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How to Fill Your Content Marketing with Youtility

be genuinely useful book/videoYou know what happens when most companies launch a new, branded mobile application or other content marketing program intended to effectively combine information and promotion?


You’ve heard the saying, “If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” The same logic works in these scenarios: “If you create ‘Youtility‘ and don’t tell anyone about it, did it ever exist?”

When you finish the app, or commence blogging, or begin answering questions, you have not reached the finish line; you have reached the starting line. Too many businesses break out the champagne just because something new was created. 

Remember, Youtility is all about being useful, which literally means “full of use.” The objective is not to make information. The objective of content marketing is to produce information that customers and prospective customers will use.

If you believe in your ability to sell more by selling less, and if you’re committed to creating truly helpful information that will add value to the lives of your customers and prospective customers, you have to also add the third leg of the stool. You have to market your content marketing.

If you are looking for ways to market your marketing, an essential read is Joe Pulizzi’s post on 7 Steps to Creating Your Content Marketing Channel Plan.

Your questions answered on building Youtility into content marketing

In a recent post on the Content Marketing Institute, I asked readers to share questions they have about content marketing and Youtility. If you are unfamiliar with the term Youtility, it is creating content so useful that your prospects and customers would want to pay for it and having a plan to market it so people can find it.

You asked some questions, and here are my answers:

Pontus Staunstrup asked:How do we find out what type of content is really useful to our customers? And is challenging them on solutions part of being useful?”

You can (and should) look at data like search engine queries, social media chatter, web analytics, etc. But the best way to find out what your customers will find useful is to actually talk to your customers.

A reader, “Adam,” was struck by a particular phrase in the post:A well-informed consumer is much more likely to purchase your products or services than a consumer who is repeatedly nagged (through promotion) to purchase…” He then asked, “How long before consumers realize this and start to reject, discredit, or ignore the useful, interesting content you create? Seeing it as yet another persuasion tool?”

I believe that if the marketing is truly a Youtility (so useful that people would pay for it, if asked), they won’t reject it, ever. The key is to build intrinsic value, though, not to make “usefulness” a Trojan Horse for your sales pitch.

Nicole Keleher commented:We are in the process of redesigning our blog to make it more user-friendly for our customers. I love your idea of launching great content. My question is, what ideas do you have to launch our redesigned blog?

Your best option would be to create a blog editorial calendar that methodically answers customer questions (like this post!), and is designed to draw attention to longer-form useful content.

Craig Badings had this to say:Jay I like your word Youtility. Don’t you think we should also change the word consumer. Two years ago, I coined the term “contsumer” — after all, that’s how the buying process has changed. They first consume content, then they buy, hence contsumer.

I like it! Doesn’t roll off the tongue, necessarily, but you’re spot on. Although I’d say that we’ve always consumed content first, it’s just that we do so now with greater enthusiasm and proactivity — and with far more sources of information at our disposal.

“Mrunmayee” asked:How should we use social media in a relatively new and small market like India, if the niche target audience is not that active on social media?”

It should work the same way everywhere. Use social to drive awareness (even targeted awareness) of useful content. Content is fire; social media is petrol.

“Jessica” wanted to know:Could you share some ideas for making basic website content more Youtilitarian?

Format the basic content as a FAQ, and/or format the content as videos, with accompanying transcription (see for a great example).

If you want to learn more about Youtility, please join me at Content Marketing World from September 9 – 12 in Cleveland, Ohio, where I’ll be delivering a keynote presentation on, “Why Smart Marketing is About Help, Not Hype.”

Can’t make it to Content Marketing World? You can watch our keynote presentations via free live streaming, sponsored by LinkedIn. Join us as we broadcast, live from Cleveland, Ohio, to get the latest content marketing insights from Joe Pulizzi, Jay Baer, and others! Click here for full details.