Trevor made time to speak to me about his book and how to build your personal profile online and become a micro maven.
Adam Franklin: Hi, it’s Adam Franklin, and I’m here with a friend. He’s known as the PR Warrior. He’s one of Australia’s top business bloggers. He’s a speaker, and now he’s an author of this book called “MicroDOMINATION.” Welcome Trevor Young.
Trevor Young: Thank you, Adam.
What’s a micro maven?
Adam Franklin: Trevor, congratulations on publishing this book. In the book, you talk a lot about ‘micro mavens’, and you’ve listed some Australian people who I follow, Darren Rowse and Valerie Khoo, and also international people like Chris Brogan, Chris Guillebeau, Brian Solis, Gary V. Now can you tell us what is a micro maven?
Trevor Young: Yeah. I’ve sort of dubbed them ‘micro mavens’. Really what I’ve tried to do is, I guess, piece together some common characteristics of these new look entrepreneurs. I’ve kind of got about seven characteristics. But ultimately what they’ve all done is develop a global platform for their brand. They continue to build their brand as well as their personal brand. Then what they’re doing is they’re building businesses wrapped around their personal brand as it were. So to build their platform, they’re growing their personal brand, and around that they’re growing these… I call them multi-source income types of businesses, because they don’t just do one thing. They are authors and speakers. Gary V runs an agency. But they all run their businesses based off the back of their personal brand.
I think the other thing is, that they kind of all seem in control of their life. Chris Guillebeau, for example, travels the world. He took 5 years, when he was 30, and he made a goal to travel to every country in the world by the time he was 35. I reckon he’s just about hit that now. So the lifestyle aspect is very important too. Not many of these micro macros have actually got brick and mortar businesses.
Adam Franklin: In the book you talk about marketing being all about getting people to know you, like you, and trust you, and that these micro mavens do a fantastic job of humanising themselves and their personal brand and their organisation, if they have one, like I guess Gary V and Chris Brogan, do. There’s a concept in there called ‘opening the kimono’, and I’d like you to just talk a little bit about that, if you could, and what that concept is all about.
Trevor Young: Yeah. The words ‘opening the kimono’ have been used a bit, and I can’t say I’ve invented the term, but what it really does refer to is: How much of your personal life do you give away? One thing – the characteristics of all of these micro mavens have done – is that they all, to varying degrees, let people into their lives proper, and not everyone likes to do that. A lot of people like to keep business and personal separated.
I think in today’s social world that’s nigh on impossible, and one of the strengths of the micro mavens is the fact that people do like to see behind the scenes. They do like to see a bit of their personalities, because that’s what they’re buying into. As you say, we do business with people who we know, we like, and we trust.
Personal, professional and private
Mari Smith talks about personal, professional, and private. I think that’s a really good distinction. Professional and personal are blended together, and you take people in, ‘open the kimono’ to whatever degree you’re comfortable with. But then you have your private life, which is private. I think that’s a really good way to look at it.
Adam Franklin: That’s a great distinction. I guess that applies equally to people working within corporations too, if they do have their public life and their professional persona as well, but then keeping certain stuff really private; but opening, I guess uncovering the inner workings of some parts of the company, but not everything.
Trevor Young: Oh absolutely. And once again, what the social web has done for business everywhere and this is why it’s a bit easier for small businesses, because they are a lot more human and personal. That’s why some of the bigger businesses are struggling with this whole concept of humanising the brand. But when you’re a personal brand or a personality based business, it’s your thoughts, ideas, opinions, whether you’re Seth Godin or whatever. People want to have that relationship with you, and you’re only going to have a relationship if there’s a dimension there that you also can relate to.
Pressing the flesh
Adam Franklin: And you talk about in the book, obviously, about the social networks and connecting online, but you say one of the things that really stands them (micro mavens) above everybody else is the fact that they go ‘old school’. They ‘press the flesh’, and they’re actually very accessible and very keen to connect IRL, as you say ‘in real life’, and connect . . .
Trevor Young: It’s a weird concept, you know – ’old school’, face-to-face.
Adam Franklin: And that works really well for them, right?
Trevor Young: Absolutely, and I’m just writing a blog post at the moment about that. I’ve always felt the power of online has been offline, the friendships, the relationships that I’ve got as a result. When you do get to meet people, we’re human beings, and we love doing that. Gary Vaynerchuk is massive on doing that.
If Chris Brogan, is at a conference, he’ll tweet people to come and meet him. I saw that first-hand at Blog World in L.A., at the end of 2011. Darren Rowse is the same. Chris Guillebeau, wherever he is, he’s always holding meet-ups, always. When you travel as much as he does, he’s meeting a lot of people, and he’s building really good relationships with them. Fifteen might turn out to one of his meet-ups, but he’s such a pragmatic person. He says, “They might be my supporters for life and buy 100 books and share all my content.” So there’s a lot of value in face-to-face. This whole notion that they sit in a basement in their pyjamas is not right.
Adam Franklin:That’s certainly been one of the things I’ve been most impressed by, when meeting some of these aspirational social media contacts, is the fact that they have been very approachable and very accessible. So I do agree that it’s such a fantastic way for them to be. Building their fan base, even if it’s one person at a time. Once you meet these people, you are fans for life.
Trevor Young: The accessibility, I think we look at celebrities: the moment they become anywhere near big in their space, they have this entourage, the publicist, the manager, and all this. These guys don’t do that. Obviously, when you get really big in a niche, you can’t probably answer every email, be 100% accessible. Otherwise you would have not time. But it’s the intent, I think, to talk to people on Twitter and to be available at events and hold meetups. It’s that attitude, I think, that sets them apart.
Adam Franklin: That’s fantastic. And just to conclude, in the book you provide the steps to become a ‘micro maven’. You’re one yourself. So congratulations on the following you’ve built up through your PR Warrior blog, and obviously the book, and the speaking that you’re doing. Now what’s the best way for people to find out more about you, Trevor?
Trevor Young: I’m pretty easy to find on the Web these days, but my main jump off point is TrevorYoung.me, and that’s got all the links to everything else. I do have a blog, and that’s PRwarrior.com. On Twitter, which I’m probably most active on, it’s @TrevorYoung.
Adam Franklin: Excellent. Well, I do encourage all the viewers to connect with Trevor. Certainly buy the book, there’s a free first chapter excerpt, I think, available from your website. So certainly check that out.
Trevor Young: Yeah, it’s an e-sample, so I think it’s a bit more than a chapter actually. The publishers have packaged a nice little snapshot of the book. There’s a book only site, which is called MicroDominationBook.com, and there’s a free e-sample there.
Adam Franklin: Awesome. Well, I’ll link to all of those in the blog post. Thanks very much for joining us Trevor, and congratulations on the book.
Trevor Young: Thank you Adam. Cheers.