Gary Vaynerchuk was born in the Belarus, arrived to the United States at the age of three and was not able to speak English at all.
Gary has many successful business projects on his hands. His entrepreneurial story started as the co-owner of a wine store in New Jersey. He gained fame as the video blogger host of Wine Library TV, a video site on the subject of wine that he ended in 2011, built his wine store into a multi-million dollar business and established his personal brand with TV appearances and speaking engagements around the world where he commands six-figure fees.
He did not stop there. He signed a seven-figure book deal and released several bestseller business books about marketing and social media including “Crush It”, “The Thank You Economy” and “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”. He also started an agency that helps other brands figure out and improve their digital strategies. That agency has more than 500 employees now.
I first wrote about Gary in 2009 to look at things that made him successful as he is and provide lessons that can be used by bloggers looking to create opportunities for themselves. Gary is still very relevant and constantly evolving even today. He’s very active on several social media platforms, publishes regular videos answering questions from his audience, and has launched a venture fund to invest in technology companies.
If Gary can achieve all the success that he has achieved, anyone can do it too and this is why his career is full of valuable marketing lessons for everyone. Let’s get started.
1. Focus on your passion and things you’re good at
Focus on what you love to do and what you do well. Find your passion and start creating content about it. By doing what you love, you will be more dedicated, more genuine and you will have more enthusiasm. Your readers and your viewers will notice this. Publishing great content will be easier. Sharing your knowledge and experience will be easier. Making the content unique, interesting and useful to your target group will be easier, as long as you do what you love.
Gary knows the power of passion and it really shows in the content that he is creating – be it when he was creating videos about wine, be it in his keynotes in front of thousands of people or in bestselling books for entrepreneurs. Just watch his #AskGaryVee show to see that passion shine through in every episode. He has recognized early on that his strengths are in his energy and motivational personality, hence majority of the content he creates are focused on that. He knows that he is not the best writer so his articles are transcribed and edited versions of video and audio recordings.
Your passion helps you stand out. Look inside, find where your raw energy comes from. Find what you are good at. Focus on it. Live it every day.
2. Put your face in front of people and build your own brand
Show your face, show your personality. The one and only thing that every blogger has that makes you unique is yourself. Don’t be a faceless corporation. Put your name and picture out there. Tell your story. Show people how your experience and knowledge makes it relevant for them and how you can help them out. Do not be afraid to be seen as different, or even eccentric. Being different or eccentric in a crowded world is the strength.
Gary Vaynerchuk is very hyperactive and has a very high energy level in his videos, his presentations and even in the way he ends up sounding in the written word. He is not shy. A lot of his social media output are selfie pictures of himself or him meeting other people. He is funny. He gesticulates constantly. He is very direct and doesn’t censor himself, which makes him very authentic and inspirational person to follow and learn from.
Many people love him, some can be shocked or offended, some people may even hate him, but not many are left without opinion or left being indifferent after consuming a piece of his content. His personality helps him get a reaction, grow a following and build his brand.
This is the reaction you want too. You don’t want your content to be ignored because it has no personality, no differentiation and value. Rather have some haters than only people that ignore you.
Think how you can put more of yourself and your personality in your content to make it more unique, engaging and useful.
3. Be available, interact and engage
“Answer every single email and every single comment on your blog for the rest of your freaking life”
Engagement is key to building relationships with visitors, customers and business partners. Make it easy for your audience to reach you. Don’t just tweet but actually be available on your Twitter account. Listen to what your readers, viewers and fans are saying to you. Interact with your audience. Show your appreciation by answering comments, e-mails and tweets you get. It’s not an easy job and it can take a lot of your time depending on how many relationships you have, but it is worth it in the long run.
Gary spends a lot of time daily interacting with people via email, Twitter and in other forums. Many times he has asked the “Is there anything I can do for you?” question and actually delivered on it. He even stopped by this post in its original edition for a quick comment. He might not respond to every comment or tweet anymore but he still responds to as many as possible. Just look at his Twitter account. Majority of tweets he sends are replies to people who asked him a question. He even posts a lot of video responses. For him this one-on-one interaction matters and has a great return on investment.
“I head to Twitter, my No. 1 outlet for communication with the public. I search my handle and try to find anything I might have missed from the night before, or even that morning, considering my European and Asian bases. I respond to as many people as possible. Twitter is becoming a listening platform; there is such a volume of information on the platform now that you need to pay attention and listen more than you tweet out. So I spend a significant amount of my morning responding to people and starting conversations.” Source.
By being a part of the conversation and by connecting and listening to your audience, you are a part of the dialog and you are making your customers part of a greater community. You build fans one by one. You show that you care, you give your customers someone they can trust, you build and lead your tribe.
— Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) March 23, 2015
4. Constantly pump out new and valuable content
“Pump out content – if you don’t produce something every day you’ll be out hustled. The more content I can put out, the more luck I have. You have to get into the content game. You have to force yourself to make more videos, write more posts.”
Creating relevant quality content regularly builds trust and dependability and gives readers and viewers a reason to subscribe to you, become loyal followers and check back often. Providing value and good information through content is a great way to acquire real fans and a loyal following.
It’s not about any content though. You do need to focus on the end user, their needs and wants and not on yourself and what you like and want. Your main goal might be to sell your product or get pre-orders of your new book but people don’t want that and especially not if you don’t have a preexisting relationship with them. You need to make your content more interesting to the audience and get them closer to you. This gives you a higher chance of getting them as a customer down the line.
Gary Vaynerchuk has remained dedicated and very consistent in producing content and recording videos every week for many years now. Just look at his Twitter and Facebook feeds. Check out new videos he posts all the time on YouTube. His articles on LinkedIn, Medium and other platforms. Plus his own blog. On top of all of this he has also done a large number of speaking engagements all around the world and he keeps being able to come up with new bestselling book ideas every couple of years.
To help him continue being so productive he has people helping him film and edit videos and pretty-up his words but this should not be an excuse for you. With a bit of planning and focus on actionable tasks, you can be a prolific blogger even without a team of helpers. Here’s how you too can create great, quality content that fills needs people have. And these are things you can change in your working day to become a more prolific content producer.
5. Keep evolving and go where your audience is
You need to constantly find novel ways to gain attention from an audience that has so many different options for how they can spend their time. Just because one strategy used to work for you doesn’t mean that it will continue to do so. You need to be aware of this, constantly track and analyse your performance, and don’t be afraid to actually stop doing something that no longer works and to move on. To stand out and to differentiate yourself in a blogging world that is saturated with text for example, you can expand by using videos, podcasting, infographics and imagery for content and message delivery.
Vaynerchuk leveraged modern technology to reach young wine audience. His videos caught the attention of a demographic new to wine, at the time when none of competitors cared about Internet, video blogging or social media. He kept evolving by going into speaking engagements, starting a media agency and more recently a venture fund. He is always on the lookout for new platforms and was very quick to jump on the Snapchat and Meerkat trains, publishing content using these platforms and building an audience. The fact that he may have invested in these companies should not distract from the point that he was there early on before his competitors using that to his advantage.
It’s not about where things are going to be in 5 years, and it’s definitely not about how we’ve always done it. Do what works. Right now.
6. Toot your own horn and spread the word
“Content is king but marketing is queen and the queen runs the household”
Many bloggers just publish a post and wait for visitors and subscribers to be handed to them on a silver platter. That is too passive. You can’t sit around waiting for people to find your content, you need to find them, help them out, show them the value you create and win them one by one. Be proactive. Go and spread the word about your content every time you publish something new. Be on the lookout for news and events that you can use to get attention to yourself. Act quickly with clever, interesting and timely content.
Gary is a master of marketing. He is great at self-promotion. He is always on. He is creative and imaginative in the way he promotes himself and his projects. He uses most of the popular platforms where people spend their time and creates native, micro-content pieces for those platforms that fit with the way people use the platforms. Then he integrates and interlinks pieces of content from all these different platforms into his more long-form articles to boost the value of each individual profile.
It’s not easy but you need to get comfortable with tooting your own horn. Your need to do it to get attention in this noisy world. For me personally a content marketing routine helps me get my content to more people. It is a set of actions I take after publishing each and every new piece of content. It’s a routine you should consider for yourself too.
7. Be strategic: Give, give, give and then sell
You have a goal and a reason for having a website and for attracting visitors and building a following. It is tempting to go the most direct route to achieving that goal. Sending tweets to your product landing page. Asking people to buy your services. Many bloggers and companies start this way, get no results and discover that they are ignored. The more effective way of selling and achieving your goals is to build relationships and trust by providing a lot of great content first and then use that to sell something later on. After creating value, don’t be afraid to push a sales message once in a while, it is necessary for you to make your goals and needs.
Gary gives a lot to his audience, but he is not afraid to ask too. There is a strategy behind publishing all that content all the time and spending so much time on engaging people on a one-to-one basis. Exactly as his book title goes “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”, he first provides a lot of value (jab) but then he also asks you to do something for him (hook). If you follow Gary you have surely noticed how very upfront he is with asking people to follow him, subscribe to him or watch his latest video. He will also ask you directly to order and buy his new book.
“I have an audience that trusts me. It’s about building a global brand—not selling four more bottles of Pinot Grigio. A funny thing happens when you give value up front. You guilt people into buying stuff.”
8. Take action and start hustling right now
Gary will be the first one to tell you this. Reading all the advice, the books he has written, attending conferences and listening to talks, all this is not enough to make you a success. You need to take massive action and you need to do it starting right now. All this reading is fine but it will not get you closer to where you want to be. Having a fancy studio and camera equipment will not get a viewership for your videos either. It’s about the core message, the core content. You need to start providing great value right now and start building a loyal audience one person at a time right now. Every minute you wait by thinking or planning or waiting for a more appropriate time, is a minute wasted that you will not get back.
“Stop crying and just keep hustling. Hustle is the most important word ever. I wake up at 6 a.m. Literally. Every day. For me, every minute counts, so my schedule is planned down to the second.”
A photo posted by Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) on
I hope these lessons from Gary Vaynerchuk’s career are inspirational and motivational to you, that they help you get a better and more ambitious mindset, and that you get closer to reaching your goals, increasing your website traffic and building your own blogging empire too. Start hustling now and all the best!