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#BlogChat, One of The Largest Chats On Twitter

By Cheval John

This post is part of Nina Amir’s National Book Blogging Month (NaBoBloMo).

I am currently behind in this challenge.

So I am going to blog from the middle of the chapters for my new book, “8 Ways To Stand Out On Twitter: How Engaging With Your Audience Can Get You Above The Noise ” and work my way backwards.

It will be a series of posts regarding the second part of the book entitled, “Top Ten Twitter Chats That Will Enlightened You.”

Without further ado, here is today’s post.

We all have seen the explosion of blogs since it beta stage in the late 90s and early 2000s.

They are very useful because it allows anyone to share their passion that interests them and in the process builds an audience.

Businesses have seen the importance of blogging due to the fact that it drives traffic to their respective sites.

They have seen that the blog traffic increases their SEO rankings on the internet which positions them as an authority in their respective industries.

That is why many people like Robert Scoble, Darrin Rowse and Brian Clark have gained a huge following because of their blogs.

The thing is that it had become much harder for anyone to stand out from the crowd with their blogs because it has become over-saturated.

According to WP Virtuoso 2013 report, they were 152,000,000 blogs in the world.

That number has increased tremendously because that same report has indicated that 172,000 blogs are added every day.

If that is the case and the report was in 2013, then my guess is that the number of blogs has increased to about 245,000,000.

So how do you stand out from the crowd with your blog if they are about 245,000,000 in the world on every single topic?

One of the ways is to gain advice from blogging experts who have grown their blogs and have built a strong community.

That is where #blogchat comes in.

#Blogchat was started by Mack Collier, speaker, podcaster and and the author of Amazon Best-Selling book, “Think Like A Rock Star,”in 2009.

It is one of the largest chats on Twitter.

The chat happens every Sunday night at 9 p.m. eastern, 8 p.m. central

I can say that it is very lively and informative.

I talked to Mr. Collier about why he decided to start #blogchat and the evolution of the chat since it began 6 years ago.

To find out more about Mr. Collier and #blogchat, visit his website at

Cheval John: How did you came up with the idea for #blogchat?

Mack Collier: #blogchat started in March of 2009 by accident. I was often getting into deep conversations with others about blogging and marketing issues but realized that there was no way to keep track of the conversation after the fact. So one Sunday night I threw out a question about blogging, but I decided to add the ‘#Blogchat’ hashtag to my question so that people could add it when they replied and we could all easily keep up with the conversation via the hashtag. It was very popular, there were like 200 tweets in an hour, so I decided to do it again at the same time the next Sunday night and 6 years later here we are!

Cheval John: Did you envisioned the chat to become one of the most popular on Twitter?

Mack Collier: No, I just wanted to create an easier way for me and my friends to have conversations about blogging. After a year or 2, it kinda took on a life of it’s own. It’s now one of the oldest chats on Twitter, one of the biggest. It’s even been live at South By Southwest! The community has always been very supportive and helpful. I think that’s a key reason why the chat is so popular.

Cheval John: As the chat celebrated it’s 6th year anniversary, what lessons have you learned from hosting the chat

Mack Collier: It is a LOT of work to maintain a Twitter chat. In some ways, I think the longer you do it the more difficult it becomes. I’m at a point now with #Blogchat that after 6 years we’ve covered just about every conceivable blogging topic. But at the same, I want to make sure every topic has value for the members because they deserve it. So you really have to LOVE the topic of the chat and serving others or you won’t stick with it. Within the past year there’s been multiple times where I’ve started to announce that I was going to end #Blogchat, but every time, I get ready to someone will send me a note saying how much it means to them and that spurs me on to keep doing it.

Cheval John: Why do you think that people should participate in Twitter chats including your chat?

Mack Collier: Twitter chats always have been wonderful ways to learn and to meet other people. That will never change. The people that get the most out of Twitter chats tend to be the people that contribute to the chats instead of joining with an expectation of using the chat to promote themselves. That never works. You should join a chat to learn. And if you see the conversation go in a way where you can add something of value, do so. You’ll find that people will connect with you and start following you.

Cheval John: Why should businesses take advantage of engaging in Twitter chats

Mack Collier: If nothing else, Twitter chats are a great way to learn about current and potential customers. Think of it as ‘people watching’ in an online setting. You can “lurk” on a relevant chat and get a sense of what current or potential customers think about the products and services you offer. Plus, they are great ways to learn. For example, it might be a good idea to have your social media team check out a weekly social media chat on Twitter. They will probably learn something and it can help them get up to date on their industry.

Cheval John: You had guests from regular people to A-listers, should anyone who are hosting Twitter chats go after the A-listers or should you mix it up with so-called big names and not so-big names?

Mack Collier: The most important thing is to select guests that are knowledgeable, and who will take co-hosting seriously. I’ve invited some co-hosts that just showed up and acted like they were just there to answer any questions. Others took co-hosting seriously and came prepared and drove the conversation. Two I can think of that did this were Brian Solis and Darren Rowse (ProBlogger). Darren actually made an introductory video just for #blogchat that he played as his #Blogchat started, I thought that was a wonderful touch to connect with the audience. And Brian’s chat was probably the biggest #blogchat ever, I think it had like 37 Million impressions and well over 2,000 tweets in 60 mins. Both were incredibly prepared and I mention them because even though both have huge followings and could have ‘mailed it in’, they both put in the work to be prepared and they both wowed #blogchat.

Cheval John: Why should anyone host a Twitter chat?

Mack Collier: I don’t think anyone SHOULD host a Twitter chat. It is a LOT of work and when I talk to others that have started their own Twitter chat, usually after a month or two they start thinking about getting sponsors for their chats. The reason why is because they see all the time they have to put into the chat and feel like they should be getting something out of it! So it IS a lot of hard work. You should only start a chat around a topic you are really passionate about.

Cheval John: What is your advice for anyone who are starting out with their own Twitter chat?

Mack Collier: Same as above, pick a topic you love, one you would talk about once a week whether or not anyone else showed up. Do that, and then when new people start showing up to chat with you, make sure you make them feel welcome and appreciated. Your chat’s growth is determined by whether or not others see value in the chat. When people show up and get involved, THANK them.

Cheval John: Who do you think is hosting a Twitter chat the right way and why?

Mack Collier: We both enjoy participating in #bizheroes and I think Kelly Hungerford has done a fantastic job with that chat. She created it from a Point of View “POV” of “What business and life skills would users want to learn?’. Then she picked experts to help teach those skills to the #bizheroes community. Other than #blogchat, it’s the only chat I attend on a weekly basis. There are several chats that I check in on once a month or so, but I rarely miss #bizheroes, it’s wonderful.

NCAA Had Their “One Shining Moment”

By Cheval John

The one shining moment has happened.

Duke Blue Devils won the national championship after defeating Wisconsin 68-63.

Many have called this national championship epic.

Others might called it one of the worst officiating games in NCAA Tournament history.

No matter what, we were left with another great tournament and lasting memories from this year’s “March Madness.”

Which leads me to this.

The NCAA made their money this year thanks to high level basketball and the ratings from the three-weeks of the tournament.

They are still in the middle of their 14 year, about 11 billion deal with CBS/Turner Sports to broadcast the basketball tournament.

With that kind of money, you would think that the collegiate athletes would see a dime of that money.

That is not the case.

I will be honest.

At first, I was on the side of those who believes that college athletes gets a full ride scholarship to play sports at their respective universities.

I have seen how “well” they have it to a large degree because I have spent the last four years covering collegiate athletics as a freelance writer and as a blogger for my website/media company.

However, I am starting to have a change of heart on this.

It seems to me that these byzantine of rules that the NCAA has in place are designed to keep the collegiate athletes poor while they are making the money.

For example, a family friend can’t take out the college athlete to lunch or dinner because that is against the rules.

What is really interesting is that while I was buying my lunch a few years ago on campus, I had notice that a couple of basketball players that I had recognized were there buying lunch.

I saw that they could not pay for their lunch.

I was thinking about helping them out.

However, it struck me quickly that if I had done that, I would have broken one of the NCAA rules.

What these people want us to believe is that they are looking out for the student athletes.

“In reality,” they are looking out for themselves.

With all this talk about college athletes, mainly basketball players spending a year at college and then bouncing for the NBA, many are wondering why they are not staying.

I am normally of the mindset that people should spend four years in college and earn their degrees.

However, I don’t blame them one bit if they go for the NBA after one year of college because they will have a chance to make money for their talents.

If they are not able to make money during their time in college, then why should they stay for an entire four years.

When higher ups in the NCAA can make money off of student-athletes and then penalize them for trying to at least gain some cash from their own likeness, then something is wrong.

I am not encouraging any student athlete to break the rules of the NCAA.

What I am saying is that the NCAA should fix their byzantine rules.

One thing I wish would have happened was that one of the teams would have refused to play in the national tournament just to show their disgust with the NCAA.

In closing, I want to say congratulations to everyone for a great tournament and also the NCAA for making more money this year.

I just hope one day that student-athletes will have a chance to make some money from the success of the basketball tournament.

To finish this post, the NCAA has one of the best “passive income models” of any organization.

Video courtesy of T3SportsNCAA

Every Four Years Isn’t Bad For Michigan State

By Cheval John

The majority of everyone’s bracket has been busted by now.

This year’s March Madness has been excited to some degree because of the fact that the only captivating thing is whether anyone can beat Kentucky.

Notre Dame came close when they went toe to toe with the Wildcats.

However, the Wildcats found a way to stay undefeated and make it back to the Final Four.

For anyone who had chosen Kentucky to win it all had a little scare from that matchup.

Now if anyone chosen Michigan State to make it to the Final Four this year were really smart.

The Spartans beat Louisville yesterday 76-70 in overtime.

The reason why they were smart is that Michigan State were destined to make it back.

Under head coach Tom Izzo, who is in his 20th year at Michigan State, they have made it to the Final Four every four years, which one of them led to the National Championship (2000).

Do not know why that is, but it is really impressive.

Maybe we should not have write them off of making it back after losing in the Big Ten Tournament final to Wisconsin, who are in the Final Four for the second straight year.

What we should have done is look at history and see the pattern of Michigan State’s final four appearances.

Whether they make the national championship game or not, you can’t take away the accomplishments that Michigan State has experienced under coach Izzo.

If Kentucky was not this dominant, Michigan State would have had a much better chance to win the national championship.

So if the pattern continues and coach Izzo is still at Michigan State, then I will say that they will make it back to the Final Four in 2019.

Video courtesy of NCAA On Demand

The Power Of A Third Party Endorsement

By Cheval John

Photo Courtesy of Stuart Miles

Photo Courtesy of Stuart Miles

When you make an appearance on radio, podcasts, television, etc, it gives you more credibility to what you are saying in your work.

The most interesting thing is that no one will pay attention to you if you call yourself an expert in a certain subject like public relations, business, social media, etc.

However, when you have a third party endorsement, then the game changes for you.

Whether you like it or not, the media is still the go to source for anyone to find out information on a product, news, sports, etc.

What is really more impressive is that social media especially blogs, podcasts, Youtube, has given everyone the power to showcase their knowledge.

And the most unique thing is that Twitter chats are becoming the “new media” to a huge degree.

Many “superstars” in social media either have their own chat or attend these chats if they are promoting their new work or book.

It is a huge opportunity to not only get exposure for your work, but to meet new people and share quality content that will uplift the community and also build lasting relationships.

With that being said, I want to say that I had the honor of making a guest appearance on #contentchat this past Monday to chat about podcasting.

I will admit, I was nervous before the chat because I wanted to make sure that I shared valuable information with the #contentchat community.

However, it got easier because of the support from the regulars who I dare say have been on other Twitter chats.

It was a family atmosphere.

So if you want to build your reputation and credibility, you must make the concerted effort to reach out to people on podcasts, etc.

Also, you must think about providing value for their audience and not think about pushing your product alone.

Here is the link from the highlights of #contentchat.

Always Reinvent Yourself To Maintain Success

By Cheval John

Photo Courtesy of Frame Angel

Photo Courtesy of Frame Angel

The most popular advice when starting out as an entrepreneur or podcaster, etc. is to pick a niche.

That is great advice to a huge degree because you do not want to spread yourself out too thin.

The thing about it is that sometimes that advice could get outdated in the long run.

Many college students have been specializing in a major which they believe will allow them to get a quicker path to getting the job of their dreams.

At first, it works out to a degree because they land a great job with an awesome starting salary.

When that skill is shipped off overseas, they are in trouble because they only are good in that particular skill.

One of the things a person can do when they are about to get laid off because of their department getting shut down is to reinvent themselves and learn new skills.

The reason being is that they will avoid being caught off guard when that layoff occurs.

They will be in a fantastic position to be at the right place at the right time when the company posts a job opportunity that they are qualified for.

Like Carlos Gil and Hank Blank.

Mr. Gil was working as a banker before he unexpectedly got laid off from his job.

He took great advice from his mother and set up an account on LinkedIn and connected with important people which allowed him to become a thought leader, speaker, and also landing a job in St. Louis.

Unfortunately, he got laid off again earlier this year in St. Louis.

Though he was surprised, he did not panic because he already had a strong social media presence and had established himself as a thought leader which led him to his current job as a Senior Social Marketing Manager at the very place which help him to reinvent his skills, LinkedIn.

As for Mr. Blank, he also is a strong advocate for reinventing your skills because he has been reinventing himself for over a decade as a self-employed consultant.

Before that he was working in advertising for about 25 years before he was unexpectedly fired from the agency where he was partner in 2001 over the phone.

Undaunted, Mr. Blank created his own business cards and launched his consulting practice.

He has leveraged LinkedIn and has built a solid reputation as a consultant.

Even though it is important to have a niche, it is always important to go outside of that niche and learn a new skill because when times get tough and you are looking for something new, you will be ready for the “hard times.”

Now, I want to share about another person who has reinvented their skills: myself .

I consider myself a sports writer because I have spent over two years freelancing for a daily newspaper in Huntsville, Texas.

Thought it was great and I loved the fact that I could cover sporting events and share stories of athletes who have succeeded, I was “trapped” because the sporting events happened during the fall and spring seasons.

So in the summer times, I was out of work.

I was over-specialized in one skill, which was covering sports and I could not continue to freelance for the paper during the summer times.

That was when I learned the importance of being knowledgable in other subjects in addition to sports.

That way, I would be able to better my chances at gaining other gigs which could supplement the “dry” months while waiting for sporting events to happen.

Now, I can say that I am learning other subjects like social media and I am a contributing blogger to Millennial CEO, which deals with social media, business and leadership.

It is also safe to say that I had reinvent myself because I am about to be a guest on a Twitter chat called “Content Chat” tomorrow at 3 p.m. eastern, 2 p.m. central to chat about podcasting.

So you see why it is important not to overspecialize in one skill.

Though it is important to have a strong expertise in one skill, it is always important to reinvent yourself and learn new skills everyday even if it is outside your comfort zone.

When you reinvent yourself, you will be in a much better position when the company decides to cut your department.