Content Marketing Blog

What Kevin Spacey knows about content marketing

When you think about content marketing, it’s unlikely that Kevin Spacey immediately springs to mind. The two seemingly have little in common, but that didn’t stop the Hollywood actor from headlining Content Marketing World 2014 earlier this month. This is the world’s largest content marketing event, and this year’s event saw more than 2,600 delegates from more than 50 countries in attendance.

Held from September 8th to 11th in Cleveland, Ohio, the huge event saw Oscar-winner Spacey take the stage as the closing keynote speaker. He was chosen not only for his movie star status, according to Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi, but also his role in critically acclaimed series ‘House of Cards’, which Pulizzi said has “broken content distribution barriers in television”.

Announcing Spacey as headline speaker, Pulizzi said the Content Marketing Institute saw the actor as having “great insight that applies to content marketing and corporate storytelling that will resonate with our audience”.

‘House of Cards’ was once considered to be risky television, as all 13 of its episodes were released on a single day, as opposed to the traditional format of filming a pilot, getting funding, and then releasing episodes consistently over time.

Spacey’s speech highlighted this unique element of the show, saying the distribution strategy allows the audience to get the shows they want in the form they desire most, whenever they feel like watching it. As it turns out, the model has been incredibly successful.

When applied to content marketing, this non-traditional release schedule provides some important insights. Spacey discussed the importance of storytelling through content, saying audiences are interested in authenticity, conflict and how a story relates directly to them.

Conflict not only builds engagement, he said, but it also creates tension that keeps viewers (and readers) hooked. Good stories involve characters who take risks, and this can be directly applied to the world of content marketing, where producers go against traditional methods of creating and delivering their core messages.

Many of these campaigns urge people to do things differently themselves, with Spacey citing Nike’s message to push yourself to be better, stronger and faster as an example of conflict used effectively in content marketing.

Authenticity should always be a consideration when producing content, and Spacey says that when audiences feel like what they’re viewing isn’t coming from an honest, fresh place, they can turn away from it. With that in mind, stick to your core values and brand voice to retain the right customers.