‘The Story of Content’: a film review

A hundred content marketing marketing geeks and I sat down in the screening room of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland last night for the world premier of The Story of Content, a new Content Marketing Institute documentary about this weirdly wonderful thing we do.

It was our own little Hollywood moment.

Air kisses were blown.

‘Call me’ finger phones were waggled.

Joe Pulizzi (our industry’s Jay Leno and Kanye West rolled into one and dipped in orange) gave a short, talk, thanking the people who produced and directed it (Amanda Subler of the CMI and Eric Leslie of OnScene Productions) — and the people who made it possible (Brightcove, the cloud-based video platform people).

I don’t know about you, but when I settle in to my seat for something like this — a piece of entertainment that also has an agenda and is made by friends – my main thought is, “Please, please don’t suck.”

Well, The Story of Content doesn’t suck. It’s an EXCELLENT film about what content marketing is, how it came about and what makes it important.

I’m not just saying this because I’m one of the talking heads in it (I had no idea my eyes bulged that much when I talk. It’s creepy. Now I have to imitate Clint Eastwood for the rest of my life to compensate.).

I’m saying it because the film is fun, fast, sharp and really tells a great story. In just 43 minutes, it does our discipline justice and makes us sound like we planned this thing in advance instead of getting sucked up into it like Toto in a tornado.

It’s got great mini-cases, like John Deere’s The Furrow magazine (favourite scene: the outtake with the cows). And the ‘Will It Blend’ guy (such a charming nut-case and a wonderful success story). And Marcus Sheridan of River Pools, a fantastic example of content marketing as a service to prospects — and a business accelerator.

The piece features some of the smartest and nicest folks in the business, edited to seem even smarter and nicer. (Can I have an editor follow me around please?). And there’s some great footage to keep the piece from feeling too talking-heady.

In short, it’s a terrific introduction to content marketing for anyone who doesn’t get it.  Show it to your bosses. Show it to those cynical bastards in Sales. Show it to your Mom (so she stops shouting , “Lila makes COMMERCIALS for COMPANIES!” and starts murmuring, “Lila translates a brand’s essential values into compelling stories that engage audiences.”)

Bravo to the CMI for thinking of it.

Applause for actually doing it.

And standing ovation for doing it with so much style, heart and smarts.



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