Author: Jay Acunzo

Jay Acunzo is obsessed with the stuff INSIDE the content we create. He’s the founder/host of Unthinkable, an audio documentary series for create-first content marketers. Each week, he delivers a new hypothesis about what it takes to create exceptional content, packaged as irresistible stories. He’s a former digital media strategist at Google, head of content at HubSpot, and PR writer at ESPN. He speaks, writes, leads workshops, and hosts/produces shows for brands. Say hi on Twitter & Snapchat @jayacunzo.

By jay-acunzo published May 29, 2017

The 3 Behaviors Driving the Most Creative Content Marketers


Editor’s note: You may have missed this article when CMI published it last year. We’re sharing it now because it’s the time of the year when we like to talk cold sweets (and remind you about the qualities needed for creative content marketers.)

Before we get into all that delicious content marketing stuff, let’s talk about eating ice cream for a second. (Stay with me, folks. It’s gonna get weirder before it gets normal again.)Continue Reading

By jay-acunzo published January 30, 2017

3 Hidden Lessons Behind Top Podcasts to Help Yours Stand Out


Every morning, I commute to work with about 20 of my closest friends. And they all fit neatly in my pocket.

OK, so I’m really talking about podcasts. There aren’t actual tiny people in my pocket. Except for Steve, the tiny person who lives in my pocket. Obviously.Continue Reading

By jay-acunzo published April 19, 2016

3 Unthinkable Behaviors Behind Truly Creative Content Marketers


Before we get into all that delicious content marketing stuff, let’s talk about eating ice cream for a second. (Stay with me, folks. It’s gonna get weirder before it gets normal again.)

When you eat a bowl of ice cream, is your goal to get to an end result as fast as possible? Do you turn to a friend or maybe a professional ice-cream-eating freelancer and say, “Hey, can you finish this bowl of ice cream for me? I just really want a messy bowl.”

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By jay-acunzo published January 24, 2016

The Content Talent Crunch: Time to Change How We Train, Hire, Nurture


(Editor’s note: When we find something of such significant value to our audience from another source, we want to share it. This article appeared in Chief Content Officer magazine, which excerpted it from Jay’s great blog, Sorry for Marketing.)

I have these two friends. Let’s call them Brendan and Amanda (because those are their names). These two friends are very, VERY good content marketers. They’ve built audiences at the top of the funnel. They’ve converted audiences down the funnel. They’re great at managing content teams. They’re prolific content creators and leaders. They’re so good that they can generate thousands of MQLs, SQLs, RTs, and other KPIs with one hand and drink an IPA with the other. LOL OMG.Continue Reading

By jay-acunzo published June 25, 2015

The Future of Content Creation Requires Humans Not Robots

A version of this article appeared in the June 2015 Chief Content Officer magazine in an exploration of the debate between machined and handcrafted content. The questions were supplied by Clare McDermott, CCO’s managing editor. My argument for handcrafted content is in these answers below. Want to hear the machined-content side? Read Ann Rockley’s response at our blog.Continue Reading

By jay-acunzo published June 1, 2015

A Crash Course in Narrative Podcasting (And Why You Should Create Them)


One of my favorite analogies I use to describe great content marketing involves the movie The Matrix. (Don’t worry, I mean the first one – not the so-so second or the can’t-believe-I-paid-for-this-crap third.)

Throughout the film, Neo gets pushed and poked and prodded to do great things by Morpheus. At first, however, Neo can’t do much of anything. Although he tries his best, he just ends up looking confused, scared, and generally despondent … which, if we’re being honest with ourselves, is a pretty accurate description of many of us when faced with the breakneck rate of change in our industry.Continue Reading

By jay-acunzo published March 18, 2015

Learn the Secrets Behind 5 Great Content Marketing Projects


Before I turned 12 and decided to become a content marketer (I was a weird kid), I wanted to be a biologist. I loved how the field allowed you to study all the “unseen” elements of a living thing that made it work. To the untrained eye, an organism is just that – an individual thing, a single entity. But trained biologists know and value how millions and millions of tiny, underappreciated parts all fit together to make the larger whole just plain work.

To understand great content is to understand that same idea – dozens of small, unseen choices, tactics, and techniques are really what make great pieces work well. So whether we’re creating blog posts, graphics, SlideShare presentations, podcasts, videos, or other projects, the devil is in the details. It’s the way a great videographer frames a shot. It’s the way a writer weaves a story throughout a stellar blog post. It’s the way an expert podcast producer fades emotional music into the show, then out again.Continue Reading

By jay-acunzo published January 29, 2015

The Critical Importance of “Segment Thinking” in Content Marketing


Here’s my nominee for the Most Obvious Statement of the Year award: Lots of businesses today create and market “content.”

I know, I know – stop the presses, right? (Or, more accurately, stop the CMSes.) But have you ever really stopped to consider the imagery that the word “content” brings to mind? What do you see? Lots of individual items flying around all over the place, no? We as content marketers interpret content to mean unique projects perhaps based on URLs or headlines, but definitely packaged as individual entities. We even like to say “pieces” of content.Continue Reading

By jay-acunzo published December 4, 2014

Twitter’s Founder Unintentionally Gave Content Marketers the Best Advice Ever

CMI_TwitterAdvice-01 If there’s one mortal sin content marketers commit way too often, it’s obsessing over tools or tactics instead of customers. When we talk marketing, we love to jump right into a discussion about a given social network, a new tactic hitting the blogosphere, or some other content format we “have to” learn. Instead of asking customers how we can help them, we ask other marketers how many words make up an ideal blog post or which marketing automation tool they use. Important? Sure. Good place to start? Nope.

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By jay-acunzo published October 26, 2014

The Sticky Note: A Stupid-Simple Approach to Better Content Marketing Brainstorms


15263966105_018a8d4c5c_oAsk a hiring manager about the marketing team’s approach to brainstorming, and what he’ll tell you could be captured in this headline: “Brilliant, Cohesive Team Creates Amazing New Ideas to the Delight of Millions Everywhere – High Fives Ensue.”

But in reality, the vast majority of group brainstorm sessions fail to do anything but waste our time and our employers’ money. It’s not like we aren’t trying, since I suspect nearly all of you have led or joined such a meeting, but we keep ignoring the science and the data behind idea generation to establish a best practice for content marketing brainstorming.

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