Today on the show we welcome Jon Acuff, one of the original influencers of our generation. Jon is a New York Times bestselling author and someone who has built a very large organic social following over many years. More than that, Jon is just an incredibly funny person and humor is one of his gifts.
Inside this episode, we hear all about Jon’s philosophies and how he approaches social media, managing his reputation, and building a strong personal brand. Jon talks about how he baked his humor into his public image, shares some stories about what he did to grow his audience and make money early on, and gives insight into why each part of a personal brand should speak for the whole. He is honest about how he didn’t have a natural gift for correctly representing himself on social media and so he hired a coach who taught him to post content that correctly represents his services.
Jon also gets into the sources of his humor, making the point that it takes work to turn talent into a craft, so that a joke feels spontaneous every time it is delivered. He also shares some of his sources and processes behind coming up with funny material, and how it starts with a real-world observation that then gets tuned by a meticulous revisioning process in writing. Jon also shares some wisdom for those of you who feel you could live your dream if you just took the first step, so tune in for all this and more!
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Key Points From This Episode:
- Jon’s definition of reputation: it’s not just a story you tell but that others tell about you.
- Why humor is a central part of Jon’s reputation.
- An explanation of the ‘thumb test’: being recognizable while partially obscuring one’s brand.
- How Jon built a following and earned money: his satirical blog that became a published book
- What Jon won’t do to build his reputation, such as use inauthentic Instagram quotes.
- The value of being discerning in aligning oneself while growing one’s brand.
- Jon’s consideration of himself primarily as an idea merchant, speaker, and coach.
- The idea that good skills take a long time to develop.
- Jon’s social media strategies since realizing he used Instagram like an old man.
- The value of posting fairly distributed content related to all one’s professional services.
- Why it is important to build systems around one’s passion when building a personal brand.
- Remembering to get past ego and reuse good content for social media.
- Use the content which does the best rather than what you might think is good.
- The idea that social media is still in its youth so nobody knows exactly how to leverage it.
- Where Jon’s jokes come from: watching comedy, observation, and writing.
- How Jon develops his jokes through a writing/refining process.
- The way Jon blurs context and contrasting ideas to produce humor.
- The question of whether likability can be learned.
- The difference between talent and craft as far as joke delivery.
- Jon’s advice for people who are afraid of stepping into their dreams.
“I’m not willing to grow my Instagram account using cheesy quotes that I know peopled didn’t say. I know Michelangelo didn’t say that because it sounds exactly like Pinterest and that’s not how a 14th-century Italian painter spoke.” —“I’m not willing to grow my Instagram account using cheesy quotes that I know peopled didn’t say. I know Michelangelo didn’t say that because it sounds exactly like Pinterest and that’s not how a 14th-century Italian painter… Click To Tweet
“What I do best is share ideas that inspire action.” — @JonAcuff #influentialpersonalbrandpodcast #personalbranding #brandbuildersgroup Click To Tweet
“I think great stuff takes great time.” — @JonAcuff #influentialpersonalbrandpodcast #personalbranding #brandbuildersgroup Click To Tweet
“One of the things that’s a weakness of mine is, the minute after an idea has been shared, it’s a thousand years old in my head. It’s not! There’s so much fear and ego wrapped up in that.” — @JonAcuff… Click To Tweet
One. Joshua Tree“Nobody’s mad at Bono for singing One. It’s not like people go ‘Ah jeez Joshua Tree again!?’ If anything, it’s the reverse.” — @JonAcuff #influentialpersonalbrandpodcast #personalbranding #brandbuildersgroup Click To Tweet
“Great comedians are great social commentators.” — @JonAcuff #influentialpersonalbrandpodcast #personalbranding #brandbuildersgroup Click To Tweet
“Talent is being able to respond to the moment. Craft is being able to hone it and make it feel like the first time every time.” — @JonAcuff #influentialpersonalbrandpodcast #personalbranding #brandbuildersgroup Click To Tweet
“For me, if I set the sights too big, I get discouraged and I miss the good stuff that I’m actually working on.” — @JonAcuff #influentialpersonalbrandpodcast #personalbranding #brandbuildersgroup Click To Tweet
To learn more about how to build and monetize your personal brand, click here for our free video course
About Jon Acuff
Jon Acuff is the New York Times Bestselling author of six books including his most recent Wall Street Journal #1 Bestseller, Finish: Give yourself the gift of done. For over 20 years he’s helped some of the biggest brands in the world tell their story, including The Home Depot, Bose, Staples, the YMCA, and the Dave Ramsey Team. Most recently he’s spoken to hundreds of thousands of people at conferences, companies and colleges. Featured regularly on national media, Jon has been seen on CNN, Fox News, Good Day LA and several other key outlets. In addition, Jon is also a big proponent of social media with blogs that have been read by 4 million people and almost 300,000 twitter followers. In 2010 he used his influence with his tribe to build two kindergartens in Vietnam.
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Connect With Rory
Rory Vaden is the New York Times bestselling author of Take the Stairs. His insights have been featured in the Wall St. Journal, Forbes, CNN, Entrepreneur, Inc, and several other major media outlets. As a world-renowned speaker, his Tedx talk has been viewed over 2 million times. He is the Co-Founder of Brand Builders Group and the host of the Influential Personal Brand podcast. Visit RoryVaden.com for more.
Connect with AJ
AJ is a million-dollar consultant and international speaker. Over the last decade, she has built and managed multiple 7 figure businesses and is currently the CEO of Brand Builders Group where she uses her expertise and unique talents to both streamline back end operations as well as creatively engineer the company’s front-facing personal brands.