THE THOUGHT LEADER JOURNEY: How blogging and social media give Jason Berek-Lewis credibility within the digital healthcare sector

blogging gives credibility

In this episode of Reputation Revolution, I speak with digital health influencer, Jason Berek-Lewis.

Jason is an evangelist for digital innovation in healthcare; he is a prominent blogger at and an emerging thought leader in the social healthcare arena.

During the chat, Jason outlines his strategy to grow his visibility and influence within digital healthcare circles and explains his thought leadership journey so far including the important role blogging has played to date.

Becoming the brand

“Your journey is going to change,” says Jason. When he started Healthy Startups, his vision was to be the Mashable or TechCrunch for healthcare, but quickly realised this was not going to be feasible.

This change in strategy led to Jason putting himself out on the web via his blog and social channels and personally becoming ‘the brand’, with the goal of establishing himself as a consultant and speaker specialising in digital healthcare.

Apart from his professional credentials in the healthcare arena, specifically PR and communications, Jason also has a personal motivation around driving change in the sector – he has a heart condition that necessitated him undergoing three operations as a child, and this has given him additional credibility from the patient side of the healthcare equation.

Jason’s thought leadership journey has included:

  • 1902761_475435989253623_3807111648208024146_nbeing invited to speak at a global health tech conference in Dublin (he was nominated by someone whom he did not know at the time);
  • meeting and interviewing key influential people within the healthcare sector;
  • hosting a dinner with IBM Australia and a high profile doctor and ‘medical futurist’ from Hungary named Dr Percy Mesco.

The upshot is blogging has given Jason the credibility to gain access to hard-to-reach people in the medical and healthcare fraternity.

Aside from blogging, Jason is also an active participant on Twitter and other social channels such as LinkedIn. But he’s careful not to use social media just to push himself.

“That’s a critical part of your personal brand is to be seen as an enabler and a sharer of content as much as a creator of your own content”, he says.

“The coolest thing I think you can do with social media is share your knowledge or share what you learn to benefit people at scale,” says Jason.

Links to thought leaders mentioned in this episode:

Remember to subscribe to REPUTATION REVOLUTION on iTunes and not miss an episode! And if you enjoy what you hear, I’d really love it if you could leave a review on iTunes. Thanking you! 







Valuable lessons from ten established thought leaders

Thought Leader Lessons

To mark the 25th episode of the REPUTATION REVOLUTION podcast, I highlight 10 thought leaders from Australia, England and the US and discuss some of the lessons we can take away from each one.

I list the lessons below or if you prefer you can listen to the audio recording of the episode.



1. Mark Schaefer ~ @markwschaefer

0de41f3143f084d35742a790c1e46b2d_400x400Mark is a blogger and social media consultant, educator and author of four books – Return On Influence, Born to Blog, Tao of Twitter and Social Media Explained.  What I like about Mark is his sense of community and humanity when it comes to social media (and marketing generally).

LESSON: Be human; use social media to connect with people and build mutually beneficial relationships.

2. Greg Savage ~ @greg_savage

greg SavageGreg is a 56-year-old former recruitment company CEO who over a period of five years has built a Twitter following of 36,500 and speaks internationally to a growing appreciative audience, thanks to his blog and social media. Greg has embraced Twitter more wholeheartedly than most business professionals and as a result it’s paying dividends for him and his business.

LESSON: Use Twitter in a smart and strategic way to build your platform and grow your personal brand.

 3. Dionne Kasian-Lew ~ @DionneLew

dionne_lewDionne writes two blogs – The Social Executive and Be Your Whole Self – and has just released a new book through Wiley Publishing. Dionne is very community-minded when it comes to the social web; she’s a prolific curator of other people’s content in addition to her own.

LESSON: Use social media to connect like-minded people with each other and to curated content links.

4. Gini Dietrich ~ @ginidietrich

wacfGtmc_400x400Gini is a thought leader in the PR and communications industry, the founder of the PR firm Arment Dietrich and the  popular blog Spin Sucks; she’s also an author of two books. What I like about Gini is that she’s active and accessible; she always shows up and interacts with people, whether on Twitter or the comments section of her blog.

LESSON: Relentlessly create and share content that educates, informs and empowers the community.

5.  Rachel Miller ~ @AllthingsIC

1ePCXb9q_400x400Rachel is a consultant, speaker and blogger specialising in internal communication and employee engagement. A former journalist, she publishes a monthly podcast on internal communication as part of the For Immediate Release network. Rachel stands out because she focuses on a sub-set of the broader communications field.

LESSON:  Differentiate yourself by identifying and then taking a thought leadership positioning within a smaller niche of a broader discipline.

6. Jay Baer ~ @jaybaer

ZYPhOcS5_400x400Jay’s star has seriously been on the rise in recent years; he’s gone from being an emerging digital marketing blogger several years back to the point where he is now, a best-selling author, highly regarded marketing consultant and popular speaker. Jay turned the theme of one of his keynote topics into a major book called Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help Not Hype.

LESSON: Create and ‘own’ a word that represents a particular philosophy or ethos or way of doing things e.g. ‘Youtility

7. Joanna Penn ~ @thecreativepenn

Joanna PennJoanna Penn is a London-based (but location-independent) New York Times best-selling author, speaker, blogger, podcaster and micro-publishing entrepreneur; she has written seven fiction and four non-fiction books that sell in 58 countries around the world. Joanna represents the new breed of creative entrepreneur!

LESSON: Carve out a unique thought leadership positioning by bringing together several passions, or disciplines.

8. Tom Peters ~ @tom_peters

Db2nYm-L_400x400Tom is a well-established thought leader; he’s a best-selling author (‘In Search of Excellence’) and speaker and a “professional agitator, labeled the Red Bull of management thinking”. At an age when many mega successful business professionals might be thinking of slowing down, Tom continues to provoke the corporate world with his progressive ideas around management theory.

LESSON: Stay true your personal brand over the journey.

9. Gary Vaynerchuk ~ @garyvee

156168_254x191Gary Vee, as he is commonly known, is a best-selling author, an in-demand speaker, angel investor and founder of digital branding agency, VaynerMedia. A larger-than-life character, Gary is a prolific content creator and has relentlessly leveraged the power of video to grow his profile and spread his views and ideas, firstly about wine (Wine Library TV) and now with his #AskGaryVee series.

LESSON: Use video to tell your story and spread your ideas.

10. David Meerman Scott ~ @dmscott

CvnFfUil_400x400David is the author of social media ‘bible’ The New Rules of Marketing & PR as well as seven other books. His popular blog Web Ink Now is jam-packed with useful ideas and stories and provocative opinion pieces. David has the ability to weave experiences from his day-to-day life – e.g. music and travel – into the content he produces for his blog and books.

LESSON: Add a dimension to your content by incorporating stories (and lessons learned) from real-life experiences.




Remember to subscribe to REPUTATION REVOLUTION on iTunes and not miss an episode! And if you enjoy what you hear, I’d really love it if you could leave a review on iTunes. Thanking you! 




Content marketing bootcamp in Melbourne (Fri, October 3)

pr warrior content marketing bootcamp melbourne

Following the success of my first PR Warrior Content Marketing Bootcamp in July, I thought I’d saddle up again!

My next bootcamp event will be held in Melbourne on the morning of Friday, October 3 (early bird tickets available until 24/09/2014). We’ll be covering:

  • MAKING SENSE OF CONTENT MARKETING: What is it, and why has it all of a sudden become hugely popular? And where does social media fit into the equation?
  • WHAT DOES CONTENT MARKETING SUCCESS LOOK LIKE? Up-to-the-minute case studies of dynamic small businesses that are using content marketing to build reputation and revenues. Be inspired by pioneering individuals and businesses who are nailing it in the social and content space.
  • PLANNING: What are your objectives? Who are you creating content for?
  • CREATION: What are you creating content about?
  • DISTRIBUTION: Which platforms should you be using?
  • MOMENTUM: Pulling it all together/tips and tricks and ideas.


PLEASE NOTE: I will be holding similar bootcamp sessions in BRISBANE on Thursday, October 30 and SYDNEY on Friday, October 31.



Pro Vs Amateur: Who wins in the content creation stakes?

content creator

The Victorian chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) recently held an interactive panel session around the theme Pro Vs Amateur: Who wins in the content creation stakes?  I sat on the panel along with popular blogger Nicole Avery from Planning with Kids (pictured below), and digital consultant, Ed Charles, founder of Tomato Media.

Much of the session was spent sitting at tables and chatting with participants, most of whom were agency and in-house PR and communications practitioners.

The topic of ‘content marketing’ is an interesting one; because it has the word ‘marketing’ in it, people naturally think it ‘belongs’ with the marketing department; quite often however, responsibility for developing and creating a content program for an organisation falls to the PR department because traditionally it’s been responsible for producing editorial-style content (that, plus PR people often oversee social media as well, which goes hand-in-hand with content). But what’s becoming patently clear, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to content creation within a company or organisation.

IABC_Vic_Dbatey2The roundtable discussions at the event were robust and crossed a number of boundaries, but generally swung back around to how organisations were handling content and social media internally, and the various issues they faced. Not surprisingly, practitioners shared similar challenges:

  • Where should content marketing sit within the organisation?
  • How do we sell content marketing to the ‘C suite’?
  • How do we find the resources to manage the demands of creating content ongoing?
  • How do we involve and engage people in other departments when it comes to content development and creation?
  • How do we demonstrate ROI with the content we produce?

But as the theme was Pro Vs Amateur: Who wins in the content creation stakes?  – it begs the obvious question: Who is better at this content creation caper? The ‘amateurs’ – enthusiastic bloggers and vloggers and podcasters who put their heart and soul into their work and in some cases are amassing audiences far greater than large organisations – or the ‘professionals’, PR practitioners, journalists etc?

The simple answer is that no-one wins, because it’s not a competition.

IABC_Vic_Dbatey1A few years ago, yes, journalists stood on top of the content creation heap because they had the forums to publish what they had written and/or recorded e.g. newspapers, magazines, TV and radio. PR folk were beholden to them because the media was well established and had high barriers to entry, necessitating communication professionals to find ways to get past the media gatekeepers, which they did (and still do) by way of feeding/pitching fully formed news stories, or at least ideas for articles and interviews.

But as we all know, the tables have not only turned but have been unceremoniously tipped upside down.

Today we have savvy individuals who are building audiences, in some cases bigger than traditional mediums – hello, Darren Rowse anyone? (Darren – aka Problogger – is one of the biggest bloggers in the world and his two blogs attract a global audience of some five million unique visitors a month).

But under the superstars like Darren you have a raft of content creators, bloggers and the like who are passionate and knowledgeable about their topic and are also building solid audiences as a result.  Nicole Avery is a great example – not only has she managed to grow her monthly audience to over 100,000 but she has turned her blog into a bona fide business with multiple income streams.

170884073 (1)The way I see it, established (traditional) media companies should be looking at bringing in high profile independent (and often ‘amateur’ – in title only, not the quality of their work) content creators to help build out their content offering and broaden their audience reach. More often than not, these ‘amateurs’ might have a platform far greater than the media outlet’s own opinion leaders and columnists. Likewise, brands are crazy if they don’t engage and collaborate, commercially or otherwise, with these high profile content creators.

If you haven’t got sufficient resources in-house, you will need to look externally and your choices here are the ‘professionals’ (trained journalists, video and audio producers and presenters) or the ‘amateurs’ (bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers etc who, in some instances, will have superior firepower in terms of their profile and audience).

My advice? Keep an open mind. It’s by no means an either/or situation.

Personally, I see a great deal of parity between the ‘pros’ and the (top ranking) ‘amateurs’, and I predict savvy brands will at some stage bring both parties together for the common purpose of creating compelling content that resonates with their respective audiences.

* PHOTOS: Damien Batey


Thought Leader Minute: Using Twitter to enrich your thinking


Despite popular belief Twitter is home to some of the sharpest minds on the planet. People who are thought leaders in their space, points of reference for their industry. But thought leaders aren’t just smart people, they’re smart people who read. They go to conferences, they meet other smart and interesting people.

And then there are those thought leaders who are also active on ‘Twitter, and invariably share some of their knowledge and expertise with the world. Take the time to identify and follow closely these thought leaders on Twitter.

It will give you the inside running to the news and information that they consume, and you will definitely become richer intellectually for the experience.


Two bald guys talking social media and content marketing

I was recently interviewed by my good mate Jim Stewart for MYOB’s podcast series The Savvy Accountant.

{ DISCLOSURE: I do advisory work with MYOB and also write for the company’s blog }

While The Savvy Accountant podcast is aimed at accounting practices, the content is still highly relevant for any business, especially if you sell professional services.

In this interview with Jim I provide tips, ideas and strategies around getting your business into a content marketing mindset; I also answer key content marketing questions, such as:

  • What’s the ROI for content marketing?
  • Should you get a ghost writer?
  • The best way to ask for email addresses to add to your database
  • How to earn the right to promote your services using social media
  • The importance of keeping your online presence up to date and vibrant as your potential clients are now checking you out online.


  • Check the podcast episode’s show notes (includes links to some of the apps and tools I mention during the interview).
  • Subscribe on iTunes to The Savvy Accountant (again, if you run a business I think you’ll find the podcast of interest, especially if you run a professional services firm).

I hope you enjoy the interview!


We are now all ‘storytellers’. Or are we?

Networx Brisbane Trevor Young PHOTO CREDIT: Three Lens Kit Photography, Brisbane

I had the pleasure last week of participating in a robust panel discussion in Queensland along with Tim Eldridge (business and brand development consultant), Ralph Barnett (Creative Director, SapientNitro) and MC/host, the most awesome Cat Matson.

The event was part of the Networx Brisbane marketers’ meetings series, and had as its theme: What’s Your Message? Creative and Integrated Communications.

It was a deliberately open-ended topic and thus elicited a broad range of responses and views from the panel, although there was quite a bit of consistency in the perspectives proffered by the panellists (see Cat’s video wrap-up here).

I got a lot out of the evening, and watched with interest when Ralph screened a video featuring a 2-minute rant (below) by renowned graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister at the recent FITC Toronto conference, in which Sagmeister contends that while you might call yourself a storyteller, you’re actually not.

On one hand, the designer’s argument could be applied to any number of ‘buzz word’ marketing titles we see pop up (and be adopted by people) with alarming regularity. Sagmeister’s assertion is that you shouldn’t just call yourself a storyteller because it’s the latest new trend in marketing (truth be told, storytelling has always been intrinsic to the fabric of marketing and communications, but has gained greater significance and credence with the rise of social media and content marketing).

I see where he’s coming from. I guess it’s a bit like the term ‘thought leader’. It’s not a title you bestow upon yourself necessarily, but is up to others to perceive you in that way.

From my perspective, I’ve spent my life telling stories (firstly as a journalist then as a PR practitioner and more lately as a content creator and strategist), but I don’t think I’ve ever officially called myself a ‘storyteller’. Maybe I should, and then send my business card to Sagmeister? :)

On the other hand Sagmeister’s rant – as amusing as it is – begs the question:  So who should be telling a company’s stories? 

2014-08-20 Networx-64

My view is that smart organisations look to storytelling as a way to gain a competitive advantage and use stories to help differentiate their brand in the marketplace; to be successful, these stories – and the perpetuation of them in the community in which they operate – need an organisation’s employees and partners to become involved. Essentially, it becomes a cultural thing. Of course, this is where small businesses and solo operators have a distinct advantage.

Tell bigger, braver and better stories

Just because you’re not trained in the art of storytelling doesn’t mean you can’t tell stories either on behalf of your business or the company you work for (or indeed, for your own personal branding efforts).

Just because you’re not trained in the art of storytelling doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practise telling stories as well as learn as much about the craft and apply it in your day-to-day professional life; after all, apparently storytelling will be the biggest business skill of the next five years!

I think the motto of the, ahem, story is don’t call yourself a storyteller, but do tell stories, and over time strive to tell bigger, braver and better stories.

We have the tools and platforms to tell our stories and share them globally, in real-time, and with little or no cost. But with all these channels comes a lot of noise as brands and individuals compete for that most precious commodity: OUR ATTENTION.

If you can tell interesting, compelling and relevant stories that resonate with your target audience, if you can tell them with verve and authenticity – whether in the form of a six-second Vine video or a more meaty 2000-word longer form blog post – it doesn’t matter if you’re a ‘professional’ or an ‘amateur’, you will become in demand.

(As fate would have it, yesterday afternoon I participated in another panel discussion, this time for the Victorian chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators. The topic? Amateur Vs Pro: Who Wins in the Content Creation Stakes? I’ll save up that riff for another blog post!).


The power of publishing your thoughts with entrepreneur, author and speaker, Steve Sammartino



Steve Sammartino epitomises today’s forward-thinking, tech savvy ‘new’ thought leader.

His ‘Startup Blog’ attracts a monthly audience of over 30,000 and has been a catalyst for where Steve finds himself today – he’s a consultant and adviser, speaker on the technology revolution and author of the just-released book The Great Fragmentation: and why the future of business is small, out now through Wiley Publishing.

Since leaving his gig as digital head of a major advertising agency, Steve now travels the world helping companies transition from industrial era thinking into the digital age. He is a shareholder and advisor of Tomcar Australia (Australia’s first car startup in over 30 years), guest lectures on marketing at Melbourne University, writes on business and technology issues for the ABC, Marketing Magazine and Fairfax, and contributes to the popular Beers Blokes & Business podcast. He’s also sought after by the media to comment on the technology issues in the business sector.

The blog

But it is Steve’s blog – the anchor of his communications platform – that drives the whole Sammartino ‘intellectual shebang’.

Primarily he uses it as a way to share his thoughts and ideas around topics including business and technology, entrepreneurship, marketing and digital culture.

He estimates he’s published three million words. For five years he blogged every day; at the moment he publishes three posts a week but is trying to get it back up to five.

There are lots of gems in this interview, but the key takeaway for me was Steve’s approach to blogging and the effect it has had on his life.

“Of all the things I have done in my career, blogging is THE number one thing that has had the biggest impact on my life, my career, my family and my finance … I cannot understate the importance of it.”

He puts it down to this:

“Once you make a decision to blog every day, your eyes have to be open because you’re looking for posts … it makes me more aware of the world I’m in because I’m looking for content, and then when I have the thoughts it makes me write them down, and our thoughts are our most important thing. By having to write them down ‘cos I’m going to post them, that means those thoughts don’t get lost.”

He says writing a book forces you to clarify your thinking and pull together all your disparate thoughts in a meaningful manner, adding that blogging helped him learn how to write in the first place.

The book 

book_footerThe Great Fragmentation is the ‘strategy playbook for the future, a business survival manifesto for the technology revolution’.

I consider it to be a one-two punch in the face for outdated corporate business practice; it’s somewhat of a subversive work, and reminds me a bit of the seminal work The Cluetrain Manifesto.

It contains 20 chapters and 20 different ideas; Steve describes it as “non-linear just like today’s business environment”.

He said his goal was to assess the entire landscape we’re living in and provide a philosophy so readers can find the right tactics.

Advice for aspiring thought leaders

  • Publish your thoughts (“high frequency publishing”) – that’s the number one thing above all.
  • Make sure you have a forum that you own – for Steve, this is an email list of subscribers (“an independent direct connection” with your audience).


Remember to subscribe to REPUTATION REVOLUTION on iTunes and not miss an episode! And if you enjoy what you hear, I’d really love it if you could leave a review on iTunes. Thanking you! 




trevstareTREVOR YOUNG specialises in social media, content marketing and thought leadership strategies. He speaks professionally and is the author of the book ‘microDOMINATION: How to Leverage Social Media & Content Marketing to Build a Mini-Business Empire Around Your Personal Brand’

How to improve your professional future in 20 minutes a day


Improve your professional career in 20 minutes per day. Or if you prefer … 140 minutes across the week.


“What the heck can I do in 20 MINUTES a day that will improve my professional lot in life?”

I have two words for you.

  1. Twitter.
  2. LinkedIn.

Check out this SlideShare presentation. All will be revealed. Go on, you know you want to look :)

Good luck!

The power of authenticity in building a strong and trusted personal brand



It’s a word we hear often when it comes to blogging and social media. It seems weird, doesn’t it? We’re human, right? Aren’t we authentic?

Well, yes – and no. Here’s the thing. Some professionals create personas – false public images of themselves – in order to present a front to the world they think is more palatable than the ‘real thing’.

You might be surprised to hear that some CEOs of major companies take acting classes in order to present an image more in keeping with what the marketplace is after (or so they think). And we all know the ‘public image’ of many a Hollywood actor is manipulated and airbrushed to within an inch of its life.

Now, we all want to be seen in a good light, that’s only natural; but the last thing we want to do is create a disconnect with our audience if they continue to see us in different lights, as it were.

Authenticity can manifest itself in a number of ways.

Firstly, there is ‘what you see is what you get’.

This should be a given as far as I’m concerned. You want to be confident the person whose blog you’re reading, podcast you’re listening to or video series you’re watching is the ‘real thing’.

Gary Vaynerchuk

Author, entrepreneur and wine guru Gary Vaynerchuk (pictured below) is a perfect example here. What you see is what you get with ‘Gary Vee’. He’s a super-passionate guy, a hyper-active straight-shooter who knows his brash in-your-face style puts people off some people, but he’s not about to change.


Vaynerchuk says you have to embrace your DNA. For five years he hosted a daily video blog called Wine Library TV. If he wanted to manage his image for mainstream public consumption he would have toned down his loud personality and changed the way he presented the show to be more ‘vanilla’ and in keeping with what people are used to on TV. But he didn’t, and as a result he cut through the ‘wall of beige’ in a big way, standing out in a sea of boring me-too cardboard cut-outs.

And the results have been palpable: One million+ followers on Twitter, three best-selling books, a fast-growing company in VaynerMedia and a bulging portfolio of big-time speaking gigs are testament to Vaynerchuk’s ability to attract and grow an audience.

Now, Vaynerchuk might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but his fans – those who like his swagger and can-do attitude – are behind him all the way.

Erika Napoletano

Self-confessed “snarky brand strategist, author, and columnist” Erika Napoletano is a good example of a big personality who lets it rip on and offline. She is a sassy lady with a distinctive voice who has built a large (and growing) following for her ‘tell it like it is’ style. For example, Napoletano’s Redhead Writing blog features categories called Bitch Slap and Redhead Rants; her book The Power of Unpopular is about how to (in her words) “build a brand you can love and have it loved by the people who matter the most…the ones you built it for in the first place” – it’s a great read!

So show your personality on stage, through your blog and via social media channels. If you’re into cheesy ’80s pop music, don’t hide it – stand up and be proud! Talk about the football team you follow, the passion for origami you have, your obsession with Tasmanian shiraz; if you’re a mad keen runner, weave it into your narrative. If you love photography, incorporate this aspect of your life into your content creation efforts.

A second form of authenticity is a person’s ability, or more importantly, willingness, to be open and transparent. 

This can become can of worms because today if you live your life online as many creative entrepreneurs, business professionals and thought leaders do, then it’s super-difficult to separate your personal life from your professional life. Indeed, many high profile individuals have endeared themselves with their audience because they’ve taken people ‘behind the velvet rope’ and shown them their personal side.

Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith talks about the importance of drawing a distinction between ‘personal, professional and private’ when on the social web; she says mixing personal with professional is good for her business because her community gets to know her on a deeper level when they see her habits, interests and quirks.

However, she also says: “Each of us has a private life too and that’s where the line should be drawn”.

Just how far you open the kimono is up to you, but be aware that being open about your life and business is attractive to your fans and followers (i.e. readers, listeners and viewers of your content).

pat-flynnAside from showing your true personality, this might be as simple as letting readers of your blog know you’re friends with a particular author when you give their book a glowing review, or of the mistakes you made when launching a new product, for example.

Pat Flynn (left) from Smart Passive Income regularly publishes ‘How I Make a Living Online’ income reports , while author and entrepreneur Jonathan Fields takes his fans and followers deeper into his life by publishing a personal ‘Annual Report‘.

Bottom line: Expressing your true personality online and offline will help you connect more genuinely with people, while being open and transparent will ensure you build trust over time with your community.

Both aspects are important foundations of a strong personal brand.