What James Bond’s ‘Spectre’ Taught me About Content Marketing

There I was—popcorn in hand, sitting in front of the big screen patiently waiting for “Spectre,” the newest installment of the James Bond franchise, to begin playing. I was finally getting a chance to see the new film I had been so anxiously anticipating for months. As a lifelong Bond fan I never miss a movie, so you could say that my hopes were high. After all, “Casino Royale” and “Skyfall” were such hits that there was no way I was in for a disappointment. Daniel Craig (James Bond) alongside directors Martin Campbell (“Casino Royale”) and Same Mendes (“Skyfall” and “Spectre”) did such a great job reinventing the series as a whole; these professionals gave the series a much more rugged and modern feel, which I personally preferred.

However, my excitement quickly turned to revulsion as the next two and a half hours (ironically, this is the longest running time for a Bond film ever) dragged on, and on, and on…

The film was a bust—and not just in a “Skyfall set the bar too high” way. It was just plain bad.

Though, some good came out of it as I spent the following day or two thinking about what went wrong, and this got me thinking about content marketing best practices. Since then, I’ve drawn three fruitful comparisons between the latest (and definitely not greatest) Bond film and content marketing.

  • Don’t repeat mistakes: Where “Spectre” ultimately went wrong was that it undid all of the work Daniel Craig put in to give Bond a new feel. The film revisited the old Bond formula and resorted back to long-winded villain monologues (with little substance), over the top spy stunts and the typical misogynistic undertones that were a mainstay in the older films. While some viewers may enjoy these older tactics, they nonetheless veer away from the direction in which the directors and actors were collectively taking it. This course of action usually doesn’t resonate well with a target audience. In terms of content marketing, the same message rings true—that is, it’s okay to revisit old tactics, but only if you know they will be well-received by your target demographic Not all content is good content; therefore, if you have yet to identify what works and what doesn’t, I suggest you do. This may involve continually reviewing analytics in order to discover out what types of content (i.e. blogs, whitepapers, infographics) garnered the most views, clicks or downloads. Or, it may mean  paying attention to social media, as this is a great way to discover what people like and what they don’t. Whatever you do, however, do not cast Christoph Waltz as a Bond Villain and give him minimal screen time with a terrible back story.
  • Like what you do: If you don’t like the content that you’re putting out, chances are others won’t either. The same goes for Bond, as it became abundantly clear that Craig’s heart just wasn’t in it anymore. In my opinion, if Craig’s increasingly dull, stone-faced demeanor wasn’t proof of this enough, the British star was quoted saying “I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists,” when asked if he could imagine filming another Bond flick (TimeOut London). Be confident in the content that you put you there, and remember that this content is representing your brand.
  • Be clear and concise: To put it simply, I had no clue what was going on during the movie. You do not want your readers thinking or saying the same thing after consuming a piece of content you produce for your organization. Ensure your content is concise and easy to follow in order to engage and retain customers by planning content generation and distribution ahead of time. By organizing a fully baked, comprehensive content strategy, you will save yourself a lot of time and trouble. In doing so, you’ll know what you’re trying to say and, perhaps more importantly, why you’re saying it—that is, why this content uniquely plays into your overall marketing strategy. Additionally, in planning ahead, you won’t feel compelled to play catch up with content, which can lead to disjointed thoughts and an unclear message.

Unfortunately “Spectre” stole two and a half hours of my life, and contributed to the tarnishing of my favorite spy. However, you can ensure you don’t leave your customers feeling this way by keeping these three tips top of mind when it comes to your content marketing strategy. So, ready to get going?