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Q&A with the content brains trust: Andrés López-Varela and Trevor Young

In the first of our monthly profile series, we talk to Andres and Trevor, two of Australia’s sharpest content marketers - and co-founders of the Content Leaders Academy.

In the first of our monthly profile series, we talk to Andrés and Trevor, two of Australia’s sharpest content marketers.

 

Together with Ubiquity Lab’s Matt Allison,  Andrés and Trevor founded the Content Leaders Academy – an immersive full-day masterclass for forward-thinking content pros who want to fast-track their knowledge and take things to the next level.

 

Our first cab off the rank is in Sydney (April 9) and Melbourne (April 30). You can access earlybird prices for a limited time here (offer now ended).

Andrés López-Varela
Andrés López-Varela

What do you do?

Andrés López-Varela (ALV), marketing strategy consultant and podcast producer: I split my time between developing marketing and content strategies for big brands and startups and producing podcasts (The Destinationists, a podcast for modern travel marketers, and Rocking The Boat, a podcast about politics in the Warringah electorate). Also, if I get a couple of hours to myself, you’ll often find me in the kitchen, baking.  

Trevor Young (TY), Principal Consultant – Digital Citizen Group: I’m a content-led communications strategist and adviser. I operate at the nexus of owned, earned and social media – I believe unless you’re seamlessly integrating your efforts across all three types of media, you’re leaving a lot of value on the table. My philosophy is content-first, with a strong human touch. I’m also a keynote marketing speaker, blogger, podcaster and published author.

What mantra are you living by this year?

ALV: Slow the hell down. 2018 was a hectic year in terms of my health and work and the biggest realisation I had was that multitasking, living at speed and working a bunch were counterproductive to everything I value and want in my life. So, slower = better.

 

TY: I’m very much veering down a path that looks at content marketing through a PR lens. In short, I think content can serve a purpose greater than simply driving prospective customers into and through, a company’s metaphorical sales funnel. It’s the subject of my new book – CONTENT MARKETING FOR PR.

Trevor Young
Trevor Young

What’s the important thing marketers can do to drive commercial outcomes this year?

ALV: Sort out your content operations. Marketers struggle to understand the best way to optimise content programs is not to change the creative approach, but to sharpen up your operations. It’s not an easy message to sell because it’s not fun and exciting, but it is mission critical.

 

TY: Use content to humanise their business a lot more. Open the kimono, as it were, take people behind the velvet rope of your organisation, showcase your subject matter experts, get your leaders out from the shadows of the boardroom. To be successful today, brands need to be known, liked, trusted, front of mind and talked about in a positive way, which is social proof. If we as marketers and communicators can help our brands become more known, liked, trusted, top of mind and talked about, then this will lead to commercial outcomes. Think of it as building recognition and reputation ‘before the funnel’.

What’s a cracking book you’d recommend, or a podcast you swear by?

Marketing Rebellion book

ALV: Lol. Definitely a podcast (I tell people I don’t read books, but I love audiobooks). Here’s The Thing from Alec Baldwin is one of my faves because he interviews guests in his audience’s mindset and, marketing-wise, it’s a great reminder to put your audience’s needs first.

TY: Two books that are rocking my world are Seth Godin’s This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See and Mark Schaefer’s Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins. I get a sore neck nodding in agreement as I read each of those two books. In terms of podcast, I listen to scores of them, but one that is on permanent rotation is Social Pros hosted by Jay Baer and Adam Brown

Who are your go-to thought leaders, and why?

ALV: It’s Seth Godin (predictable, I know) for big picture inspiration, Mark Pollard for advice on how to be a better strategist and Marie Forleo when I need reminding of how to crush the basics. I also love hearing from my podcasting partner-in-crime, Lauren Quaintance, and Chris Guillebeau, about how to buck the system and do life differently.

 

TY: I’m inspired daily by people who are doing cool things in the name of content marketing. I particularly love discovering entrepreneurs and small business owners who don’t have a background in content marketing or social media, but who do it brilliantly because it’s real and from the heart, which is something that many larger companies struggle to achieve.

 

My mainstays are Jay Baer from Convince & Convert – the guy is just so damn prolific and maintains a very high standard; Mark Schaefer too is prolific and I just like the way he thinks, we’re very much aligned philosophically when it comes to social media and content; and Mitch Joel another whip-smart marketer who was one of the early thought leaders in the social media and content marketing space. His blog and podcast combo has the best name ever – Six Pixels of Separation!

Seth Godin book this is marketing
An old fashioned drink with lime and ice cubes

Our favourite qu: What’s your top beer or wine recommendation?

ALV: Tough. Call. I’m a fan of Italian wine varietals, so I’m going to point you in the direction of this fine Nero from Coriole in McLaren Vale. But, really, it’s a great Old Fashioned that appeals to me the most and, FWIW, the Old Clare Hotel in Sydney does an epic one of those.

 

TY: I’m going through a real lager stage at the moment, which is great because a lot of the craft breweries are starting to add lagers to their beer portfolios. Current faves are Green Coast Lager (by Stone & Wood) and Brick Lane Base Lager.

Our favourite qu: What’s your top beer or wine recommendation?

ALV: Tough. Call. I’m a fan of Italian wine varietals, so I’m going to point you in the direction of this fine Nero from Coriole in McLaren Vale. But, really, it’s a great Old Fashioned that appeals to me the most and, FWIW, the Old Clare Hotel in Sydney does an epic one of those.

 

TY: I’m going through a real lager stage at the moment, which is great because a lot of the craft breweries are starting to add lagers to their beer portfolios. Current faves are Green Coast Lager (by Stone & Wood) and Brick Lane Base Lager.

An old fashioned drink with lime and ice cubes