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What does Kevin Spacey know about content marketing anyway?

"Your brand should create something different and unexpected" 

Speaking with small business owners in recent weeks I am reminded how much the idea of content marketing and storytelling resonates with them. It’s not a term they would use day-to-day, but when the conversation turns to the strategic importance of marrying digital assets, such as a website and social media profiles, with content creation and storytelling that conveys the expertise, value and relevance of a brand with consumers, the discussion reaches a new level.

When Kevin Spacey is not collecting awards or impersonating Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson on late night talk shows, he knows a thing or two about bringing together his craft of storytelling with sound advice for content marketing.

“The story is everything”

Spacey raised a few eyebrows as the keynote speaker at the Content Marketing World conference last year, which he milked to great effect in front of 2,000 enthusiastic worshipers. But he delivered his core message: like a successful television series or film, businesses need to be master storytellers and instill a degree of conflict and tension when creating content, remain authentic and put the audience at the centre of strategy.

Kevin Spacey’s three key elements of effective storytelling:

1.       Conflict

While we don’t advocate businesses openly creating conflict through their content, Spacey’s key point was that content becomes richer and more interesting when it “goes against the settled order of things to achieve something different and unexpected”. For business, this translates to creating a unique and engaging narrative around your brand and using original content as a point of difference between you and your competitors;

2.       Authenticity

Businesses who stay true to their brand and values and focus less on their Google ranking will be rewarded by enthusiastic and passionate fans; and

3.       Audience 

Social media and content marketing are great levelers and Spacey argues that “it is no longer about who you know or how much you can afford”, but what you can do. This adds weight to the belief that consumers favour interesting and engaging content that places them, the audience, at the centre (quality) above who you are and what your budget is (quantity).


There you have it. Some pretty sage advice from a master storyteller sharing techniques from his trade that are transferable to brands of all sizes trying to connect with their audiences each day via social media and other digital channels.

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