Introduction

When I saw Kevin 'Spaceman' Spacey on stage with Joe 'Itsy Bitsy' Pulizzi (you'll see) I started to wonder about the back story, the 'how' of how this came about. I made Joe's aquaintance this year at Social Media Marketing World, so I reached out and asked if he would be happy to share how he decided on Kevin for Content Marketing World this year. It is all about the story...

And here is the 5 minute version if you just want a taster of how it went:

We are all story tellers. And our job is to tell better stories.

If you want to see the full video then here you go!
Note that Kevin doesn't care what you think about swearing, and would recommend you where headphones if those around you in Starbucks, the office, or your spouse too.

And now you have a good idea of the epicness of the event this year, here is the back story, as promised, in the form of a Q&A interview.
(answers are from Joe)

1. What was your thinking process behind asking Kevin Spacey to speak at your event? Were you looking for a WOW? For a story?

We always look for a closing speaker for our big event that get's people talking, but Mr. Spacey was a target for the conference when I saw him give a presentation (via the web) for a presentation he gave in Edinboro.  At that speech to media executives he talked about the importance of story and the further disruption in the content industry.  After seeing that, I knew we needed to have him speak at Content Marketing World.
To be honest, I had high expectations going in for the speech...and he blew them all away.  It was the perfect speech.

2. Who else was on the list, and why didn't you 'go for one of them'?

We have a running list of 20 people we'd like to have at Content Marketing World...including writers, directors, actors and more.  Most often, they are people who do it all in content creation and can talk to the struggles and opportunities in content creation.  Luckily, Spacey was the first on our list (which rarely happens by the way).

3. Did you get to vet the speech beforehand? And...did your toes curl, a little, at his colorful language?

Yes...we had a long meeting with his speechwriter well before the event, so we knew what he was going to talk about.  We also were able to review it in advance.  Since the "F" word is one of Mr. Spacey's favorite words, we knew what we were getting into with that.

4. Do you believe the value of the story has easily exceeded the investment?

I'd make the choice 10x over again.

5. As a content marketer, what lessons have you learned from the process?

First, plan well in advance.  This worked because we started the process well over a year in advance.  Second, we leveraged Mr. Spacey's story throughout all the event content.  We planned for that.  We also integrated a cover story in our magazine, Chief Content Officer, and negotiated rights for the video you saw.  The key to these things working is to know what the output should be (beyond the speech that is).

Finally, how will you top this one next for the community?

We have no choice to top it...that's why we do what we do.  The "how" is the challenge.  Let me get back to you on that ;)

Awesome, thank you Joe!

This is where you will find Joe on Google+ and check out the Content Marketing Institute website here for more on next year's event!