptional consulting to clients (and he’s a senior strategist with us today)

I remember Scott Stratten recommending to Shannon Vargo at Wiley that I would be a good person to publish a book.

I remember being 100% positive that I wanted to write a book with only one other person in the world, Amber Naslund.

I remember spending a marathon outline session with Amber at my old agency offices in Arizona, surrounded by giant Post-its with ideas for “Taming the Waterfall” which was eventually renamed “The NOW Revolution”

I remember being introduced to Tom Webster through Amber, who interviewed him for the book. This sparked a friendship that gives me great joy on a regular basis.

I remember Jason Amunwa (formerly of Bailey Gardiner) building a great website for The NOW Revolution for us.

I remember hitting the road and doing 25 or so speaking gigs about TNR in exchange for bulk book buys, the first time I’d ever done speaking in any real concentration.

I remember thinking: I really like being a consultant, but you certainly get more applause as a speaker.

I remember doing a 10-minute version of the TNR presentation to a packed house at the ExactTarget Connections conference, and the reaction being extraordinary.

I remember Mike Stelzner asking me to guest post for Social Media Examiner, and supporting me time after time with slots on his virtual summits, and keynote gigs in both of his extraordinary Social Media Marketing World events.

I remember bringing to the C&C team my former client Daniel Lemin, an ex-Googler who is a senior strategist here and is a brilliant and amazing guy.

I remember moving from Arizona to Indiana (here’s why), and driving across country with two kids, a dog, a cat, a snake, a lizard, and 12 cases of wine. I remember my friends and family thinking we were crazy.

I remember Joe Pulizzi from Content Marketing Institute asking me to put together an 8-minute “burst” session for the first Content Marketing World event, and coming up with a them of “useful marketing”

I remember standing in the shower when the word “youtility” popped into my head.

I remember Jason Keath inviting me to speak at many of his highly-curated Social Fresh events, and now I am a co-host and a big believer in his vision of intimate, thoughtful marketing conferences.

I remember changing my name from Jason to Jay because there were already so many Jasons in social media, and my Twitter handle was @JayBaer. It took 18 months to fully make the shift, and now when people from my Arizona days call me Jason, it sounds weird.

I remember working with Jess on a new editorial calendar for the blog, where I would write only one or so posts per week, with a rotating cast of guest writers, in an effort to turn this from a blog to more of a digital marketing magazine.

I remember a year later realizing – somewhat sheepishly – that the less I write, the more traffic we get.

I remember my little brother suddenly dying, and canceling my new book (which was going to be called Surprise Marketing)

I remember Eric Boggs from Argyle Social asking if I’d ever thought about doing a podcast, and us starting Social Pros together, basically on a lark.

I remember reaction to my first-ever Youtility full-length presentation (at BlogIndiana, now called MixWest) being so strong that I decided it could be a book, and getting back on track with a new book project.

I remember my dear friend Lisa Loeffler coming to the C&C team to handle publicity and events and special projects. She is indispensible.

I remember Julien Smith helping me figure out how to take Youtility to the next level, and connecting me with my agent Jim Levine, who got me a swell book deal from Portfolio.

I remember my old friend Kim Corak joining the C&C team to head up special projects, which at the time consisted mostly of helping with Youtility research and eventually, book promotion. Kim is remarkable, and now heads our biz dev efforts.

I remember my pal Zena Weist (long-time Social Pros co-host) recommending ex-Edelman Digital smartie Megan Gilbert as a possible addition to the C&C team. Thank goodness. Megan is incredible and we (and our clients) are so lucky to have her skills and attitude around us.

I remember so many professional speakers like David Newman, Sally Hogshead, Rory Vaden and Mark Sanborn mentoring me and showing me the ins and outs of the business side of speaking. They continue helping me day after day, and put up with my constant questions.

I remember asking my friends on Facebook for help with the Youtility cover design, and being blown away by the smart feedback, especially from Billy Mitchell (whom I met through the extraordinary Mark Schaefer) who came up with the “why smart marketing is about help not hype” subtitle.

I remember putting together such a “we’re all in” marketing plan for the book launch that Portfolio’s marketing team said “we’ve had a lot of authors try a lot of things, but we’ve never had an author try everything.”

I remember spending hours and hours and hours emailing individually to just about everyone I’d ever known, asking them to pre-order the book (a technique I learned from Gary Vaynerchuk). I was so incredibly touched and honored by the response. Just unbelievable.

I remember getting the email that Youtility was a New York Times best-seller, and staring at the rankings on their website for many minutes.

I remember being on vacation at the time, and trying to find a printed Sunday New York Times in tiny Show Low, Arizona being more difficult than I’d imagined.

I remember subscribing to the Sunday New York Times shortly thereafter.

I remember my old friend (from our email days) DJ Waldow recommending to me the digital marketing genius Zontee Hou. Zontee has been an extraordinary addition to the C&C team, working with corporate and agency clients.

244881480A77612E46FA7A96B62EFF3CI remember all three of our annual Convince & Convert company retreats and thinking every time how lucky I am to have a team that I would do anything for, and a group that has had zero percent turnover, ever.

I remember emceeing the IBM Smarter Commerce event recently, and interviewing Ron Howard on stage in front of 5,000 people and thinking “don’t screw this up.”

I remember each of these circumstances, but more importantly these people, and what they’ve done for me (plus the many, many others that I didn’t include here, as this post could have been 15,000 words, easy).

It’s You, not Me

Chris Brogan did an amazing video years ago talking about it taking 10 years to become an overnight sensation. He’s right of course, but I remember it a little bit differently. I remember the hundreds of people who guided me, supported me, cajoled me, believed in me, helped me and gave me their time, attention, expertise, loyalty, friendship and love. I am equal parts fortunate and grateful. Each of them – and all of you who choose to read this blog or my tweets, or listen to my podcast or whatever – are trusting me to add value. That’s not my right. I haven’t “earned it.” I haven’t “paid my dues.” It’s a gift. And I try to never take it for granted.

So when I’m asked why I’m so committed to the principle of being useful, and when I’m asked “how did you get to be the most retweeted person?” I’ll remember…to send them the link to this post.

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8 Things I’m Trying to Improve with This New Convince and Convert Website http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/8-things-im-trying-to-improve-with-this-new-convince-and-convert-website/ http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert/8-things-im-trying-to-improve-with-this-new-convince-and-convert-website/#comments Sun, 13 Apr 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=17772 After a long gestation, I am delighted that we have launched the new ConvinceAndConvert.com site. We don’t change our stripes here all that often (every couple years or so), and I try to have a rationale when we do. Here are the 8 main things I’m trying to improve with this new design: 1. A […]

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After a long gestation, I am delighted that we have launched the new ConvinceAndConvert.com site. We don’t change our stripes here all that often (every couple years or so), and I try to have a rationale when we do.

Here are the 8 main things I’m trying to improve with this new design:

1. A Real Home Page

Since almost day one, the Convince & Convert blog has been the home page for the site and for the company. With our consulting business growing quickly, it was time to create a true home page that describes all the things we do here (consulting, training, blog, podcast, email, ebooks, books). Plus, even though Convince & Convert is a company of eight people, I wanted to make sure people still know that I’m personally very involved. So, there’s an intro video from me right in the middle of the home page. (for more on how we operate virtually and a lot of other “did you know” stuff, check out this ultimate FAQ about our business, and business model).

High five and huge thanks to Mikey Mioduski of Mioduski Design for his great work on the new site layout (and also the new JayBaer.com site).

The_new_Convince_and_Convert_blog_index2. Boost Email Signups

We get a lot of new subscribers each day for our One Thing daily email newsletter, but not as many as we should get, given the traffic on this site. This new design integrates the email signup mechanisms with the site content at multiple points. No pop-ups required, but it’s pretty obvious that we want you to give the One Thing a try. (and we do! if you don’t receive it, you can sign up here, or lots of places on the new site)

3. More Podcast Emphasis

It started with no expectations, but the weekly Social Pros podcast has become one of my favorite ongoing projects, and has also proven to be one of our most important content marketing and sponsor assets. The new site gives us a spiffy new podcast index page, and outstanding new formatting of the podcast-related blog posts.

4. Mobile Consistency

The previous site wasn’t bad when viewed on a smartphone, but it wasn’t great. This design is great. You lose very little impact (and no content) when accessing this site from any device, on any platform. Very, happy and proud about that. Terrific job by Greg Taylor and Jeremy Scott from Marketing Press in making the mobile version work so well, and for a ton of great work on the development of the site overall (more on that below).

5. Increase Time on Site

Partially due to the design and partially due to the very broad audience we attract here, we don’t have a site (historically) that is as sticky as I’d like it to be. Average length of stay is not where I want it, and the new design is set up to make it more comfortable on the eyes, and to more seamlessly recommend other content to you. Partially through the featured posts widget top left, and also through some “you might also like” tools at the bottom of each post. Right now, we are using Disqus for that, but we may be implementing some other technology to recommend posts. Stay tuned.

6. Category Clean-up

Like many blogs that have thousands of posts, we had gotten some creep in our categories. Lots of categories were out-of-date, scarcely used or ill-begotten from inception. We reduced the number of categories significantly, and mapped all old posts to this new group, which required a ton of crafty 301 redirect work from the folks at Marketing Press. Thanks guys!

7. Consulting and Client Clarity

In addition to the blog category sub-nav and fly-out menu, we also cleaned up the top navigation and made it more obvious what we offer from a consulting perspective. I also rewrote the main pages like social media consulting, content marketing consulting, and workshops and coaching to make them more consistent, and to more succinctly explain what we do, and what it costs to have us do it.

We’ve also been almost bashful about talking about our clients at Convince & Convert, so we addressed that this time by moving clients into the main navigation, totally redoing the clients page (organizing them by industry), and adding a clients carousel on the home page.

Podcast_Widget

8. Widgets and Time Savers

We also wanted to make sure that our colossally awesome Managing Editor, Jess Ostroff, could shave some minutes off of some of the repetitive tasks she performs to keep this site rocking and rolling with 8 blog posts, 6 emails and a podcast every week. The Marketing Press guys (in cooperation with our amazing Genesis theme and Synthesis WordPress hosting crew) built a bunch of custom magic behind-the-scenes.

Probably my favorite is the podcast widget, which automatically scrapes the headline of each new podcast blog post, automatically inserts that headline and the featured image, and instantly creates and uploads the podcast promotional graphic that appears on the left side of each blog post. Robots rule!

A Note About Blog Comments
Speaking of the podcast, our guest a couple weeks ago (one of our best episodes ever, by the way) was Brian Clark from Copyblogger. He explained why they pulled comments off of their blog, and I said on the show that we are considering doing the same thing. We haven’t pulled them off yet (obviously), but we may yet. We find that the best interaction with our content often occurs on other platforms (like G+) and I’m not necessarily troubled by that. We’ll see.

I can’t wait to see what the impact of this new design is on our analytics. What do you think of it? Thanks as always for your support!

~ Jay Baer

 

 

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