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The thing about it is that sometimes that advice could get outdated in the long run.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

Leveling Out The “Madness” In The NCAA

By Cheval John

Photo Courtesy of Naypong

Photo Courtesy of Naypong

It’s that time of year again as tonight begins March Madness.

This year’s NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament, which consists of 68 teams, will be very intriguing because of the fact that the University of Kentucky is trying to become the first undefeated team to win the national championship since 1976 when the University of Indiana won the championship undefeated.

Though the focus will be whether they will finish undefeated or suffer a loss at the worst time that can derail their hopes of a great season, I want to chat about how as always how this whole system works.

You might have noticed in my last blog post, “Choose Yourself In Order To Earn Attention For Your Talent,” I shared how the only way for teams from mid-majors and lesser known schools to gain the same exposure as the big named schools is if they are in the NCAA tourmanent.

The sad thing is that many schools who have mediocre records are in the tournament because they are in the top conferences (SEC, Big 12, Big 10, ACC, Pac 12) and they are perceived to have played a tougher schedule than the schools who are in lesser known conferences.

So if a school in a lesser known conference had a great season, won the regular season title and then lost in the tournament, they don’t have a chance to make the tournament.

I think that in any professional sports like the NBA, anyone can make the playoffs if they had a great record and are in the top 8 of their conference.

Except for the NCAA.

If you are not in the big five conference, possibly a few mid-majors or a school like Gonzaga who have made 16 consecutive NCAA Tournaments and have given the chance for the West Coast Conference to have other at-large bid teams, then you have no shot.

Merit does not rule in most NCAA sports like football, basketball and baseball.

I suspect that the name of the game for these tournaments is money.

Of course the big name schools like the University of Texas, Notre Dame, etc. has a large fan and alumni base.

So if they are many big name schools in the tournament, that gives the NCAA a better chance to make more money because it has a bigger draw to television viewers.

It is a big reason why they are in the midst of a 14 year, near 11 billion deal with CBS/Turner Broadcasting to showcase the men’s basketball tournament.

That means the NCAA has to put out a great showcase of top talent every year in order to prove to CBS/Turner that they made the right decision to spend all of that money for them to be the exclusive home of the tournament.

Of course, many mid-majors and lesser known schools have to compete every year with the big name schools and also schedule to play these big name schools even if they are going to lose.

Not just because they want to make their team tougher, but it helps to possibly improve their Rating Percentage Index (RPI), which is one of the metrics that the NCAA selection committee uses to choose the teams who will be in the tournament.

So even if a team have a mediocre record like a 18-12 or 17-11, etc., if they are in one of the Big 5 conferences, they have a much better chance to make the national tournament even if they did not win their respective conference tournament.

It is unlikely that the system for selecting teams in the NCAA tournaments will change anytime soon.

All of what the teams in the lesser conferences can do to make the big dance is to win their respective conference tournament, schedule tougher non-conference teams in the Big 5 conferences, or advance in the tournament like Gonzaga has done in order to show the nation that their conference is not as easy as they think it is.

Perhaps, this will level out the playing field of collegiate basketball at the Division I level.

What are your thoughts on the way the NCAA basketball tournament is run? You can leave your comment below.

Choose Yourself In Order To Earn Attention For Your Talent

By Cheval John

Photo Courtesy of Tigger 11th

Photo Courtesy of Tigger 11th

As we are almost in the middle of March, most of the U.S. are anticipating the NCAA Division I basketball tournament, which is dubbed as “March Madness.”

This week, teams are vying for a chance to make this prestigious tournament and have an opportunity to showcase their talent in front of a national television audience.

Let me rephrase that, teams who are normally not featured almost regularly on national media outlets like their counterparts in the top conferences (ACC, Big 12, SEC, Pac 12, Big East).

The only way these “unknowns” have the same opportunity to showcase their talents on national television is if they are in the finals of their respective conference tournaments and if the winner is playing in the national tournament.

Now things have kind of changed in recent years with the “unknowns” getting some television coverage during the regular season.

Before, a person would only know of the big name schools like Texas A&M, Florida State, the University of Florida, the University of Texas, etc. because their teams would always receive constant television coverage.

You could say that collegiate sports have always been the best marketing tactics to gain exposure for their respective schools.

Others would say that it a particular degree programs or world class teachers that allowed their institution to gain either national attention or world-wide attention.

The truth of the matter is that collegiate sports is the reason why universities are gaining national exposure.

And prospective students would always dream of going to the big name schools because they want to be part of the attention that the schools are receiving.

And the branded schools would be able to recruit the 5-star athletes because they have the capabilities of helping them reach the professional sports levels like the NFL and the NBA.

So the not-so branded schools like Davidson, Sam Houston State, McNeese State, Stephen F. Austin, etc., were at a disadvantage because they could not recruit the 5-star athlete and also gain the best and brightest students in the world (the exception of gaining the brightest students are the Ivy League schools like Harvard and Princeton).

The lesser known conferences would at times gain national attention if their schools made a national tournament (mainly the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament, the College World Series and in football, the Divison I Football Championship Subdivision playoffs).

In this day and age, the playing field have been leveled to a large degree for all universities.

Some of the mid-major conferences made deals with television networks like ESPN and Fox Sports to broadcast their games on television.

While conferences of the “lesser known schools” in the words of James Altucher, “choose themselves”* and create their own television networks to showcase their athletes. term paraprhased*

One of the conferences who “choose themselves” was the Southland Conference.

They have always found a way to remain competitive in the midst of realignments of schools in their now 51st year of operation.

However, they went to another level under the direction of commissioner Tom Burnett.

With his leadership, the conference decided to create the Southland Conference Television Network in 2008 to showcase their member school’s athletes (regular season, football, basketball and in tournament time, all of the sports teams) via television affiliates to about 13 million viewers in the states of Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.

If the Southland did not choose themselves, then the nation would not have been able to see former Sam Houston State running back, Timothy Flanders flipped over the defender and landed in the endzone for the touchdown.

And because the Southland choose themselves, they have earned the attention of national media outlets to where their members’ regular season football games and basketball games are now broadcast live nationally on ESPN3 in addition to their network.

The lesson that can be learned from this is that if you want to gain your dream job, but you are not “qualified” for the job, then you have to create your own opportunities to succeed.

Most of the time, job seekers just send in their resumes and hoping that someone will call them in for an interview with the possibility to work at their company.

Instead of waiting and hoping for that call after putting in the resume, be proactive.

You can do internships to get your foot in the door, attend networking events, etc.

From there, you can share your knowledge and the lessons from the work experience you gained either with your own blog, a podcast, or YouTube channel.

When you do the above, nine times out of ten, you will have a much better chance to gain your dream job.

In the case of podcasting, you can interview anyone who are in the industry that you want to work in like public relations and share their story of success with your audience.

I can guarantee you the most busy professionals will say yes to the opportunities to be on your show because they see the opportunity to promoting themselves and their companies without spending a whole lot of money for marketing.

In conclusion, do not wait for someone to validate your talent or expertise because you will probably be waiting forever.

Instead, create your own opportunities by blogging, podcasting, etc and prove to the prospective employers that you are very knowledgeable in your chosen career field.

Over time, you will gain the recognition and even earn your dream job with the company you always wanted to work for.

Video courtesy of the Southland Conference Digital Network

Don’t Do What Everyone Thinks Is Best For You

By Cheval John

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles

When I first started blogging four years ago, I would not have imagined that I would fall in love with it.

I saw this as an opportunity to showcase my thoughts on what was happening in the world and being able to tell stories of people who are achieving success the right way.

Let just say that I did not had a direction of what niche I wanted to get into.

All I knew was the fact that this was an amazing platform.

One thing I did not do was remain consistent in the blogging schedule because it was like the spur of the moment if a particular event happened.

In that first year, I learned that you had to keep on blogging every week because if you did not, you would lose some readers and it would take a while to gain them back.

Even to this day, I still struggle with writing long form content because I will admit, I get bored if the content is very long winded and it does not get straight to the point.

However, it has been a fun challenge to write longer form content because I am a contributing blogger for Millennial CEO and I want to give their audience the best information possible that will make them feel better and give them actionable advice.

Since founding this website three years ago, the blog posts has been a mixture of sports, some travel and university affairs.

Also, the site has been growing slowly with viewership from around the world whether they stumbled on the site by accident or had meant to visit it.

I will be honest of the fact that I wished I could have bigger viewership.

At the same time, I rather this type of slow growth because I want to see what works and what does not work.

I also want to achieve what is called the “5 to 10 year overnight success” because I want people to see that there is no such thing as an overnight success.

I want them to see that they have to put in the effort and work to achieve their goals and not think that someone was lucky when they achieved their goals of writing a great book, running their own company, etc.

When they say that someone is lucky, all they are doing is cheapening the success of the person and validating their excuse that they cannot achieve their goals.

Also, I want this site to be as close as the Huffington Post as possible.

Is this a lofty goal?

Yes, it is a lofty goal.

At the same time, I believe it can be achievable and I am willing to work extremely hard to achieve the goal of being a close to the Huffington Post.

The only thing is that I will not use any short cuts to get there because I rather achieve the fruits of my labor.

Another thing I want to address is the fact that there have been so many blogs, podcasts webinars, etc. that talks about choosing a niche.

While I am totally in agreement with the people who mentioned about choosing a niche, I have to disagree with them to a small degree.

The reason is that I love sports, travel, business and social media and I feel that it is very difficult to choose one out of the other.

I believe that these things above is who I am and I want to express myself here by writing about sporting events, travel and interesting things that is going on in social media.

Maybe I am not the only one who think this.

If I am the only one who think it is o.k. to write about different subjects like sports, travel or other things that interest them and not just one particular subject, then I will not apologize for it.

All I care about is making the reader feel better about themselves and solving their problems.

This is the reason why I am blogging.

I hope that you will do what you love and not worry about what other people think about you.