Why I Give Away the Good Stuff – What I Learned from Jay Baer at Blog Indiana

Jay Baer’s keynote at Blog Indiana 2012 reminded me why I always give talks about how to be a good blogger. It’s why I write blog posts about blogging technology. It’s why I teach customers to do what I do, so they can do it for themselves.

At his keynote, Jay talked about how Geek Squad shares all kinds of information through their videos, telling you how to remove viruses, or install something, or troubleshoot a problem.

Jay said that Geek Squad shows videos on how to fix computers, because “they make people think they can fix their own computer. Eventually, they need to bring their computer to a real professional.”

Erik Deckers and Jay Baer at Blog Indiana 2012

Me and Jay Baer. He makes me want to buy a used car from him.

What ends up happening is the customer runs into a problem they can’t fix, and so they take their video to the company whose videos they were just watching — with the Geek Squad logo — because they’ve learned to trust them.

If you can help customers out, you’ll earn their trust when they’re ready to buy.

Or, as Jay said, sell them something, and you make a customer today. Help someone, and you’ll make a customer for life.

Jay calls it Friend of Mine Awareness a variation of “frame of mind awareness” (being there when the customer needs a vendor). Frame of mind is the basic principle behind search engines and even the Yellow Pages.

But Friend of Mine Awareness says that if you help people out, you’ll earn their trust when they’re ready to buy. That means you have to be inherently useful. You have to be what Jay calls a YOUtility.

Jay said a lot of companies worry that if they give too much information away, their competitors will learn how to do what they do. Their customers will be able to do the thing themselves.


As Jay said, a list of ingredients doesn’t make you a chef.

If I teach you how to write a blog post, all I’m really giving you is the list of ingredients. I’m not teaching you 24 years of writing experience. I’m not teaching you the insights I can gather based on doing keyword research. I’m not teaching you how to listen for the passion in the CEO’s voice, or to hear the frustration in the customer’s voice, or use the writing style that appeals directly to your customer.

One frequent source of potential clients for our company are people who have heard me speak, or who have read our blog. They decide they want to try it out for themselves, because I’ve shown them how easy it is.

But what happens is that they realize that blogging is harder than they thought. It’s not that they can’t write, or that they don’t know what their company does.

They realized that while they had the ingredients, and I even taught them how to mix them all together, they’re not chefs. They’re not writers. They’re not bloggers.

They’re accountants or operations directors or CEOs or attorneys or VPs of Marketing. They’re not going to take the time to learn it, because they have clients to take care of.

So they realize that if they want to be successful at their job, they need to stop doing the stuff that keeps them from doing their real work. Blogging is one of those things, which means they want to pass it off to the people who can do it well.

The people they trust. And how do they know who to trust?

They trust the guy who told them how to do it in the first place. The guy who gave them the good stuff.

Photo credit: Bob Burchfield of AroundIndy.com

Sorry, no related content found.

Be Sociable, Share!
    About Erik Deckers

    Erik Deckers is the President of Pro Blog Service, a content marketing and social media marketing agency He co-authored four social media books, including No Bullshit Social Media with Jason Falls (2011, Que Biz-Tech), and Branding Yourself with Kyle Lacy (3rd ed., 2017, Que Biz-Tech), and The Owned Media Doctrine (2013, Archway Publishing). Erik has written a weekly newspaper humor column for 10 papers around Indiana since 1995. He was also the Spring 2016 writer-in-residence at the Jack Kerouac House in Orlando, FL.


    1. Terrific post Erik. You absolutely epitomize the principle of Open Kimono. Need to interview you for the book!

    2. Love the “a list of ingredients doesn’t make you a chef” analogy.

      We’ve taught tons of other parks how to give away soft drinks. Hasn’t caught on, though.