Today, Gary Vaynerchuk starts “tripling down” on content – because “doubling down” doesn’t begin to describe how important he thinks it is. The social media expert is relaunching his blog today. Why? “The more content I can put out, the more luck I have,” he says. He’s redeployed an employee at VaynerMedia, his social media consultancy, to “shadow my life” by following him at conferences and key local events to record his remarks and turn them into social media content. “I’ve built the infrastructure around me to become a greater content provider,” he says. “I have someone calling me at the end of the day – there’s now someone in my life pestering me for content.”
What’s more, Vaynerchuk believes it’s only a matter of time before this arrangement becomes common. “Content is the cost of entry to relevance in today’s society,” he says. “The top 1-5% [of executives and social media personalities] in the next few years will have full-time content people around them. There are going to be 500 to 5000 people at this time next year who employ a full-time content person.”
Of course, most people don’t have the luxury of a full-time staffer to transcribe their remarks into social media. But Vaynerchuk says that should simply be a spur to try harder. “The only reason I got to the level of affording a full-time content person is that when I couldn’t [afford it], I still put out more content than most.” In other words, hustle is mandatory. “You have to get into the content game,” says Vaynerchuk. “You have to force yourself to make more videos, write more posts.”
Of course, most individuals and companies can’t be everywhere. “Social media networks are like today’s version of radio, TV, print, and outdoor advertising,” he says. “If you can afford to, like I now can, you produce content for Vine, Medium, SoundCloud, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest. If you can’t, you pick the things that make the most sense. In the old world, that was predicated on money, but now it’s predicated on time…You have to create a strategy based on your audience and what you’re trying to achieve.”
But throwing up your hands and saying you’re too busy just isn’t an option. “People should audit the old-world stuff they do, like the meetings they take,” he says. “There’s often not as much upside as you talking directly to the end consumer [via social media] – a place that doesn’t charge you to have a relationship with the end consumer! It’s a capitalism of talent.”
He has little patience for excuses. “There are 40 people on Vine now who have never been ‘Internet famous,’ but in 40 days on Vine, they have 300,000 followers. How is that not interesting? Struggling musicians, improv performers, regular actors – this is going to be their break. But many people are not willing to work hard enough to really test this. When entrepreneurs and small business people tell me about their day and they’re home by 7, I laugh.”
Vaynerchuk, who gained prominence for his relentless engagement on social media, isn’t letting up even now. “You get what you put in,” he says. “A lot of it is predicated on time and effort. I spent the last week of my life staying up till 3 or 4 in the morning learning about Vine, because it’ll matter – it’s going to grow.”
Vaynerchuk’s broad-based social media push goes back to his belief that “it’s not good enough to just produce long-form content; you have to put out micro-content to drive awareness to it.” He’ll be creating “content native to the platform where the audience is,” which means that he [as captured by his assistant] might take a concept and write a blog post about it for his WordPress site, film a video, create an animated gif for Tumblr, post a quote on Instagram – or all of the above.
For Vaynerchuk, the idea that you have to be a great writer to succeed on social media is just another excuse to be demolished. “I’m not a writer,” he says. “But communicating to the world can come in many forms – video, audio. Some people communicate through music, cartoons – pick your medium. Anybody, even without a team around them, can record audio into their iPhone and send it to Mechanical Turk and have it completely transcribed for $3. I get people raving about my [posts on the platform] Medium, but it’s just transcribing [the audio I’ve recorded]. I live with only yeses. I don’t like no at all.”
How are you creating your content? Do you agree it’s becoming increasingly essential? How do you balance your time and get it all done?
This post originally appeared on the Forbes website on June 5, 2013.
Dorie Clark is CEO of Clark Strategic Communications and the author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013). She is a strategy consultant who has worked with clients including Google, Yale University, and the Ford Foundation. Listen to her podcasts or follow her on Twitter.