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Content marketing lessons from Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary Vaynerchuk is an inspiring example of how entrepreneurship can take people to some wildly unexpected places in life. Gary’s first job out of college was helping to manage his family’s small business – a liquor store in New Jersey – when he decided on a whim to start promoting the business by making YouTube videos about wine tasting. Over time, Gary’s “Wine Library” YouTube series became a big hit and made him an Internet celebrity as a hip young voice in the wine world, and he parlayed that experience into late night TV appearances and a new career as a social media guru and venture capital investor (Gary was an early investor in Twitter and Uber).
Gary responds to hundreds of e-mails and tweets per day, and tries to answer questions from everyday people who are following him online. He tries to make his brand as personal and intimate as possible, even if it’s not “scalable” in the traditional sense – but as a result, Gary has built up a devoted following and is a widely respected voice in the venture capital, social media and technology worlds. He was named to Fortune’s 40 Under 40 and has proclaimed that his lifelong goal is to one day own the New York Jets (his favorite NFL team).
There are a few content marketing lessons from Gary Vaynerchuk’s career that other startup leaders can follow:
Gary is 100% in-your-face real and authentically human in everything he does with his content marketing – even if it means using profanity or unprofessional language. You feel like you know him in real life just from watching his videos or reading his blog posts.
Gary Vaynerchuk often advises young people and would-be entrepreneurs to do what they’re passionate about – even if it means taking a big leap of faith like quitting a steady job or dropping out of business school to go pursue their startup idea. In a world of short attention spans, people respond to passion. Your content marketing should be bold and passionate – have a point of view and defend it; don’t make mealy-mouthed obvious statements. Try to make a difference with what you’re sharing with your content. Try to offer content that commands attention and demands the viewer/reader to take decisive action.
Gary is relentless about learning and trying new things – but all with a humble spirit and boundless entrepreneurial energy. In this keynote speech he gave at USC Business School, Gary talks about how he was not a good student in college, but he was 100% committed to being an entrepreneur, and he’s taught himself how to do so many of the great things he’s done as a business person. He’s continued to climb the value chain and has gone from successful small business owner to employer of 500 people at Vayner Media to an angel investor helping the next generation of startups get off the ground. Just like Gary, your content marketing should show a big ambition and a sense of growth and learning over time.
Content marketing is constantly changing as people adapt to new platforms and new ways of delivering content – but one person to watch, regardless of where the future of content marketing goes, is Gary Vaynerchuk. He has an exceptional ability to spot future trends and keep building his brand in a highly real, relatable and personal way. There are lessons here for every entrepreneur.