I was fortunate enough to attend the Content Marketing Institute conference in Sydney, where some of the world’s best content marketing minds came together to share their secrets – one being the concept of youtility.
Without a doubt, the highlight was listening to Jay Baer, a leading social media speaker and author, who co-authored the infamous book ‘The NOW Revolution’ among other achievements.
Jay spoke enthusiastically about Youtility. This term, which he coined himself, is about making your business memorable in the minds of potential customers, even when they don’t need you.
Youtility: Help beats hype
Jay used the example of @HiltonSuggests, a Twitter account that responds to random tweets from users who are exploring new cities around the globe. @HiltonSuggests will politely answer questions Twitter users pose when they’re on the hunt for restaurants, accommodation, sightseeing options and the like.
Jay’s theory was that @HiltonSuggests helps the Hilton brand of hotels to stay memorable in the minds of Twitter users – so much so Hilton will be the first port of call when users embark on their next holiday.
Youtility is all about helping people when they need it, even if it doesn’t directly benefit you at the time. While @jacquelinemcs doesn’t need a Hilton hotel right now, she’ll hopefully choose one when she books her Vegas trip in May because Hilton were so helpful.
Jay also spoke about “Taxi Mike”, a famous taxi driver from Banff, Alberta, who produces a restaurant guide for residents and tourists with the town’s eateries organised into helpful categories (Child-friendly, Dancing, etc). Taxi Mike distributes his local guide everywhere in Banff, and most townies and tourists keep a copy on them at all times. When the time comes that they actually do need a taxi, Taxi Mike is top of mind.
How to stay top of mind
Jay explained that Youtility comprises of three key areas:
- self-serve information
- answering questions online
- real-time relevancy.
While spending all eternity on Twitter finding questions you can helpfully answer may not be your idea of fun, there are other creative ways you can explore the concept of “Youtility” to benefit your business.
- Blog about your expertise: Give prospective clients a reason to keep coming back to your website. Provide them with new information or relevant research in your field, for example the latest studies on acupuncture and IBS, with a personal commentary from you.
- Write great content: Youtility is all about providing what your client needs in real-time. Maybe their customers are just looking for answers about what your service actually is before they decide to book a session. You can assist them by writing helpful, educational content without tooting your own trumpet.
- Share great content: Become a valuable resource, not only for what you produce but for what’s within your reach. Follow the leaders in your industry and share what they have to say, too.
In the words of the almighty Jay himself: “If you want to succeed in a world where the balance of marketing power has swung dramatically in favour of the customer, you need to become a YOUtility.”