Kathie Melocco - Health Activism

Blog dedicated to Social Justice and Health and Wellbeing Activism

February 27, 2013

Making aged care more app-cessible

An  iPhone application developed by Bupa Care Services Australia has been hailed as a wonderful development for aged care consumers.

The Choosing a Care Home app is free to download and provides a practical and easy way to search for, assess and com are any aged care home against quality criteria. It is based on a new rating system called the Seven Signposts of person-centred care, developed by Bupa in consultation with Alzheimer's Australia Consumer Dementia Research Network.


February 19, 2013

Richard Branson Blogs About Healthivate

We were thrilled to read Sir Richard Branson's blog post about Healthivate, the forthcoming bloggers conference. A successful entrepreneur, adventurer, passionate advocate for the planet, Richard took  time out from his very busy schedule just to blog for our little event coming up in Sydney on March 2, 2013.  There are still some tickets to Healthivate available so if you are thinking about starting a blog, have an existing blog or want to fine tune your story to share on your blog then this conference will get your creative juices flowing. There will be lots of fun activities on the day and a focus on health and well-being as opposed to disease. It's all about putting us, the consumer, in the driving seat of managing our own health. See you there.


February 17, 2013

Blogger Lori Dwyer To Share Her Story At Healthivate

Today there is much commentary in the media about mental health in the workplace thanks to a new survey report released by SANE. The survey of more than 500 workers found 95 per cent felt their employers were uneducated about mental illness and needed training to manage its effects.

One of speakers at the forthcoming bloggers conference Healthivate is Lori Dwyer. We spoke today about her own experience with a loved one struggling with depression...

Here's a quick recount of that discussion:

Just over three years ago, Lori Dwyer decided she needed a hobby before she sold her kids to the highest bidder on eBay. She discovered blogging, and started her own- RRSAHM. What was a very normal life exploded in January 2011, when everything changed- Lori’s much loved husband passed away, leaving her, at 29 years old, a suicide widow and single mum to two tiny children.

She spoke to me candidly about in the aftermath of her husband's tragic death she discovered how he had been soldiering on whilst enduring work place bullying and a convergent of stresses in life. Lori said her husband had been suffering from depression. She missed the signals, men can be so good at holding back and not sharing when things aren't going so well.

Lori says her blog became a place for support andy the blogging community rallied around her. Two years later and Lori continues to share her experiences and insights on everything from grief and sex to love and parenting. You can find Lori on Twitter

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February 11, 2013

Dr. Sam Prince To Speak At Healthivate

I am really excited to share with you that Dr. Sam Prince will speak at Healthivate. Sam is an astonishingly gifted and passionate social entrepreneur and we are thrilled he will be ending our day at Healthivate with an inspirational message about One Disease At A Time. If you haven't got your tickets to Healthivate, the bloggers conference, there is still time so grab a ticket now.

Biography - Dr. Sam Prince
Born in Dundee, Scotland to Sri Lankan immigrants, Dr Sam Prince moved with this family to Australia in 1986. Gifted academically, he began tertiary education at the age of 16 at the Australian National University after which he graduated with a degree in Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from Monash University in Melbourne. At 21, while studying medicine in Melbourne, Sam established his first business, Zambrero Fresh Mex Grill, in his hometown - Canberra. Zambrero is built upon the key principles of happiness, healthy food, and humanitarianism. In the following years, Sam continued to practice as a doctor and grew Zambrero to over 28 stores and counting, 500 staff and over $25 million in revenue. The business was recognized as the fastest growing franchise in Australia in 2010 by BRW. Recently, the Plate4Plate initiative was launched in partnership with Action Against Hunger, whereby every time you buy a plate of food in a Zambrero store, someone also receives a plate of food in the developing world. The program is already active in Liberia, and has served over 1.2million plates of food. At present, there are 28 Zambrero stores across Australia and this is planned to reach 60 by the end 2013 with the plan of international growth by the end of this year.

Sam established the not-for-profit One Disease at a Time, which aims to systematically focus, one by one, upon significant diseases affecting Australians today, with the aim of improving the basic standard of health of all Australians. The first targeted disease is scabies, a parasitic mite that burrows under the skin to lay eggs, and which is transmissible by skin-to-skin contact. Scabies underlies 50–70% of streptococcal pyoderma (or skin sores caused by streptococcal infection, primarily Group A streptoccocus or GAS). Further, post-streptoccocal disease, including rheumatic heart disease and kidney disease, occurs at much higher rates in Indigenous Australia than most places in the world, and these diseases cause chronic bad health and, ultimately, premature death. While most non-Indigenous Australians have never suffered from, or know someone who has suffered from scabies, some remote Indigenous communities see around 7 out of 10 infants suffering from scabies at least once before their first birthday. Sam, now joined by a team including Nobel laureates, the Australian Governor General and legendary medical scientists have redefined the model of how to partner and practice within the Aboriginal communities in Australia.

In 2012, he was named the Young Australian of the Year, Australian Capital Territory and Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the year. In addition, he has also been listed in the top 30 entrepreneurs under the age of 30 by 2009 Anthill Magazine Australia and the Most Outstanding Young Person of the World by Junior Chamber International in 2008. 

Have a peek at Sam's TED talk.

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February 08, 2013

Working With Bloggers Is Essential Part of Marketing Mix In 2013

The Social Economy is the economy of the future and will change the way we do business forever. Working with bloggers and other influencers in the social ecosphere is now an essential part of both the marketing mix and stakeholder/customer engagement.  It is no longer an optional add on. And in 2013 finding innovative ways to build original and inviting content to connect with these influencers is becoming increasingly important if you are be relevant today. No longer do we rely upon old media to build a brand's value. Today we can be publishers in our own right, with YouTube Channels, Podcast Shows and more. The opportunity is only limited by your imagination, innovation and creativity. Think Mayo Centre for Social Media for example.  

The 'not so new communication tool' - word of mouth, has been amplified millions and millions of times over and connected us via the Internet in ways that few would have envisioned five, ten, twenty years ago. Word of mouth rules and it's social. Think of it like a massive marketplace - people refer and share products and services, what is good and bad and the health marketplace (if you can call it that) is no different. 

In fact the word health is often mistakingly taken by leadership and marketers to mean healthcare providers or disease management when it towards wellness that the disruptive healthcare economy is moving us at a rapid rate. The rapid rise of the Australian online health network Healthshare, which provides consumers with answers to their health questions, from health experts across a range of health related issues shows that consumers are moving faster than those marketing healthcare can keep up. Consumers are seeking out information, savvy enough to go to an accurate source and are empowered as a result.

A recent report by Nuffnang Australia analysed shows that health and wellbeing is relevant to every segment of the consumer blogosphere. The challenge is how best to engage with these bloggers, as more and more become aware of their own personal power. In fact many could be described as epitomising the LOHAS market. Empowered they are. Bloggers are interested in a range of issues, relevant to their families, the planet and others in a totally holistic manner. In the future, don't be surprised if these empowered bloggers reject ways some brands are endeavouring to engage with them at present as they become savvier in this space and get to the core of their own stories and the true power of their authentic voice within their respective communities.

We are already seeing a growing segment of parent blogging online, powerful tribes sometimes referred to in Australia as 'mummy bloggers' and, an increase in real world gatherings of bloggers such as the forthcoming Bloggers Conference Healthivate, dedicated to LOHAS principles and focusing on eating well, living life to its fullest, giving to others and movement building (Disclosure, I am curating this event)

Here's some top line points from Nuffnang's survey, the biggest survey of the blogosphere undertaken in Australia to date. Nuffang's network deliver some 12 million page views per month via bloggers in their network. 


·      92% - Female
·      8% - Male

·      18-24 years – 25%
·      25-29 years – 21%
·      30-34 years – 18%
·      35-39 years – 15%
·      40-44 years – 8%
·      18-44 years - 87% of population


There is a common misconception that bloggers are relatively young; 79% of all respondents are between the ages of 18 and 39. An important note, however, is that the Australian blogger community is not made up of teens – only 6% of all bloggers surveyed are under 18.

45% of bloggers are married and 44% have 1- 3 children under age 16 in the household.

In addition to favouring family, Australian bloggers also have a high level of education. 42% of all respondents have completed a bachelors degree and a further 20% have completed a post graduate degree.

Compared to last years survey study, a significant new group of bloggers identified are females who are married without children - 21% of this segment have a income of more than $150,000.

The motivations driving our bloggers are varied, but easily mapped across the life of a blog.

When bloggers first start blogging, 36% of respondents say it is something they’re doing for themselves. Blogging, at least initially, starts because the individual blogger has something to say, wants to establish a voice and interact with like- minded individuals. The longer they continue blogging, self-satisfaction and building recognition for themselves also become motivators.

The difference between young bloggers and seasoned bloggers becomes more apparent in their future aspirations for their blog. Newer bloggers often start of writing for self-fulfillment, but quickly build aspirations to be a celebrity blogger. This is particularly seen in the fashion, food and parenting verticals as they aspire to work with brands. Seasoned bloggers typically have established their name / brand and are more satisfied with existing status.

36% of bloggers surveyed say they hope to become well known or considered an expert for their blogs.


Understanding the psyche of Australian bloggers is every bit as important as understanding their demographic backgrounds. An interesting finding of this study is the way in which bloggers interact with each other through blog comments.

45% of bloggers comment on other blogs as a strategy for sharing their own blog posts.


Top Blog categories

·      45% - Personal
·      38% - Lifestyle
·      24% - Fashion & Beauty
·      24% - Food
·      20% - Parenting
·      12% - Travel

47% of bloggers post to their blogs 2-6 times per week.


Blogging is still relatively new in Australia but is showing fast growth. Despite being around since 1999, blogging in Australia is still relatively young. 44% of Australian bloggers have only been blogging for 1-3 years. 20% have been blogging for 3-5 years.


Follow: Bloggers are dedicated subscribers of blogs – 50% follow 20+ blogs
Read: Bloggers are active readers of blogs – 45% read more than once a day
Post: Blog posts are very frequent – 53% of bloggers post 2-6 times per week

Australian bloggers follow a plethora of other blogs and are also frequent heavy readers of blogs.


When engaging with bloggers it’s more efficient to target a specific group with complementary readerships. Very often we see “blogger outreach” using a widespread selection of bloggers with overlapping readership that reduces reach and turns readers away.

·      73% of bloggers professed personal or hobby blogs as their FAVORITE variety to follow.
·      At the opposite end of the spectrum,
·      50% said Brand blogs were their LEAST FAVOURITE to read, followed by News & Media publications at 30%.


Australian bloggers are growing quickly in popularity. As a result of increased popularity, the bloggers generate a great deal of traffic and influence. While most blogs have under 5,000 unique visitors a month, the most popular Australian blogs receive over 100,000 unique visitors a month..

In addition to generating traffic, blogs are becoming one of the most trusted forms of media.

46% of respondents ranked other bloggers opinions as the most influential type of media. Next is - 20% online sites (non-social media). Newspapers, radio and TV ranked as the least influential.

The Nielson Global Trust report released in April 2012 supports the notion that blogs are an influential form of media. 
The top 2 most trusted forms of advertising is:
·         Consumer opinions posted online (92%)
·          Recommendations from people I know (70%)
(Blogs are a combination of both these forms)
[sourced: Nielsen’ Global Trust in Advertising and brand messages, Q3 2011]

A typical media publisher site can be visually cluttered with a number of varied advertising placements and sponsored imagery. Banner ads on publisher sites can easily be overshadowed or lost among all the other content.

In comparison, blogs are limited in ads and clutter that helps the Brand message cut through with impact.


82% of all respondents say they notice banner ads on blogs.

Sponsored posts are a mutually beneficial way for bloggers and Brands to work together in getting information out about a product or service. Blog readers agree.
70% find it useful so long as they stay impartial and transparent. 23% - say they’re great as they help bloggers continue to provide quality content.

Blogs are among the highest trusted forms of media and readers go to them looking for new information. The authenticity and disclosure of sponsored posts place bloggers in a unique position of authority enabling them to deliver trustworthy and influential messages to their audiences on behalf of brands.


Bloggers are in a unique position of influence and their purchasing advice is sought by blog readers. Looking only at the survey respondents who do not own a blog, ie. blog readers only.
·      63% are the main grocery buyer of the household
·      80% would like to get involved in making purchasing decisions
·      46% of this same group reads blogs one or more times a day
·      67% think that blogs are a better source of information than mainstream media
·      85% go shopping at least once a week

Breakdown of a Blogger Household
·      74% of bloggers are the main grocery buyer
·      88% are involved in purchasing decisions
·      88% go shopping at least once a week
·      98% like to try new experiences, products & services

As we’ve already seen blogger’s influence is not limited just to blog readers. Bloggers also have a great impact on other bloggers. That means that a blog’s potential reach for a brand via other bloggers is potent and profitable.

Purchasing funnel
·      Awareness
o   89% have learnt of a new brand / product / service through blog advertising.
·      Consideration
o   95% have considered a brand / service as a result of reading a blog.
·      Purchase
o   84% have made a purchase as a result of reading a blog – up 6% from 2011.


Not only are blogs one of the most trusted forms of media, they are essential in driving word of mouth [WOM] about a brand’s products and services.

·      89% of respondents share stories or information to family and friends as a result of reading a blog post.
·      68% believe products reviewed by bloggers provide first hand information. Bloggers are very social, it is natural that they use word of mouth to spread the information about brands, products and services.



For Brands, the important thing to keep in mind is that the Australian blogosphere wants to hear about Brand products and services, but it needs to be presented in a natural and fun way.

·      98% of bloggers regularly use photos with their blog posts
·      97% create their OWN media [video, photo, audio]

·      62% say blogs are the most appealing medium for a business to promote a brand - 16% the second highest preference was via online contests [i.e. microsites]


Social Media – bloggers are highly social and their dedication to social media reflects this:
·      Twitter
o   81% are active on Twitter
o   63% click on blog posts linked through Twitter, 4% more than in 2011
o   Twitter is used as a quick sharing & communication tool within the community
·      Facebook
o   95% are active on Facebook
o   55% reported spending 1-5 hours a day on Facebook

Blogs have a huge impact on search through keywords and backlinks sending readers off for more information.

94% have used a search engine to find more information about a Brand after reading about it on a blog post.


·      It’s better to build a deeper engagement with a small group of targeted bloggers.
·      Blogging is still young in Australia and requires different approaches for bloggers of varied levels of experience.
·      Competitions help drive reader engagement and participation
·      Blog readers are generally household decision makers and willing to try new things
·      A blogger outreach campaign helps drive SEO and WOM


Blogging is quickly evolving in Australia to become much more than a personal online account of just one’s day-to-day activities. The Australian blogosphere is a dedicated community of passionate, curious writers and consumers who are leveraging networks to broadcast their opinions and experiences. Forward-thinking Brands are learning to be a player in this rapid growing community network.


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