Select Page

Thought Leadership and Jason Van Orden

Today, we’re delighted to have a returning guest all the way from New York City – Jason Van Orden. It’s his fault we started this podcast in the first place! Jason was last talking to us about being your best self and now he’s here to talk about thought leadership.

Thankfully, Jason is recovering from some coronavirus symptoms. Now he’s emerged from the other side to speak to us. Thank you so much Jason!

Jason Van Orden on The Next 100 Days Podcast with hosts Graham Arrowsmith and Kevin Appleby

Do you find there is a gap between the idea of thought leadership and the people with good ideas?

The gap is in a few different places. Often, the people Jason works with are recognised experts in their field but realise they could reach more people with their ideas. As a result, a lot of them do have that desire but maybe haven’t built the brand that goes beyond their nice industry.

Also, when they start looking at digital marketing, they don’t really resonate with the marketing practices that are going on. They’re looking for something that is more congruent with the way they want to go about building their brand. Jason has positioned himself in a place where he has translated all his digital marketing knowledge and helped them implement these in a way that is well-aligned to their sense of self, branding, values, goals, etc.

These are a couple of gaps Jason has seen and felt like he can fill.

One other gap is that some clients know the importance of thought leadership. Maybe they’ve written a book; however, they’ve come to realise a book is not a business model. In order to do build income streams around this emerging brand, Jason helps them to outreach their current reach and get back to the business side of things.

Books and business

On the podcast, we have had many guests talk about books and authority. Books are a great way to establish yourself as an expert. It elevates brand and visibility. But, the money that comes from a book doesn’t make a lot of money and automatically build a strong stream of income. 

Jason recommends the best thing to do is to write the book already knowing how it’s going to fit into your business model. The book should give more eyeballs which drives the process of nurturing leads – getting someone onto an email list, for example.

Translating thought leadership

Making things simple for people to understand is really hard. But Jason is really good at making difficult things seem attainable. 

One of the things Jason does is point out his clients’ strengths. Thought leadership can manifest in different forms. This caters to the way everyone has different styles of synthesising, translating and filtering information for people and inspiring them into action. 

One of Jason’s philosophies is to build frameworks out of information and thus helping his clients do the same. This was born out of his skill in translating information into simple, digestible sections (as Graham attested to). 

Why frameworks?
  • To organise the information well and make it simpler to follow
  • Formulas don’t necessarily translate well into other people’s businesses, and social/economic/business/personal contexts. Frameworks preserve the principles and foundations of what you’re teaching. But, leaves 20-30% space for the receiver to impose their values, goals, etc. Then, in the long term the framework feels good rather than a trap.

Jason’s new podcast

On Jason’s new podcast, he is going through frameworks. This is a way to make his podcast stands out as the business market in podcasting has grown significantly from when he first started a podcast back in 2010. His initiative is to create a sort of workshop for each podcast. At the end, there’s always a downloadable resource to go along with the episode. Therefore, he offers more value and helps keep the podcast helpful and actionable for the listener.

But, how does the resource work? Is it a ‘fill in the blanks’? What’s the format?

Often the sheets are about filling in the blanks. The episode Graham looks at, however, (4 Plug-n-Play Marketing Templates to Powerfully Communicate Your Genius) is template-based. It’s a coaching call with a client, walking through her business so that the listeners can be a fly on the wall to help their understanding.

After training in the form of a podcast, how do you form a course? Haven’t you given it all away?

Jason doesn’t think so. Someone might go through the worksheets or listen to the coaching call episode and think ‘well that’s what I need; Jason there with me, walking me through it.’ And then there’s always the application of the training. People might want more depth and breadth of how to apply Jason’s templates to their business and that’s what the course is for.

Documentary film maker

No new documentaries will be rolling out from Jason any time soon. He’s been a busy bee with business!

One of the documentaries he made when he dabbled in film was about a modern dance company. It ended up being something they could play at their galas and fundraisers, because storytelling is a great way to connect with people. When the documentary connected people to the dance company’s story and background, people were more inclined to support them.


This term refers to that moment where you figure out what the story is, where it might be going, etc. Imagine starting to watch a new Netflix series or a film – the first few moments you spend sussing out what’s happening. And then, you get a ‘click’ moment where you understand the story and become interested and invested. It’s a little bit like a headline, which helps you to get it.

There’s a sense that, with a podcast, we have to guide our listeners to the story click moment. It’s a feature we could probably all use a bit better actually!

Working from home

For people like Jason, Kevin and Graham, working from home isn’t a new thing. Adjusting doesn’t take much effort. However, there is a huge void to get people – intelligent and articulate – into the digital world.

A lot of people are translating their work places into this COVID-19 environment. As a result, there will probably be changes to work as we know it, after the lockdown is relaxed.

Jason loves to work in cafes as he feeds off the energy of other people. It’s something he’s missing right now. But hopefully, it won’t be for too much longer!

If you would like to know any more about Jason, his services and his podcast, click here.