Brisbane Digital Spotlight is a blog series that aims to shine light on the exceptional talent within the city’s digital community. With each post, I uncover a devoted individual within my network who I’ve recognised to be deeply engaged in the digital industry. Whether it be a Digital Marketer, a Developer, a Co-founder, a Project Manager, or even a Recruiter – my goal is to highlight the work these remarkable individuals do; day in, day out.
In this instalment, I had the pleasure of catching up with the Godfather of content marketing, Kurt Sanders. Kurt is the founder of The Content Division, and is the voice behind the Telltale podcast series. I’d met Kurt in a strategy session at my previous role and have been an avid follower ever since. His work has without a doubt been a large influence behind the content I self-produce, especially my podcast.
Tell me a little about your past work history. What led you into the digital space?
You know I found I had a passion for content marketing after I’d been inadvertently doing it for brands for a few years. I had been helping companies fine-tune their brand, voice, their touch points, and their content for a while and then I read a book called Youtility by Jay Baer, and it kind of helped me focus those efforts in a far more strategic way. I’m a journalist by trade so after about a decade in print and digital media, it was natural for me to move full-time into content strategy and execution for businesses.
Tell us about the exciting work you’re doing at The Content Division. What inspired the venture, and what’s the organisations main focus?
I have to be honest, I am highly motivated by not having a boss. And by that, it’s probably more about being able to embrace risk. A lot of organisations, and bosses or CEOs, still don’t understand that playing it safe in their marketing and communications tactics – and that includes banging on about themselves – is a big part of why their efforts fail. A lot of our clients share that belief so it works really well for us. We’re helping people fine-tune their voice and the way they speak to people. And our main focuses are strategy and building the communication assets so they can benefit from a data level and a brand/customer acquisition level. And it’s not just digital marketing. I generally distrust anyone who says digital is the only way to do things. We want to create different, engaging experiences no matter the medium. Our why is: “People’s attention needs to be treated with respect.” We keep that at the core of what we do.
You’ve recently released season 2 of the Telltale podcast. What’s the main focus of this season, and what can listeners expect?
Man, this has been so cool. Season 2 of the podcast is called Unfound Fears. It’s about plumbing the depths of anxiety, fear and stress, and figuring out why people let seemingly small things and risks scare them away from happiness. And I’m far from an expert on this, so I talk to people who have been through it and come out the other side both scarred and victorious. But the best thing is the conversation I’m having with the audience. They share their fears, anxiety and stress stories. I feel like we’re going through this awesome story together and it has really resonated, which is my main “metric” for this series – how many people are inspired to talk to me or others about what it might take for them to be happy?
Apart from Telltale, what are your favourite podcasts you listen to yourself?
I looooove Unthinkable with Jay Acunzo. He’s all about shunning the addiction to best practices and using your intuition, which is just cool as. I also love This Old Marketing with Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi, though it’s about to finish up. Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman is fascinating listening. Also S Town is just glorious. An amazing series. One to keep an ear on in the future is Make It, a podcast being launched by one of our staff here at The Content Division, Mark Mazzone. It’s about inspiring graduates and early career creative people to keep creating and make money doing it. It’s going to be killer.
What’s a content-driven campaign you’ve recently seen that’s really caught your attention?
I love The Wolf series from Hewlett Packard. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. I’m also a huge fan of The Betoota Advocate – if you want a lesson in social media audience engagement and monetisation you should study them.
As we approach 2018, what are your predictions for content marketing in the next year? Is there a particular style of content that’s hot? Is there a single platform driving better engagement through content than others?
Here’s a prediction: the agencies and marketers who keep banging on about content marketing and expect people to either know what it is or become their customers will be the first down the gurgler. I don’t know, that may be a bit harsh. What I do know is this: the brands that document their overall marketing strategy will have a higher chance of succeeding. If they identify within that strategy that there is an opportunity for content communications tactics – digital or otherwise – to help them build a high-value audience, much love to them. But it’s not necessarily cheap or easy. But if they then execute that content with the audience’s wants and needs as the core focus, they will succeed more than they fail.
What are some of your favourite things to do around sunny Brisbane when not at work?
I live on the northern bayside so I don’t stray far from there when I’m not working. I love my local watering holes – Mr Henderson, Cardigan Bar and The Full Moon Hotel – and my wife, my dog and I frequent them often. I also love shooting hoops…
In season 1 of the Telltale podcast, the little white lie segment was by far one of my favourites. But I’m dying to know what’s a little white lie you’ve told?
I’ve only just appreciated how difficult this question is right now. Ha! Look, I’m sliding towards middle age so there’s always a few little white lies told when you made plans a week ago to do something but you just have to bail lest ye miss out on bingeing the latest season of Stranger Things. I also have a blatant lie I’ve been living with daily for years but I’ll never tell anyone about that…
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I’m a twenty-two year old Digital Marketing & Conversions Specialist based in Brisbane, Australia. With a passion for all things digital and tech, I aim to connect and learn from as many like-minded digital enthusiasts as possible. If you have a passion for emerging technologies and digital practices, I’d love to connect and hear your story.