How to Create B2B Content that Actually Resonates - with Jay Acunzo

Does your brand’s mission truly resonate with your audience?  
This goes beyond just speaking what they want to hear, but crafting a vocabulary around your brand story and mission that captivates your audience to want more. 
That’s exactly what professional showrunner and podcast host Jay Acunzo is doing, and it’s inspiring to say the least. 
B2B Podcasting hosted Jay Acunzo in our most recent episode. Jay is the host of the “Unthinkable” podcast and an expert storyteller for the business world. 
This is one of the most inspiring episodes we’ve done in a while. Don’t miss it—check it out and learn how to build your brand and perfect your marketing. flexed biceps 
Main Takeaways:
gem stone There is enormous power in workplace storytelling
gem stone Leverage storytelling to grow your business and influence
gem stone Internal marketing will empower your brand and team towards your mission
gem stone Learn how you can leverage your show to sell it
gem stone Find your niche message that will resonate with your audience
alarm clock 00:00-06:01 | The basics of storytelling in the workplace
alarm clock 06:01-13:00 | Learn how your business can leverage storytelling
alarm clock 13:00-17:53 | Discover the power of internal marketing for your brand
alarm clock 17:53-20:34 | Establish the right goals for your business marketing
alarm clock 20:34-26:09 | Resonate with your audience by engaging their emotions
alarm clock 26:09-33:05 | Leverage your show in a way that you can sell it in the future
alarm clock 33:05-37:34 | Find your niche to stand out from the crowd of shows
alarm clock 37:34-43:10 | The Unthinkable podcast sets a storytelling standard
speech balloon “Stop pushing metrics on people and start pushing missions.” - Jay Acunzo
speech balloon “The score is not the goal—it's how you measure your progress towards the goal.” - Jay Acunzo 
speech balloon  “We need to be more like authors on our shows—authors have one concept, they're exploring it deeply, but they explore it from all angles.” - Jay Acunzo
speech balloon “Develop an irresistible premise, and let that premise inform things in the show, things around the show and support your marketing.” - Jay Acunzo
speech balloon  “It comes down to having this core premise, this core mission and getting really laser-focused with it.” - Kap Chatfield
speech balloon “Awareness is just the proxy for what we actually want, which is affinity.” - Jay Acunzo
speech balloon “It's a dangerous assumption to say, if only they knew we existed, they would love us and act.” Have we done what it takes to be loved to trigger action?” - Jay Acunzo
speech balloon  “Telling stories are just a communication vehicle for solving problems, or resolving questions, or furthering change.” - Jay Acunzo
speech balloon “Simple doesn't mean easy to execute—hopefully it means easy to understand.” - Jay Acunzo
speech balloon “When your metrics become the goals, they're no longer good metrics.” - Jay Acunzo
Reach out to Rveal Media:
Reach out to Jay Acunzo:

210501_RM_B2BP_Ep_How to create B2B content that actually resonates - with Jay Acunzo_QG1

Full Transcription: 

Kap Chatfield  00:20

Hey gang, welcome back to B2B Podcasting, the show to help B2B brand leaders, CEOs, sales leaders and marketing leaders, skip ads and be the show. I'm your host, Kap Chatfield the CEO of Rveal Media. Today, I scored, one of the coolest guests we could probably get on the show, Jay Acunzo. He's actually a show runner, we'll talk a little bit about what that means in a little bit. But he's an author, a speaker, a podcaster. He has been working at companies like Google, HubSpot, he's got a quite an amazing resume. But he's also the host of Unthinkable, a podcast that's absolutely exploding on the internet. And so Jay, it really means a lot to have you on the show today. Thanks so much. 


Jay Acunzo  00:59

Thanks, Kap. That's, that's too nice of you. Thank you.


Kap Chatfield  01:02

Let's go into just a little bit of your experience. I mean, you've got some companies on on your resume that are super interesting. I'm sure the show runner element kind of ties into that at least some of the skillsets that you have. And so just tell us a little bit about maybe 30,000 foot view about your experiences in your career, and how have those led you to where you are today and really helping businesses tell their story in a unique way? 


Jay Acunzo  01:26

Yeah, I've, if there is a through line, and to the extent that it exists proactively, I don't know, but maybe retro actively, I can pull it out, I love to create things that make me feel and then make other people's emotions light up, you know? The full human experience is present in our work. Very rarely does b2b or workplace content match that, match the way we feel about our work, our careers, our businesses, it usually bifurcates into kind of vapid, pithy things people are posting like to get shared, or become influential on Instagram or wherever, or it's, you know, two analysts being shouty once again about the flavor of the week, or the biggest brands on Earth. And I just think there's room for story. And that was born out of my sort of pre-business experiences, I wanted to be a sports journalist. So everything in my collegiate career was about that it was, you know, writing for the student paper, writing for little local papers in Connecticut, having to stick a recorder in someone's face being, you know, this teenage looking kid walking up to a coach trying to get a soundbite, having no relationship with that coach, not looking really the part yet and having to just do it, or else you go back to your editor with no material, you learn a thing or two. But mostly, I loved sports, because I loved the drama of it. I love the human interest stories. I wanted to write feature pieces, and do documentaries and things like that. But I got into business, because print in 08 was not doing so hot and it was also you know, reflective of the whole economy at the time. But I got very lucky with a job at Google, switched into marketing, and specifically content marketing, because that let me scratch a similar creative itch. And I've just been pushing ever since to try and figure out first in house and now independently, how do we bring deeper, more resonant stories about the workplace to this world? You know? We can learn from outside of the business world on how to do that. And it doesn't have to be trite. It doesn't have to be viral. It doesn't have to be all these things that most business content looks like. It can be unbelievable storytelling meant to teach you something, pulling out something profound from the seemingly day to day that we all experience. 


Kap Chatfield  03:36

You had a quote that I heard on a recent episode of your podcast, I think it was like from back from July 1, Creative Elements was the title. You, you you had this quote that the host shared, you said, "I want to be the Anthony Bourdain of workplace storytelling" and rest in peace Anthony Bourdain. I mean, he had an amazing show on CNN, where he traveled the world and, and so but you know, very specific vision for where you wanted to go with your career and the legacy you wanted to leave. Explain that. unpack that, that the meaning behind that for you?


Jay Acunzo  04:11

Yeah, I mean, there's a bunch of supporting traits, but it all rose up to one idea, I think, which is, you know, he and I just sort of said that, he pulled out meaning from the seemingly day to day. And yes, his show was called Parts Unknown. And yes, occasionally, he'd visit a place that felt exotic or foreign to you. But mostly, I think the unknown parts he reached where by sitting with people just experiencing their lives, and figuring out how to go deeper with them by asking simple questions, by respecting them by bringing, you know, a sense of optimism and quite frankly, romanticism to his storytelling, which I do bring or try to bring any way to stories about workplace creativity, building businesses, doing marketing, what have you, thinking about your career. And you know, I'm always enthralled watching his stories. because here he is meeting with the driver of a food truck or taxicab driver or chef or a grandmother in her kitchen with her family, and if you hadn't just experienced some sexy sounding or looking sound bites or footage in, I don't know, Mexico, you would be excused for thinking this is the same kitchen that you've been a part of, or anyone's been a part of. And so like he uses story, or he used story to illuminate commonalities that we'd otherwise not have seen. And he didn't do that by telling these grand stories of, you know, in his world, crazy exotic foods, or innovation or locations, or in the business world, the equivalent of that would be only talking about Facebook, or the latest trends in web three, or Elon Musk or whatever, right? You don't have to go to the sensational. You don't have to go to the trending. You can find incredible meaning and really powerful storytelling, and therefore insights that impact you and change you in that day to day world. And so that's the kind of storytelling I want to bring to to what we do in B2B.


Kap Chatfield  06:01

Why don't you talk about what it will take for businesses to create a story? Do you have like a recipe that comes to mind? I mean, how? Because I feel like storytelling can be such a cliche, word, in marketing. And people say that they're storytelling, but they're not, they're not really telling stories. So clearly, you are and clearly you understand framework of story. How would you help businesses think about the necessities around creating a story, the formula?

210501_RM_B2BP_Ep_How to create B2B content that actually resonates - with Jay Acunzo_QG2

Jay Acunzo  06:31

Yeah, I mean, telling stories are just a communication vehicle about solving problems, or resolving questions, or furthering change. I mean, without tension, you don't have a story, without some kind of question in your mind, whether it's overtly asked or just given to you through some sort of implied moment, without questions, without tension, there really is no story. And the thing that I struggle I struggle with this a lot, Kap because we've learned this since we were kids. And then for some reason, we get into the workplace and we're like, we forget what a story is. Like story is not the tagline. Story is not like optimizing for keyword search. Story is, I mean, the most basic is three parts: a status quo, tension, and a resolution. So the itsy bitsy spider is the example I always go to because I have a toddler and a six month old. Like the itsy bitsy spider went up the waterspout. Period. Statement of fact, status quo, not a story, a description of something that happened, but not a story. But down comes the rain and washes the spider out. Now you have questions, right? You start to think, what's gonna happen to the spider? Right? Is it gonna keep raining? What you know, Is he okay? And out comes the sun and you resolve the story and the spider does that thing, right? Like he, he concludes the story, I conclude the story, I resolve the questions on your mind, I close the loop I'd opened. We've been learning this since we were children. And yet we don't use it enough in the workplace. It's finding moments of tension. It's finding the big important questions. It's being willing to say, "Yeah, I want to teach you how to do something in your work. But I think a better way to learn how to do that is to have Kap talk about some moment that he experienced". And on the back end, I'll pull out insights. But what do we do in the business world, in b2b? We ask for the advice, we ask for the insight, and then maybe we follow it up. And I mean, maybe, by asking for an example. And you can flip that, get the story, and the insights that follow will be more potent for the people on the receiving end. And I think the insights will be impossible to have found otherwise, because the speaker is going to realize something they didn't realize. So when I say story, that's what I mean. I mean, this communication vehicle for resolving tension. And if you want the structure, the simplest possible structure is just something is happening, something disrupts it, or a question emerges, and this is the resolution: status quo, tension, resolution. That's it. And if you get more complicated over time, great, but ultimately, a storyteller trades in and understands how to use tension.


Kap Chatfield  09:00

One thing about Anthony Bourdain that you just mentioned, in regards to just the flow of each episode was, he was really kind of, you know, he was exploring these different areas of the world. He was meeting new people. He wasn't really bringing a lot of himself too much into the narrative of wherever he was. He was really kind of mining the gold out of wherever he was. He was looking for like the best, you know, hole in the wall places. As you mentioned, he was having these conversations, asking the right questions. And so I think, you know, what's interesting about storytelling in that regard, is he's he's built this brand as a storyteller when he really he was almost like a story miner. He was mining these stories out of people. I'd love for you to speak into that in regards to businesses. How can businesses create more of a compelling narrative where they might think "you know what, I'm not, I was never destined to be a sports journalist like you Jay. I'm not a serial content creator as you are." You're creating content all over the place, just signed up for your newsletter, by the way, excited to see more of that. 


Jay Acunzo  09:59

Appreciate that. 


Kap Chatfield  09:59

So but for companies that are in that place of you know, what? How do I how do I, how can I kind of hack the system and leverage other people's stories to grow my business? What would you recommend for them to do?


Jay Acunzo  10:12

Well, certainly, you know, there really is no difference. It's just what are you using to make money? Right? Like when you tell a story on CNN, as Bourdain did, the stakeholders are using the show to sell inventory ad inventory, ad space. Bourdain arguably was selling kind of a vision of the place or a change in your perspective. And I would argue that he was not an objective reporter and he'd said this publicly quite a bit. He's like, "I'm not a journalist". He'd be asked, "Are you a journalist?" He'd scoff. You know, which was his want, because he always liked the rebel portrayal, but he called himself an essayist. I think that's pretty apt for doing anything in b2b. Yeah, we're essayists. And what we're writing essays about, doesn't have to be long form, I know it brings to mind long form, but an essayist is bringing a point of view. And even just throwing yourself at something and claiming to be objective about it, the fact that you're present, what you find is interesting, or the quotes that you end up using, or the questions, you know, those are all through your own subjective lens of the world. So with a brand, we now have a collective subjective lens, it's the team, it's the mission of the brand. And so the more that leaders of a company can give their team that lens to view the world through, the better the storytelling will be, the more in line with the brand, the more the change they're seeking to make among their community will happen. So unlike Bourdain, who would kind of just intuitively know his lens over the thing, and maybe they documented something about his show for the production team, like, here's how he views things, here's what to look for, I'm sure they got to that point together. But with a brand, you now need to have that one overarching brand story. And that story isn't something that just buoys your marketing publicly, it also anchors your team internally. If you're not doing internal marketing, if you're not disseminating that story, internally, if everyone doesn't understand it, then every bit of communication, every project, every bit of content, or otherwise, other types of communication, won't necessarily line up, or won't be as angled, it won't have that conceit or point of view to it. So it will look like everybody else. Or it will look like a collection of lots of disconnected people all doing it their own way. So for me, the challenge is alignment. That's the big one, if you want to be a storyteller, like Bourdain great, or any of your heroes who tell stories. It's a lot easier for you to do that as an individual, because it's intuitive, to make it intuitive to the company, to the team, to get the collective consciousness together, you now need to be in the business of internal marketing, of evangelizing one mission, one story, constantly, constantly, constantly, basically, almost like you're handing out physical glasses to your team to view the world through, right? It's gonna be intellectual, it'd be great if it could be a physical glass, but it's not. So your job is to now make it that. Your job is to make it that potent, and that clear that whatever they do, now, they're seeing the world through the same lens, which then informs how it feels like it's of your brand and not somebody else's.


Kap Chatfield  13:00

Okay, you just opened up a major can of worms, and I am so excited to go into it. Because this is, I've been thinking about that concept for a little while now, especially, especially since COVID, where you had, you know, the whole marketplace was thrust into this digital world of communication, some of them for the first time. And thankfully, you know, there's a lot of there's a lot of opportunity to go back to work in person. But a lot of employees have kind of tasted and seen, "you know what? I like working from home, I like the hybrid approach". And obviously, there's a lot of advantages to that at a personal level, and even at a corporate level. But it also comes with a lot of challenges too, in regards to, you know, keeping people on the same page, keeping people engaged with the vision and the mission of the company, when you can't show up and see the vision written in big brand colored font on the wall. You got to be a little bit more creative in keeping people aligned with that story. And I would say that that problem has even compounded even more, in the midst of what we're calling right now, the great resignation, we're seeing a lot of people it's, there's four, you know, there's hiring signs everywhere, not just physically out in the marketplace, but even digitally, people on LinkedIn got that little hiring thing around their profile picture. I have one right now. So plenty of opportunity out there. So I'd love for you to kind of to help the business leader who's saying, "How do I do that, Jay?" And maybe you don't have like, I'm not putting you on the spot to say you have to have the perfect prescribed playbook for how to do that. But let's dream a little bit, but how would you how would you help a business leader take those first steps to be thinking about, how do I not just do external marketing? I love this phrasing, by the way. How do I do internal marketing to build a brand with my employees?

210501_RM_B2BP_Ep_How to create B2B content that actually resonates - with Jay Acunzo_QG3

Jay Acunzo  14:44

Yeah, I mean, it should be the same story. You might use terms you wouldn't internally, you know, you wouldn't use it publicly. You wouldn't say we're going to fix our churn, right? Maybe you would. In B2B, we're very transparent, often, right? People get it. People get what you go through because your customers are also working in a business and you're thinking about selling them a professional tool or service. But I would say that it all so it all kind of starts with I think I'm gonna say the word simple, simple doesn't mean easy to execute. Hopefully it means easy to understand. But a simple switch that we can make, which is in how we articulate our goals. I think like the the biggest sort of mack daddy of all goals is called a mission. Right? Like, my personal mission is to help people make what matters. That's the overriding mission. And I want to make sure I'm always marching towards that mountain peak. How might I do that? The how serve the why right? I have several how's, it might roll up to summarizing it as to be the Anthony Bourdain of business, or maybe that's just one piece of the how. But regardless, you have a goal, then you have metrics to measure your progress towards the goal. And there's something called Good Hearts Law, which I'm obsessed with talking about, because I think it's everywhere. It's one of those things that once you see or understand you will find it everywhere in your life. I think it's called the Baader Meinhof phenomenon or something, it's like you buy a car, you now see that same car everywhere, right? The good. So Goodhearts Law says that when a metric becomes a target, it ceases to be a good metric, the he uses the word measure. But essentially, when your metrics become the goals, they're no longer good metrics. So you start to game systems, you start to stop, you stop paying attention to the process and the craft. Whatever it will take to trigger the result you will do. Forget the sustainability, the quality, the integrity, the way it makes the others feel on, on the receiving end. You know, that's why you get so many marketing teams, and b2b is a big offender of this. Their marketing strategy, basically could be some summarized as annoy the many to convert a few. So you're leaving behind this wake of destruction and hurt, harm to your brand, that whatever, it doesn't matter, because look, we hit our numbers, right? But like, you're going to start to have to pay that debt sooner or later, the bill is going to come due. Anyways, the idea of Goodhearts Law is that we shouldn't put our metrics on the board internally, as the goal. The goal sounds like some kind of change. So the sum up of any kind of changes, makes something that makes a difference, or just make a difference. So how will you make a difference? Alright, our goal this quarter is to fix our churn, or our goal this quarter is to teach the audience, these five things, you know, all three months of the quarter, or to build this asset to be the best x, y or z or you know, this specific thing in the world in the niche. It sounds like a change, it's plain language, a goal is not grow 50% or generate this result. Your goal sounds like plain language describing a change. How do you measure your progress towards a goal? Your metrics. So the very first fix we need to make, if we're going to do better internal marketing and inspire people, is to stop pushing metrics on people and to start pushing missions. To start helping them understand what change are you here to make? And here is how we'll measure your progress towards that change. So we have to be better at goal setting.


Kap Chatfield  17:53

Dude, preach, preach and hard, Jay, pastor Jay, just preach it! Gosh, it's so it's, um, I think about just like a simple example of that. It's like, you know, companies, obviously, they, they want to they care about revenue, why wouldn't you care about revenue? If you don't have revenue, you don't have a business, you can't meet payroll, you can't bring your product to market, the game's over if you don't have revenue, right? But when you make revenue the goal, it becomes you know, you start to justify a lot of very odd means to get to that goal. And it actually shoots your foot, shoots you in the foot in the long run. And what I hear you saying is, keep your vision clear, and make that your Northstar, and then have metrics to help you get there, you're gonna need revenue to get there, right? But it's about having a proper prioritized prioritization about what are you really after, at the end of the day? And then the other things being ways that you can measure whether or not you're getting there?


Jay Acunzo  18:52

Yeah, you know, I'm a huge sports fan. I mentioned I started as a sports journalist, I love the NBA. Until very recently, I was a sad New York Knicks fan. Now, I'm a slightly more hopeful New York Knicks fan. But, you know, people talk about revenue as like the ultimate scorecard. It's how you keep score in business. We can have a debate about that, but sure, let's accept that assumption for now. Well, in basketball, the coach isn't like, "Alright, team, our task today is to score more points than the other team". Like, that's not how you align the team. They're talking about, we want to have the most deflections we've ever had on defense, or we want to out hustle them, or whatever, we're going to defend the three point shot today, or we want to play as a team more so than before or whatever. They have supporting different ideas, different goals, different changes they're trying to make to get better. How do you measure whether or not they did that, whether or not they achieved the goal? The score. Right, but the score itself is not actually their goal. I mean, yes, if pressed the coach is like "our goal is always to win". Great. Our goal in business is always to make a difference for other people. There's no winning, there's no finish line, there's no "oh, we're done, and we've now won". Right? So our goal sounds like our version of winning, which I think is to have an impact with what we're building for those we want to serve. That's our version of winning. And yeah, that's the macro level goal, always. But then you break it down to some kind of very specific, actionable flavor of that goal, of winning of making a difference. And you might say, all the things that I've been talking about, so it's fine if you consider revenue the score, but the score is not the goal. It's how you measure your progress towards the goal. So we have to get that right in business.


Kap Chatfield  20:34

And when you get that, right, I think the communication from the top down, it starts to overflow out of that, right? When you really genuinely care about that, you've made it your Northstar, I think marketing then comes into alignment with what with what you're really trying to communicate. So it's, it's to me, it's almost it's almost simpler than than a lot of people are trying to make it. So that's really helpful. And I'm wondering if that well, I'll save it for the next part of our of our episode. And the second part, I actually do want to ask this question, because you mentioned this in your LinkedIn bio. It's also on your website. I love the term. It's a pretty BA term, it's got a lot of authority attached to it. And I feel like there's like a like a double entendre with this word that you that's used to describe yourself. You call yourself a showrunner. Explain to us what you mean by that.


Jay Acunzo  21:26

Yeah, I mean, like very simply, a showrunner is someone who keeps the show running. So if you think about the Hollywood sense of it, or this, you know, streaming service sense of it, they're kind of like a mini CEO who might have a bent towards one or two things. Like you might have a showrunner, who's really, really strong on writing, and creative. You might have someone else who's really, really strong on production, and all the parts and pieces to bring things together. But genuine generally, you are the person who is responsible for the vision of this show. I mean, just like a CEO would, right? It's, it's set the vision, align the team around the vision and don't run out of money. And that's the same idea for a show. It's set the vision, develop the premise, help understand what is it we're saying uniquely with this show? That's so overlooked, especially in b2b, what is your premise? It's not your topics, it's your topics plus your hook, it's the angle, it's the reason why people would care. So what's your premise? Develop that premise, use every tool available away from the show, even to develop that premise, you know? Pressure test ideas through social media, etc. So you develop the premise, you align every decision you make, every bit of talent you bring on, behind the scenes production talent, on the mic talent, marketing talent, you align those people around that premise around that vision, and all the language that they control, and disseminate, and then don't run out of money. So is this a financially viable thing? It doesn't make sense for the brand? Does it make sense for the audience? You know, how are we funding it? How do we grow it? All those, those sort of like higher level decisions. So that's how I define showrunner. And in my specific line of work, I've done that with my own show, I've had three shows that I built on my own that were just my own. Self funded, I guess, and one in house show, which was out of VC firm. And then I've had I think, something like a dozen or 15 client shows I've helped launch about half of those. I was also the host, but the whole while I was the showrunner.


Kap Chatfield  23:15

That's awesome. So you, okay, you've done three different shows. Your, are you still? How many of those shows are you still doing today? Is it just the Unthinkable Podcasts? Or are you doing others?


Jay Acunzo  23:24

Yeah, you know, so as of the beginning of 2021, I was hosting two, both of which I'd started. Three Clips, which was essentially like dissections of other podcasters work with those podcasters. So going inside the creative process, and demystifying it. So that was Three Clips, I actually sold that to a tech company called Castos. And so they are owning it, they own and operate it and are taking wonderful care of it, and I'm no longer associated with that show as of pretty recently. So our our work together was sort of over and can't wait to see what they do. The second show that's been running since 2016, is Unthinkable. And that's my laboratory. That's my big exploration vehicle. It's a narrative style show about workplace topics, essentially, I want you to feel inspired creatively when you leave. But we always explore one big question across episodes. And right now the question is, what makes work resonate? And how can ours too? How can we resonate deeper with our work? What is resonance? Who has resonated? What can we learn? Are there commonalities, techniques, methodologies, etc. So we're on this big exploration of the concept of resonance on on Unthinkable.


Kap Chatfield  24:30

And are you thinking about resonating with customers or resonating with the internal employees kind like we were talking about earlier? 


Jay Acunzo  24:36

Anyone. Resonating with people. Anyone. I would hazard a guess that the moment you launch something that an executive loves, in other words, your idea and your content, let's say resonates deeply with your boss, then you launch it and everybody hates it. I'm pretty sure that boss isn't gonna feel like it resonates with them that much anymore, like a piece of it is, does it work for the end user, does it work for the end listener? But whether you know, it's how you interpret the word. So, you know, we've talked to brands, people, marketers, I should say working inside of brands, independent creators, I want to learn about resonance as it relates to building culture, company, culture, societal culture. I want to learn what it takes to you know, help recruit new employees, your your message has to resonate, your experience has to resonate. So this word is so ubiquitous, it's one of those like, fundamental human things we all deal with that feels very specific to each of us. So someone listening to one episode, you know, if they're, I don't know how many people listen, but like if there's, you know, two different people in the same company listening, they have two different jobs, perhaps, or two different interpretations of their job. So they're taking away two different interpretations of the episode. That's why, that's what has me really excited about Unthinkable right now, is it is one of those kind of Bourdanian, things of like, you know, his episode titles were like Mexico. Say, what do you, how do you possibly well, he brings his lens, he brings his, you know, essayist approach to Mexico, and then you take away something slightly different than I might have taken away. So it feels specific to me, even though he's exploring big universal concepts.


Kap Chatfield  26:09

That's super cool. I, I want to circle back to something that you had said, and I wasn't even planning on asking this, because I didn't know that you had done this. But I am super curious, because you said that you had at one of your shows before you sold to a tech company. You don't have to disclose the details of the deal or whatever. But I'm super curious. Because I'm guessing it's an internet show. You sold this to a business? Yeah. What? How did that happen? And what makes a show sellable? I'm super curious.


Jay Acunzo  26:39

Yeah, it's, it's a lot of a lot. I don't think there's one thing and I should also disclose like, I struggle with the idea of pitching networks all the time. I don't think I have yet. It's all been brands for me. And so I don't have all the answers on this front. But with Three Clips, I started it to help support the launch of a podcast course that I offer. And the podcast course is to help you demystify the creative process in developing a really great show. You know, I'm a firm believer that creativity, although there's a perception, it doesn't actually mean big. It's just the sum total of lots of little things you do that add up to the final project. And when we observe shows that we admire, we often disassociate ourselves, we're like, "Well, I don't have the team, the time, the budget, the training, the skills, whatever". And I think it's a lot closer to each of us to grasp than we realize. But people don't talk about the minutiae, enough. So I said, I want you know, I want a course that helps people develop really amazing podcast premises, and what I call growable shows, and I'll launch a podcast to support the course. And so the show, I think it has 50 episodes, something like that. So I'd been running it for about a year, maybe a little bit more. And I was approaching Castos about a potential sponsorship, because they were like, "Hey, we really like that show, is there a way, you know, are you taking sponsors or whatever?" And I really wasn't thinking of it that way. And I said, "Sure, here's a couple invented packages that I made up on the spot for them" or, and I've been thinking of doing this for a while, you could buy the show. And I was like, you'd buy it for one upfront fee, which makes means you basically own the IP, the feed. So in other words, I can't do Three Clips two point o elsewhere, you own that concept. It is yours, you own the content. So the feed and the episodes, and all the marketing that you can do from that. So there's compounding value, even if the show died today. And then that was the upfront sort of purchase. And then I it was a monthly retainer to host for a set number of months. So it's kind of this long transition plan to the next host. So we can keep growing the show together, they could look for another host that was part of their company, or someone that they would want to partner with, in a little bit more of an integrated fashion than than me. And you know, to my delight, they came back and said, "Yeah, we want to do that option. Forget the sponsorships". And I was like, "Oh, great. Okay, cool". And I had to come up with like a document for it. And they had their legal team on it. And you know, it was very much like, "I'm gonna try this, because I've heard other people do this". And it worked. So no magic here. And if you're ever thinking of doing stuff like that, I think it just comes down to like, "well, I'll just try it. We'll see what happens".

210501_RM_B2BP_Ep_How to create B2B content that actually resonates - with Jay Acunzo_QG4

Kap Chatfield  29:11

Dude, that's, that's sick. I love that. Gosh, so so that you kind of answered the question I was thinking like, okay, but you're the guy that's on the show, you're the one that's, you know, really kind of moving the narrative forward, you've built this brand. So you put in this clause where you were kind of, you know, almost like you're, someone's buying a company. And as you probably know, from showbiz, or like the entertainment industry, every movie you make, every show you create, you it's almost like you're creating a new business. And that's what you're doing is you're selling this thing to them. And you're creating an opportunity where, you know, there could be some sort of handoff, a good transition so that they can get the new host in there. And it's just brilliant. I'm curious too, so my guess is that the real value in the show for them was it the topic you were covering? Was it the audience that you had access to? Was it a combination of both? What what was the real value for them in the show?


Jay Acunzo  30:06

Yeah, I mean, really good questions. I think there's a misnomer that the only thing you can sell is reach, especially when it comes to the content. And I have just not found that to be the case. Twitter aside, where you might say, like, "Oh, he's got a decent amount of followers and a blue check", like that, that's the only place I'd be like, I have a lot cortical large audience but like my email list is very small. My personal podcast Unthinkable is very small, Three Clips was way smaller. I think it has something like 400 downloads an episode at the time of the sale. And so that's nothing, right? It's, it's put it this way, it's something for an individual, it's nothing for a brand that needs to sell software to make money. And so I think like, it was the fact that the show itself was aspirational. So I was able to showcase quality on two fronts, the people coming on the show, and what they were saying and how, like the entertainment value and the structuring of the show, the premise was such that it felt higher caliber than a lot of podcasts. And so it was aspirational, for Castos, as customers to hear a show like that, and hear from those podcasters. So they wanted to help level up their customers. And also, I think it was, you know, a premium vehicle to associate with their brand to help further their brands perception in the world. But then also what I what I truly sold wasn't reach, it was, you know, I put together a pitch deck, a media kit. It was a little retroactively because it was like, "Hey, I gave him a couple bullets, if you emails like, I'll send you the whole deck if you want to evaluate this opportunity". So I made a deck for them. And I still use it now to close sponsors. And the two most important sections are number one, screenshots of the passionate outpouring of listeners who do listen, not a lot of people, but like giant emails, or original posts on Twitter or LinkedIn, praising the show and referring it to others, like these super fans and their word of mouth, showcasing the engagement was a massive, massive tool in the sales process that I've since learned to use for sponsors for Unthinkable. And then the second was the I had done some surveying of my audience. So my newsletter, my podcast, and being able to share the data of that, and most especially who these people were. There were a lot of freelancers, there were a lot of junior level marketers, but there were also a lot of people who were in buying power situations and roles at b2b companies that might want to buy Castos. There were premium brands listed alongside all the independents or SMBs. Like, you know, I had a subscriber come in from the New York Times, like great, you're going on a slide my friend, you didn't realize it, like your name is not but like, I'm going to tell people among my subscribers, or you know, someone from the New York Times subscribed. And so you can sell the premiumness, the value you're providing, and the subsequent engagement from those people, just as well as you can sell 20,000 downloads an episode, which I have never even sniffed.


Kap Chatfield  33:05

Gosh. That's, so the most the, those two things and that deck that you said, one was capturing the engagement, and and really that relational trust that you have with your audience, and also just having that research about, hey, here's who these people are, here's what they care about, here's where they work, all those all those things are super, super valuable for this company. Because here's what here's what I'm seeing. I'm seeing kind of the connection between, like your personal mission and the value of what that show did. You're helping companies, businesses, resonate with their audiences. And what you're showing is, "hey, I've been able to resonate with this audience. Here's how, here's why. Because these people care about X, Y, and Z things". And that is, that's gotta be a goldmine for these companies, is it not?


Jay Acunzo  33:56

Well, I think a lot of people talk about finding a niche or whatever. And some people reject that. It's like, just by showing up the microphone, you're gonna find a niche, you just maybe would be better off learning how to describe it. But even if you're doing generic topics, you'll somehow find a niche. But when the premise is specific, and that's what plagues so many shows, especially in b2b, just generic parades of people being interviewed right? With with kind of loose topics held, holding it all together. It's a blog approach to a show. I think we need to be more like authors on our shows. Authors have one concept, they're exploring it deeply, but they explore it from all angles, angles, they can go way outside their echo chamber. And they might explore through interviews, they might explore through monologues, you might get stories, you might get a grab bag of all of it. They are trying to own one idea, one, very deeply in the minds of the audience. And so right now, my wife has never seen The Wire, so we're rewatching The Wire. So here's where the terminology comes from. What's your corner? And if someone else steps to your corner, they'll be chased away or laughed off the block because they know everyone else knows too, that your corner. You're not, your corners not going to be business, your corners not gonna be marketing, your corners not going to be the best tactics in marketing, your corner is not going to be podcasting. But perhaps my corner could be within the broad category of creativity, resonance. Ooh, that's, that corner is up for grabs, I'll own it. Or my corner could be within the broad category, the neighborhood or city of podcasting, my corner could be demystifying the creative process behind great podcasts. And some people might say, "Yeah, we do that too". And then you actually look under the hood. And it's 5% of their airtime. And two questions per guest of like, "Yeah, how'd you how'd you come up with a format for your episode?" And I'm like, that's all we're gonna do. We're going to be very specific, and very focused, and stay at home. And then our breadth comes from, we can talk to anyone from any walk of life, if they somehow help us understand that. You know, this is an example from Unthinkable, I'm learning from the science, we're not talking about science work or to scientists. But resonance is a concept you hear in science. So what can we learn? Let's tell that story on the show, right? That helps you as a creator go resonate. And so I think that's, that's the trick in all of this is to develop an irresistible premise, and let that premise inform things in the show, but also things around the show and supporting it, your marketing. And that's the missing piece is premise, specificity and premise development.


Kap Chatfield  36:25

Ah, gosh, bro, you, you are a gangster, I love this. This is this is goal. I've just because I mean, if you had listened to some of our other episodes and, and see what we continue to try to tell our audience, this b2b audiences, this is how you got to be thinking about your company, like you need to stop thinking about your company as just the product that you sell, and trying to tell people about your features and all that. And that's important. And there's a place for that. But really, it comes down to having this core premise, this core mission and getting really laser focused with it. I'm starting to see that, you know, there's like a niche community on the internet for everything, like a community within a community within a community., I just had, right actually, I just finished an episode just earlier today with a this amazing gal named Jenny Plant. And she has a podcast called The creative, what's it called? The Creative Agency Account Manager Podcast, you know? You know exactly who that's for and you know exactly what they're going to talk about and right and be because she's been so focused with it. It's like, catapulted her brand, it's catapulted her business. And I want to I want to make a transition to talk about your show, you just made this allusion to Unthinkable. And obviously, you know, you're you're very entrepreneurially minded, I know that you're like a content solopreneur you know, you're you're such a prolific storyteller, but you're not just doing it as like a side gig, you're doing it for for business purposes. And you're getting to talk and speak into other people's businesses, because of how you've been graced in that way. And so I want to ask you just you know, maybe give us a little bit of business strategy behind Unthinkable. How are you purposing to use Unthinkable to build your own business?


Jay Acunzo  38:12

Sure, so Unthinkable is really the beating heart and what I noticed a couple years ago is when I got an opportunity come my way like a brand approaches me and says, "Hey, we like Unthinkable. Can you make a show like yours for us? I would get pulled away from Unthinkable. And so once that show was over, and the revenue dried up, I'd be back at square one, you know? So now Unthinkable is getting closer to anyway, a consistent production, that will not go away, that is weekly and is I think, hopefully a cut above and how it sounds definitely feels like a cut above an effort that I have to put in to make that show. But the way I treat Unthinkable is that it's part of a larger creative exploration or actually said better investigation. So I pick a problem, I get frustrated, I observe the world or participate in it. And I wonder why or I think I can't stand that. And for a while I was a little bit lost. I did this for a time before my first book and through the show. And then I was a little bit lost. And now I think I've found my stride again, which is maybe how you found the show Kap, because I can't stand how so many people will kind of like do whatever spreads, like people say do this because that's what quote unquote, works. I'll just do that. Or they're so obsessed with reach. Like I will do anything that gets more of the top of the funnel or, you know, isn't the point of this resonance? Like in marketing parlance, we're obsessed with awareness. But awareness is just the proxy for what we actually want, which is affinity. We want people to love us. It's not enough that they know we exist, they have to like take an action eventually. And so that comes from trust and love. Okay, so it's a dangerous assumption to say if only they knew we existed they would love us and act. It's a dangerous assumption. Have we done what it takes to be loved to trigger action? Well, to me, resonance is where that starts, that's the foundation of the house. You can't build up without that foundation. You might even think reach is a byproduct. I'm sure it gets easier to build if you resonate, but it might even be a broad byproduct. Cuz if you just focus on super fans, they can get you a lot more people through word of mouth. So it starts with resonance. Okay, that frustration turned into curiosity. What does resonance mean? Why aren't we teaching it and learning it? Can't it be learned? Isn't it a skill just like reach? Who has resonated? What stories can I tell over here, over there over there? What can we learn from the science? From history? So I'm on this investigation, because and again, this serves my overall mission of how people make what matters. So a big missing piece is we don't think enough about resonance. Hell, most people don't even know what it is. Let's start there. So from frustration, to curiosity, now I need a place to put that curiosity. That's the public practice. That's the aeration of my ideas and collection of stories. That's the show. So the show is everyone else I can reach coming on helping me explore this concept to telling their stories to do so. And then my newsletter is like my own personal perspective on the problem. And so taken together, you have this second hand or second party, third party, storytelling vehicle in Unthinkable, you have a first person narrative happening in my newsletter, and now I'm starting to get a well rounded view of this concept. And out can come over time, the book, the methodology, the course, the keynote speeches, all the things that helped me create not just content for free, but a business.


Kap Chatfield  41:40

Brilliant. Jay, man, I could talk with you for hours. And this, this is seriously you, you are a goldmine of of just revelation of the power of storytelling, how it can affect business. And really it comes down to I mean, I love one of the things you said earlier in this episode. When we were kids, no one really had to teach us how to tell story. It was kind of like hardwired into us. But over time, we kind of unlearned the power of storytelling, particularly when it comes to business. And I think what you're what you're doing what you're on the cusp of is really helping make business more human again, and more in a way that really that's what makes something resonate, right? Is is can we connect with the human heart and the human mind? And so I'm just I'm really grateful that you jumped on to share all this wisdom with us. I'm going to let the the audience know too, because you have a couple of things there that people can follow. We're going to put Jay's LinkedIn profile, go follow him on LinkedIn, go follow him on Twitter, we'll put his link there as well and his website. That's where people can actually sign up for the newsletter too, that he's talking about. So go sign up for that newsletter, Jay Acunzo dot com, and then also check out Jay's podcast Unthinkable. Pretty sure it's available on virtually every podcast platform out there. Certainly Apple podcasts and Spotify. So go check it out. Jay we'll have to follow up again in the future man, we might have to have you on for a second episode maybe in a year or so. But seriously, couldn't thank you enough for being on today's show today. Thanks for joining us on B2B Podcasting.


Jay Acunzo  43:10

Thank you so much, count me in.

Leave a Comment