Since roughly 1997, people have been blogging about what we now know as social media. Shortly thereafter, some of those prognosticators began talking about how businesses should use it. If you wanted to take all the advice doled out in that time and synthesize it into a meaningful manuscript of what being social as a business is about, you’d have the book Youtility by Jay Baer.
It’s easy for me to talk nice about Jay’s book. He is a close friend. Our families have spent time together. He has spoken at my events. He has referred me for both speaking engagements and client work over the years. I routinely learn from him. And then there’s the news over the weekend that Youtility made its debut at No. 3 on the New York Times Bestseller’s list. So yeah, it’s easy to say, “Go buy this book.”
But regardless of its author, Youtility offers three things I think we all look for in a business marketing book in today’s world of endless information sources. Here’s why Youtility is the most important book you’ll read.
It Comes From A Qualified Source
Okay, I know I said, “regardless of its author,” but remove the fact I know him for a second and consider these nuggets:
- The author has founded five companies (all marketing/digital related)
- He has worked with over 700 brands including 29 of the Fortune 500
- His content marketing strategies are routinely profiled and upheld as outstanding
- He not only helps clients understand today’s marketing landscape, but he is an astute watcher and chronicler of it
- He practices what he preaches with an industry-leading blog and compelling podcast, along with frequent speaking engagements that are as useful as they are entertaining
Jay’s the real deal in the marketing world. He doesn’t just sell you the fluff and promise of the social media guru set, he level-sets you in the broader marketing landscape, shows you where social, digital and mobile fit in your world of print, broadcast, direct and other channels, then gives you practical guidance on how to build to fit the new in with the old. He’s been consulting with companies for years on digital marketing and knows better than to come to the table without a plan for execution and measurement, which is severely lacking from many of his competitor’s attempts.
Aside from my bias of recommending Social Media Explorer, led by a far better CEO than I ever was in Nichole Kelly, I would recommend almost any company consider Convince and Convert for their digital marketing and content strategies. And yes, Jay and I have competed against each other for clients before. He’s probably won more than me, but he’s not undefeated there. The mere fact I’m touting him here is proof to the pudding that he practices what he preaches. Even his competitors love him. The guy is just that good.
It Is Chock Full-O-Case Studies
Most audiences at marketing conferences these days say the same thing: “I’m sick of hearing what it is, I want to know how to do it.” That might be social media or it might be content marketing or any other number of practice areas in our world. The market is past the “what” and on to the “how” and “how can I?”
Case studies bring theoretical principals to life for people. Youtility may as well be subtitled, “More case studies than you care to read that show you how to do this stuff.” From clever Youtilities like Charmin’s Sit or Squat app to off-line examples like Banff, Alberta’s Taxi Mike, this book will inspire you with examples and ideas of how becoming a Youtility works for your business.
Perhaps the best, and most replicable example of Youtility in the book is the story of Marcus Sheridan‘s River Pools and Spas. Jay is so on his game with this book, he had Marcus tell the story himself in the work’s forward.
It Gives You A Blueprint Of How To Do It
“Okay, there’s a handful of examples! Best of luck!” That’s how most blog posts, books and speakers end their contributions to your business’s success. No one wants to give away the “how” because that’s what they get paid for (at least in the case of consultants). By giving that away, you have no reason to want to hire them.
But Youtility’s last section (pp. 121-185) are completely focused on blueprints for you to use. The advice there walks you through how to identify your audience needs, turn your attention to solving customer problems, not your own revenue issues, and, thus, reap the benefits of building trust. There’s a chapter on measuring it all so you can hit the ground running as soon as you put the book down and make a business case for this.
And it isn’t a book about social media. There’s great advice on where social media fits and how it helps your business become a Youtility, but Jay and the book are grounded in business success, not just the social media kind.
You’re going to read this book and be not just smarter, but a better marketer as a result. Youtility might be the most important book you’ll ever read because it can help you understand and implement ideas that keep you relevant and reticent in today’s incredibly complex consumer environment.
Jay Baer is a close friend. I make no apologies for that and recognize that I am biased in this review. But I have and will continue to buy copies of Youtility for friends and SME clients. If I could afford to, I’d buy one for you. As such, you’ll need to do that yourself. It’s available at your local bookstore or online.
For my Louisville friends, mark your calendars for Aug. 14. Louisville Digital Association is proud to host Jay for an exclusive presentation of Youtility. For interested sponsors, reach out to me. We’d like to give everyone that attends a copy of the book.