Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk Work Hard At What You Love, Not What You Hate. The Story Behind Crush it! Everything has changed. The social media revolution has irreversibly changed the way we live our lives and conduct our business. There are billions of dollars in advertising moving online, waiting to be claimed by whoever can build the best content and communities. Despite this change, most people keep working at jobs that don’t make them happy and businesses continue to ignore the major marketing and public relations benefits that can be found online. Myth 1: I’m not passionate about something sexy or popular like wine so these lessons don’t apply to me. The internet has drastically decreased the costs of building communities around niche subjects, allowing for even the most obscure subjects to draw enough eyeballs to command advertising attention. Starting a video blog about tortilla chips may seem farfetched until Doritos gives you a call and offers 40,000 a year to sponsor and advertise on your blog. Myth 2: My business already has a Twitter account and a Facebook page, we’re set in the social media department. This is the equivalent of claiming twenty years ago that just because your business bought a TV spot and a few ads in the newspaper, you didn’t need to pay attention to your advertising department. Social media isn’t about joining in, it’s about being involved. Myth 3: I’m happy at my job so this book is irrelevant to me. First of all, congratulations on finding work that makes you happy! However, the lessons in this book are valuable to anyone, regardless of their employment status. Crush It will show you how to utilize high level and platform specific social media and marketing strategies that will improve your work. It will also show you how to build a personal brand so that even if you’re forced to leave your job, a situation that’s especially relevant today, you’ll be able to easily find employment elsewhere in a field you’re passionate about. Myth 4: I need to quit my job to take advantage of this book’s entrepreneurial lessons. While the entrepreneurial strategies in this book do take time, it’s completely reasonable to start the effort as an after-work project to build up until you’re able to replace your current income with the income from your online presence. While you may have to fall behind on the current season of Lost or let your Madden 2010 game suffer, because you’ll be doing something you love you won’t mind putting in the extra effort. In Crush It, Gary Vaynerchuk shows how anyone can build a career around what they’re passionate about. He also delivers both high-level and platform specific strategy and analysis, allowing you to take advantage of the current business environment while preparing you to succeed as it changes and evolves. This book isn’t interested in making unrealistic promises while glossing over the work involved. Making a living by building content around your passion isn’t simple and it doesn’t happen overnig ht. What it is, however, is fulfilling and in most cases just as profitable, if not more so, than your previous job. Furthermore, a business can’t just pay lip service to social media and expect it to return results. The transparency and accoun tability inherent in its structure necessitates a comprehensive and dedicated strategy in order to reap its tremendous benefits. By combining practical analysis and strategy with the same passion and humor that’s made Gary one of the most in demand keynote speakers in the U.S. as well as network television’s go to wine expert, Crush It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand and harness the future of business and work. Learn: Why social media has evened the playing field, destroying the “gate-keepers” who had previously dictated the distribution of content. Learn: How to beat unemployment and create wealth-building opportunities by building and maintaining a personal brand. Learn: Why storytelling is the most important business concept in the current marketplace. Learn: How you can build an online business around your passion without quitting your day job. Learn: Why Twitter and Facebook are just tools and n ot a social media strategy. Learn: How to take advantage of the half-billion dollars in advertising that are moving to the internet. Learn: Why transparency and being true to yourself are now winning marketing formulas. Learn: How to build and maintain an online community around your passion and brand. Learn: Strategies for turning attention into money. Learn: Why the legacy element of the internet era is so underrated. Crush It! Reviewed by Brian Wing Crush It, Why now is the time to cash in on your passion, a book by Gary Vaynerchuk, written in 2009, is a book that discusses the use of social media and the internet to develop and market your own personal brand. The book is written in a very conversational mode, where Gary tells a story of his own brand development and the tools and methods he used to make himself the man and brand he is today. Along the way he imparts many of the core values of brand marketing and promotion. Gary Vaynerchuk, an immigrant from Babruysk Russia, born in 1975, comes to America with his family. His father opens a liquor store in northern New Jersey. Along the way Gary educates himself in wine, a growing market, and proceeds to grow that business from a single store to a wine empire. Gary delves into his "DNA" and talks about how he sees value in collectible items, such as baseball cards. His focus evolves into entrepreneurship and he takes over the wine business and grows winelibrary.tv into a wine empire. He has become one of the most prominent figures in the wine reviewing business, and commands a ransom to present on social media and the use of the Internet to promote branding and new business development. The book "Crush It!" focuses on utilizing new, free tools on the Internet to capitalize on branding and developing a business. Some of the major themes include: Becoming the foremost expert in your "passion"; Use of social media and the Internet to promote yourself/brand; Differentiation; Hard work; and Caring. In "Crush It!," Gary's first pearl of marketing wisdom is take whatever it is you love the most and develop that into a business. Educate yourself in every aspect of your passion. Read every bit of material about your subject, find others who are considered experts in that subject and learn from them. Insert yourself into the conversations on the topic and make your opinion known. Once you become an expert in your field, develop content to "sell" your ideas to others. The key to developing this rapport is building trust. Gary states over and over be authentic and original with the content and the "eyeballs" will come. A great deal of the book is dedicated to developing and using new age media an social networks to promote your newly developed brand. As we have discussed (at great length) social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a multitude of others, have gained great traction with many "old school of thought" marketers. More and more Facebook and Twitter "badges" can be seen on old media promotion s. For example, television advertisements will have the Facebook and/or Twitter logos at the end of the ad, and suggest that you "find us on X." This is the new value marketing play. Brand loyalty is perpetuated by "fans and followers" of these social media networks. New networks are arising daily if not hourly. One such example is "W OMMA " a website devoted to the development and support of word of mouth marketing. Large, household names like Best Buy, McDonalds, Kraft, and Pepsi-Co are all contributors. A whole new network of social media marketing gurus has been developed. Each has a focus and specializes in certain market segments. Another, more local, company two-five media, specializes in wine and hospitality in Sonoma County. Companies now have the ability to use these social media networks to conduct targeted research as well as have "personal" communications directly with their consumers. This is the most powerful tool to come to marketing in a generation. Differentiation is another core marketing value discussed in "Crush It!" With the Internet age upon us it is exceptionally easy to blend in with the noise and chaff. One must truly be exceptional to stand out in a crowd. A favorite quote of mine from the book is "So how are you going to differentiate yourself from all the other clowns? ("Clowns" is, of course, used in the best possible way.)" It's this, in-your-face method that Gary delivers the message that you need to be the best you that you can be. It's a challenge, no doubt. Just Googling "differentiate using social media" gives the following: Results 1 - 10 of about 59,500 for how to differentiate yourself in social media. The social media landscape is moving at light speed and a marketer needs to "hustle" just to keep up with it, which leads me to the next pearl. Hustle! Gary Vaynerchuk makes no bones about the fact that 99% of the people who embark on a journey to "Crush It!" will not have the "chops" to get the job done. Hard work and patience are the two keys to making it happen. Another gem Gary provides is about patience, he says "If you contact me within a year of starting your business to complain that you haven't made the money you thought you would, you're not listening. I said that you could make a ton of money being happy; I didn't say you could do it overnight." Patience and hard work, seems reasonable, right? Gary devotes an entire chapter to the next pearl of wisdom. Chapter nine is called the best marketing strategy ever. The entirety of this chapter consists of only five characters, C-A-R-E-. It may be just that, the best marketing strategy ever, many companies have lost touch with their consumers. This harkens back to the use of ethnography and psychographic segmentation. Both of these market research strategies hinge on understanding the emotional connection with brands and products as well as the behaviors that motivate a consumer to make the choices that he or she does. By "Caring" a marketer should be able to glean this information. In summary there are some great anecdotal stories in "Crush It!" that expose Gary's brash and cavalier personality. Behind these stories lay some basic marketing strategies that can and should be applied to any marketing situation. Understand your business and be the most knowledgeable about your market and products. Use technology to your advantage. Your competition is! Differentiate yourself and stand out in that online crowd. Work your ass off but don't expect instant results, hard work takes time and patience. Finally and most importantly, take the time to care about your consumer. They are after all the sponsor of your business and their recommendations are worth more than anything you could pay for. 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