Melbourne curator/founder Kate Kendall interviews Trevor Young, entrepreneur, writer, speaker and blogger also known as The PR Warrior!
Name: Trevor Young aka ‘The PR Warrior’
Works at: Edelman Australia + I speak/write/blog
What was your first job?
Apart from stacking ‘clays’ on a dodgy clay pigeon machine at a shotgun shooting range (true story!) … my first ‘real’ job out of school was as a gofer/driver/publicist with ‘Young Talent Time’.
What’s the hardest challenge you’ve had to face work-wise?
Running a reasonably-sized PR agency of some 16-18 people (along with a business partner), and having a wide variety of clients and short-term projects on the go at any one time – the key challenge was to always have a pipeline full of client prospects; this was particularly difficult when you were personally on many of the accounts in one form or another. Of course this is a perennial issue faced by most professional services firms, especially if you’re always having to pitch for work which is a time-consuming business.
Who do you think is doing cool stuff in our industries?
I think locally, Valerie Khoo and the team from Sydney Writers’ Centre are virtually the complete package when it comes to using content and social media to connect with people and build a community of supporters for their brand. I love the fun, humorous and authentic approach Scott Kilmartin takes with his company Haul (for example, he promotes his pet boxer dog Gus as public ambassador for the brand). At the big end of town, Ford in the US has used social media to re-engineer not only the way it markets its brand but also how it designs its cars. In terms of individuals, Mari Smith, Danielle LaPorte, Chris Guillebeau, Gary Vaynerchuk and Problogger Darren Rowse are all showing how you can use content and socially-driven marketing techniques to build your personal brands on a global scale.
You’ve been blogging for a while and recently launched Bloghub.com.au – can you tell us about your publishing journey and what’s the mission behind the new site?
I think ‘journey’ is an apt word because that is what it’s been, lots to learn along the way. PR Warrior – my main blog which I started in mid-2007 – has always been a hub of experimentation, a local base for me professionally; I’m less concerned about attracting big numbers and more interested in building influence, reinforcing credentials and creating conversation around topics I’m interested in. Over time PR Warrior has ticked those boxes but you always need to be tending the ‘blogging’ garden as it were so expect a PR Warrior redesign in coming weeks!
BlogHUB was borne out of a view I held that Australia needed an online ‘heart’ for its emerging blogging movement. While BlogHUB started with a directory plus news and opinion posts and blogger profiles, I think over the next month or so I will pare it back to a more functional directory plus maybe a ‘Blog of the Week’-type profile. I’ve also written a free introductory e-book called ‘The MICRO MAVEN Manifesto’ which will be the forerunner to a new website/online community based around the concept of building a mini-business empire around your personal brand.
Do you classify yourself more as an entrepreneur or a consultant after starting your own agency and getting acquired by one of the big players?
Entrepreneur, definitely. I do consult, that’s largely my gig, but in my heart I’d say I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve started three businesses – two I’ve sold, one I’ve merged with a bigger organisation; I guess I’m just one of those people who is always looking to innovate and do things differently and if that leads to starting a business, then so be it. I must say I hang around lots of entrepreneurial types and do enjoy following their progress as they turn their ideas into reality.
What tips do you have for people looking to build their online presence, be it personal or for a business?
There are two intersecting elements you need to be active in – one, the ongoing creation of content that’s relevant, interesting, original and compelling – if it’s hard for you to tick all of those boxes, then become skilled at filtering information and curating content – become the go-to person for your particular specialist area or niche (or as Edelman’s Steve Rubel likes to say: “separating art from junk in the vast sea of digital content”).
Secondly, get involved – participate, connect – online and offline. Attend events, hold meet-ups, grab coffee with people who you’ve connected with online.
To build your personal brand today, unless you’ve got a TV or radio show, you are going to need to create a platform for your work, your opinions, content and ideas, be it blog-based, a podcast, online video show etc. Chris Brogan has an interesting series going about this that’s worth checking out –> http://www.chrisbrogan.com/platform01/
Getting the new-look PR Warrior and BlogHUB website up and running is my immediate priority, followed by launching ‘The MICRO MAVEN Manifesto’ e-book and accompanying website; I’ve got a few speaking gigs coming up which is nice plus my consulting work and blogging – so enough to keep me out of mischief!