Ever imagined having Basil from Fawlty Towers or House of Cards’ Frank Underwood give you a lecture on content marketing? Probably not, but we do live in a world where one half of Harold & Kumar ended up working for the Obama administration’s PR team, so anything is possible.
Anyway, back to Frank and Basil. Someone last year clearly thought it would be a good idea to rope in Kevin Spacey as a keynote speaker at Content Marketing World 2014, while John Cleese took the stage during the 2015 edition of the same event last week. But before you dismiss this as a PR stunt by the Content Marketing Institute to boost their attendance numbers (which they probably did, to be fair), the decision to have actors give talks on content marketing is actually a cunning proposition.
Actors are storytellers by profession and their job is to sell a story to an audience – strip away the lure and glitz of show business and you’ll see their role is not that different from marketers and content developers. We all have a story to tell and we all want our content to be captivating.
According to Spacey, good content revolves around three principles:
- Conflict: stories become more compelling when they are genuine and go against the status quo to achieve something different and effective, which inspires the audience to engage and react to the content
- Authenticity: our stories should be imbued with honesty, feel genuine and unlike anything we’ve seen before, while also staying true to our voice and brand identity
- Audience: value your audience by sharing with them content they want to consume; in turn, your audience will grow and stay loyal if you keep sharing stories worth hearing
Of course, the generation of quality content requires a creative mind-set. Enter Mr Cleese, who encourages marketers to embrace their “intelligent unconscious”. According to the former Python, marketers should occasionally allow their mind to wander and distance itself from the boundaries of space and time in “the real world”. True creativity, the authentic kind also advocated by Spacey, needs to come from inspiration, not scheduling.
So the next time you’re lapping up one of Frank Underwood’s Machiavellian monologues on House of Cards or you’re bawling over Basil Fawlty’s ridiculous walk in Fawlty Towers, just remember to look a little deeper into the story behind the act, as there’s plenty to be learnt about content marketing from these men.
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