This post is part of the Content Q&A Series, featuring interviews with top content strategists and bloggers about their work and insights about the industry.
Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert has, for 24 years, seen the industry evolve.
As the written culture of the business has constricted over the decades into smaller and quicker messages, he said he had seen content marketing has become more social, more visual and more personalized.
The Content Strategist: How has the business changed since you started in 1988?
Jay Baer: [Since] marketing has moved online in the last 25 years, the great advantage that digital marketing has is that it’s inherently measurable.
I can tell you how many people went to this website, tweeted something, or downloaded this PDF. In offline marketing I can’t do that as accurately. I can’t tell you how many people listened to the radio today.
Because [marketing is] online, it’s made the culture much more math-oriented than it was in the past. Ultimately it’s a good thing because it allows the companies to spend the dollars more wisely. The challenge is that there are a lot of people who do math poorly or don’t really use the math that’s available to them.
A classic example on the social media side is paying a tremendous amount of attention to the number of fans. On the blogging side I’m constantly faced with a number of companies who see comments as a metric for success. Sometimes the measurability of marketing today leads people astray.
From a blog perspective, you want to ensure that that blog ultimately generates behavior that is useful to the organization — email subscriptions, e-book downloads, sign-ups for email lists, requests for information, RSS subscriptions, social sharing — something that indicates a level of loyalty and persuasion so people will be interested in coming back again and again.
Content has to drive behavior. It’s good to go backwards and say, “What behavior do we want to create? And what content do we have to create to make that a reality?”
TCS: What role do you think video will play in marketing campaigns?
JB: I think we’re really entering an era of multimedia photo and video content being the primary mechanism by which people consume content.
[Look at] everything that’s happened in the last 12-18 months, such as [the use] of Hulu, Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram. Facebook and Google+ are now allowing larger photos.
What we tell corporate clients all the time is that if you don’t have a multimedia strategy going forward, you are going to be in serious, serious trouble.
People just don’t want to read anymore. It’s a visual world.
People vote with their fingertips and have high speed internet in their pockets all the time. [Video is] persuasive. It’s visceral in a way that books aren’t.
TCS: What do you think is the next trend in content marketing?
JB: I hope that the next trend is going to be the trend today done better. I think we’re too eager to jump on the new thing without doing the old thing well. I think we’re going to get to the point pretty quickly where it’ll be a lot easier to start hypersegmenting content.
They’re tying Google Analytics together with social media marketing. So when I come to the blog post I see one version, and when you come you see another one. That’s been available on email for a while and in some cases, [with] website software.
I think you’ll see that type of segmented communication become more common and built into WordPress and Facebook. There won’t be a website. There will be a version of the webpage based on your history with that company.
TCS: What are Convince and Convert’s goals?
JB: We try and combine high value consulting with a continuous stream of what we hope is useful content across a plethora of content types. We have the blog Convince and Convert which is updated almost every day, a weekly podcast, a daily email newsletter, a number of webinars, e-books, and my book “The Now Revolution.”
We only work on projects that we have a passion for. We work for clients we want to work for, period.