YGV 100 FM
YGV 100 FM

Episode 2 · 11 months ago

Trevor Merriden of Merriborn Media: From journalism to content confidence. How to become a thought leader.


Trevor Merriden is resident No 2 Global Square and Founder of Merriborn Media. He shares his journey of how he transformed from an economist and journalist to running Merriborn Media. Implementing his journalism knowledge, Trevor helps businesses to unlock their thought leadership. Trevor shares his experiences working with corporate leaders to improve marketing and sales through becoming more content confident.


[1:17] Part 1 - Background and insights of Trevor’s journey from economics and journalism

[7:01] Part 2 - Trevor’s content services to help entrepreneurs become thought leaders

[10:54] Why a creating a report positions your thought leadership and lead to more marketing and sales

[17:35] Shaping the future of content

[19:16] Part 3 - Forseeing the highlight moments within the future five years

[20:14] Trevor’s focus on UN Global Goal No 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Instituition

Trevor's merchant house in the Global Square:


Trevor's personal website:


Your Global Village:


Welcome to the YGV HUNDRED FM podcast. I'm your host wind time in this podcast. Me Invite you to join us in the exciting world of your global village. If this is your first time here, we are a community living and working in a matter verse inspired village. Our purpose with this podcast is to share the stories of each resident and find the lessons learned that can help you get better results and have a bigger impact, whether you're just starting out in Your Business or your season entrepreneur. You'll find fresh ideas and inspiration in these stories. With me today, I've got trevor married them of Mary born media. So if you're new to this podcast, it's the ygv hundred FM and the structure of this show that we prepared is that we're going to be sharing with you the tree stories and just to give you a bit of a background, it's it's the backstory and then your present story, which is really around your current business, and then the future story, around your community impact, and you'll get it quite easily. So, yeah, welcome to the show, Trevor. Hello, Huh Hi. Yeah, it's great to great today. Thanks for victually honored to be here and I hope I give up a reasonable counsel with my what im about to say, and I mean the backstory. I mean well, I mean I think the way I kind of put it is that my business is all around content and and the words in particular. You know, I write sort of thought leaderships up but back in the mist of time I was I wasn't a writer at all. I was I my first job was as an economist. I worked at the Bank of England and before I was ever a words Nerd, I was a numbers nerd. And, you know, I was cranking these econometric models and generating numbers and and and what happened was that I realized through working the bank that there was a shortage of people around who could tell stories through numbers and as to what the numbers actually meant. And so in a way I was kind of joining the dots, if you like. You know, and and and painting a picture or telling a story. And so I did that and then I went from that thinking well, actually, I like this writing thing and and I and I had no real way of getting into journalism. I hadn't trained as a journalist, but I used my economic background to go and economic and so I joined a group called the Economist Group. You know, we're probably best known for the magazine, but they do lots of other things as well, and I was writing articles and sorts of reports for organization which was a sister organization pulled the Economist Intelligence Unit. And at that point I thought,...

...well, maybe I've got enough experience now to become a what I thought of as a proper journalist, and I went across to a magazine in the UK equal management today, and I kind of, I suppose I rose up through the ranks there and I went through a I was an editor of Acom title which went up and down with the whole boom and bust of the thecom times, and then I went to edit a magazine called a Har magazine, and then I had kids under the age of three, kids under the age of five. I needed to be closer to home and I was very lucky that I joined a PR agency that was used to pitch into me about all these kind of leadership management hr type issues and and we grew that business from our million to two three million as a director of that is this, but I always in my heart wanted to set up my own business and which is what I did about almost ten years ago exactly, and and that was dedicated to developing, you know, sort of content with in the corporate markets. And the key moments, I suppose you can see, is this is kind of constant sort of evolution of what I was what I was doing in there. And I say I went from econometrician to ethno journalist, journalist, to business journalist to, you know, Pe our person, you know, to complete and there was and I'd love to tell you that this was all very logical and planned out, and it really wasn't. It was just I kind of arrived somewhere and I thought or quite fancy a better that, you know, after a couple of years and and try to edge my way across from from place to place, and you know that I suppose decisions that help me get there. One was a commitment to that I was going to get into journalism no matter what. And because I found that really hard, you know, because nobody, as a journals stops and tells you how to get into journalism if you haven't gone and trained and so on. And I thought, and for a blong on time I thought, I just this is just a brick wall and I'm never going to get through it. And and then somebody opened a door for me and I managed to get in and once I was in I realized that, I see, there wasn't anything special or magical about being a journalist. It was it was, it was just you just had to somehow get in and and if you found the way, it probably meant him could be one, you know. So that's a sort of, I suppose, sort of decisions or decisions where I got a bit of had a stroke of luck. ORS On those key steps have been divotally getting that, I guess, the commitment around the origins that was, yeah, and the commitment around, first of all, being a journalist in you know, in what was the main vessel for being a journalist that time, which is magazines, and and these dates, of course, you know, we don't just talk about magazine things. We talk about social media, websites, platform collaborative platforms and and so it's a much more kind of complicated picture now. But it is also a commitment to journalists and also commitment to writing and what words in...

...my case, you know, doing a lot of thought leadership work or leadership papers for for clients. What words actually carry most power and how they resonate, not just for you as an individual, you know birds, but to do your clients and, more and even more important to your clients, markets. You know, what do the markets thing and how can you help them express what they do in terms of their buyers will understand. So let's let's go to your your current story right your business impact a what what is happening with what you do right now? In you share first some of the stories of your clients. You know, how. How are you impacting them, that is, in what? What sort of challenges and problems are the feacing? What are them feelings and needs? Were the few when the when they first approaching? Okay, well, at the heart of everything is that. I'll give you a few examples. But before I start, then, what I'd say is that, almost without exception, most organizations consistently under estimate the sales void of their knowledge and their expertise. And you know. So I might be commissioned to write to thought leadership report and and and and I first question I ask is, what do you want to happen as a result of this? You know of this paper and and and then I talk about how we draw out that knowledge and expertise and to peep businesses almost consistently underestimate them ount of knowledge and expertise they have, the power that it has. And then if you can find ways to sort of bring it out of them, you know, which sometimes as you might do to interview, sometimes you might do through watching them give speeches about things. I mean, it doesn't matter how the content comes out, as long as it comes out. And and then the second thing that the old businesses struggle with is what they do with it once they're once once it's out there. And I think again, I think people consistently underestimate the extent to which they can use that knowledge and expertise, now in the form of content, in lots of different ways. And so I talk to clients around around that. And there's there's three major ways that, once they've got those two sort of things that they realize they're they're missing a trick, if you like, through not making more of their edge experts. There's three ways I can do that. I'll give you a little example for each of those. So first is increased sales. Helps them increase sales. Second as it helps them keep customers or members if they're a membership organization. And thirdly, it helps some sort of build a build a brand, you know, if that's what they want to do. So that's why I ask those questions. What are you trying to do? Increase sales, keep customers, build brand? Tell me. And so are. One example...

...was that we were commissioned to write a the increased sales category. You know, we're commissioned to write a thought leadership report for a retail and recruitment consultancy, and so we interviewed about a hundred of the world's tops of retail CEOS. They had a great network that they just weren't using, and so we I help. We did that to identify future skills for future retail CEOS. Now, this was before the pandemic and and but it nevertheless it predicted trends that would then become, as it turned out, become greatly accelerate as the pandemic took hold. You know that you can see the whole nature of retailers completely change. Has Gone from a lot of store based stuff to a lot of online and virtual sales. That people who do work in shops, you know, realize they're going to have fewer cash tills ringing because people might just come in to see what something looks like and then go and buy online, you know, they go home, and so there's different modes of actually bindings and and the so the CEOS of retail organizations need to understand that, they need to skill their work forces in different way and they need to skill themselves in a different way to understand that they're now operating a more digital environment. So we did this and with that the consultancy was able to drive it sales pipeline and it open lots of new conversations with senior retail figures in the industry. They the client set up sorts of spinoff events and from this content and then re using the content from the report, they were able to do other marketing activities and increase their sales. So that's that's the first one, sap. Does that make sense? Is that the yeah, yeah, absolutely, and I think you kind of touch on the sort of follow up question that I wanted to ask, which is really around after the story, that what are the benefits of working with you and the results in outcomes that you bring to the clients? Right, and so the increased sales is obviously a q one. That couldn't yeah, and and, and I think it's importantly. What I can't do is I can't say to them if you work with me, will increase sales by fifty percent. I don't know that, so I can't possibly make that that promise. But what I can say is that as a result of a report that reflects your views and, more importantly, reflects the views of the market or anticipates the views or the needs of the market, that we give you the best possible chance of increasing your sales. So you know, then, a lot of what they do is up to them in terms of how they markets their products on I mean I advise them on that, but they often have their own sort of marketing departments, you know,...

...to most marketing people know how to market things and they know their sector better than I ever will. So so so, just as they've lent on my expertise and producing the content, I then lean on their expertise to make sure that it works for everyone. Another example in terms of keeping customers is that I said before that many businesses lack the confidence to create content for the knowledge and that is sometimes becomes a value. You thing for people in a membership network, for example, you know, they that the a lot of these memorshable organizations have kind of knowledge experts that you join an organization you know you know we're because you might get extra insight or expertise and or you want to be part of an industry. Boddy. So we had one clients who had a major data resource, you know, that it had collected by benchmarking all its members and it wasn't doing anything there, and so we were asked to go in and help and tell the story around, around the numbers that, if you looked in angregate, without giving any member organization secrets away, you know about their individual sort of performance, about about in the case of this particular organization, about about how is this is dealt with their people across all levels of the employee cycle, everything from how they were recruiting people to how they were developing them and or you and and sometimes sort of how they were saying goodbye to employees and by what we did with that was that we developed a series of reports, but also webinars where we pose questions of the members and and lot they were very popular webinars because what the members realize was that they had a lot of experiences to share and different ways of doing things or tackling particular problems, and the value to the members became although we produced the initial thoughts on on on what, we thought that the value to them was actually getting into a room or a Webinar room and actually talking to each other. And and so what we did in that case was that we increase the retention rates, you know, of their membership. You you always have a certain number of members who might not renew their membership each year and because perhaps the dacity value. But then we cut managed to cut down that failure rate, if you likes, of drastically by by actually producing reports and running webinars that they found was really valuable, you know, because you because they able to exchange ideas as well as receive ideas from the mother ship or the or the client body. So I go on or journal us. I think I like the example because it's it starts with a research peace and then you kind of repurpose the content in the Webinis and something that is yeah, that's...

...a such a clever, clever approach. It's a it's a different thing, but it kind of makes the point about repurposing content, as you said. So that I mentioned. A third thing about situations where you build a brand and and if businesses are underestimate, seem, the importance of the purposing the content. One example is that we had a client who was a an international sort of like a quasi government organized station, I'm not allowed to name, and they wanted to influence the debate around education in Asia, South Asia, and they wanted to build their own influence in that in that area. So it commissioned a report and that report was based on a series of conferences that they were having where, you know, everyone's been to a great conference where people say great things and people make great speeches and they all kind of shake hands at the end of it say that was a fantastic conference and then nothing else happens. And and what they were trying to do was kind of square the circle or by having the it's very grand event. They tracks incredible speakers and what they asked me to do was to just bring it all together into into a thought leadership reports of like a compendium of knowledge. And what happened is the organization was able to sort of place itself at the center of the debate around higher education in South Asia. They cemented their brands in the minds of the speakers and also the attendees as a set of events worth attending. So they and then when people from the media, for example, wanted to find a go to commentator, an independent, objective commment data on its issues, they were they just knew who to go to. You know, as a result of that help to build the brand in that case. So you've got increased sales in one example, keep customers and build a brand. Nice. I like that. So let's go to the cut part of the Toud segment of this this interview. Right. So what is, you know, your future story like? How are you how are you going to change the word? What? How will you help seepe this story of the world? That's buy a question and I think we didn't get there's also another question, which is which is nicely freezed. So it's imagine if today is two thousand and twenty six, looking back in a plus five years, what would you see? Were your highlights, the highlights of the last five years? Okay, I mean I'm not I don't think that I'm going to change the world, you know, in the sort of the big macro sense, but I think I will have a I'd like to think I'd have an influence on the way people maybe think about content. Mean my kind of the tagline of the business is putting every business on the fast track to content confidence and because of...

...the reasons that I mentioned about people underestimating their own expertise and knowledge, I want people and organizations to feel much more confident in in that to bring out that in the form of content, in because that's my expertise, and helping that bring that and I want them to use it in a multiple of ways. So so in terms of the the world, you know, I'd like to think that, you know, yeah, that my business would make the world a better place because it will make people realize that producing content, whether you rely on me or hopefully, in fact, you know, learn how to do it yourselves, you know sort of that realize that actually, once you did understand the processes of producing content, how much good stuff basically is within us all the people learn to do it for themselves. And so, beyond me kind of working in the way I am with Gods, I'd like me to sort of almost like be the conductor, if you like, rather than a member of the orchestra and and and and actually show other people now to to do what I do, because I don't think it's that difficult and and I'd like to sort of educate those who want to be educated in doing that. So in two thousand and twenty s Dicks, I mean they say don't look too far ahead, but I think you have to in a way, you know, because the old phrase of plans are useless but planning is essential, is that you've got to have a vision. I would I would love to think that I'd helped people learn to do it themselves in terms of generate their own contents, have fun doing it and to see it not as a difficult, head scratching kind of thing to do but actually an active that they do in the natural flow of their work. And so so that's that's one thing. I've got a bit of a hobby horse about content integrity as well, and I I did the we will know about these sort of promises. that the seventeen sort of und goals. You know that. You and I both done a test. I think you know where that you work out what is your big UN goal, which of the seventeen goals, and mine was about peace, justice and strong institutions and and the way at what I take from that is that the reason why that came out was that I think there's been this erosion of the truth, if you like. You know, and some people blame social media. I think that's too simplistic. To blame social media's just that's just a vehicle, but also the intent by some people, and I'm not going to kind of get political about this, but there are certain people who who have just played very fast and loose loose with truth and debase the value that and and although you could laugh off those people and say they're, you know, they're their clowns or they're not serious people, they it's the erosion that that has on content and whether people believe content and...

...the trust that they put in cometent. So I mean, I would I would love, you know, in five years time, to have, if the need was there and, you know, things kept on going in a south in terms of the the integrity of content, I would love to have set up something like a sort of content integrity foundational unit or something like that, which kind of almost died a reality check on what people are are saying. I hope that I never have to do that or that nobody has to as to do that, but it's something that I would. I would, I would. It's something that probably works me up and annoys me more than almost any thing else is when people are a cavalier with the facts, you know, and they all they put an opinions ahead of the facts all or completely change the facts, you know, to say what they want to be. So so that's that's that's that's something I'm never hope I never have to do, but for that would, but I would if I had to. But more than that, I just want businesses in the mean time to be confident in there and the content languages. I like that. I've got met someone who's got is that as the number sixteen, piece justice and strong. It is. Yes, yes, that's IT, number sixteen. So I think that's that's kind of a very, very fitting because I know, I guess, because you're a trader profile. Yeah, we're having this conversation earlier. Yeah, wealth dynamic profile you are. I think that's it's the trader prove a very, very, very well, I think, and you know I mean for people don't know about well, dynamic profile. I mean there it's kind of it's a bit scary because they're going to nail you, you know, in terms of terms of what, what level of your what sort of strengths and an areas for development you have, and also who you could or should be working with, you know, in developing teams and so on, and so, you know, it's, you know, originally so set up in terms of, you know, how do you make money in the flow of what you do, and I guess that's probably the flow. What I do is is around the sort of the content side of things, but also the accuracy of the content, is something that is my my personal hobby. Pause like that, content integrity. Yeah, I so, so well. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you, Trevor. I think we are, you're very brave because this is the first interview that we are doing in this brand new studio. So well done and thank you for being here. This is the the yg your ygv hundred FM podcasts. Thank you for listening. Thank you for them. Stations come on by and I'm honor to I'm honor to be on it and as the first guest, is just this fantastic so to thank you for the CHARLS. Thank you. Thank...

...you so much for listening to the end of this episode. Let us know what has been your biggest takeaway from this episode. In the next episode we have Lord Has Gun rested in Number Sixteen Global Square, where she shares her backstory from the Philippines to emigrating to North America and entering the personal development journey to becoming a leader in the sustainability feel. Lord of shares her top tips from her experience working with visionary businesswoman leaders. To find out more about your global village community, head over to your global Villagecom Oh yes, and one morning there's a very exciting treasure hunt that goes alongside this podcast. So if you're listening in, you can enter this competition and you'll be in the running to win some amazing prizes along the way. That's it for now and see you in the next episode.

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