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Document Content Like Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg and Gary Vaynerchuk

Content Marketing
Content Marketing

Content marketing has been getting more and more attention over the last 10 years.

We are talking about content marketing from the personal branding perspective, from the advertising perspective, from the enterprise perspective or from the Social Media perspective.

Can we say that everything we publish, post on the internet can be called some kind of content marketing? Well, we can say that is “some kind of content” but not really marketing.

When we talk about marketing we should take into consideration a purpose, a strategy and also results. And if the content you put out there has no purpose, well… it’s just content.

But what about personal branding? Because we hear a lot about personal branding lately and there are many so called “gurus” who try to show who they want to be while uploading a photo on Instagram with a quote (sometimes this is taken from other gurus).

I don’t wanna get into too much detail with this topic, but I want to talk to you about a content marketing strategy that I saw lately that is being used by the top guys who are really doing a great job.

This is the kind of content strategy that many of us are afraid to use because we might fail . I first heard it from Gary Vaynerchuk, then I read it on his blog and then I saw him executing it every time and in every post he (or the team behind his brand) publishes.

It’s called documenting content.

As Gary said in his article:

In very simple terms, “documenting” versus “creating” is what The Real World and the Kardashians is to Star Wars and Friends….It’s just a version of creating that is predicated more on practicality instead of having to think of stories or fantasy

Or, to say it easily, documenting content is something you do every day and putting content out there on social media and your blog is part of the same strategy.

You can document your business journey while you publish a video on YouTube every week or while you talk on your personal blog about your entrepreneur struggle.

I heard a lot about entrepreneurs talking about how hard was to make it to the top, or how hard it was to write that book or how easy it was to connect with a business partner.

But what if I’m reading about that struggle on a personal blog or what if I watch a video on a marketers YouTube or Facebook about how they are dealing with the creation of a next big campaign?

But what if we looked at 3 public figures who are documenting their entire journey?

In this article you will read about Barack Obama (Former US President), Mark Zuckerberg (CEO Facebook) and Gary Vaynerchuk (CEO Vaynermedia) who documented their entire journey using professional photographs, social media and connecting with their community.

1. Barack Obama

From a marketing perspective, I can say that Obama is one of the best brands America has. It’s something that many small, medium and also top 500 Fortune companies can learn from.

Obama used Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Influencers, YouTube, Snapchat, Vine and other platforms to connect with America, to talk with the community and let them know what is he thinking about certain topics.

The White House’s Office Digital Strategy had 14 members and that was slightly larger than the entire press secretary’s office of George W. Bush in 2005 or Obama’s in June 2009.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

In 2015 we can say that White House started to behave like a media company when they officially posted more than 400 videos on YouTube, nearly 275 infographics for WhiteHouse.gov and for social media outlets.

Obama created an ecosystem in the White House that everytime a new platform was rising on the internet they should be over there and start communicating with the people who are using that platform. No wonder that they started posting their first item on Medium. This is where the White House officials are getting to make statements, announcements or even publish articles like Pete Souza (the White House photographer) has done.

Just look at those photos that Pete Souza took of Barack Obama while he was traveling in the 50 States. You will see the former president looking at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, playing pool with Gov. John Hickenlooper in Denver or while he was fly fishing near Bozeman.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

You can also see interviews with YouTube Stars like GloZell Green or a funny interview with Zach Galifianakis.

Yes, Barack Obama documented his presidency with a great team behind him. And that made people on the internet feel close to him and to his ideology. This has also helped a lot of young people think about what it’s like to be a president.

What can we learn from Barack Obama about documenting content? That even the most conservative people have a story to tell.


2. Mark Zuckerberg

The guy in “The Social Network” movie that was played by the actor Jesse Eisenberg tried to show the CEO of Facebook as a socially inept kid who always wore a hoodie, even if he was in a financial meeting or in a court of law. But starting 2014, Mark Zuckerberg wanted to connect with the people from Facebook and started a Facebook live video where he was talking about his favorite pizza toppings or lessons for startups.

In an article for Bloomberg, David Charron, who teaches entrepreneurship at the University of California at Berkeley said about Zuckerberg:

“What he’s learned over the last two years is that his image in the digital domain needs to be controlled…And he’s simply growing up.”

So what has Mark Zuckerberg done? He started showing his entrepreneurial and personal life on Facebook. But he is not alone in this journey. There are a few Facebook employees who manage his online presence, whether they are deleting the spammy comments or helping him write a post or speech. Mark also hired a professional photographer to document everything from Zuckerberg’s trips: visiting Vatican, running in Beijing or meeting with developers.

If you go on his Instagram profile, that is simply called @zuck, you can see lots of photos with Zuck while he was showing the Oculus in a demo, photos from when he challenged Neymar Jr play their Messenger Game or just chilling with Jerry Seinfeld while he was visiting the Facebook HQ.

If you go through his 72 posts on Instagram, you will see that the first photo is with Priscilla in 28 October 2010 that is a blurry, filtered photo and the next one is a MacBook Air laptop in 04 April 2011, also blurred and filtered like an amateur is trying to show what laptop is he working on.

A post shared by Mark Zuckerberg (@zuck) on

A post shared by Mark Zuckerberg (@zuck) on

But something happened on the 10th of December 2014, while he congratulated the Instagram community for reaching 300 million people, when he was celebrating with Kevin Systrom (the co-founder of Instagram). What followed are professional photos, with good and simple description which presented Mark in different angles.

A post shared by Mark Zuckerberg (@zuck) on

The CEO of Facebook continues documenting his entire journey while he is an inspiration for other startup CEO’s or inspiring other entrepreneurs to do their job.

3. Gary Vaynerchuk

Like I told you before, I first heard about documenting content from Gary Vaynerchuk. Maybe you’ve never heard about him before or maybe you are a big fan. But for the 10% of the people reading this and who didn’t hear about him, let me tell you briefly who he is.

Gary is an entrepreneur who runs Vaynermedia, the agency who works  with Toyota, Under Armour and other top Fortune brands, while he is an early investor in Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Birch Box, Medium, Snapchat and other platforms that millions of people use  every day.

A post shared by Gary Vay-Ner-Chuk (@garyvee) on

But Gary is also well known in the social media ecosystem because he built his family wine business and also created a video series called Winelibrary. Then he wrote a few books, launched his agency and started hosting the Ask Gary Vee Show. But Gary is doing much more than that.

He hired David Rock to be the responsible guy with his video content. So Gary and David started publishing a lot of video content on Facebook, YouTube and other channels.

Gary has also launched his Daily Vee, in which he is documenting his life while he is having a breakfast meeting with a client, playing basketball or talking at a conference. The most interesting thing is that he is showing his day to day life because he wants to document his journey until he will buy the New York Jets (this is his dream).

A post shared by Gary Vay-Ner-Chuk (@garyvee) on

If you look at his video you will found a lots of good entrepreneur pieces of advice, simple marketing tactics and also how he behaves while he is on a meeting or while he is talking with a new business partner.


Gary is documenting his entrepreneurial life. Obama documented his politics life and I believe that Zuckerberg is documenting his life because he wants to be closer to his audience.

To really understand what Gary really means about documenting content – check out this article.

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Robert Katai

Content Marketing Strategist

"Content isn’t king. Usefulness is. Robert does this in the online marketing and social media space with ease."

Ram Castillo