Jay Acunzo has been creating content material on the Web for a lengthy time. His journey on social media started when, as a sports activities journalist in 2005, he began a weblog whereas interning and writing for a pupil paper.
When he moved into advertising and marketing, his sports activities weblog referred to as “Weblog, Don’t Lie” (named after the notorious quote by NBA participant Rasheed Wallace) shifted focus to writing about sports activities writing. He wrote about different creators who had been writing about sports activities, connecting with and celebrating their work. And to search out these folks, there was no higher place than social media.
Because of his early begin on social media and his deep understanding of the connection between advertising and marketing and creativity, Jay brings a novel perspective from which creators and entrepreneurs can be taught lots. On this article, we dive into the teachings from Jay Acunzo for the trendy creator.
Your job isn’t to talk clearly – it’s to create connection
It’s straightforward to get sucked into the numbers and metrics and make that the main focus of your work as a creator or marketer. Your viewers doesn’t have that perspective, and so your content material might not carry out properly since you suppose the job is to create content material.
Nevertheless, the job is to create connection, and the easiest way to do this is to make sure that your personal private artistic fingerprints are everywhere in the work. Infuse your private perspective, your lived experiences, and your tales, and also you grow to be irreplaceable within the eyes of your viewers.
In different phrases, share the belongings you lived via, noticed, or keep in mind that led to a significant expertise or perception. That is what efficient storytellers do.
You is perhaps questioning how sensible “creating connection” is, however Jay shares a good way to reframe your perspective: “Sure, you’ll be able to measure issues you should purchase. Or the issues social networks say it is best to prioritize. However you can even measure the issues you need to earn – and entrepreneurs do not do the second almost sufficient.”
So you should purchase downloads to a podcast, however you need to earn episode completions. You should buy visitors to your web site, you need to earn repeat guests. You should buy emails in your listing, you need to earn replies to your e-mail. These are the indicators that your work issues and resonates since you created connection together with your viewers.
Key Takeaway: Give attention to making real connections together with your viewers by infusing your private perspective and experiences into your work.
In case you’re anxious about AI, you’ve received all of it flawed
There are two sides to the coin in terms of using AI in content creation and advertising and marketing – those that use it to produce their work as an alternative of to unblock or facilitate it.
On one facet, in the event that they suppose the job is to create content material, will fear about or use AI as a creator alternative. They may let it create entire items of content material for them, primarily outsourcing their creativeness.
Nevertheless, the opposite facet, in the event that they know the job is to create a connection, will use the identical instruments doubtlessly, however in several methods to unblock their creativeness as an alternative of outsourcing it. They’ll use it to boost what they’re making an attempt to do. They lead, and the device serves them.
And in everybody else’s case, after they suppose the job is content material, they appear to be serving the device, which is mindless. In what world does a chef ask the carrot to cook dinner?
Key Takeaway: Relatively than outsourcing your creativity to it, use AI to boost your creativity and unblock your creativeness.
Resonance > attain
Now, sometimes, when entrepreneurs are fascinated by progress, they suppose they’ve a attain downside when actually they’ve a resonance downside. In case you can attain some folks, and people folks aren’t actually excited and going and discovering the others for you thru phrase of mouth, then you’ve got a resonance downside, not a attain downside.
In case your work does not matter, no quantity of promoting will change that. And a straightforward instance is that we will all attain some folks very simply, very effectively, if not without cost. Are these few folks responding in large methods? If not, the common marketer says, “We gotta go attain extra folks.” However the storyteller, with out a advertising and marketing hat on, would say, why would we go attain extra people who find themselves whole strangers? These are the those who like and even belief us, and so they’re not excited? Should not we get them excited?”
Begin with one factor and make it actually good. If it deserves to be unfold, it should unfold simpler. You will not really feel like you need to beg for consideration as a result of you’ve got discovered to resonate.
So the primary hurdle to get from attain to resonance is: are you creating something that issues to a few folks? If you cannot try this, do not make investments any extra time or price range into making an attempt to get in entrance of extra folks – deal with getting these few folks to care.
If you are able to do that, you needn’t widen the highest of the funnel as a result of each particular person who meets you adores you, buys from you, takes motion with you, and is worked up to share you with the folks they know.
Key Takeaway: Guarantee your content material resonates with a number of folks earlier than making an attempt to succeed in a bigger viewers. Resonating deeply with a small viewers is healthier than being ignored by a big one.
Character needs to be current in all of your content material
Jay is a storyteller above the rest, and his personal perspective is hardwon. He described his work saying, “I inform tales and attempt to extract surprising insights from these tales for individuals who wish to produce high quality work. My mission is to assist folks make what issues to their careers, to their firms, and to their communities.” However he wasn’t at all times this clear on his positioning. He shared that he began out imitating quite a lot of his heroes earlier than he was in a position to outline his personal voice.
“The issue with many creators is that they by no means attempt to get away of the sameness and discover a distinction of their class. There’s quite a lot of commodity content material, there’s quite a lot of copycat considering, and there is quite a lot of sameness on the market.”
Lots of people who wish to stand out from that sameness suppose that their job is to get more and more loud, outrank, or outhype the competitors. However, as he places it, “I truly suppose that the job is to resonate deeper, so it’s worthwhile to beg for consideration much less.”
In case you’re engaged on one thing, even when you’re ticking a guidelines, somebody ought to discover when you stopped engaged on that undertaking as a result of one thing about your execution made it totally different and distinct.
The concept you’ve got issues in your life that no language studying mannequin (LLM) or AI has been educated on – they can not entry that stuff, so use it. Your perspective and character – all the pieces that makes you you – is your distinctive, unfair benefit.
Most individuals haven’t been utilizing that benefit absolutely, even earlier than AI burst into recognition. We predict we’ve got to be a vessel that creates what “works” for the “viewers”. So we search out lists of the very best hooks for TikTok or probably the most partaking Twitter Thread format.
The issue with that method is that you simply begin creating generic content material with out a perspective or viewpoint and with out an experiential differentiator to it, so AI is your alternative. But when you understand how to imbue your work with private perspective and character, AI turns into your intern.
Jay thinks we must always look tougher on the individuals who aren’t anxious about AI as a result of they’re letting their private views, beliefs and frustrations, and imaginative and prescient for the world and their work lead as an alternative of leaving it to probability that one way or the other they’re going to present up within the work.
Key Takeaway: Your distinctive perspective and experiences make you irreplaceable within the eyes of your viewers, so let your character shine via your content material.
Course of, Posture, and Observe
Once you’re fascinated by creating content material, and also you get stumped, return to your roots. Create the belongings you want existed, and go discover the others who additionally need that to exist. To cite Jay, “Decide your viewers, choose your future.”
Most individuals method content material creation by considering, “What do folks need?” After which they run right into a wall as a result of they’ve a monolithic concept of “folks” and “viewers” and “content material”. They’re going, “Our “viewers”, desires “snackable short-form movies.” Do they? Or will they devour something you create as a result of there’s a character that shines via the content material?
Loads of entrepreneurs (and creators) consider themselves as having mastered the craft of content material. What they’ve mastered, although, is Course of, outlined by Jay as the workflow, methods, and instruments to information your work. However there are two different items that not sufficient folks contemplate: Posture and Observe.
Posture is the way you see your self and the world. It’s the messy bag of humanity that you simply carry with you to your work, your confidence, your fashion, your tone, your lived experiences, and your reminiscences.
Then there’s Observe, which sees you delivery on a constant, coherent schedule, not for work or as a result of somebody gave you permission, however as a result of it is Wednesday, and on Wednesday, you ship an article or tweet or submit simply to get higher at it. That is the place you grasp your craft.
Course of is one thing somebody palms you – it requires the least quantity of effort. And if that is all you are good at, quickly you will not be wanted as a result of AI is actually good at Course of. However when you’ve got a Posture and whenever you’ve labored at it via Observe, and whenever you use all three in tandem, you grow to be irreplaceable. You develop a perspective, a tone of voice, a mode, and other people begin coming to you, not due to your content material, however as a result of it is you.
Key Takeaway: Grasp your craft by specializing in the workflow, methods, instruments, and private parts you carry to your work, and constantly create content material on a schedule (Buffer will help with this final bit) 😉
Wish to area of interest down? Develop a premise
We have a tendency to consider niches by way of demographics – who your doubtless viewers is, their job title, their sector, their expertise stage, and so forth. Layered onto which are psychographics or ideas and emotions of your viewers. Jay describes any such niching as a filter that you simply arrange in the way in which you place your self and present up on the earth that brings the fitting folks all the way in which to you and repels the flawed folks.
Nevertheless, Jay proposes an alternate method to picking a niche: creating a premise. He defines the premise as “the precise, defensible goal in your content material that’s pulled out of your private imaginative and prescient for the viewers.” It’s a tipping level from folks being loyal to folks being tremendous followers as a result of you appear irreplaceable to them. There’s not yet one more exploring what you are exploring.
What makes a robust premise? Hrishikesh Hirway began a podcast about music in 2014 referred to as Song Exploder. The class was crowded even again then, however there was quite a lot of sameness in it. Hrishikesh noticed each musician being interviewed with generic questions. He wished to listen to these folks speak about one thing particular: their craft. So Track Exploder requested musicians to take aside a single track and, piece by piece, inform the story of how they made it.
You may simply pitch that podcast with a defensible premise: “This can be a present about music. In contrast to different reveals about music, solely Track Exploder asks their music friends to take aside a single observe and, piece by piece, inform the story of the way it’s made.”
The formulation is definitely replicated in what Jay dubs the ‘XY Premise Pitch’:
This can be a [Project type] about [Topic]. In contrast to different [Project types] about [Topic] solely we [Unique Proposition].
Your XY premise informs all the pieces about your content material. It motivates subscribers, shapes tradition, and helps promote your concepts by sharing your worldview with the viewers. And when you or your viewers can’t work out what it’s, you haven’t found out your area of interest but. It is not straightforward to provide you with one thing like that, however the very best media firms and storytellers know that it is price placing within the work to develop a resonance together with your viewers.
One crimson flag to be careful for as you develop your premise is when you begin evaluating your self to others, saying, “In contrast to different reveals, we *truly* dive deep to get you the true ways and practitioner language.”
As a substitute, it is best to say, “In contrast to different content material that explores these matters, solely we [Unique Proposition].”
It is not what you discover however how you discover it.
Key Takeaway: Differentiate your content material by creating a novel and defensible goal that units it aside from others in your area of interest. Use the XY Premise Pitch to obviously talk the distinctive proposition of your content material.
Jay asks you to contemplate, “What are you doing to compel folks to wish to spend extra time with you and join with you on a stage that isn’t potential on social media?”
Social media is a landlord that may change the foundations or kick you out at any second. It prioritizes the loud minority of maximum views or attention-grabbing gimmicks at scale, not giving the platform to folks with nuanced and significant issues to say.
It’s additionally actually good at creating interchangeable personalities at scale. So regardless that some folks stand out, they’re nonetheless preventing to be seen, albeit amongst a smaller class than all people else. Wherever you look, you’ll discover subgenres popping out of each broader style constructed and influenced by social networks. They usually all appear replaceable – if one shuts off, you would discover one other, and it won’t be actual, nevertheless it’d be fairly shut.
As creators and entrepreneurs, our job is determining the best way to grow to be our viewers’s favourite – their most popular choose for a particular goal. Once you’ve piqued their curiosity on social media, you’ll be able to carry the actually engaged members of your viewers extra into this worldview by directing them to your owned platforms. Now you’re left to contemplate what these owned platforms are.
Social media must grow to be merely a technique to uncover you – a window into the deeper, extra connective work you are doing via newsletters, podcasts, memberships, e-mail lists, and issues that you could management with better certainty.
Key Takeaway: Social media needs to be a window into your deeper work, so deal with shifting your viewers from social media to your owned platforms.
TL;DR? Listed below are the important thing takeaways from our interview with Jay Acunzo:
- Prioritize making real connections together with your viewers. How are you going to do that? By infusing your private perspective and experiences into your work.
- Use AI to boost your creativity and unblock your creativeness to not outsource your creativity
- Take a look at your concepts with a small viewers earlier than in search of a big one. In case your content material doesn’t resonate with the small however loyal subset of your viewers, it gained’t work simply since you improve the dimensions of your goal.
- Your distinctive perspective and experiences make you irreplaceable within the eyes of your viewers, so let your character shine via your content material.
- Differentiate your content material by creating a novel and defensible goal that units it aside from others in your area of interest. Use the XY Premise Pitch to speak the distinctive proposition of your content material.
- Social media needs to be a window into your owned platforms – prioritize constructing one thing that is yours so that you don’t have to fret about social media no matter its future.
- Give attention to the workflow, methods, instruments, and private parts you carry to your work, and create constantly.
Jay’s parting phrases are, “Try to be the non-public most popular choose in your viewers by creating a robust premise and showcasing your distinctive perspective.”