There are few people capable of being truly hilarious, yet extremely productive. But if anyone is ripe for the position it is Jeff Barrett. Being a CEO and creating innovative ways to reach mass audiences while writing for Mashable and The Washington Times are just a parcel of what Jeff gives to the world. It is his humor and ability to make anyone feel comfortable that set him apart in his industry. Let’s get to know, Mr. Tee-ball.
1. Where are you from and what do you do?
I am from Grand Rapids, MI. And I am the CEO and founder of Status Creative – a proactive digital PR firm.
2. What is something unique about your background?
Roger Ebert called our first project the “greatest music video ever made.” I still think it’s Thriller but when you hear something like that you don’t argue.
3. What types of jobs have you had in the past?
I worked for United Way previously and have consulted with more than a handful of Fortune 500 companies.
4. What’s up with your tee-ball status?
I use a rule of three when I’m talking about accomplishments. I know I have to talk abut what I do and have done but I like to make sure that it doesn’t sound like a humble brag. Therefore I usually say something irrelevant and self-deprecating to be different and approachable. Plus, it’s true. I was terrible at tee-ball.
5. You use a lot of humor in your online social profiles, why?
Transparency and engagement are key in social media. People like to engage with humor, it’s something universal. I like to connect that way because it’s personable and transparent.
6. Why is humor your main mode of communication?
I use a 20-1 rule that was introduced by Michael Hyatt. For every time you make an ask on social media or with communication you should be providing value. There are a lot of people sharing white papers, links, the 17 ways to et cetera. That’s valuable but it’s not unique or personable. I like to create a mix. People who know me and interact with me get enough information to know I’m intelligent and know my field but I also make them laugh and provide value. That’s how I think engagement works. Develop relationships. Don’t just post content.
7. Do you ever have problems with people taking you seriously because you joke around so much?
Never. I know the time and place to be serious. There is a time for everything. Humor makes me approachable. It allows me a different path to networking. In the creative field humor is another way of showing how creative you are.
8. What types of reactions do you receive in the online world from your humor?
Once and a while someone gets upset because I made them spit out a hot beverage while reading. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t proud but I’m very sorry if you or someone you know has been a victim of that occurrence.
9. What type of cereal is your favorite?
Love Crunch Granola’s Aloha Blend. It’s delicious. I’m addicted. If I ever have to move somewhere, the first question I will ask is if they have heard of it. If they haven’t, I will have reservations.
10. Why are you so attracted to the social community?
It fits my personality. I like to engage with people whether in person or online. I have been doing this since Friendster. By now it’s just second nature. The idea that I can make a new connection, learn something new, help us both grow professionally or just learn something new appeals to me. I’m constantly changing and evolving my world perspective based on who I meet and what I learn from them.
11. Tell us about Status Creative – what are its main goals and where do you fit in?
PR needs to be proactive rather than reactive. We create content tailored to our broadcast, digital and print media sources that will be shared for mass consumption. The key is that we circumvent conventional media buys and use a brand’s engaged following + media to generate massive ROI. It’s fun. We have our niche and we enjoy continuing to deliver in it. Thankfully we have received some pretty amazing and humbling awards along the way.
12. What do you see happening in the future of social media?
Less text and more photos and videos. It’s easier than ever to upload and both forms create more of an impression.
That said, mobile is the key. That’s where the real growth and innovation will be. Social shopping is going to experience a boom as app developers find ways to further integrate tools for consumers. People want information where they are, they want the fewest steps possible and they want to be able to quickly express their opinion. All ideas should keep those core values in mind.
We’re doing a lot to integrate our campaigns with the newest trends in mobile and stay ahead of the curve.
13. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
I think Scott Monty has a fun job at Ford. I would love the challenge of directing the social media efforts for a large company.
Although, if I’m being honest I just want to anchor Sports Center.
14. What advice do you have for newbie digital folks?
Find your niche and be specific. You need to develop a way to be indispensable. Once you know where you can provide value, then it’s about finding people that can help you progress. Don’t just network with people similar to you. Seek out people that can hire you, connect you and push you forward. People that compliment your skills.
15. Do you have any mentors or anyone you admire?
Tim Moore, David Armano and Liz Strauss have all been very gracious with me and I have enjoyed our discussions.
I admire theCHIVE. It’s a great site and they know better than anyone how to engage with their audience.