Geoffrey Klein: The Content Beast

On episode #233 of The Author Factor Podcast, I am having a conversation with nonfiction book author Geoffrey Klein. Bridging the worlds of film, law, and marketing, Geoffrey is a TEDx speaker, visual content expert, and author of the book, The Content Beast: Create Story Driven Content to Connect with Your Audience.

Geoffrey Klein and Mike Capuzzi

Geoffrey Klein’s book is a must-read for its strategic approach to content marketing. It provides practical tips and strategies to use the power of story to create consistent and valuable content that connects with your audience.

Geoffrey Klein shares his Author Factor

Unlocking the Author Factor: This Episode's Big Takeaway

The key author factor from this episode is the significance of creating story-driven content to effectively engage and connect with your audience. Geoffrey Klein emphasizes the value of storytelling in overcoming the challenges posed by information overload ("infobesity") and short attention spans. He also highlights the importance of knowing your audience and being relatable, rather than just asserting authority. These principles are intricately discussed in his book, "The Content Beast," as a guide for business owners and marketers to produce meaningful and impactful content.

Learn more about Geoffrey Klein by visiting:


Mike Capuzzi: Welcome back to another insightful episode of The Author Factor Podcast. My guest today is Geoffrey Klein, aka Mr. Purple, a TEDx speaker, adjunct professor, visual content wizard, and the brain behind the book, The Content Beast: Create Story Driven Content to Connect with Your Audience. As president and CEO of the visual content company nine dots, Geoffrey revolutionizes how we engage with stories, blending his film industry insights with cutting edge visual storytelling. Geoffrey, welcome to the show.


Geoffrey Klein: Thanks, Mike. It's great to be here.


Mike Capuzzi: Geoffrey, you've got a very interesting background. I was kind of reading your bio and checking you out. Why don't you share with our listeners a little bit of that background and then bring yourself up to today what you're doing and how you serve your clients.


Geoffrey Klein: Sure. Yeah. I have a nonlinear path. I like to tell people. So when I graduated with a degree in English and sociology, I always joke it prepared me for nothing. So I was very fortunate. My first boss was a marketing genius named Seth Godin. And so I was working in New York.


Geoffrey Klein: He had a popular reference book company at the time, and I was working on People magazine's entertainment almanac, sort of foreshadowing I was going to work in the film industry. Seth is a genius. Deserves all the credit for the amazing work he does. But I was not really ready for him. To be fair, I was. And I really had my eye set on working in the movie business. So what do I do? I applied to law school. So even though I wanted to go into the film, I wasn't ready to move to California.


Geoffrey Klein: So I came back to Philadelphia. I started at Temple University's law school. And after two years, people joke I was a law school dropout because I moved to LA. I did finish my credits. I have a law degree that I've never used. And I started working in film industry first. My first job was in the story department at a town agency, reading a lot of really bad scripts. And then I went to work for the president of production, first at Paramount and then MGM and then our production company.


Geoffrey Klein: And I got to see how movies got made and worked on some amazing films and some not so amazing films and was living the dream. But then I, the real dream happened, I met and fell in love with my current wife of 20 years. We got married back actually here in Philadelphia. And then I lived, we moved to Manchester, England, where I lived for ten years and went into real estate, not because it was kind of the family business on that side and was not fulfilled by that and was like, I need to get back to doing something more creative. And so I ended up working for a design agency that did brand and logos and websites. And I'm like, oh, this marketing thing, it's kind of now makes sense. Right and left brain coming together. I did that for two and a half years and then we came back to Philly to test it out for a year when my kids were young and decided to stay.


Geoffrey Klein: At the time, I'm like, well, maybe I should find a job here. So I was fortunate. I looked at a bunch of different agencies and I worked for a brand marketing agency that kind of did full service but with a real focus on brand. And for them, brand is what kind of makes you different, what makes you stand out and worked with some incredible people. And then having been my own boss, I kind of wanted to do my own thing at some point. And so I started nine dots. And when I started, I kind of said, what do you need? And so I've done a little bit of everything from social media, logo, website, and a whole bunch of digital marketing. And what I recognized is that when I really going back to my kind of roots of enjoying telling stories, enjoying working on narratives, the scripts, all those kinds of things, was that was the part of kind of brand story that kind of appealed to me and in particular visual stories.


Geoffrey Klein: So I started focusing my business on both live video and animated video as a producer. So I'm not an animator. People say, oh, you do animation? How do you do that? I'm like, I don't know. I have a team that's very talented, but I've always been a writer and an idea guy. And so I wrote a lot of scripts and always, you know, I was, I've written a couple screenplays that are mediocre at best, unfortunately. And, you know, I wrote has always been something I've been interested in pursuing from a creative perspective. Then I decided I really, I presented all the time in a lot of my capacities and wanted to kind of leverage and really develop as a speaker. And so I started to do that.


Geoffrey Klein: I did a TEDx and I've started now speaking at conferences. And there is, so the book was kind of itching that would help leverage get me on more stages, which is kind of part of the catalyst for getting the book done. And then I was like, okay, well, I don't want to just write a book. I'll make sure it's something that's worth reading. And so I was looking at some of the things that I talk about, and in my presentations, I would often share with people because I consider myself a content marketer more than anything else. And so when I was considering what would I write a book on, I was looking at, you know, I say to clients and organizations, you know, you need to feed the beast, the content beast. He's always hungry. And so that's kind of like the content beast.


Geoffrey Klein: I kind of like the sound of that. And so that's kind of how the book started. And I wrote it fairly quickly, both by design and by just, I'm a fast writer. So what it happened was I was looking at a couple speaking engagements, and I mentioned, oh, and I'm writing a book because I thought that would kind of help steal the deal. And it did. And they said, oh, will the book be done by the conference? And this was probably six, seven months before. And I said, sure. I was about halfway through the book, so it's nothing to motivate you like a deadline.


Geoffrey Klein: So I had a good outline and started writing, and then, so I just kept kind of making sure I went through it. And, yeah, and so the, one of the great things about speaking with a book is often they'll want to buy the book. So while I included some in kind of my speaker fee, they ended up buying additional books. So everyone at the conference had a copy, which was pretty cool when you give keynote and they're holding the book in their hands. Yeah. So now I speak. I'm already working on my next book, and it really did solidify and clarify a lot of things, I believe, about how we deal with content and how to kind of approach it. You know, I tell everyone, you need to feed the beast.


Geoffrey Klein: And so the book is broken into four parts, why you need to feed the bees, who you're really feeding, what to feed them, and how to do it. And so with a bunch of stories, inner tweet, you know, inner woven with it, because I think that's the best way to share any kind of messages through a story. And so it's really a practical guide that has a lot of kind of tangible things you can take away, but also kind of trying to share some of the fundamental things about creating content, sharing content, knowing your audience, is that it?


Mike Capuzzi: That's amazing. I mean, so I still want to go way, way back to hear about Seth Godin. So you. I like cat.


Geoffrey Klein: I'm going to see him in a couple weeks.


Mike Capuzzi: Actually, just as an aside, his purple cow was a very important book to me for creating our book publishing company. So, I mean, did you literally work for him or.


Geoffrey Klein: Oh, yeah. So when I worked, it was a, you know, he had a company. I actually. So I was living in New York City and reverse commuting up to his office in Westchester, New York. Yeah, it was, you know, there's probably less than ten of us in the office, and I was working him very closely, and I've maintained in touch with him over the years and he's become an icon. But he's a really nice guy and he's brilliant. He really is just brilliant. At one point, I used to joke that I was following his blog and I was getting annoyed because I'd read it and go, damn, he's right again.


Geoffrey Klein: Like, you know, but I do kind of try to emulate something about Seth. He does really well, which is he takes things that are complex and very kind of cerebral and makes them digestible for us, you know, mere mortals. And I think that's something that's really powerful.


Mike Capuzzi: Well, I think he's also not to spend too much time on Seth, but I think what was so cool about him, because I'm a direct marketing guy, you know, what I appreciate from him is his ability to come up with unique ways to describe his concept. So the purple cow is a great example, right? I just think it's, you know, meatball Sunday, you know, all these different ways. But anyway, very cool. Let's go back to you for a second. The other thing, before we focus on the book, tell me about Mister Purple. Like, who's that?


Geoffrey Klein: What's the point? When you mentioned, when you mentioned purple cow, I'm like, I told Seth the title. No, I'm kidding. I didn't have anything to do with that. It just happens that it. So I wear purple every day. My phone case is purple. My brand colors are purple. My watch band is purple.


Geoffrey Klein: My shoes are purple. So my glasses are purple. So I have leaned in pretty hard into that brand color to the point that when I play basketball, people call me professor plum or grimace or. But a lot of people when I network, see me, and say, oh, there's Mister Purple. So it's a designation that people have gotten to know because how consistent I've been with it. And so whenever I talk about personal branding, it's an example of, like, people know me as Mister Purple. People know, oh, that's mister. That's the purple guy.


Geoffrey Klein: And it's something that I embrace because I happen to love purple and it's meaningful to me. You know, people ask me, why? Why purple? Like, why did I decide? And there's two real reasons. One is that it was my late mother's favorite color, so it's a way of honoring her. It's my favorite color. It happens to be my alma mater's color. I went to Amherst College, and then I married a British woman. And it's the color of nobility. So it's my way of honoring the monarchy.


Geoffrey Klein: But, yeah, to me, it's distinctive and creative. And so for all those reasons, I. But I've gone all in.


Mike Capuzzi: Let me go down that for a moment. And again, it's not relative to your book, but it kind of is. That's what you're doing there, Geoffrey, which is a purple cow, by the way, no pun intended. But a couple of things you shared that I think are very insightful. So the listeners of this show are business owners, entrepreneurs, corporate leaders. And it's always about, we want to help people stand out by publishing a book. Right. Write a book.


Mike Capuzzi: But what you're sharing there, I think, is so critical. I mean, I'm sitting here listening to you going, darn, he's, you know, you're right. Like a. You did it right. You just, you drew a line in the sand and said, I'm owning this. But more importantly, you're living it. Like, you're being consistent. And I think that's a lot of people, that's where they fall.


Mike Capuzzi: Right? The COVID So, you know, that's where they fall down. They'll start strong, and then all of a sudden, you know, okay, now I'm wearing blue, and then whatever. So kudos to really exemplifying what it means, in my opinion, to not only develop, but own a brand.


Geoffrey Klein: Yeah, it's something. And I think the issue for me is it's gone the opposite way. Instead of it kind of fizzling out, I've got more and more. Like, I go shopping. Shopping is really easy. I go to a store and I just scan for purple, and it makes it really easy. Like, no, no purple here. Thanks for planning.


Geoffrey Klein: I go to the next store. But, yeah, it's, you know, it's fun. And I think, you know, being in the marketing, I think, you know, you want to have something, but it is something. I own it. You know, I go into any room and people can see the distinction of me because I'm always consistent. And I think that's whatever your brand's about, that consistency is so important, and therefore it's, it's definitely something that I think is people need to embrace maybe not quite as much as maybe we.


Mike Capuzzi: Just worked with a gentleman who published a book through us, and he works in the information technology space, so pretty dry stuff. But he's the founder of his company and he's essentially a consultant. But he always, whenever he's in public and he's speaking at events or attending events, industry events, he's in this super canary yellow jacket, and you'll never see him, not in that. It's just become his brand. And it's something so simple. David Ogilvy, who I'm sure you know of from the last century, was, you know, wrote about this for years and years about the importance. I mean, you know, he had that one famous ad that he directed where the guy had the eyepatch, the shirt Hathaway shirt company, and the eye patch. And there's all these, I love this stuff.


Mike Capuzzi: So, but let's get back to you and the content beast. So for our audience, just go a little bit deeper. I know most people nowadays understand what content marketing is, but tell us a little bit more, Geoffrey, in your opinion, knowing that you're right now talking to small, medium business owners from corporate folks, what is the content beast? What is that relative to them?


Geoffrey Klein: Yeah, I think part of is that, you know, I always say, who's always hungry? The content piece. And we are challenged as society and as marketers, business owners, in terms of marketing, because we're suffering from what I call infobesity, you know, information overload. I love that word more than anything. I wish I had come up with it. I didn't, but I love it. I've owned it despite the fact that I didn't come up. You know, we are bombarded with information all day, every day. And so it's really hard to cut through that noise.


Geoffrey Klein: And so understanding that from a content perspective, okay, you need to understand a, there's a lot out there. The volume is ridiculous. What can you do to make sure you reach the right people? And then the second problem we have is that we have short attention spans. So, you know, we're looking for sound bites. We're looking for people are easily, you know, we live in a distracted world. Our phones are on binging and making noises all the time. So how do you deal with those two big problems? And so for me, the answer is always the same, which is story. So content marketing is the content creator, and that's why the sub header is create story driven content.


Geoffrey Klein: Because I used to do a keynote on the science of story, which explains how our brains are wired for story and how when we hear a story, our brains activate differently. And it's what helps build that emotional connection that marketers are always talking about. And so for me, the need to feed the beast, there's the clear reason why, is because we're in an incredible time of creative, of creating content constantly. Everyone's doing it, and so a lot of people will be overwhelmed by it. And so part of the reason of the content is to say, okay, slow down. There's a playbook on how to do it so that you don't go insane and your head doesn't explode, which it could easily do with the challenge, like how do to do that? And that gets to the second part, which, who are you really feeding? And I think it's about, if I was going to say, you only got one thing out of my book, the whole book, it would be know your audience. So I created this thing called the 11th Commandment, know thy audience. And I think that is the most critical thing in any kind of marketing, because you can have the best creative, but if you're sharing with the wrong people, it is a waste.


Geoffrey Klein: And you can have, you know, if you don't understand what matters to your audience, they're not going to be interested in you. And I love there's a quote, you know, no one, no one cares about what you know until they know you care. And so how in your content are you showing your audience that you care? So first, it's about understanding who they are, you know? And so whether you do buyer Personas or just think about what do you know about your audience, you know, and you can, there's lots of data now, and I would suggest you go and look at it. Who are the people buying from you? And who are the people that continue to be fans of yours, those loyal people who keep buying? What do we know about them? What's attracting them? What do they care about? What are their pain points, all those things, and then develop content around that that is connected to what you do. I'm a big fan of Simon Sinek. And Start with Why. People want to, again, know why you're doing what you're doing. And again, if it's about, it has to be in service of the people that you're helping. So the more you know about them, the easier it will be to create content, and again, I would say story driven content to connect with them.


Geoffrey Klein: And it's. I've been sharing a distinction that a fellow speaker, James Rumbalata, has shared. And again, this is one of those expressions I wish I had come up with, but I have to give him credit because I know him and I like him. You know, when do you think about authors? You know, a lot of what they're trying to do is assert their authority. You know, author authority. And I'm sure you deal. That's one of the reasons you write a book, is to show your authority. And as a speaker, you know, that's one of the things we feel like we have to do.


Geoffrey Klein: We have to prove ourselves. And I think that businesses in general feel that pressure. Like, oh, I have to prove that. You know, I have. And yes, you can't have a crap product or service. But as James says, I think it's much more important not to be credible, but to be relatable. And I think businesses try too hard to say, we won this award. Nobody cares about any of that.


Geoffrey Klein: They want to care that, you know, what's in it for me. And so therefore, being relatable is the answer. And that's why I think story content is so powerful, because it's a way that you can relate to people by telling a story. If I tell a story about when I was a kid and my parents went away, we've all had experiences that are similar, so we can relate to what you're talking about. And therefore, that's the way you're going to make the connection, which is the ultimate way you want to try and build that relationship with your audience, to make them your customer.


Mike Capuzzi: A lot of folks that listen to this podcast, they're marketing oriented business owners. Who is your book ideally for? Is it for agency owners? Is it for solopreneurs? Like, who did you write this book for? Speaking of your audience, right?


Geoffrey Klein: Yeah, yeah. Again, just before I answer that because the answer could be everybody. Everyone needs to create content. And I say, when I say to clients, who's your audience? And they say, everybody, anybody? I'm like, well, good luck marketing to them, because unless you have a huge budget, your message will be too spread out and you won't reach anybody. For me, there's two audiences from out there. One is the kind of the business owner. So someone who may not have a marketing department, but still has to create content and still has to think about how they share their message. So if you're looking to stand it out.


Geoffrey Klein: You're looking to be that purple cow. How do you consistently create that content? And so I give you the playbook so that you can do it yourself. The second audience are people in the marketing space. So whether it's a director of marketing or the CMO or one of their underlings, because the CMO’s usually have a pretty good idea. But not only. You'd be surprised that in some organizations, the CMO title can mean something different than what we'd expect. So, yeah, it's for anyone who's responsible for developing content, because if you're developing content, you're frustrated by, oh, my God, I have to create content. I have this, you know, often need to feed the beast.


Geoffrey Klein: This is supposed to help you, to get you organized, to have a strategy behind it, to have some, you know, understanding of, because everyone can create content, but not everyone create content that is consistent, relevant, and valuable to their audience in a consistent way. And that's. That's the real, I think, challenge that I'm trying to solve for.


Mike Capuzzi: And I noticed because you sent me a digital copy, I just paged through it because it looks like the kind of book I would want to read. But I also. I just happened to land on the. I was going through your table of contents and saw that word perfection, right? So I saw that. I'm like, oh, my gosh, that is the. That is my Achilles heel. That is my. And I don't want to spend time talking about it, but, like, I read through it, like, okay.


Mike Capuzzi: And I know about it.


Geoffrey Klein: We all. We all want to put up good content. You know, I think. I think. But the issue becomes when you. You are stopped from doing it because you don't feel like it's perfect. And that's why I call it the perfection trap, and I promote what I call imperfect action. You know, it doesn't have to be perfect, and there is no perfect, by the way.


Geoffrey Klein: You can always iterate. So sometimes good enough is good enough. And obviously, I believe, you know, I want all my content to be excellent. But there's a difference between excellent and perfect. And I think that's the gap where people get stuck, is it's really good content. Like, well, maybe I could just tweak it a little bit more. And I'm like, you know, it's not quite ready. And I joke about that.


Geoffrey Klein: I think in the book, I'm like, I could have kept working. This book could have been, you know, this book is not perfect, but it's out there, and it's being you know, people are consuming it and able to use it. And that's the part that matters. I think, again, don't keep your genius locked away because you don't want people to know about it and recognize, you know, you have opportunities to improve as you go, you know, so even if you put out something, and I wish I had done this, there'll be another chance. You know, it's. That's the good news. There's always, there's always another chance to reach your audience. And I think much more important than perfect is authentic.


Mike Capuzzi: I used to know only because we're quasi local to each other for six years, and then I actually ended up selling it. But I used to run a marketing group where we would come together once a month. I did it. I rented a room from West Chester University and I'd get 50-60 people every month. And, you know, I am definitely not the, and I've spoken on stage, I've hundreds of webinars, Philly accent, you know, definitely not the best speaker. And I would, it really messed with my head for a long time. But then I kept hearing over and over again why my group grew so big was because the word I kept coming back was authentic, because I wasn't trying to be the best speaker.


Mike Capuzzi: So to your point, Geoffrey, it is so key for business owners to hear that. I would love, I've got to watch my time here. I would love to hear, talk more about visual storytelling because I think that's an important thing. But I want to get back and wrap up with, you published the book last year. So you're a relatively new first time author.


Geoffrey Klein: Late last year. I mean, officially it didn't come out till January. Right.


Mike Capuzzi: Okay, so really, really fresh. So congratulations on it. Definitely. Everyone check it out, because we all have to do marketing, but I'd love to hear, Geoffrey, and I'm definitely interested, given your background in Hollywood and all that you've done. This is a new chapter in your life, no pun intended. What has it meant to you so far? To be a published book author.


Geoffrey Klein: To be a published book author is very meaningful to me. I think part of the reason is a lot of people talk about writing a book. I talked about writing a book for years. And the difference between talking about it and being able to hold it in your hand is special. And I think I commend anyone who, I think there's an element of bravery and putting yourself out there, because now people can say, oh, I don't agree.


Mike Capuzzi: With that, especially if it's on Amazon.


Geoffrey Klein: There's a personal significance to me as a writer to have put something together that I'm proud of that I think can help people. You know, and the feedback has been that it is helping people, you know, when I speak and people have said, oh, and I really like your book. And I really using some of the things I learned in it, that's why I did it, you know, I'm not looking to, you know, make, I'm not making tons of, you know, millions of dollars on my book yet, you know, but it's, it's about having something that I thought was worthwhile sharing and putting it together in a way that I think will be easier for people to digest. I mean, one thing is I look at the comments and I like the fact that people continually say it's an easy read, it's valuable takeaways, things that they can use, because it was meant to be that way. And I always joke, I said it was fun to write, so hopefully it'll be fun to read. And it's gotten the main catalyst for writing the book was to get on more speaking stages. But the main benefit I've found is the fulfillment of having something out there in the world that I'm proud of that I think helps people.


Mike Capuzzi: And I love that. I've never heard anyone say that that's a writer downer. It was fun to write, therefore I hope it's fun to read. And that goes to that authenticity and all that that comes through. So very good. Well, Geoffrey, thank you very much. How can our listeners learn more about you? Nine dots. Where's the best place to get your book?


Geoffrey Klein: The best place to get my book is probably Amazon, although I've created a kind of, uh, landing page. So if you go to the content piece co. That has a way to link to, and also there's a bunch of bonus material that you can download, and that's where you would register it once you bought the book so that you get an email with all the goodies, as people say. I'm, you know, nine dots media is my website. GG Klein is my speaker website. I'm on LinkedIn and all the usual places, Instagram, et cetera. And then, i read all my emails. So that's the easiest place to find out more.


Geoffrey Klein: And I'm always up for conversation with someone. I believe in the power of communicating and connecting, and so that's why I love doing these things with people, to share my perspective. I'll leave you with a thought, which is, I always go people. You know, I. I'm a teacher and I have students, and I meet lots of young people. And I say, my advice and $5 will get you a latte at Starbucks. So take it for what it's worth.


Mike Capuzzi: Very good. Well, Geoffrey, thank you very much for your time today. I appreciate it.


Geoffrey Klein: Thank you, Mike. It's been a pleasure.