“You’re All Media Companies” A reply to Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee)

Gary Vaynerchuk is brilliant.


Gary wrote a great article on LinkedIn challenging business to stop acting like advertisers and start telling stories.  I like it Gary. Adapt or die. Publish or Perish.  I liked the article so much I began typing a comment into LinkedIn.  My comment became longer than LinkedIn will allow so I’ve turned it into this blog post.

In the rest of this article, I’ve listed 4 big insights I’ve learned from you (Gary) about creating content.


1. Your unique “voice” took time to develop

2. Content travels

3. Advertising is rarely interesting

4. Own your voice


Thanks Gary. You continuously inspire me.


Relevance more than content


If you’ve not read Gary’s post on LinkedIn, he makes a strong case for creating content relevant to your audience. Content itself is not the answer. There are plenty of shitty content factories out there that produce a lot of content. But content does not equal attention. Halloween III – X (I don’t know anyone whose seen them), @InternetRadio (3.1 million tweets, only 843 followers) and @acmc_clock_euro (3.5 million tweets, only 143 followers)  are great examples that prove content itself doesn’t get attention.

Therefore, the formula to we all should keep in mind is:


Content + Relevance = Attention


My top 4 insights about Gary’s attention-getting content


I’ve studied the Gary’s Wine Library TV content strategy for a few years. Here’s 4 insights worth your attention.

1. Gary’s unique “voice” took time to develop.

I love asking clients and students to compare where you started to where you ended. Have a quick look at Gary in episode 2 then compare his style, confidence, tone, approach and production to episode 992.

Episode #2


Episode #992


I love using this example because it so easy to see how much Gary transformed over those 990 episodes. Brands, companies and people have too much pride. To get into media, you’ll have to make mistakes. There is no such thing as perfect, but there is improvement. Be accountable to a content production schedule and not let fear of imperfections freeze you up. Everybody starts somewhere.


2. Content travels

This idea hit me like a Mike Tyson punch.

I can watch your videos at on my TV, on my computer, on my phone or on my tablet. I can just as easily listen to podcasts, read articles or look at graphics/photos/images on any screen. As Mitch Joel might say, the most important screen is the one in front of you. Consumers care less and less where the content came from.

So long as content is social (digital and sharable), it’s easy to consume on any screen. The important thing is that the content is interesting to your intended audience. If your brand’s content is interesting to your users, the content will travel. This is becoming ever more important as smart TVs become the mainstream and content streams through the internet. The future (of TV) ain’t what it used to be.

What makes House of Cards a TV show? It’s produced and delivered by Netflix and accessible on any screen. By traditional definitions, that’s not TV. That’s content from Netflix. Similarly, what’s the difference between content like The Office that I watch on my tablet or a YouTube video from RedBull that I watch on my TV?

The old mental models that defined TV, print or radio don’t matter anymore. Content is content. It travels to those who want it.

Is House of Cards on Netflix TV?
Is House of Cards on Netflix TV?


3. Advertising is rarely interesting

The biggest mistake I’ve seen companies make with content marketing is using their platforms (blog, Twitter, Facebook etc) to advertise exclusively. Gary’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook metaphor is a great formula for every brand.

Give value, give value, give value, ask.

When companies only advertise, they’ve chosen to narrowly focus on low hanging fruit (customers in the market today) who quickly commoditize undifferentiated offers.

Instead of thinking like an advertiser, brands should think like the broadcaster.

Think about it. Broadcasters own the audience. Advertisers rent an audience.  Advertisers pay rent to broadcasters 30 seconds or 1 page at a time to temporarily create a little noise. While traditional advertising is an important part of the total marketing mix, it’s ridiculous to limit yourself to those tactics (right hooks) when you’re trying to build up your own audience.

Think like a broadcaster, give value first and you’ll begin to attract attention.


4. Own your voice

When your company adapts to use its “owned media”, you effectively control your voice.

Compared to Earned (word of mouth, online reviews) or Paid media (TV, Print, Radio, Adwords), your company’s Owned media (website, blog, social networks, staff, store) is the only place where you can completely control your story and message.  You can say what you want, when you want and in the way that you want. Blogs, social channels, company website and employees are the most important mediums for any company precisely because the company OWNS them.


Was this relevant to you?

Who else does a great job at being a relevant media company?




    1. That’s awesome:) FYI – I’m sending it out a few more times today. Your original post was right on the mark. Thanks:)

  1. Marc, great post. I love the analysis of comparing early episodes to later ones. Any advice on how to find your own voice?

    Thanks for the info.
    Alex Lipinsky

    1. Hi Alex,

      I do have some advice. Practice.

      A couple years ago I watched a video of BB King talking about how he came up with that distinctive sound of his. He said he’d sit in a room and practice picking one string then vibrating the it to hit the type of sound he was looking for. He’d practice that same thing for hours and hours every single day.

      In a way, it’s very similar to Gary. His 1000 videos didn’t happen at once. He made those over a period of 4 years and spent 1000s of hours practicing.

      The best advice I can give you is to forget about being perfect just start. Then learn from yourself and do it all over again. Try writing, recording, speaking or what ever it is that you want to do for 30 days straight.

      1. Great answer. I’m working on it! Trying to blog and reach out to as many people as I can on twitter. I need to start doing video or audio.

        Keep up the great work, I’ll be following along on the blog.

        1. Thanks Alex. I’ve really enjoyed interviewing people. I use skype with skype recorder then convert those into audio files for my podcasts.

          Let me know how it goes and don’t hesitate to holler. I’d love to help if I can.

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