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#AskStunwin: How Do I Help Gary Create His Content?

By October 14, 2014No Comments7 min read

Hi. I’m not Gary Vaynerchuk. Weird right?

I’m Steve Unwin. Gary calls me his editor-in-chief, but for reasons you’ll soon learn, I think I prefer the term “content guy.” Not long ago, I received an email from a Gary fan asking for some insight into the way I do my job. When I went to go run the answers past Gary, he was so stoked about the whole exchange that he asked me to throw them up on the site as a way to let all Vayniacs in on just how the hell Gary cranks out as much content as he does.

Q: I’m curious about how this role of EIC originated?

A: In the interest of full transparency, Gary has never really cared much about titles. With that in mind, you have to understand that EIC is a bit tongue in cheek, and a bit exaggerated. Bottom line is that I’m “The guy who helps produce Gary’s content” but you can imagine how awkward that would look in an email signature. I think the grandiose nature of the title arose when Gary began empowering me to build a team and take a step back from the day-to-day “masonry” in order to become more of an “architect” and help to do more management and strategizing around his personal brand.

Q: From what I’ve gathered, your role as EIC includes:

Taking the wisdom from GV’s head (does he record?) and getting it down on “paper,” which I think includes organizing thoughts, editing/cleaning them up, posting on different platforms; producing #AskGaryVee ; creating micro-content for all Gary-isms

Am I in the ballpark? I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of your responsibilities. Wondering if you also collaborate on strategy for GV brand- do you interface with speaking opps or a PR company? Did your EIC role also include helping to write JJJRH?

A: You’re basically on point here. One KEY distinction is that I don’t post ANYTHING. Gary is 110% in charge of all his community management and posting. I actually work as part of a team. We have a designer as well as a video guy with whom I work in order to develop the content we put out.

In addition to all the stuff that directly related to GV content, I work on a few different other projects here at VaynerMedia that pertain to the world of food/wine (which was my background prior to coming here). As for JJJRH, I wasn’t directly involved in the writing of the book, but I was heavily involved in the marketing efforts that followed.

Q: Where did the idea for #AskGaryVee come from? Do you enjoy the pace of putting together a show almost daily? Did you have any experience doing this before? I imagine it takes a big chunk of your day from choosing questions to filming/editing, to looking at comments.

A: For a long time now, Gary has been of the mind that Q&A is the most valuable thing he can do for people in any setting. His keynotes are great, but anybody can watch them on youtube any time. What’s huge is having access to someone like Gary and being able to basically use him in order to create custom content that is directly suited to exactly what you’re interested in hearing: Ask a question. Get an answer.

There have been a few iterations of this process across a couple different platforms, but the idea of getting back to a regular video show is something that has been on Gary’s mind ever since ending his run on WLTV/The Daily Grape, and frankly, something I’ve really wanted to do for ages now.

The format and process have evolved to suit our most valued resource: Gary’s time. To say that he has a full calendar is one of the most serious understatements a person can make. With that in mind, each show is filmed inside of 15 minutes, because that is literally the maximum amount of time we can get from him on a daily basis. From there Dave (aforementioned video guy) edits the show together in a couple of hours, and we’re usually live on YouTube within the same day. It’s a blast!

Q: What is the process for choosing the sound bytes that get turned into micro-content? For example, the self-esteem/audacity to dream big quote or the best way to keep clients from running away quote. Curious if it is what you identify as standing out from the episode or if you choose based off what seems to be resonating with the viewers.

A: Hrm… never really thought to qualify this, so forgive me if this answer veers into the realm of “ethereal bullshit.” I actually have to do some real thinking about this… gimme like 5 minutes

[time passes]

OK so I guess it breaks down into a few different criteria. Is it:

– A concise, complete thought?

– A novel concept, or at least a new way of thinking about it?

– Phrased in a way that is quintessentially “Gary”?

Before starting on Gary’s team I was a micro-content producer at VaynerMedia, making social micro-content for our Fortune 500 clients. One of my primary litmus tests was always “would I want to share this on my own social accounts?” This is a pretty good lens to look at a potential piece of content through. If you’re not the target demographic, then would your mom share it? Would your brother? If something is good enough for people to want to use to self-identify, then you’ve officially told them a compelling, personal story. Now obviously, working verbatim with someone else’s words modifies that line of thought a bit, but for me the logic still stands. The other thing to consider is that I’ve been a fan of Gary since like 2006 (Think double-digit episodes of WLTV), so I have a solid handle on the way he speaks and the things he talks about, but that’s not so much a job requirement as it is a great bonus that allowed Gary and I to speak the same language on day 1.

Q: What have you learned about the best way to collaborate with a busy person?

A: OVER-COMMUNICATE. That’s it. Gary is super straightforward about what he expects from me, and I’m super straightforward with him about what I need to deliver on his expectations. As a consequence of this, when things need to get pushed aside, there is no problem, because Gary and I are totally on the same page. I’m always in close contact with the guy who does his scheduling (the lovely and talented Matthew), and I ask for my time when I need it. If I can’t get the time, we adjust expectations accordingly.

So this is normally where Gary tells you to check out his new show or something, but I think you should check out the new Wine Library site because it’s awesome.