The buzz around Content Marketing World this year was high around one particular speaker. William Shatner, the thespian, performer, and all around storyteller, had the attendees positively giddy.

But it wasn’t just great Hollywood tales the Captain gave us. There were some wise tips for marketers – particularly content people – Mr. Shatner shared.

We couldn’t keep them to ourselves. So here are our 3 favorite content marketing tips from this living legend.

1. Curiosity is key to viral success.

Shatner praised the genius behind the organic success of “The Blair Witch Project.” In the early days of the movie, we all wanted to know what happened to these ambitious, lost kids. “The marketing campaign itself became a reason to see the movie.”

Curiosity, Shatner noted, was what drove people to theaters. We already knew the story was fiction, but we wanted to witness the viral campaign ourselves. This is a wise move for content marketers. We need to not only induce curiosity among our audience, but also need to be guided by our curiosity.

2. Sometimes you have to sacrifice yourself.

Shatner shared how he did a viral campaign for State Farm around home safety. So he filmed a video demonstrating his use of a turkey fryer…with flammable results.

The whole thing was staged, but Shatner said all the buzz revolved around “Stupid Shatner.” But it got buzz, delivered a great lesson about home safety around the holidays, and illustrated how State Farm can be an educational brand. The lesson here is that you can’t take yourself to seriously. Sometimes, you just have to sacrifice yourself for a great idea.

3. You don’t have to punch the consumer in the face.

Shatner informed us that he’s working on creating a new line of watches – called “Passages” – with the goal of connecting the consumer with the higher philosophical concept of time. He wants every time someone looks down at one of these watches to mark the passage of time. It’s an artful take where the marketing connects to deeper, broader theme.

“You don’t have to always hit them in the face,” Shatner said. Too often, while we’re looking for a gimmick, we miss the simple, elegant message in front of our face. Think about how you can connect to a bigger theme, backstory or issue behind your product.

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