Jay Acunzo On How Your Point Of View Grows An Audience

Jay Acunzo On How Your Point Of View Grows An Audience
Audience
Jay Acunzo On How Your Point Of View Grows An Audience
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Episode April 09, 2020 00:43:03

Hosted By

Matt Medeiros Stuart Barefoot

Show Notes

On this week's Audience episode, Craig sits down with Jay Acunzo from Marketing Showrunners. The two founders and podcasters dig into why defining and sticking to a point of view is the key to building an engaged audience.

The episode touches upon why it's OK to have a podcast that doesn't speak to some people. And how to differentiate their negative feedback from the reviews that will help you succeed. Jay clues us into his team's mantra and how it continues to serve as their guiding light to produce a better podcast.

Listen now to figure out why Jay asks himself if he's teaching chess or checkers, and how to adopt his growth mindset for your show.

Broader Isn't Always Better

Hot on everyone's mind, especially for our Audience listeners, is growth. Almost ad nauseam, we always find ourselves back at the foundation of building a listenership: who is the target audience?

Throughout the episode, we found Jay shares our thought process. He believes the age of the "generalist" is over. Marketers and podcasters shouldn't try to be a carbon copy of their competitors and aggressively follow the latest trends to grow.

Your podcast doesn't have to appeal to the mass market. And Jay argues that brands who try to broaden their target audience will ultimately dilute their message and slow their growth. Instead, it all comes back to the niche listeners.

First identify who you show is for, and more importantly, who your show isn't for. Then go deeper and deeper into figuring out how to better serve those specific people rather than following the latest trend. Naturally, your podcast will continue to innovate and be more engaging to the people who share your point of view.

For many podcasters, turning off potential listeners with a strong, decisive perspective feels counter-intuitive to growth. But Jay reminds us this is actually the foundation to building an audience.

Don't Be Afraid Of Your Point Of View

If you continually articulate your beliefs clearly and loudly, your point of view gives people a way of saying your show is absolutely for them. You give their struggles and thoughts a voice that didn't exist beforehand. Not shying away from your pathos builds loyal and engaged listeners who will routinely tune in.

A podcast's point of view becomes a "trust accelerant", creating visceral reactions that build communities and allows the show to generate a bigger impact.

But holding a firm stance will alienate some people.

This alienation can be scary but remember: if someone says something negative about your podcast, ask yourself if the commenter's point of view aligns with your own. If you share the same mindset, then it's a useful exercise to figure out how you're underserving them. But if they aren't part of your target audience, reset the thought process to remind yourself that their needs aren't the ones you're trying to satisfy. It's OK for your podcast to not be for the checker players.

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:06 Hello and welcome back to another episode of the audience podcast. I'm your host Craig Hewitt. This episode we have a really special guest, J, a Kenzo from marketing showrunners. Many of you may know Jay from his popular podcast, three clips in which he deconstructs popular podcasts and what makes them awesome. Really, he takes three little bitty clips and then really examines the logic and the emotion and the structure behind these bits of content that really make us connect and relate to these pieces of content. These are the popular podcasts from Wondery and Gimlet and NPR. This is a great podcast from the perspective of getting behind the why of what makes a great podcast, a great podcast, really recommend it. Also, talk with Jay about really being opinionated in your positioning as a brand. Really, and I think this applies to everybody, whether you're a business or a hobby or just kind of an online brand. Really being opinionated about who you are and who you're for and who you're not and who you're not for is really helpful. I think in all of us deciding how to make content, how to market that content and how to position ourselves and what is a really competitive field of podcasting these days. I hope you enjoy this episode with Jay Gonzo. Speaker 1 01:22 I think specifically about kind of growing the pie. The big one for me seems to be like the adoption by the general market of what podcasting is, who can listen. And then from a content creator perspective, like what kinds of stuff you can make a podcast about and how it can fit in with with your world. Like do you see that a lot? I'm super fucked Speaker 2 01:39 <inaudible> non marketers. So I think there's a historic perspective that in the podcasting world, anything and everything that was remotely close to commerce, you know, in a way it's a little refreshing. It's like what, what the uh, the web used to be. It was very anti commerce and I get it and I actually like Harbor a lot of resentment for what a lot of marketers or marketing tactics have done to a lot of websites and channels. And, and I get that, which is why at marketing showrunners, we have this very specific bent as to who we serve. And we're very overt about it. We're like, we serve marketers who see their jobs as something grander than selling something. Like they want to use their platform to hone and share their voice, to serve their audience, to say something that matters and make a difference and then collectively make something better with that community. Speaker 2 02:27 Versus there are a lot of people who were just trying to arbitrage an opportunity. They're just like all podcasting's a growing thing. Let me get in quick, I'll do the cheapest possible type of content. And you know, just really try to promote the heck out of it and blood people to death. And it's just like fundamentally not what I believe in and not what our organization and our team is about. And so we're trying to shepherd this in the right direction. But yeah, I think, you know, more to your point, we're seeing more innovation on the creative, which is great because when you have novices coming in, some of those novices will inevitably just anchor the popular stuff. But others, you know, I, I'm maybe sort of like from this cloth are so naive that they're like, I dunno what I'm doing so I'll just feel my way forward. And I think that's where you lead. That's what leads to some really interesting creative wrinkles on the medium. Cause you're not so trained to do it the public radio way or the, you know, big media way where you have to just interview progressively bigger guests that you come up with clever formats and a refreshing approach. And I love that. I mean I got into this world because of the creative element. So it's great to say, Speaker 1 03:32 you know, on the creative side we have seen like a big surge and the narrative style show like you do in like a lot of really popular shows do these days. And I think that it talked to like really successful podcasters. Now they're already kind of looking ahead to say like, okay, we're here, we're doing the narrative show. It's hard. It takes a lot of resources but it sounds really great but more and more people are figuring out how to do this relatively easily and streamline their processes. Kind of building that engine and they're already looking ahead to say like, what's the next thing? Like you're saying these interesting wrinkles. What do you see as you guys and in your team look ahead 12 or 24 months to say like, okay, the show has to get from here to there or we're going to get left behind. Speaker 2 04:13 It's interesting because it's tough when you, when you come on an India industry show, cause I want to give you an industry wide example, but I think there's a danger in this and I actually tell this to marketers, which is like when you look horizontal at what everyone else is doing, the people you're ignoring are the people in your audience, the people you want to serve. Like if you, if you run a general media outlet, I suppose you do have to keep up with some trends, but even then it's far better to first identify who you for and also who you not for. I mean that's even more important and set up this like friction system so that some people who you want to serve go all the way into your corner and the people you don't want to serve kind of get stuck in that filter. Speaker 2 04:53 They're like, I don't believe in this style or approach or belief system. And once you set that up, you can ignore all the trends because what does it matter if more and more narrative style shows are coming onto the market because you're not trying to compete as a general narrative style show. Ostensibly you're trying to have a specific purpose. You're trying to focus on the topic or the angle or the value to the audience and that should far supersede looking at competitors. So for us, we're running a show called three clips, which is a deconstruction of great podcasts, a few little pieces at a time. And initially I was inspired by shows like binge mode from the ringer.com it's a highly segmented show. They introduce each segment by name. They allow you to sort of reset as a listener and they give you a purpose. Speaker 2 05:37 Like they almost have this proprietary way of deconstructing for binge modes purposes, Harry Potter, game of Thrones, like high fantasy and fiction. And so we thought, okay, we're deconstructing podcasts, let's figure out what is the case we're making so that a listener can move logically from their passive, if any understanding of this show all the way to the end where they feel like we've put an X Ray lens over what the show does well and does poorly. And that's because we have a thesis, which is that great creativity is about lots of small choices all rolled together. It's not about pulling random and big stunts and it's not about the muse or any kind of gift from birth or anything like that. So if that's our thesis and that's our episode format to execute on the thesis and we know who we're for and not for, it kinda almost doesn't matter what the trends are because now we can say, well the purpose of this show is to teach those people how do we continue getting better at that? Speaker 2 06:32 And if we just focused on that in our unique context in our situation and make all these changes accordingly and get better and better, we'll naturally innovate, will naturally create better and better episodes for that group regardless of what's going on around us. So that, that's kind of like my answer to the competitive set thing. If you're trying to be a generalist, I think those days are done. So generalists have this way of having to look at everyone around them cause they're carbon copies. But if you're trying to be specific and you know who you're for and not for, just go deeper and deeper by serving that audience and living up to your mission or the mission of the show and you'll be fine no matter what the trend is. At what point does that get scary? Cause I'm sitting here, we're running a podcast about podcasting and specifically we're talking about how to boat like two angles that we've really tried to take here. Speaker 2 07:20 An audience is to to create really great content and then to promote it to your target audience. And so I think we're pretty specific and if I in my head said we're going to get even more specific and talk about podcasts just for a sports enthusiasts in the Pacific Northwest or something like this, then then it gets really scary. Like where do you see this being too restrictive? Here's the thing, it's not just an impulse. I have it said like if you look at the research on creativity, creativity thrives under constraint. Like we have this false belief that creative freedom or are targeting a larger audience or you know, going big is somehow effective because we're consuming the work and the success stories in the media of people who seem to have gone big, right? Because they say, Oh, I had a grand vision when I started in blah, blah, blah, blah. Speaker 2 08:05 But again, it's just the roll up of lots of little choices. And lots of time spent and you know, it's, it's not like they left from zero to 60 without hitting every number along the way. So I think w your example was a really good one because it speaks to how we tend to install constraints, but I think there might be a better way. We tend to install constraints by looking at the demographics of who we serve. So we're like, we're talking about making great podcasts. It's scary to say we're only gonna talk about making great podcasts for sports enthusiasts in a certain region because now you're so restrictive because you're like, Hey, very logically, it'd be great to have everybody who's a sports enthusiasts in the Pacific Northwest love our show, but very logically too. What about people in new England? What about people in the South? Speaker 2 08:49 Like they should also love our show. So that's where we have to get better at looking at psychographics and an a non ridiculous way of saying this is your internal teams and your personal belief system and your point of view about what should be about what's broken in the status quo and about what you're building towards to change that. And if you continually articulate your beliefs, strongly worded, loudly, shared, broadly shared. Again, it's like that filter system. So you know with three clips, if you white labeled our show and you knew us aside from our show, hopefully you could say, I found this show. This is kind of a vocative of of marketing show runners.com like I'm a fan of their blog and I found this show. It has no logo on it, but it seems evocative of them because it's a spousing the same beliefs, like if you removed my name and the logo, that's the goal is if you white label your show, how do we know it's yours? Speaker 2 09:42 And I think you have to really get down to the psychographics. So for our show, it's like a specific type of marketer. Yes, we've niched down, it's podcasts made by marketers, but we also do reviews of Gimlet media shows and w NYC studio shows and NPR shows and et cetera. So we've niched down on the demographics enough to just say marketers, but then we switch to the psychographics and say who see their jobs as something higher than selling something who believe that their show is for finding and sharing their voice because they have something meaningful to say, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Now we're still targeting irrespective of a weird like location. We're targeting marketers everywhere, but a very specific type of marketer. In other words, if you don't believe what we believe, high five handshake and hug, but we're not for you. And so I think it gets scary if you don't know what you stand for if you haven't figured out how you're actually different. Speaker 2 10:32 You know, like on a technology standpoint, there's a million hosting platforms and everyone is basically saying the same thing. Yeah, but we're better than the other hosting platform. Better is a really tiny moat that people can step over because all they have to do is update their technology. Or you have to like, you know, the, the, the feeling you give people in your marketing is not better even though your technology is the experience. And so rather than say you're better, I think it's better to say we have this set belief, this angle, and that lens informs everything we do from marketing to product. And so that brings some people way into your corner and others retreat. And I think yes, that's scary because you see other say, Hey, why don't you do, you know, we get this all the time. Can you publish an end to end blueprint for how to start a podcast? Speaker 2 11:17 And our answer is no, because that's not where what we're in the business of doing, we serve people. We say that we, we teach chess, not checkers. So if you're trying to make this over simplified to make a great show, we're not for you. We are trying to help you. See, we're trying to help you understand how to say something meaningful. So anyways, I'm starting to get too long winded here, Craig, but you got me fired up because this is a, this is a marketing problem. You know, that's what marketing is to me. It's not putting your thing in more places and cleverly hacking your way into people's lives. It's giving people away to say, you're deeply for me or you're absolutely not for me. And to do that, you can't just identify demographics. You have to think about what some might call the squishy or softer things. Speaker 2 11:58 But I think that's where all the magic is. I don't want to shy away from this cause I think this is something that makes people uncomfortable and those are the really good things to talk about and for us to kind of lean into a, because without it, right. And we will come back to what we started beginning like if you don't change, then we'll keep getting the same result that we got before, which if the people listening to the show want to make a better podcast and get more listeners and serve those listeners better than that, they should want to improve. When you kind of lean into this positioning and branding of your show, which is kind of what, where I would put this kind of notion that you're talking about and say we absolutely are for these people and we definitely are not for these people. Speaker 2 12:36 When you do that strongly, you're going to alienate some people. What does that feel like and kind of how do you and your team kind of deal with it? Cause it's got to be kind of a bummer when that happens in a, in an in it manifests itself like in a negative way. People don't say, Oh no big deal Jay. That blog post from your company isn't for me and your organization is not for me, but I appreciate we're trying to do that. That's not what you get. You get things like silence from certain people, no response. When you want a response, you get things like, can you do this specific thing, like an end to end blueprint to make a show, give me every tactic, just tell me what to do. Instead of giving me this more philosophical piece or project to shift how I approach my show and change my mentality, which is where we Excel, right? Speaker 2 13:22 Like you get maybe even some negative comments. Although we, you know, we publish B2B stuff so there's not quite the, maybe the anger and the IRS as if you talk about something a little more sensitive, but it does manifest as something that could make you feel really scared that you're doing the wrong thing or make you wish that they were more positive towards you. But, so I have to talk to my team a lot. And you know, it's myself and my editor Molly, we talk about this all the time where, you know, Molly Donovan and I, we always remind ourselves, she runs all of our editorial and I kind of like, she plugs me in as talent where needed and then I run the business side and we always say to each other, remember we teach chess, not checkers. It's like become this little beacon. We teach chess, not checkers. Speaker 2 14:01 So if someone is saying something negative about us, we have to decide are they trying to be a chess player or do they just want a couple simple moves, seven tips and tricks for a wildly successful podcast. Cause that's not us. We don't believe in that stuff. If you want to know what microphone to make, Google it. It's everywhere. We're trying to dive into the stuff that doesn't exist. The stuff people really struggle with and the more fundamental stuff. So we teach chess, not checkers. There's so many moves and there's so much nuance and there's no one way to win. And sometimes there is no winning more complex but it's more meaningful, so why don't we approach the meaningful, why don't we make it more accessible and give people the heuristics and the way of thinking and the peer group they need to approach it. Speaker 2 14:43 Right, but there's not going to be just do this like we don't use that. If you say just you're lying. It's not that simple and so we have to remind ourselves. We had that, I don't know if you want to call it a mantra or whatever, but we have that saying, we teach chess not checkers as a reminder that if this person is fundamentally in disagreement with us, don't take it personally. Remember to reset back to why we exist and compare that to that feeling you're having and the person who triggered it because perhaps this is coming from a place of them just not being the right audience Speaker 1 15:12 for us. Yeah, I mean I can echo what you're saying. I think when you, when you go out on a limb and try to do something different, it gets really scary really quick because there are blueprints for, okay this is a 25 minute interview show and you ask these seven questions every time and this is just exactly what it is. And, and that podcast will have some degree of success. I think kind of regardless of what you do, just because podcasting is getting so popular, but when you try to do something different, like I think we're trying to do here to say like this is a transparent view of a brand trying to grow its podcasts. We share numbers, we share what's working and what's not in our update episodes. And I think we're trying to do something different and there's not another show like this that I know of for us to kind of base our, our game plan on. Speaker 1 15:57 So we kind of go out and try stuff and sometimes it doesn't work. And we've definitely had those already and some other stuff is working really well and that's cool to see and to be able to share with everybody. And I think it's the, for me as the content kind of creator for the show, it's the confidence kind of to say, I think this is working. I don't know, but I'm going to stick with it for another 20 episodes to really see if it's working. Um, because that's, I think kind of the scary part of podcasting is we can go publish episodes and we say or download numbers, but we don't really know how it's, it's kind of resonating with our listeners. You can get feedback and things like that, but the velocity of that is so much less and podcasting than it is with anything else really. And so I think we see this as a bit of a blind venture. You kind of say, we're just going to do this for awhile and we think it'll work and we have the confidence that it'll work. Speaker 2 16:50 The danger here is going broader. Like in marketing parlance, they talk about the marketing funnel, right? A lot more people will be aware of you, which is the top of the funnel, then buy from you, which is the bottom of the funnel. And we could debate why the is kind of a ludicrous idea on another show. But just using that parlance to visualize this, I think of this not as let's target the biggest possible top of funnel. Like if we're cast us, we're like, I want every podcast on the planet to host with us. And that's success. Like amazing, right? I actually think that it's better to say these are the types of shows that should host on us and these are the types of shows that shouldn't. In the same way that you're like a restaurant, you're like this is the type of person that we should eat here versus not. Speaker 2 17:29 And what you're not saying is the obvious like the superficial, like the demographic stuff or you know, like any business could be like we don't sell to jerks, no jerks, no jerks. Like, okay, yes, let's get deeper here. So who use specifically for and who on the surface is logically a good fit, but actually if you dig deeper than a surface is not. And when you do that, I would wager that actually it becomes a lot easier to gauge sentiment and depth of relationship because the people you serve more deeply, not only you do, you have a focus to do that because you know who they are, you talk to them, you can give them things through content and product and conversation that they can't get elsewhere cause you're just focused on them. So not only are you better equipped, but their response is more visceral. Speaker 2 18:10 Like I think that focus area of who a show or a business is deeply for and definitely not for it helps you find your true believers. So with the funnel visual, instead of it looking like an upside down triangle, straighten those lines. Now it's like more of a vertical pipe because people are racing down the funnel because the relationship develops faster. And I think that's what a podcast is for. It's like this trust accelerant, you know, because you hear the voices and all the cadences of it, the passion, the humor, the warmth, the dramatic pauses. Like you get all of this depth of human nuance and interactivity or intimacy, just that slightly greater scale than a one to one conversation, but the same efficacy of it so it straightens the funnel instead of broadens the top or if you want to think of it in a whole new term, don't think of it like a marketing funnel at all. Speaker 2 18:56 Think of it like concentric circles where like this laser point is bullseye in the middle. Those are your true believers. It's like I am so on board with three clips because they are so pumped about podcasting about what it's for, about using it, not to just show more product but about it being a way to have giant impact that most other content can't provide in a world trending more shallow. Our podcast helps us go deeper with our audience. I get better as a host at articulating and understanding how I teach and inspire or entertain and our audience gets really deep with us and there's trust like, yes, thank you. When I hear that from people we collected, we save it. You know, partly for rainy days where things are hard and then, and mostly because we're like, Oh, if Craig says something nice about our show, it behooves us not to say how do we get more Craigs. Speaker 2 19:43 But the turned to Craig and go, I got to say this was awesome of you to say, Craig, thank you for this email about our show. Thank you for posting something original to Twitter or LinkedIn about our podcast. We work really hard on this show. Like I want to DM you. I have a couple of questions I'd love to learn more about, you know, ways we can help you or like can we set up a call? We do this every month at marketing showrunners. We do one-to-one video calls and offline coffees with our audience to just understand their lives and their work. Not to say, Oh, and by the way, we have a workshop we're building and eventually you can buy it. It's just we're building a community and that's how community forms and that's how we learn a ton about who we serve and who we don't. Speaker 2 20:22 So I think yes, if you use downloads and maybe drop off rates, the data provided by third parties is really poor for measuring impact, but with a little bit of surveying or going out of your way to talk to people and certainly capturing qualitative responses that were unprompted. Those are things that can tell you a lot more. But the only way you're getting those, again to back to this whole point we're making, is you got to go really, really deep with some people and be okay with other people not liking it. For folks who don't have that kind of net set up to catch this feedback yet, what are things that you think, like a lot of podcasts or brand should have in place to say, okay, we're going to set ourselves up for success in the feedback arena for our podcasts, whether it's social media, forums, online communities, you know, virtual communities. Speaker 2 21:12 What are kind of the must haves there? Well, I think for starters it has to feel like something that dose doesn't quote unquote scale. It has to start that way. So for us, for example, we, you know, Molly and I are both on social media. So when we see somebody say something unprompted, not like a retweet or a comment on a blog post, like nice, thanks. But we look at the time and the reputation that somebody invested into interacting with us. So we're basically getting rid of what I would call passive engagement. Like they downloaded like they retweeted, these are passive forms of engagement. There's not much time involved and there's no reputation. Like you're not putting it out on the line to say, I love what Craig is doing on his show because that's your reputation. Like people see you do that publicly and you're associating with Craig publicly. Speaker 2 22:00 So we get rid of the passive engagement. Now we have this pivot point where somebody goes from passive to active that's subscription. Like you can subscribe to our email list for free, but in private and it's really easy to opt out. So that's important because you're raising your hand and saying, I'd like to develop a longterm relationship with you. And it's a little bit more of a, you know, like you're basically a little bit more engaged than say following someone on social media. So we count that as something positive but it's not quite as positive as the third bucket, which we would call active engagement. So that stuff, like we had a conversation with you, you attended one of our events, you took one of our workshops, uh, which again are not live yet, but that'll be something we look into the future at. You posted something original on social media, not like a comment, but Hey, this show is awesome. Speaker 2 22:51 This organization is really good at teaching. I'm inspired by acts and then we go deeper with you because it's the right thing to do. And also it's, it's better for the business. Like that's what we're looking for is the Venn diagram overlap. Like that's what capitalism should do is it should be right for others and good for the business. And now that we're tracking this, we're noticing our behavior is changing. We're noticing that like when someone says something nice on LinkedIn in the flurry of my day, I don't just say, Oh my gosh, thanks for that comment Sally. That means a lot. I'll DM Sally, it'd be like, this is amazing. You have no idea. Like, and can we talk and do you have a show and Hey like I've even started just listening to people's show shows when I walk my dog and saying like if you're in our audience, I'll listen to your show, I'll give you one idea for ways you can be better. Speaker 2 23:39 And one thing I think you do well that you might want to lean into harder and that's it. And I just want to develop relationships with people and you know, it's incumbent upon me as the founder to make sure we don't game this system because we're not going to say things like comment, like post an original thought to LinkedIn and qualify for a discount. No, it's just we put out really good content and when people choose to put themselves on the line through active engagement, in other words, they invest real time and reputation to say something or do something or interact because of our content, not because we're gaming the system. Try and develop real relationships with those people. See how you can help from a genuine standpoint and it feels right and it's good for business. It would be remiss if I didn't ask you about some of the more tactical parts of how you create your episodes because they're fantastic. Speaker 2 24:24 And I think anybody that's into a R wants to move into this narrative style of show really should check out just three clicks because I mean what you are three clips, I'm sorry. Uh, because what you do is, is really amazing. Made just like sounds great and it's really appealing to listen to. I would love to hear kind of the high level of how you walk through creating an episode. The punchline, here's, I'm tired, but it's hard, right? These are much harder than what you and I are doing right now. Right? It's a different kind of hard, like an interview show is really, really hard to do. Well, it's easy to do one, it's easy to do an interview. It's hard to do a great interview. So three clips. The whole premise is where we started. It's our core belief that creativity isn't a gift that you're given. Speaker 2 25:09 It's not inherent to some, it's inherent in all. And it's also not about going big, like because we serve marketers, there's this belief that like you're pulling a big stunt or you run a campaign, it's a one off and then you're done. We believe it's about consistent re-invention, refreshing changes on the status quo, implemented all the time. In other words, you're making these decisions in the minutia and it adds up to something special and anyone could do that. And so that's our thesis. It has nothing to do with podcasting. It has everything to do with the thrust of our audience, caring about creativity, caring about serving their audiences. So now we're going to bottle that up in a show and we're going to call it three clips and we're going to come up with these different segments that have a logical flow to the listener. Speaker 2 25:49 In other words, it makes sense that we have, I think it's five or six segments in our standard type of an episode because you start the episode with no context or little context about the show we're reviewing. And by the end we want you to walk away, not just understanding the show, but feeling inspired and empowered to go and implement some new changes to yours. So we have to make a case almost like giving a speech or writing a book. You know, you go from where people are at to where you want them to be and you have to hit everything along the way. So we first developed a show Bible, which is our documented strategy and we've written about show Bibles on the blog and we teach this stuff, but it's essentially three core pieces that make a great show. And the show Bible breaks the three core pieces into even smaller pieces that you can document and continually refined. Speaker 2 26:35 So I'll give you the high level three cause there's just too much detail to go over and show you. Maybe I can follow up and send you the template where you work off of. Then you can share it with your listeners. It's a great blog post. I've read a couple of thank you. What are the wonderful, yeah, so the show just has three core core pillars. It's the premise that sits over the whole show. It's the episode format and it's the talent. And if you're strategic about all three and care for the craft of all three, you'll create a great show. And more importantly, when you document all three, you get to revisit it and continually improve it. Cause that's the point of a show. You can't grow stagnant even if you're great and someone loves you. If you do the same thing too many times, those same people can get bored. Speaker 2 27:12 So that's where we began. It was very much not like publishing content. It was developing the scaffolding of the show and documenting it into the show Bible. Um, so I mentioned the premise already, three clips. There's our belief on creativity right there and the episode format. I've talked to that in a high level kind of vague format. If you want to listen, you can kind of rip out our format. It's pretty obvious. And then there was talent so that it was me and Molly trying to figure out, okay, do we have interviews? Is it just Jay as the founder of the organization? Is it both of us? And we kind of landed on, well we don't really know yet. Like that's where it's kind of like let's put this to the test because we couldn't come up with a good idea. And so we have some episodes. Speaker 2 27:51 These are kind of like the down the fairway standard three clips episode where it's Molly and I deconstructing a show. We have other episodes where it's me playing three clips, cutting out a lot of the segmentation of when I talked to Molly and I'll, all I do is I play a clip at a time from a show I admire and I try to make sense of it and teach. And then we have a third type of episode, which is essentially that just the three clips, but with the host of the show that we're talking about. And so we kind of experiment a little bit and I think we'll probably tighten it up as we go. I think we're something like 20 episodes in and maybe 15 or so by the time this episode goes live we'll have launched. And you know, as far as process goes, we have a backlog of shows. Speaker 2 28:34 We put together this blog post called the world's biggest list of branded podcasts and video shows. So we pull from that giant list, which is public to find our favorite shows that we're fascinated by and can teach something because of that show. And then Molly and I will kind of rotate owning the episode and one of us will dive deep into the show and pick out one episode of that show and three specific clips that we want to review together. So we have like a point person on a given episode, we script it all out. We have some sections that just say riff, but a lot of them are scripted, a lot of the sections. And then we do kind of off the cuff stuff when we're recording together. And sometimes we do retakes, but you know, mostly it's just like write what you think you know and want to say and leave spots for riffing organically. Speaker 2 29:18 And then we publish about a, we publish once a week, so every Monday morning. So that's kind of like the end to end process. It's very messy. But I think the documentation helps us because while we're in experimentation mode early in the show, we get to refer back to what is ultimately this like brand IP. It like supersedes even just the podcast container. Like we did a three clips event, we could, we've done three clips, blog posts, we could do three clips, you know, insert anything here. So that that was the first and most helpful step was like create brand IP, document that strategy, then go play for a little while and keep revisiting and refining and it transcends just the show to other shows you want to create too. I mean the fact that you have a, a process, it's documented, people can implement it with the without you is huge I think cause I think this is somewhere that a lot of podcasters get, especially the really creative ones is I have to do this. Speaker 2 30:10 I'm the only one that knows this and knows how to do all this stuff. And I'm talking about myself a little bit too is that to make a really great show, I feel like I have to have my hands in all parts of it. But I think once you document a process, talk it through with someone on your team that's helping you. It gets a lot easier to kind of divorce yourself from parts of that and say, Hey, you can take this part and run with it and I'll pick up here and together we can all make something bigger and better than one of us can do kind of by ourselves. You know it's funny where you keep, we both keep saying show or podcast when it w we refer to this problem. You could easily say business, right? You can easily say no business is going to scale beyond the founder or founding team. Speaker 2 30:47 If there's no documentation, it's going to break down really fast, so it's the same thing with creating a show. It's not overwrite over engineer over document, but it's like put some stakes in the ground and talk about these three core things. The premise that's the show level, like everything is affected by the premise, the lens through which you approach this material, the hook you have, the angle you take, what makes you different. The premise really answers an important question for listeners, which is what is this? Like, what is this show about? Right? And if it sounds too much like everybody else's answers to what is this, right? It's like in the marketing space, it's talking topics with experts. That's kind of every marketing podcast. It's just like we're interviewing experts in marketing about how they do marketing so well. And that's if that's your answer to what is this, you're kind of sunk cause you're not the first to move and you're probably not the most well capitalized. Speaker 2 31:39 You don't have the biggest budget to over promote and cut through the noise. So I think it's far better to be different with a purpose. Three clips is a good example. We're not just a generic podcast about podcasting. We have an angle, we have a, a premise. And so that's an important lesson for me because I was used to just telling generically interesting stories and that was my first ever podcast. And so we have to differentiate. So you know, again, all of this stuff could be applied to the business level too. It's like if you don't have clarity on why you exist on what you're doing, on your processes, on your parts and pieces, as soon as you bring in new human beings, that introduces too much complexity for the system to take and the system will break. And therefore so will you. With respect to podcasting, what has been your biggest failure so far? Speaker 2 32:26 You know, I think not doing what I just described for my second podcast, which is my personal podcast, the feed is still alive. I'm kind of doing some best OFS right now. Just re promoting the backlog and that show's called unthinkable. And I think I got way too precious way too soon about how involved I had to be as a person and also how much time and you know, ingenuity had to go into every little part and piece. So I'm thinkable his premise has always been elusive. I think right now I would describe it as stories of people who questioned conventional thinking so that from the outside looking in the work seems crazy until you hear it from their side. And it was such a useful show for me to play and move around because I was researching for my book and kind of doing so in public. Speaker 2 33:09 So every story that I told was like getting me a little bit closer to trying to understand what would become my book, break the wheel, which is about why we're so reliant on best practices and why that's really dangerous for good work. And so it was useful for that. And then a funny thing happened, some people started saying they liked the show. And I think we often worry about what happens if a project doesn't work. And what I learned is we should also be worried about what happens when a project does work because all the sudden you stopped focusing on the process and you start trying to focus on the reaction or the result. And so you start to gaze beyond the process capable of triggering a result such that you stopped paying attention and so you, the work gets diluted or you grab at the wrong things or you're looking for the get there quick scheme or the latest flavor of the week or trend or tip and trick that you can just glom onto in a graph, not do your work. Speaker 2 34:01 So as I started to find some success with that show, I became way too enamored with repeating the best of my episodes. Kind of looking backwards cause I loved the feeling of people saying it was a good show. Instead of what I should have been doing was like declaring, okay, break the wheel is out. That's the culmination of this journey. So now you have unthinkable the podcast and break the wheel. The book, what are we exploring next? I need to re-engineer the show to do that. So I kind of suffered from this delusion that it became about manufacturing success. So it's funny how you know, again, we're so worried if our show isn't successful, what will happen? But once the stakes go up, it can morph your behavior too. And I think that happened to me. And so as a result right now, I'm kind of revisiting the show and I'm not sure what to do with it. Speaker 2 34:47 Yeah, I was going to say, it sounds like knowing what you know now and doing the work that you're doing with three clips and with a showrunner brand, that you would have been successful kind of keeping that going and if you get back into it, I'm sure it will be successful again, kind of knowing what you know now. Right. I think so. And I appreciate that sentiment. You know, I think another part of this too is I lacked some self-awareness early on in making that show as to what I wanted and what would make me happy in my work. And I thought, you know, when I started that show was 2016 and I had just started a speaking career. I had a great mentor, teach me the ropes of the public speaking industry, both the creative side and the business side. I was making money as a speaker. Speaker 2 35:27 It's still a big part of my business. And I thought, okay, this is the path that I'm on. I'd worked for big tech companies like Google. I'd worked for a venture capital firm and saw all of these startups doing their own thing. And my version of doing my own thing was I want to be an author, a speaker, a personality. And the more I pushed into that, the lonelier I got and I just realized, you know, I, it took me a couple of years, I moved to New York because my wife's job took us away from our home in Boston. I had a very slim network. We lived pretty far from that network. I was working from home and I was basically doing a job that is the job of a lone Wolf, creating episodes in a room somewhere, prepping for my book, writing the book, giving speeches on the road. Speaker 2 36:09 And you get those highs because somebody says something nice on social or you're in a room giving a speech and I can't help but feel anything but grateful for that. But then you get these lows because it's quiet and you're alone. And there's not that team feel, there's no comradery, there's no one to turn to horizontally and like high five because something felt great or to ask, you know, Hey, what do you think about this? And so I thought I wanted that. And I think if I were to continue that career of like unthinkable is me, is my product and a halo of other revenue generating activities around it, like I would be profoundly miserable. Yeah. I think it's really important to know, like on a personal level, I mean, whether we're talking about marketing or business or you know, someone's passion project is when this is successful, what does it look like? Speaker 2 36:56 And is that what you want? Because yeah, I mean I think a lot of us look at this and say, I'm gonna start a podcast. It's going to have some degree of success. But few of us think about what if you know, I'm Joe Rogan in a few years, or what if I'm, you know, Pat Flynn or one of these people that just has a brand that they're, I don't want to say stuck with, but maybe they didn't reverse engineer. What the end looks like. And I would be surprised if some of those people are not very happy with where they ended up. Oh, I mean my storytelling hero is Anthony Bordain and he, you know, clearly had some demons and so an illness that he didn't get the help you needed. And I'm not saying that's because of his success. I mean some things may have been either we don't know what caused it or it could have been from an earlier era of his life. Speaker 2 37:44 I mean it's well documented what he went through to get to the position he was publicly. So I think we get really enamored with reaching the mountain peak and I think where I've reset re lately in building marketing showrunners because it's the type of business that can both serve the audience deeply and scratch my creative edge to do so and develop a team. What I've realized is it's not about the mountain peak, it's about being clear on like what the mountain peak is for you. Like what's your aspiration, what's the change you'd like to see in the world? But the love has to come from picking up the machete and hack it away at the forest between you and the mountain and knowing full well that the work is just hacking away and being able to look to your left and look to your right and see a teammate or two who is like smiling and sweating and like leaves are flying everywhere and then they look at you and they're like, this is the life, right? Speaker 2 38:33 Like that's what I want. It's like I have no idea how we're going to make our workshops. I have a a couple of theories, but right now we're hacking away, building content, creating things publicly, air, raiding our thoughts, pressure testing them. And I can't fall in love with the idea that we're going to have an amazing educational suite of products. I have to fall in love with this idea that being on the path is the point, you know, intrinsic motivation instead of trying to skip to the end. Yeah. I tell our team that the journey is the destination. Like we will never arrive because I think a lot of people when they do, and again, we're not talking about business, we're talking about podcasting or any, any kind of endeavor. I think when you arrive you lose that. Yeah. Intrinsic motivation to say, I get up every morning and think about this thing and try to solve this problem. Speaker 2 39:19 And if you ever arrive, I think that's when a lot of people kind of go sideways, lose their motivation, get depressed, start doing bad work. So yeah, absolutely agreed that, that we hope we never arrive. We're on a, on a constant kind of roller coaster to be the best podcast hosting platform out there and for this to be the best podcast about podcasting, uh, and, and I hope we never arrive and I do, I do take kind of solace and saying like, we're on this journey. And that's, that's the whole point is this is a journey for years that was really easy for me to say and get on board with. And I had no idea how to execute on it. And I think recently I figured out it's because I am bad at this. I think a lot of people are bad at this. Speaker 2 39:56 We're bad at setting goals that orient us on the process. We're really good at setting goals. There's like two problems endemic to how we set goals. Whether you're running a podcast or a business or any project, we say things like, let's grow our downloads 50% this month. Now that's not a goal. That's a measure of the goal. The real goal is to create a podcast worthy of download. So now that's focused on the process. All right, well how do you do that? You can go deeper into that idea. What is preventing people from downloading your podcast? Now, what is the issue with your podcast? How come your podcast is not the most delightful in the industry or the most entertaining or whatever? So if you are, let's say the marketers we serve, maybe you're in a boring sounding industry or the people creating content about your industry make it sound boring, but every day over coffee with your colleagues, you excitedly chat about statistics and accounting, you know, or at conferences, people are really into it. Speaker 2 40:50 It's just that the content is super boring and at best it's like a textbook. People stick into their ear to hear an accounting podcast. So let's show the world how enjoyable the job of accounting can be. That's a real goal. That's something I would call an aspirational anchor. It's like we have an intent for the future, but we couple it with a dissatisfaction with today, with the status quo. So like we're going to build a podcast worthy of download. What's the problem? The problem is most podcasts about accounting are really boring and they don't acknowledge that people who are in it really like it and it can be enjoyable and fun. So now here's our real goal, or our aspirational anchor. Let's create the world's most enjoyable podcast about accounting. Or let's show the world how enjoyable accounting can be. And because you're anchoring to that as your goal, not the measure of it and not like a plain boring language, you have to focus on the process because what that says is you need to make a change to achieve the goal you want. Speaker 2 41:44 And the problem with most of our goal setting is we're focused on the end result, not the change we need today. And so only recently have I been able to think about what is the change I want to see in my work and my industry. If I just invested all on that, the byproduct will be the numbers. So Jay, this is really great. Thank you very much for coming on the show and sharing your wisdom with us. For folks who want to kind of learn more about you and what you're up to with marketing show runners and the whole brand, what's the best place? Yeah, I mean if you're listening to the show right now in your podcast player of choice, just three clips, the number three, the word clips. That's our show. We've deconstructed anything from Adobe's show about design to Gimlet media's startup to my, my favorite. Speaker 2 42:23 The legendary radio lab. And so we have a lot of fun on the show and we're, we're still fi finding our groove. So I think the cool part is if you sort of like, listen lately, you'll see us try and stuff. So what's fun about creating stuff for other creators is you get to share what you're creating. Then you also get to talk about the behind the scenes and showcase the changes you're making because they're going through it too. So I love making stuff for makers or podcasting for podcasters. So I love, I love this meta stuff that we do. So the podcast is called three clips, and the organization behind it is the company I founded last year. It's marketing show runners.com.

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