Robert Rose - Chief Strategy Officer - Content Marketing Institute and Joe Kalinowski - Creative Director - Content Marketing Institute

The Story of Content: Rise of the New Marketing. (review post)

“Content is the only marketing left”- Seth Godin

This is an important story well told.

The Content Marketing Institute and their film making partners Brightcove have produced a compelling 42 minute documentary that explains what content marketing is, where it has come from and why it is the future of marketing.

Launched last night in Cleveland, Ohio as part of the annual Content Marketing World celebrations, the documentary is beautifully shot and imaginatively lit.

It tells the story of content through the eyes and experiences of a number of the industry’s pioneers.

Its strength is in the simplicity and clarity of their descriptions and explanation.

Don Schultz, the legendary marketing academic from Northwestern University, makes the simple case that if the story you are telling is not for the audience, then what’s the point.

David Meerman Scott carefully describes how technology has ended the ‘interruption era’ of marketing. The power is in the hands of the audience and you now have to earn your share of their attention.

Every brand, every government agency, every sporting team, every non-government organisation and every not-for-profit is now a media company.

The challenge is how you can make the most of this gift of technology.

Kirk Cheyfitz, from Story Worldwide, says content is immersive and allows the audience to connect with characters and ideals. Communicating complexity, he said, requires more content.

The documentary devotes a good portion of time to the story of Marcus Sheridan and his business River Pools. This is a story of a content marketing legend.

In 2008 when the global financial crisis hit, Marcus’ pool business was quickly in trouble as customers withdrew their deposits. The professional advice was to shut the business, however, Marcus had other ideas. He intuitively sensed that if he could become the leading information source for fibreglass pools then maybe, just maybe, the business could be saved.

Marcus took to publishing online and answered every question he could imagine about fibreglass pools on his blog. In servicing his audience through content, he built their trust and loyalty which not only saved his business but positioned it for growth and future success.

Marcus says that modern marketing is about teaching and committing to serve your audience. If you are the best at solving people’s problems in your niche, you will win.

Don Schultz and Andrew Davis reflected on the challenge of the traditional chief marketing officer. Schultz said that they don’t want to give up control, while Davis compared a marketing budget to a pizza. This analogy showed that as the choice of channel and format grows, the budget is being increasingly sliced into smaller and less effective pieces.

Also featured in the documentary were Christie Poulos, former Red Bull producer and King Content’s global head of video.

Red Bull Media is another poster child of content marketing.

The edgy energy drink pushed traditional media out of the way, unhappy about how they were serving Red Bull’s core audience in extreme sports. Red Bull has created a global media powerhouse by targeting people’s passions. Nothing gets in the way of their commitment to quality and their commitment to their audiences’ interests.

Several contributors made the point that content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time and genuine commitment to turn up every day in service of your audience. The results come but only after time. Only after you have listened and created stories that enter people’s hearts.

The story of content is beautiful to watch and easily takes you from story to story, carefully making important points through its narrative arc. Its power is in its simplicity and clarity. The documentary will make the practice of content marketing more accessible, which is the obvious purpose of the film.

The documentary makes the case for content marketing with evidence and characters.

As it grows in popularity, it will quickly become an important resource for those seeking to build understanding and acceptance of the practice.

It is required viewing for anyone with an interest in telling their story more effectively.


9.5 out of 10.

Executive Producer by Brightcove
Producer Amanda Subler
Produced by Onscene Productions

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