By Pamela Muldoon published November 6, 2014

The Pivot: Blogging, Business and BBQ – A Marketer’s Journey to Success

Jay Baer Quote ImageJay 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.

Jay’s pivot

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:

How do I subscribe?



Author: Pamela Muldoon

Pamela Muldoon is the Podcast Network Director for the CMI Podcast Network. In her role with CMI, she assists the podcast hosts with the development, production, distribution and promotion of their shows. Pamela is a veteran podcaster who can be heard on the CMI Podcast Network with her latest show "Content Marketing NEXT". To date, she has interviewed over 200 business and marketing professionals as part of her podcast formats. She is also a professional VoiceOver talent specializing in commercial, narration, eLearning, and promo projects. Learn more at or Follow her on Twitter @pamelamuldoon.

Other posts by Pamela Muldoon

Join Over 170,000 of your Peers!

Get daily articles and news delivered to your email inbox and get CMI’s exclusive e-book Get Inspired: 75 (More) Content Marketing Examples FREE!

  • rogercparker

    Inspiring throughout, especially the “flywheel” concept and the “codify and crystallize what you believe in or what you think” idea.

  • Emeric

    Jay’s story is an inspiration of the rest of us. And evidene that there’s no one (or straight) path to success, but as many as we’re all unique!

    • Todd Wheatland

      Absolutely right, Emeric. And thanks for listening to the show!

  • MikesRoadTrip

    Great interview! I’ve known Jay for years and learned a lot about him from this interview.

  • jaybaer

    Loved this interview. So fun. Thanks guys!

  • Scott Aughtmon

    Awesome interview. I’ve appreciated Jay’s perspective and writing style for a long time, but it was great to get to learn more of his origin story and learn little-known facts about him.