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  • Steven Wilson-Beales

Content marketing book review: Why Jay Baer’s ‘Youtility’ sucks


Let me cut to the chase – I was so disappointed by Jay Baer’s recent content marketing book

Youtility that I wasn’t going to post a review at all. However, after seeing all the glowing reviews online I had to check my Kindle again to see if I’d actually read the same book.  Currently, on Amazon.com there are about 50 reviews, mostly five stars. Only one trashes it with a single, derisory comment.  To the underdog that wrote that review, this one’s for you.

I’m not going into too much detail about the concept of Youtility here because it’s been covered in detail already. Sure, there are some useful soundbites in the book like ‘Stop trying to be amazing and start being useful’ but I didn’t think there was much in the way of original insight. The basic premise of the book is simply this – make your digital space a helpful destination, not a cold calculating conversion funnel. Hmm, haven’t we heard something like this before?

Bingo, yes, it’s Borgan’s Trust Agents and Odden’s Optimise, two outstanding books that the author references but then passes over pretty quickly. That irked me a bit because there’s some brilliant insights in those books.

I’m not saying Youtility is not worth reading – I can see it becoming a useful reference tool because it’s packed with plenty of  case studies that could be adapted to your content marketing needs. What I object to is the way these ideas are presented as entirely new and repackaged with a catchy title. Perhaps, the publishers thought the time was right for a book like this, after all, the discussion around content marketing has never been more exciting. That may be so, but I still felt a little short changed when I finished reading it.

There, rant over. Maybe I should call it a ‘Rantview’ – see what I did there?

In the words of Public Enemy….


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