The Random Vee

In case you’ve never heard of him, Gary Vaynerchuk, is, according to his LinkedIn profile “CEO (VaynerMedia), Entrepreneur, Investor, Best-Selling Author, Speaker, Jets Fan”

If you scroll down a bit on his LinkedIn profile you’ll also see that he is the host of The #AskGaryVee Show – “a way of providing as much value as possible by answering questions about social media, entrepreneurship, startups, and family businesses based on a lifetime of building successful, multi-million dollar companies”.
He also runs the ‘Daily Vee’ along similar lines.

The main part I am interested in is the content published around the #AskGaryVee and #DailyVee shows – I try to watch each episode as soon as it comes out as I am a big fan.

Every now and again I like to set myself pet projects, something I can do or build over a few hours at the weekend or in the evenings so I set about thinking how I could utilise all this content that Gary was pumping out and noticed that it doesn’t matter in which order you watch any episode, the messages are still dominant.

Let’s get random
So, my pet project brief was – ‘Build a webpage that displays a random youtube video on refresh from a set playlist’.

The Random Vee - Initial code

A few lines of code later and we’re live.

As you can see, it’s a neat bit of script, but, each video ID had to be manually collected and added in and all that’s shown is the video itself, no real context.
No problem, I thought, it works so I registered the domain and set it live.
3 hours from initial thoughts to launch.
Job done.

So, a few days went by and eventually the site was featured on Product Hunt which meant that traffic started to build and some positive feedback was passed back.

At this stage, the project could have just been left – i mean, it was doing its job and was working but, as usual, I can’t just let it be ignored and started to think of ways to improve and build it bigger. Automation was the key.
Back to the platform that I’ve predominantly used for the last 6 years – WordPress and I build a list of problems to solve.

The #AskGaryVee playlist now had >190 videos and the Daily Vee around 20.
Each video should have its own page (for reference and SEO of course) but there was no way I was going to manually create all the pages with each including the title of the episode, embedded video and description pulled directly from YouTube.

After a bit of digging around I found a WordPress plugin that would do the majority of this – input a YouTube playlist and create pages from the content. Brilliant.
After a bit of messing with YT API – 200+ pages built in seconds.

Video Importer WordPress plugin

Next – Being Gary V the episode descriptions are filled with links to other social platforms, guests, newsletters etc. These links were pulled in flat (unlinked). Again, there was no way I was going to manually go into each post and manually link each one up.

Back to the WordPress repo and viola – a plugin that converts flat links into active links. The plugin hasn’t been updated for 2 years but, I tested and it works perfectly:

Next – I wanted to display each episode using a featured image. Luckily there were images that could be used but these hadn’t been pulled in, so – back to the repo –

Video Thumbnails WordPress plugin

So, now we have a ton of content automatically created with proper human friendly URLs, embedded videos, active links, featured images and more.

I’ve also set up an official twitter feed which is fed, in typical fashion, a random post, automatically at random times each day.

So, there you have it, a basic rundown on how you can use WordPress to set up a fun, weekend project that can benefit everyone.

Hop over to The Random Vee – I hope you enjoy it and, of course, if you have any suggestions or features you’d like to see, get in touch.