Jay Baer has moved up through the content marketing ranks to become one of the top professionals in the industry. His company, Convince & Convert, consults with brands and agencies all around the globe. Jay’s blog has been named the number one content marketing blog in the world by CMI; he’s a best-selling author of two books, The NOW Revolution (co-written with Amber Naslund) and Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is About Help Not Hype; and a sought-after speaker for conferences and conventions.
In this episode of The Pivot, Todd Wheatland took a few minutes from Content Marketing World 2013 to sit down with Jay to learn more about the man behind the professional accolades. In Todd’s fireside-style chat, he pulled out a few personal nuggets to give us a glimpse of what makes Jay tick and how he attained the level of success he has today.
What may surprise you
- Jay is a certified BBQ judge. He hopes to have a BBQ competition team someday.
- Entrepreneurship runs in the family. Jay’s family owned a furniture business, but his dad decided not to follow in the family footsteps. When Jay was only 1, his dad moved the family from Nebraska to Lake Havasu, Arizona, to open a restaurant.
- Jay’s original background was in political science. At the age of 23, he became the youngest campaign manager for a congressional candidate. (His guy didn’t win.)
- For a short stint, Jay was a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections, giving tours of the juvenile prison to legislators and the media.
- One of his friends invented the partitioning algorithm that allows the ability to run multiple domains on a single server.
His best friend, who is also his brother-in-law, was diagnosed with brain cancer. This was a turning point for Jay. It was the push he needed to set aside his fears and start his own company with his own money. He walked into his corporate job — he was senior vice president of an internet company — and quit that day.
His best friend’s health situation made him reassess the definition of risk. He made a list of “worst-case scenarios” in starting his own business and realized that, in light of everything, it really wasn’t that risky. He launched Mighty Interactive in 2000 and ran it for five years. In those same five years, his firm was named the Best Digital Firm in the Southwest.
Your blog as the foundation for your content marketing flywheel
Jay started Convince & Convert in 2008. The original plan for the company was to be a conversion rate optimization company. He realized he was really ahead of the market in focusing solely on conversion rate optimization. Jay started blogging almost daily, writing about search engine optimization, email marketing, and conversation rates. But every time he wrote a blog post about social media, he got three times more traffic. The analytics had spoken, and Jay shifted his focus to social media content and consulting.
For Jay, the blog was the foundation for his content success. It was the springboard to opportunities that stemmed from individuals actually consuming his work. Today, that content foundation has branched off into his daily email, the Social Pros podcast, books, and opportunities to speak around the world. There is now a content “flywheel” that powers his company that all started with his blog in 2008.
How important is a blog as a content foundation? In his words:
It accomplishes two things: One is obviously top-of-the-funnel awareness … and the other thing is, if you are gonna be a consultant and you’re gonna sell what’s between your ears, writing a blog really helps you codify and crystallize what you believe in or what you think.
Listen to Todd’s full interview with Jay Baer here: