WTF Does Kevin Spacey Know About Content Marketing?

kevin spacey on content marketing

The audience has spoken. They want stories.

What does Kevin Spacey know about content marketing?

It turns out, quite a bit!

You may know him from amazing roles in films such as Se7en, The Usual Suspects, American Beauty, and of course most recently in the binge-inducing Netflix series The House of Cards.

But the Oscar-winning actor, director, writer, producer is getting quite a bit of media coverage for his views on traditional media and storytelling. Two things that we talk a lot about here.

You have heard my pitch: the world has changed (digital, social, mobile), relegating most marketing to being largely ineffective.

As marketers,we are looking to content marketing to save marketing.

And as consumers we are looking for amazing stories to save us from the onslaught of bad content – texts, emails, cold calls, ads  – all the content we don’t want.

Why Kevin Spacey?

As a result of his success, his non-traditional approach to producing House of Cards and his amazing gift for storytelling, Kevin Spacey is getting a lot of attention these days from marketers and media folks.

My friend Daniel Newman covered his talk at an IBM conference earlier this year. It turns out, Kevin Spacey has a potty mouth and likes to use the eff-word. But he uses it with intention and to great effect.

Why? Because Mr. Spacey is a disruptor. And one heck of a storyteller.

He believes that in order to create great stories, you have to give up control and really understand what people want and need. And then you have to give it to them!

When you see all the content created by all the businesses creating content that people don’t want, it makes you kind of mad. It makes you want to use the f-word.

What the eff does Kevin Spacey know about content marketing?

It turns out, he knows quite a bit!

Listen to this amazing video of him talking to the Edinburgh Television Festival. Below I have pulled out some of the key quotes for you.

Give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in, at a reasonable price, and they’ll more likely pay for it rather than steal it.”

The audience has spoken. They want stories. They’re dying for them. They’re rooting for us to give them the right thing. And they’ll talk about it. Binge on it. Carry it with them on the bus. And to the hair dresser. Force it on their friends. Tweet. Blog. Facebook. Make fan pages, silly gifs, and God knows what else about it. Engage with it in a passion and an intimacy that a blockbuster movie could only dream of. And all we have to do is give it to them.”

“The prize fruit is right there. shinier and juicier than it’s ever been before. So it will be all the more shame on each and every one of us if we don’t reach out and seize it.”

I am totally thrilled Kevin will be keynoting at this year’s Content Marketing World in Cleveland on September 10th!

My good friend Joe Pulizzi wrote about Kevin Spacey and covered this same video. Joe provided his own summary and content marketing takeaways from Kevin Spacey:

  1. Your customers are desperate for stories
  2. Long-form content has never been more powerful
  3. Use behavioral data to plan your content strategy

And then Joe and his truly awesome team at the Content Marketing Institute also put together this “Content Marketing Lessons from Kevin Spacey” on Slideshare.

Now tell me what you think. Does Kevin Spacey know anything about content marketing, storytelling? And is this message relevant to marketers? I think so. And I hope you will join me in listening to Kevin swear up a storm as he speaks at Content Marketing World in Cleveland in the Fall.

Let me know what you think n the comments below and please follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+ and Subscribe to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog for regular updates.

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Showing 9 comments
  • Gordana Stok

    Kevin Spacey has been actively supporting the craft of storytelling for years. Back in 2000, he started an online community for writers called Triggerstreet Productions where aspiring screenwriters, like myself, could be mentored and discovered. We uploaded our screenplays, reviewed and rated each others work, and had discussions online. The most highly rated screenplays rose to the top and was reviewed by Spacey’s team for a chance to get optioned. This was way, way ahead of its time. I only had a dial-up connection to access the community at the time 🙂

    • Michael Brenner

      Gordana, thanks for the support but also for providing that additional information. I am always looking for inspiration in storytelling and content marketing. Pixar, Oprah, Dave Grohl and Kevin Spacey are all helping us to disrupt the field of marketing and turn advertising waste into storytelling the audience wants.

  • Gordana Stok

    Advertising waste is a good way to describe it. I, myself, like using the term “audio and visual pollution”. Content marketing is quickly becoming a multi-disciplinary practice and can certainly draw inspiration from many fields. You just need to know where to look!

    • Michael Brenner

      Love it Gordana. I’m not saying the whole discipline and tactic is a waste, but it’s hard to see how digital display is good for anyone.

  • Rodney Robinson

    Thanks for the post. It is clear that we can apply and learn good content marketing strategies from all industries. Advertising waste is a great way to put it. As you said, consumers love stories and hate interruption marketing. Stories invite their interest, and Kevin Spacey seems to know his stuff.

  • Mike Hale

    That was one heck of a keynote! I admit to a “wtf?” moment what I heard he was speaking, but his thoughts on telling new stories, through new channels, and taking risks go way beyond TV & movies.

    • Michael Brenner

      Storytelling at its best. I thought he was awesome.

  • Doug Kessler

    Yeah I asked the same question — but he surprised me. I was impressed by how professional he was, working to connect his stories to our world.

    • Michael Brenner

      My favorite line was “you may be marketers or I may be an actor, but we are each trying to reach an audience.” Also, “As storytellers, we are nothing without our audience.” Good stuff!