We’ve been talking a lot about brand lately on the show. Recent episodes featuring Patrick Hanlon and Rick Ray have centered all of us, brands and creators, agencies and vendors alike … we’ve become centered on telling a brand story. But we can’t leave it at that. We have to put that brand story into action.

I happened to be in the audience at CEX, the Creator Economy Expo, in Cleveland last month, to see Jay Acunzo speak. He’s formerly with ESPN, Google, HubSpot and a few other places. He’s a content guy and a podcaster (subscribe to his show Unthinkable) so I wanted to see what he had to say. His talk on podcasting at CEX was that perfect explanation of how to take a brand story and put it into action.

So I asked Jay to come on the show and talk about that, not just from a podcasting perspective but for any creator, or brand for that matter. The essence of what I took away from his talk is that as content creators, we don’t need to worry about being the best or the biggest. We only need to worry about being our audience’s favorite. 

Today on Winfluence, we’re going to dig into Jay’s approach to building great content and find out from him how we can do just that with our brand and our content. In doing so, we’re going to move from our brand story, to actual storytelling that drives our execution. 

Get out your notebooks and pens, gang. This one is going to be a note-taker.  

This episode of Winfluence is presented by CIPIO.ai. We help brands solve a couple of big problems. We also have free solutions for creators you need to know about. 

For the brands out there, what CIPIO.ai does best is source authentic and high-performing user-generated content you can use to fuel your paid, owned, earned and shared content strategies. UGC performs better. We help you get as much of it as you want. If you also want those users to post the UGC on their channels to become influential voices for your brand, our software helps make that happen, too. 

For you creators, when you authenticate into CIPIO.ai’s platform, we have a free media kit you can use to market your influence, content and channels to brands. You can customize it, then pop out a PDF or a web version to share. You can even create different versions for different clients on the fly. We also have an incredible referral program that pays you 20% commission on the first year’s revenue from any brand you refer to CIPIO.ai. 

You can learn more at CIPIO.ai. And if you’d like to set up a call with me to personally show you the platform and how it can benefit you and your brand, jump over to jasonfalls.co/cipio, fill out that form and we’ll set up some time to talk. 

CIPIO.ai – We’re building a Community Commerce Marketing Super App that has something in it for you and your business. Come see us. 

Scroll Down for a Show Transcript!

The Winfluence theme music is “One More Look” featuring Jacquire King and Stephan Sharp by The K Club found on Facebook Sound Collection.

Jay Acunzo Show Highlights

Topics Covered:

  • Introduction of the speaker and their background
  • Importance of resonance in creating successful content
  • The importance of letting audiences in on the content creation process
  • Discussion of taking a brand story and putting it into action through content creation
  • The keynote on being the audience’s favorite instead of being the best or biggest
  • The strategy for creating resonance using a four-layered pyramid
  • The importance of pitching a project with empathy and addressing the audience’s problem
  • Introduction of the XY Premise pitch
  • Examples of successful podcasts with unique angles

Key Takeaways:

  • Creating resonance with an audience inspires action and should be the focus of content creation.
  • Effective storytelling and the development of a premise are crucial for creating resonance.
  • To create stronger relationships with audiences, let them understand the content creation process and bring them along for the journey.
  • Being irreplaceable to an audience requires being impactful and personal in the content created.
  • Empathy and addressing the audience’s problem are important in creating effective pitches.
  • Having a unique angle (the “why”) is crucial for standing out among competitors in content creation.

Jay Acunzo Full Transcript

Jason Falls [00:00:00]:

Do you want Instagrammers or TikTokers to post about your brand? Or do you actually want to engage creators who influence their audience to buy your product? If you’re in the latter of those two, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to winfluence the influence marketing Podcast. Hello again, friends. Thanks for tuning to winfluence the Influence Marketing Podcast. We’ve been talking a lot about brand lately on the show. Recent episodes featuring Patrick Hanlon and Rick Ray have centered all of us, brands and creators, agencies and vendors alike. We’ve become centered on telling a brand story, but we can’t leave it at that. We have to put that brand story into action. I happened to be in the audience at CEX, the Creator Economy Expo in Cleveland last month to see Jay Acunzo speak. He’s formerly with ESPN, Google HubSpot, and a few other places. He’s a content guy and a podcaster, so I wanted to see what he had to say. His talk on podcasting at CEX was that perfect explanation of how to take a brand story and put it into action. So I asked Jay to come on the show and talk about that, not just from a podcasting perspective, but for any creator or brand for that matter. The essence of what I took away from his talk is that as content creators, we need to stop worrying about being the best or the biggest. We only need to worry about being our audience’s favorite. Today on Winfluence, we’re going to dig into Jay’s approach to building great content and find out from him how we can do just that with our brand and our content. In doing so, we’re going to move from our brand story to actually storytelling that drives our execution. Get out your notebooks and pens, gang. This one is going to be a notetaker. This episode of Winfluence is presented by Cipio AI it and well, I guess I can say we, since it’s my day job. We help brands solve a couple of big problems. We also have free solutions for creators you need to know about too. For the brands out there, what we do best is source, authentic and high performing user generated content you can use to fuel your paid, owned, earned and shared content strategies. UGC performs better. We help you get as much of it as you want. If you also want those users to post the UGC on their channels and become influential voices for your brand, our software makes that happen too for you creators, when you authenticate into Cipio AI’s platform, we have a free media kit you can use to market your influence content and channels to brands. You can customize it, then pop out a PDF or a web version to share. You can even create different versions for different clients on the fly. We also have an incredible referral program that pays you 20% commission on the first year’s revenue from any brand you refer to. Cipio AI. You can learn more at Cipio AI. And if you’d like to set up a call with me to personally show you the platform and how it can benefit you and your brand, jump over to Jasonfalls Cipio cipio. Fill out that form, and we’ll set up some time to talk. Cipio AI is building a community commerce marketing super app that has something in it for you and your business. Come see us. How to take your brand and brand story and translate that into strategic content execution. Jay Acunzo from the Creative Kitchen is next. Winfluence. Jay, I got a great deal out of your talk at CEX last month, and I wanted my listeners to hear much of what you had to say there here today. But I prefer to start out with some context. You’ve been with a number of big brands over the years. I think we both have something interesting in common in our careers, though. You started as a sports journalist, if I’m not mistaken, right?

Jay Acunzo [00:04:07]:

Yeah. Wow. I love that you’re starting there because the other day I had I don’t know why, I think I just wanted to see how bad I was. But I revisited my first blog that I ever wrote starting in 2005, which was me trying to just write about national sports. Like, I wasn’t writing about my own teams. I wasn’t writing about, like, my alma mater or anything. I was just writing and I was so bad, Jason. But, yes, I started as a sports journalist and thankfully found a stride elsewhere.

Jason Falls [00:04:34]:

Well, I tell you, same thing. So I started out in radio in high school, and then my first job out of college was as a radio producer in New York City. And I go back and look at the because I wrote some newspaper columns and things like that as well over the years. And so I go back and look at stuff that I wrote in the early to mid 90s. I’m like, oh, man, why did anybody ever read my stuff or listen to me or hire me for anything? It was terrible. But anyway but fun place to start, for sure. And I spent 15 years as a college athletics PR guy before the whole digital marketing thing happened. So I basically, for a good portion of my professional career, watched ball games for a living, which isn’t a tough life.

Jay Acunzo [00:05:17]:

There’s worse things to do.

Jason Falls [00:05:19]:

It doesn’t pay crap, but it’s not a tough life. It was a good place to get some content creation experience because you’re always right and you’re always on deadline, so you learn how to do it. So you go from there to ESPN, I believe, take us through your role there and then the next few steps along the way because you basically played kind of connect the dots with some impressive brands in route to starting your own thing.

Jay Acunzo [00:05:44]:

Yeah, for sure. I mean, the output of my laundry list of in house jobs is that I just got profoundly disillusioned by a lot of the ways people create content in house. Sometimes they’re no fault of their own and just set about trying to, as an independent, help other people learn to resonate, not just create a bunch of stuff, not just get in front of people, but actually ensure that they care. Using your words, using your stories, using your podcast, et cetera. So craft is maybe the word or quality or creativity, but as a younger professional, I was working at ESPN in their PR department, and it was 2008, and I thought I’ve got it made. And I was a paid intern. I was not a full time employee, and my manager at the time told me, jay, I really like what you’re doing here. And so what I was doing there was essentially taking every day printouts. They would have it on my desk. They had two things that you wouldn’t find today happening around the cubicles of the PR department of ESPN back then. One thing was every morning they had printouts of what they found to be the most notable press clippings in sports. So some of their own, some from national papers, mostly physical printouts on everyone’s desk. And the second was, everyone had a tiny square cube, which other people who are older, like me, would know as a TV. That’s what a TV looked like back then, very small TV on everyone’s desk, playing only ESPN channels. So you could change it, you could only go to the different ESPN channels, right? And so those things don’t happen anymore. It would be your phone, 100% of it. But anyways, I was essentially trying to come up with ways to take the personalities appearing on ESPN programming and tell their stories and pitch that to national media. And so I was talking to Buster Only, the sports columnist now baseball hall of Fame writer, and at the time I was a huge fan and was getting to ask him all these questions and try and tell his personal story and then pitch that story of interest, hopefully to say, the Washington Post or whoever. And it wasn’t that I had anything to offer, it’s that I was calling from ESPN that people would return my calls. And my manager at the time said, I really like that you’re doing this. I think it’s an initiative we want to create. I was like, fantastic. So I was just turning the piece of the machine that they had given me. Well, but the thing I think that was original that I brought, that was not assigned to me was I had been writing a sports blog, like I mentioned, I had been using this quote unquote new technology. It was blogger back then, and I was in meetings with people who had been there 1020 plus years, and they would turn to me and go, they were talking about deadspin a lot back then, and that was it. That was their limited view on blogging. And they’d go, Jay, what are you doing with this? Me, I’m, like, in the corner, like, holding all these papers in my arms like a fool. Like, me this guy, this kid. Because a lot of papers back then, I interned a lot of them. They’d lay out their papers on big pieces of paper with their most expensive employees in the room, drawing the blocks and the layouts instead of using, like, Quark on Apple like I used in my student paper. A lot of the ESPN guys, they had no idea what a blog was, let alone social media at the time. And so I just thought to myself in that moment, okay, I could maybe take this and run with it. And I ended up taking a hard right turn, because in the downturn in eight, they laid off a bunch of people. They did not hire any of their interns into full time roles. And I ended up applying to a sales job at Google just on a whim, just whatever. It’s sales. It’s a Boston area office. That’s pretty cool. And I ended up as a digital media strategist using air quotes for the audio listeners here, which basically meant account manager salesperson, working with advertisers. And while I disliked that, I had seen now two instances of business needing to know digital, needing to know creative storytelling, marketing in ways that I just felt were, like, fun things. I was tinkering on. Others thought, this is actually interesting. We need to do that for our business. And so I just never looked back. I was like, I’m going to stay in business. And I ended up working for startups for a VC firm, HubSpot, for a brief time. And I’ve been independent since about 2016.

Jason Falls [00:09:45]:

Very nice. That’s a great path. And obviously you were in the right place at the right time and didn’t muck it up, which is kind of.

Jay Acunzo [00:09:53]:

How I made a lot of stuff. Most of it bad, but a lot of stuff that might be like the tombstone, jay Konzo, beloved husband, father, son. Made a lot of stuff.

Jason Falls [00:10:05]:

Made a lot of stuff, yeah. Well, for any aspiring professional out there, especially you young folks, not that you young folks think any of us old folks have anything to say, but if you listen a little bit, you are going to write some terrible content. You’re going to produce some terrible content. You’re going to look back on it 20 years from now and say, God, that was awful. That’s part of the process. Just keep plugging at it. You’ll be fine.

Jay Acunzo [00:10:29]:

All right.

Jason Falls [00:10:30]:

So the creative kitchen, you took all that content knowledge and experience and put it into a brand that offers speaking and online courses and the like, give everyone a sense of what you do there and who you do it for.

Jay Acunzo [00:10:42]:

Sure, for many years as an independent I was trying to do awesome creative projects publicly that built an audience, and then apparently magic happens and you make money. But then through very many friends and mentors, I started speaking professionally. And so that was a big driver of my income. And I was making the show called Unthinkable, which I still made, which someone from Apple podcast once called it Reply All, but for creators. And I will never, ever, ever stop saying that out loud. Because I was like I was gobsmacked. I was like, I’m half timing it on this show. I have a halftime or part time producer reply all, one of the best podcasts, I think, ever. I was always aspiring to do, like a Radio Lab type thing, and this show burns me out constantly. But it’s this labor of love that when I started doing it publicly about a space like content marketing and creative businesses that I think is used to flat interviews or advice shows. People lit up. And so I started getting inbounded to make shows for brands. So I get this weird, freakish solopreneur kind of mini journey of, like, talking to people virtually, speaking in person, making shows that I love for myself, making shows for brands, writing a book, writing a newsletter, doing all these multimedia things. Again, a lot of them bad, but eventually, hopefully, at a high level. So that now, today, that’s culminated in two things. I’m a creative coach for people who want to learn to become Masterful storytellers in their work, and that shows up in lots of projects, personal brands, podcasts, et cetera. And I also have this membership, like you mentioned, the Creator Kitchen, which is for people who have been shipping some stuff. Everyone in the membership is like six plus years experience, and about 40% have 20 years experience or more, where we all want to make remarkable things. We want to make things that could only come from us, and we see how our mastery of the creative craft shows up in the growth. So we don’t say things like, I will ten x your audience to attract members. We say, experience ongoing personal creative growth. Like, don’t stagnate master your craft, thrive on the quality of your ideas, and grow creatively among other elite makers. And so I have a membership, I have coaching, and it’s allowed me to basically stay close to the work, which is so profoundly rewarding, where I get to talk to people and coach them directly or in small groups, or film behind the scenes process videos, helping people understand how to use their ideas and their execution to thrive. Not look for a cheat or a hack or trend hop, which has always been a source of my angst in marketing and content in general. It’s nice. It’s a beautiful little corner of the Internet. I think we’re building that’s great.

Jason Falls [00:13:18]:

Well, you’ve kind of sold me on it. I need help polishing some of my own ideas. So maybe I’ll dial on over there and join after we’re done here today. Yeah. So the underlying premise of the coaching you do and the advice that you give, I think, is that we’re not just creating content, we’re creating connection.

Jay Acunzo [00:13:36]:

There it is.

Jason Falls [00:13:37]:

So I’d love for you to expand on that a bit and give us a good level set on the big picture, because then after the break, I want to dig into how we apply that to the execution. So talk to us about creating connection.

Jay Acunzo [00:13:49]:

Yeah. The business world is very obsessed with reach, and I think reach is necessary and not even necessary for some types of businesses, but for some, getting in front of people, of course, is part of the process, but it’s become too much of it, it’s become too much of the focus. And what we’ve lost sight in the race to be more visible is the need to be more memorable. And so I like to talk about resonance because it’s a craft. Just like people give you techniques and skills and all these things for a growing reach, improving and deepening your resonance with others is a skill you can learn. And also where you get your results, like from resonance comes results, because it’s that urge to act that people feel when what you jay or how you say it aligns with them so deeply that they can’t help but feel amplified. We’ve all heard that maybe these words I’m speaking right now for some people are causing them to go, oh, yes, thank you. We’re too obsessed with reach. It’s getting hollow and vapid and there’s so much sameness. Can we get back to connecting deeply with the audience to inspire some kind of reflection in their mind and spark action? Because that’s the job. Some people are going, yes, this. Others are going, wow, and that’s fine. Those people, I don’t think I’m resonating with them quite yet, but for those throwing up their hands, they might feel amplified somehow. Their thoughts, their feelings, even their abilities feel amplified, like you could run through a wall. That’s what we need to do. We’re in the business of ensuring others care. Most of us would admit that, especially, I think, those with real business savvy who are not just about the optics, but you’re about driving revenue or sparking change in the world, creating a movement, a community, whatever. We’re not making things that matter enough, we’re just making lots of stuff, and that’s part of the process. But eventually you have to learn how to make it matter both to your business and to others. And so that is the craft I’m obsessed with. How do you matter more? Because that lets you hustle for attention less. And everything I’m doing, from the coaching to the membership to the free stuff, my show, my newsletter, et cetera, it’s falls orienting around that. And of course, very quickly after you say, how do you resonate. The world’s most proven approach to doing that is you tell more effective stories, not necessarily good stories. That’s different. I think there is a difference between good and effective, but how you need to tell effective stories. You need a premise, which is almost the story of the whole project or whole platform, and then you need that ongoing content pressed through that premise, those stories becoming more resonant because you have a premise.

Jason Falls [00:16:10]:

Well, I was sort of tickled at myself when I was hearing you say this in Cleveland last month, because everything you said, you have to have a premise. Well, I was putting influence through that filter. I was like, okay, well, our premise is that it’s not about influencer marketing. It’s about influence. And we put everything through that filter, and those are questions that we ask and whatnot. So I didn’t hit all the marks in your process, which we’ll go into a little bit deeper. Yeah, sure. But I was really happy. That okay. Without Jay’s direct advice, I have accidentally, I guess, done some things along the way that fit into Jay’s advice. So I feel like I’m further ahead than most people, but I want to get people who are listening caught up and even further ahead than I am. So we’ve got the overall direction set. When we come back on Winfluence, jay is going to take us through some ideas on how to turn that direction into execution. So we’re talking to Jay Akunzo of the Creative Kitchen. More after this. Welcome back to Winfluence, getting our lesson on content strategy to execution with brand storytelling at the core of it all with Jay Acunzo. Before the break, we got the overall direction of creating connection and resonance rather than just content. So now let’s break that down. Jay, maybe use creating a podcast as an example or perhaps an overall Instagram channel approach or something. Take us through the audience resonance pyramid to give everyone an example of what we’re shooting for when we create something that will resonate.

Jay Acunzo [00:17:47]:

I love it. The pinnacle of resonating, which bears repeating everywhere I show up, is that people go, you are among the choice few things that feel irreplaceable to me. So you’re the marketing podcast, and when a comedian comes along and goes, I have a new podcast, and your audience is like, I’m a huge fan of that comedian, they might kill off the marketing podcast in their playlist, right? They might remove you for a not direct competitor. That’s what we’re up against. And they go, but no, Jason’s is my favorite show. I’m not going to remove that. It’s irreplaceable. My favorite shirt, my favorite team. These are not necessarily the best made shirts, the best team in the world. I’m a Knicks fan. Believe me, I know that. But still, I have this irrational positive and favorable bias towards those things. I’m not going to remove them from my life, no matter what objective or academic thing you tell me is bigger or better or trendier or whatever, that’s where we want to be. It’s very defensible to be someone’s favorite thing, and it’s a very personal, emotional connection. So I’ve developed this visual, this pyramid to help us test are our ideas feeling personal to others? And we have marketing terms for this. Do they stand out? Is it a category of one? Did you find white space? There’s things we’re already talking about in terms of, like, differentiation or connection. But really the word is to be their favorite. That’s the pinnacle of resonance. So the audience resonance pyramid has four layers from bottom to top, relevant, enjoyable, impactful, personal. So to be relevant is table stakes. It’s a marketing podcast that’s like, we interview marketers about their marketing expertise. Congrats, you’re relevant to marketers. And by the way, there’s a ton of some people might be scoffing like, yeah, who would make that show? Turns out a lot of people. I did research for a talk, for the CEX talk you saw. I was looking for examples. I found like five to seven digital marketing podcasts was the name of the podcast. What are we doing? I go very Sebastian Meniscalco, the comedian, because I’m Italian, too. I’m like, what are you doing? Anyways, my frustration aside, being relevant is table stakes. No one pays attention to things that are irrelevant. So interviews with marketers about their expertise, irrelevant, very, very forgettable, and among a ton of options at the top of the pyramid, however, irreplaceable, not forgettable, and among a few options. So how do we get there? Well, okay, we’ll be enjoyable. Okay. I think that’s also table stakes today. It’s still on the bottom half of this pyramid. Because if you are experiencing anything in the world today, you have infinite choice. You have tons of options. So why would I go or stay with anyway, the one that is excruciating or forgettable or whatever, tinny, audio, all these things. If it’s a podcast that is, I’m not going to spend time with the enjoyable one. I’m not going to develop a relationship with it. I’m certainly not going to take an action as a result of it that benefits the business in any way. So being enjoyable is also table stakes. So let’s go back to that marketing podcast. We might say, all right, we’re not just relevant, we’re going to be enjoyable. We’re going to rip off the YouTube show Hot Ones, which is the example I used in Cleveland, where we’re going to add a game mechanic. We’re going to ask, as Hot Ones does for celebrities, we’re going to ask marketing executives to eat progressively spicy wings on our podcast. Now, we’re enjoyable. We’re not just interviews with marketers about their expertise. It’s that plus them eating spicy wings, we’re going to film it, and it’s going to be a lot of yucks and a lot of cringe, and it’s going to be great. We’re enjoyable. Okay, that says first of all, table stakes to be enjoyable. Second of all, it says nothing about you, your personal brand or your corporate brand to add that game mechanic, you have a slightly better premise for the show, but it is a missed opportunity to communicate anything of value and anything that is specific to you and your audience. So now there’s a tipping point to become impactful. You make the content and the mechanic, you allow the content to be influenced by the premise. So instead of just asking the same banal questions of these experts, we’re going to ask them progressively well researched or progressively harder questions as the wings get spicier. So it’s a little more impactful because the content is a little more useful. It’s a little more like it makes a dent that’s when I say impact, it’s like think of an object crashing into another object, a satellite into the moon. You’re leaving an impact. So when I leave that show, it stays with me. You’ve left your mark. A lot of shows don’t do that. But I still think even though you’re among fewer to have a show like that in marketing, you’re still not that personal. In other words, I don’t see you in this anyone else could do that show. So let me get back to you here. You got to interrogate a lot of stuff. You observe the marketing world, you’re part of it. You’re a participant in the community. What’s got you frustrated? You’re like, we do it this way and that’s broken. Or we’re all facing this and our approach to finding a solution is backwards. It’s insufficient. I’m not going to stand for the status quo and I’m going to really interrogate what has me feeling frustrated. Like marketers are burnt out. There’s just too many channels, there’s too much technology. And now AI and all these other things like it was web three a year ago, now it’s it can we just admit even though we don’t want to marketers are burnt out by this. We’re slicing the budget a million different ways, slicing our time in a million different ways and we want to stand up and say we can do it. I’m going to be the person that raises our hand and goes, no we can’t. We’re missing numbers and we’re burning out. We need a solution to this problem. We can’t just say, yeah, no problem, I can handle it and rub some dirt on it. We’ll be okay. So that’s my frustration. All right, now turn your frustration into curiosity or a vision for how to solve it. Well, why is it that way? Why can’t we do so? Oh, we don’t have solutions for adapting. We don’t have the rigor, the strategies and the tactics for evolving the way we do for executing marketing. But guess what? That’s now our second core competency and we have to treat it like that. Your job is not just to publish a podcast or to write or develop the brand or run ads. You have to understand systems for evolving sustainable processes to adapt. All right, so it’s not back to the show now. It’s not just marketers talking about their expertise while they eat spicy wings and we ask progressively spicier questions. We’re doing that because we believe that marketers face an unprecedented amount of stress where the stakes keep getting higher and the pressures keep increasing. So we are going to increase the pressure on our guests in our show. Join us on this journey where we, unlike a lot of other shows out there that you’ve probably encountered, talking to marketers about their expertise, where only we are going to talk to marketers about how they adapt. That’s our narrow focus. Because if we own that idea of adaptation in marketing outright, that benefits our brand, that benefits our business, that benefits our audience, that’s defensible, we can own that. So the mechanic has a reason for existing. And it’s not just because it affects the content and the questions. It’s because it’s our personal vision for the audience and we can own that idea as our own. So now we actually have a premise. Now it actually feels personal. And no other show does that.

Jason Falls [00:24:42]:

Love that. Absolutely love that. And I would apply that thinking to certainly podcasts makes a ton of sense, but I would also apply it to, what are you doing with your TikTok channel? What are you doing with your Instagram content? What are you doing with your blog, with Webinars? You put it through that same filter. Because, again, as Jay said, the table stakes are you have to be relevant, you have to be interesting. Well, we can muster that, but those last two, very few people get and I’ll give you an interesting example. Like you’ve mentioned comedy podcasts a couple of times. I am a huge stand up comedian, fan love stand up comedy. I’ll stand in line in the snow to see some comedians. I won’t listen to their podcast, save my life. You hold a gun to my head and I won’t do it. And it’s because they just sit around and shoot the shit. Yes, there’s no point. They’re interesting because they’re funny, they’re relevant because they’re up and coming or they have an audience or whatnot, but they never go to the last two. They never get personal. They never make it. They never put a point to it. Why am I listening to this?

Jay Acunzo [00:25:48]:

There’s no premise. There is no premise. My favorite example of one that almost did it is my favorite comedian is Mike Berbiglia because he tells stories, he’s got a narrative, a sentimentality to his comedy, and he has a show called Working It Out. And initially, and he’s a collaborator with IRA Glass. So great guy to call if you’re starting a podcast. He had him on the first episode where they actually worked out the. Premise of the show and then the rest of the episodes, at least the first iteration of the show, was having comedians on to work out material. I loved that. That was defensible, that was ownable. That was different. It felt personal to me. As a maker, I wanted to hear that. And his worst episodes are when he gets away from that, and it’s more of a general conversation, which is still entertaining at a high level. He’s a professional and his guests are, too, but it doesn’t have that specificity anymore.

Jason Falls [00:26:35]:

Yeah. If you’ve got a comedy podcast that’s all about sitting around chitchatting and making people laugh, not interested. If you have a comedy podcast that has a point or a reason like that to work something out, because I would, as a fan of stand up comedy, I would watch a show where two or three comedians are trying to craft a joke. Yeah, let’s set up the premise. Let’s set up the punchline. Let’s try this a couple of different ways. I would love to watch that process. That would be amazing, right?

Jay Acunzo [00:27:00]:

And you could pressure test this. There’s a simple phrase I like to say. It’s the XY Premise pitch. This is a show about X. Those are your topics. Unlike other shows about X, only we why. And that’s your hook. And the key here is your why has to hold up against competitors who would admit they don’t do that. So it’s not only we. I joked on stage like only we are raw and unfiltered, which is amateur code for bad and unedited. So don’t listen to a show that says the raw and unfiltered. You’re going to be disappointed. Or only we get the truth. Only we get practical. Your competitors would go, no, we do that, too, but Berbiglia as an example. Only we work out real material with other comedians. Pete Holmes would say, I don’t do that. Or three books with Neil Pasricha, which is a self help kind of show, huge category of podcasts, but he has people like Seth Godin and Brene Brown come on. And instead of the general conversations you’ve heard with them a million times, they talk about the three books that transform their lives. That’s an original only we why competitors of Neil’s show would go, yeah, we talked to Seth Godin last week because he’s on the book tour. We don’t do it the way Neil does it. They would admit that, right?

Jason Falls [00:28:03]:

Yeah, that’s great stuff.

Jay Acunzo [00:28:04]:

All right.

Jason Falls [00:28:04]:

So in all of this, you talk about turning your platform, your content, into a premise, turning it into something transformational and resonant. How can you create something that is so powerful and so different that people can’t find it somewhere else? And how can you balance that approach to build a show or a channel or a speech or a blog that has high standards like that and not one that sets the creator up to constantly have to one up themselves? Because I think that’s a big problem in content today, is we create something amazing and we set this expectation from our audience and maybe from ourselves that okay, the next thing has to be even more amazing. And I think that just sets us up to fail because there’s ebbs and flows and all this. How do you build something that is memorable that avoids that problem?

Jay Acunzo [00:28:57]:

That is an incredible question and an important one. I would say that I think we have to stop acting like the mass media marketers of old or a logo or even a media personality, some that we still see where you can’t let people in on the process or your own journey. So it’s like, okay, I’m making the thing. Here it is. I’m gifting it to you. You think I’m amazing. Next time out, I got to one up myself, like you said. I think the solution to that, which, oh, by the way, creates stronger connections with your audience, is you let them in on what you’re trying to do when you position a show. It’s not, I am an expert. Here’s my answer or here’s my glory. I’m on the mountain peak, and you can come my way. It’s more like, okay, where we stand. I’ll use marketing as the continued example is broken. I’m not going to settle for it. In the distance, I see a mountain peak. That’s what I want to get us as a community. By the way, if you don’t agree that we should go there, my work is not going to be for you. But if you think we should go there, then I think I have something for you. Join me on this journey where every week on the show, I’m asking a big question. I’m in terry getting this idea. I’m talking to someone who can illuminate something on this journey. I’m just the person with a machete hacking away at the jungle trying to get there. I don’t have all the answers. I’m not the one who is manufacturing brilliance. That’s not what creativity is. It’s not the consistent manufacturing of brilliance. It’s the consistent pursuit of curiosity. So if you allow your audience to understand that’s what you’re doing, it feels a little vulnerable at first, but that’s a flimsy. It’s not a brick wall to run through. It’s like this little sheet. Once you push past it, you’re like, that wasn’t so bad. I’m letting people in. I’m telling them I’m curious. I’m an explorer, not an expert. I’m a visionary in that I have a vision. Not that I’m some guru. I have a vision. If you want that vision to become real, this is the project, or this is my platform where I’m trying to get that done. Come with me now that allows you that gives you the immediate established relationship context to say, hey, I finished that book. I’m looking for the next project. I’m looking for the next idea. Here’s the thing that I’m curious about next, right? You give those people the moments to transition with you so that they’re not like, oh, Jason’s first single was great off the album. His next single sucks, so I’m out. That’s not what we’re in the business of doing, right?

Jason Falls [00:31:15]:

Kind of related to all that. The part that really resonated with me in your CEX talk in Cleveland was the advice to create empathy statements, tell folks out there what those are and how they can really they really can be a linchpin for creating something really good.

Jay Acunzo [00:31:32]:

Totally. It’s something I stole and a lot of things I’m stealing outside the echo chamber of marketing from Hollywood. The idea that you need to eventually talk to others, your audience, and answer an implicit question they’ll have, which is, Why is this for me? So I talked about your vision and the frustration you feel and interrogating that, well, eventually you don’t pitch your show necessarily through just how you feel or what you are going through, or your own frustration. You have to pitch it with empathy. And so literally, it’s a statement you can develop, which is like the starter dough you dip into it whenever you develop, whatever, the intros to your episode to describe what the show is about, the copy on Apple, the copy on your homepage. And it doesn’t have to be just a show. It’s anything, any project or your overall platform where the point of an empathy statement is to say to the world, you’re this. You’re going through this thing first. I’m addressing you directly. You are a marketer, and you’re getting suspicious that the job is just constantly adding new things without subtracting things, leading to missed numbers and burnout. Right? So I’ve addressed you directly and I’ve addressed a problem you have. And then I’m going to describe this vision. But I know you’re asking the following questions. Is this just the job forever? Is there a better way? Is anybody thriving? Or are we all just reacting constantly? How do we get back to being proactive and sustainable about our approach? Okay, now you invite them. So the first is I addressed you. The second is I addressed your problem. The third is I agitated. That the fourth is I’m going to describe this journey I’m on. So join me on a journey towards this metaphorical mountain peak, towards understanding how to adapt and be sustainable in our work as marketers, where every week on this podcast we do X, Y or Z. I’m Jay, and I believe marketers should have a second core competency. It’s not just about marketing. It’s about adapting. We now have two areas of skill that we need to develop. This show is about the one that we have underdeveloped. Join me. It’s this show subscribe here, right? So I’m pitching it to you. As you are going through this, I’m aligning with you immediately, which is the first step in resonating is I have to align. I’m then ensuring I understand. And I’m telling you, I understand your pain, your problem, what you’re going through, what you’re thinking. I’m not just talking about the demographics of it all. I’m talking about the psychographics of it all, the emotion of it all. I’m making it feel personal. And then lastly, I’m sort of using that tension as a slingshot towards this vision. And if that is not for you, and here’s where people fall flat, you won’t like my show. But if it is for you, you’ll be so pumped to see that this show exists. You’ll be so excited to listen and tell your friends. So it is a trade off that a lot of organizations and even individuals struggle to make because they’re like, but I have to list more stuff because I have to appeal to more people. No, the show’s premise is to help you own one idea outright in the market that is advantageous to you and important to them. One idea. That’s it. If you’re not willing to do that, your show is going to be watered down and very forgettable. So what you’re doing is saying, I am trading off the specificity for generalities because I’m scared to be specific, but I’m also trading off results. I’m going to make a bad investment because of that.

Jason Falls [00:34:40]:

Great stuff, man. Well, as someone who creates a lot of content and has created a lot of content over the years, I listen to you and I know I still don’t have my shit together and can use the coaching advice. So thank you for sharing that with us here today. I know there are a few folks out there listening who want to connect or know how they can dig in and learn more from you. Where can people find Jay Acunzo on the interwebs?

Jay Acunzo [00:35:02]:

Well, if you’re listening on a podcast player, it’s a really quick jaunt over to Unthinkable. That’s my show, unthinkable. We illuminate unconventional choices made by creative people in order to resonate deeper, and then we interrogate why they made those choices and also why we should think that way too. So it’s a narrative style. It’s a bit of a journey around the Internet to find unexpected stories and creators from places you wouldn’t expect who make these choices by trusting themselves more than blueprints, which seems unthinkable until you hear their side of the story.

Jason Falls [00:35:31]:

That’s awesome. Well, and we’ll make sure there’s a link to that in the show notes, as well as Jay’s website and all that good stuff. That’ll be available at jasonfalls Co jayakunzo. You can also go to jasonfalls.com, click on Articles in the Upright and find the episode that way too. Jay, always a pleasure. I looked back the other day as I was kind of prepping for our talk, and I saw that I first shared a piece of your content that you wrote back in 2016. I think so I’ve been a fan and follower for a long time. Great to have you on the show, my friend.

Jay Acunzo [00:36:00]:

Back at you. Thanks for the time, my friend. All right.

Jason Falls [00:36:07]:

Folks, if you haven’t guessed it yet, the reason I bring people like Jay to the show is I get a lot out of advice like that. I’m not as methodical and detail oriented as I should be, and that makes me cut corners here and there. Sometimes I leave out the thinking behind some things. Not everything, of course, but I need these reminders, and so I get a lot out of them and certainly out of conversations with people like him. I hope you do, too. If you do and you enjoyed the episode, please do share it with someone else. Who jay as well. And if you’re enjoying Winfluence overall, help us grow. Tell someone about the show. You probably know someone who might want to know more about Winfluence marketing. Send them to winfluencepod.com or share a link to this episode on your social network of choice. If you have a moment, drop Winfluence a rating or review on your favorite podcast app. We are on all of them. The apples, the Spotifys, the stitchers, the tune ins, the good pods. The show is now on video as well. Just look for Jason Falls Winfluence on YouTube to see the show as well as hear it. Winfluence is a production of Falls and Partners and presented by Cipio AI. The technical production is by MPN Studios. Winfluence airs along MPN the Marketing Podcast Network thanks for listening, folks. Let’s talk again soon on Winfluence.

Scroll to Top