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Providing Value To Your Community

By Cheval John

December 11th, 2016

I had the honor of interviewing Rachel Miller on What’s The Word? about a month ago as she shared her story about becoming a social media strategist.

It was a dream come true because Ms. Miller has played an important role in my journey to become more proficient as a social media specialist and running my business, Vallano Media, LLC.

She was also the co-host with Brian Fanzo and Christin Kardos serving as the moderator of one of the most popular Twitter Chats at the time, #sbizhour.

I had interviewed Mr. Fanzo on the show early last year.

A few months later, I had interviewed Mrs. Kardos about her career as a community manager.

The story of how I discovered the awesome trio of #sbizhour happened in 2014 after I had quit a large retail chain I worked at for about four years while I was building my business (I submitted my two week notice to the human resource department there).

I was at the tail end of finishing my time as a freelance sports writer for the Huntsville Item as I was about to move to the Houston area at the end of July of 2014.

I heard about Twitter chats from people I was following on the social media platforms.

One of the Twitter chats I had discovered was #sbizhour, which was called #sshour in it’s first year of existence.

I saw how they ran the show as a Twitter chat and a Google Hangout and was really impressed by their multi-tasking skills.

As they changed the name from #sshour to #sbizhour in 2015, the Twitter chat got even more popular and was always trending on Twitter.

At the same time, live video was starting to get more popular thanks to Meerkat and Periscope.

I had no idea that they had moved their show to the live streaming platform called Blab later that year.

And when I got use to #sbizhour being streamed live on blab, I found out that the social media platform saved the audio and video of the live stream show if it was recorded.

That opened my eyes to the possibility of letting my audience see the live recording of What’s The Word? and even interact with the guest after the show was over.

It was because of Ms. Miller, Mr. Fanzo and Mrs. Kardos that I am now recording most of the shows on my business page on facebook live via

As #sbizhour continued to grow in popularity, each of the co-hosts has gotten more business opportunies for themselves.

Ms. Miller became a community manager for Pure Matter, a company co-founded by Bryan and Courtney Kramer.

Mr. Fanzo had gotten more speaking opportunities at major conferences including Social Media Marketing World.

And Mrs. Kardos became the community manager for Jay Baer

As the workload got extra for the trio, they decided that it was best to shut down #sbizhour after almost two years of providing value to their community.

What I can tell you is that Ms. Miller, Mr. Fanzo and Mrs. Kardos accomplished a lot in the short time of hosting #sbizhour than many businesses have done in their entire existence because:

1. They listened to the needs of their community

2. They were transparent with their community

What would happen if many businesses followed the example of Ms. Miller, Mr Fanzo and Mrs. Kardos in providing value to their potential customers?

You can leave your comment below

The Basics of Blogging

by Cheval John

I want to tell everyone that I will be accepting guest post to be featured here for the first Saturday of every month starting today.

So if you are interested in guest posting, you can send an e-mail to

Today’s guest post is from Sarah Smith, who is a blogger and is the promoter for Karen Evans of

Sarah put together this infographic about the basics of blogging

You can follow them on Twitter @startblog101.

Without further ado, here is Sarah

No matter how easy blogging seems to be for many, the journey to coming up with your own can actually be a challenge.  In fact, you will realize the demands and blockades arise when you actually begin doing your blog.  In short, blogging surely has its own birth pains and every blogger learns from his or her mistakes.

As you learn along the way you will realize that it is also important to minimize the mistakes you commit as much as you can.  Hence, it can be helpful to know the most common mistakes that beginning bloggers are prone to commit.  Besides it can be so helpful and time-saving to take advice from those who have gone through the same beginner path as you plan to do.

Some of these mistakes you can avoid ahead of time as you start your blogging journey include trying to be perfect and failing to promote your site.  Others also commit the misstep of wanting to save money by getting a free website without realizing that you would still end up getting a domain and host account in the near future.

It is about time to show the world what you are capable of writing and sharing through a blog.  Besides, if you are not going to start now, then when? Decide to be consistent with your own comfortable blog work schedule and begin today.

Check out this practically made infographic that will help you get started as a blogger without getting to commit the most common mistakes you are most likely to encounter along the way:


The Basics of Using Twitter

By Cheval John

The world of social media has changed over the last few years.

What remained are the dominant players: Facebook and Twitter.

LinkedIn is still an important platform for many entrepreneurs, business professionals and college graduates who are looking to get hired at a new company.

However, LinkedIn is now part of Microsoft due to the purchase earlier this year according to the Wall Street Journal

With rumors earlier this year of executives trying to sell Twitter, one could wonder if the social media platform is still viable for people trying to build a business or a personal brand?

Heck Yes

Though Twitter have about 320 million active users according to Adweek, you can still interact with people you admire in “real time”

The problem is many businesses see these social media platforms as a place to promote themselves for free and not interact with their customers.

On the flip side, small businesses understand the importance of social media and are being profitable in the process

I created a video below that explains the basics of using Twitter as my free gift to you for #smallbusinesssaturday.

The advice I share can apply to Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn because all of these platforms should be used to build trust with your audience.

Below this video are the twitter chats (conversations around a hashtag like #bizheroes of Paper.Li) I mentioned in the video:

Madalyn Sklar’s #twittersmarter Thursdays at 1 p.m. eastern, noon central:

Hootsuite’s #hootchat Thursdays at 3 p.m. eastern, 2 p.m. central :

Chelsea Krost’s #millennialtalk Tuesdays at 8 p.m. eastern, 7 p.m. central:

Bonus: Applebee’s #livelunch Fridays 1 p.m. eastern, noon central:

What are your favorite Twitter chats and how are you celebrating #smallbusinesssaturday?

Creating A Winning Culture In Your Company

By Cheval John

November 19th, 2016

The #HTownTakeOver reignited after the University of Houston (UH) football team defeated then No.5 Louisville 36-10 in front of a record 42,822 fans at TDECU Stadium on Thursday night.

The football matchup was broadcast in front of a national television audience on ESPN and a national radio audience on ESPN Radio.

This Tweet by KPRC 2 sports reporter, Lainie Fritz, who captured the storming of the field after UH’s victory.

And ESPN had one of the best live streaming thursday night viewership this season due to this matchup

The campus has been a scene of a winning culture since Houston’s coach Tom Herman took over the team in December of 2014.

Since Herman’s arrival, UH has a record of 22-3 with an American Athletic Conference championship and a Peach Bowl win over Florida State University.

What is more impressive is that UH’s success has taken over the city of Houston

City Hall is lit in Cougar red to celebrate the @universityofhouston's win over Louisville! #HTownTakeover #GoCoogs

A post shared by ABC13 Eyewitness News Houston (@abc13houston) on

In a city that has plenty of professional sports teams, UH has found a way to get their football team into the spotlight.

UH has had success under previous football coaches like Kevin Sumlin and their softball team have been extremely successful since they began in 2001.

However, the recent success of UH’s football team seems to be in another level.

One could argue that UH’s recent rise to prominence started when they achieved the Tier One Status in 2011 by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education under the leadership of Chancellor Renu Khator.

With the Tier One status, UH were able to bring in world class professors and recruit future college students who were elite in their respective high schools from around the world.

From there, they were able to secure the funds to build the 40,000 seat TDECU stadium over the same grounds of the demolished Robertson Stadium in time for the 2014 football season.

That first year in the new stadium, Houston finished with an 8-5 record.

However, the season was considered disastrous due to the inaugural home opening loss to UTSA resulting in the firing of Tony Levine.

UH administration understood that if they wanted to take their football program to the next level in their new stadium, they had to bring in leadership who would bring in a culture of winning.

That was why they hired coach Herman to lead their football program because he played a role in helping Ohio State win a national championship under the new College Football Playoff format as an offensive coordinator for coach Urban Meyer.

Coach Herman instilled a winning culture at UH and the entire university community was onboard with the #htowntakeover movement.

The average home attendance at TDECU stadium have increase from 33,980 in 2015 to 38,953 this year.

UH administrators are trying to keep their coach from leaving the football team as major collegiate football teams are trying to hire him away from their school.

University of Texas seems to be the front runner to poach coach Herman away according to this ESPN report that the Longhorn’s most powerful boosters are trying to get Charlie Strong fired

Though UH have already increased coach Herman’s salary to $3 million a year, it seems like the money will not be enough.

The UH fans can hope that coach Herman will stay due to the stability of the UH administration who only want the best for their faculty and staff.

The above story showcases that as a business owner, you must:

1. Create a winning culture in your company

2. Allow your employees to shine in their respective roles

3. Avoid a power struggle (like the University of Texas boosters) that could tear your company apart

When you create a culture that allows your employees to shine in their roles, you will end up winning in the long term because they will go out of their way to promote you.

In the same manner as UH, customers will see your company as a place where people can grow their skills and positive recognition from outside sources will find you.

Have you created a winning culture like UH? You can leave your comments below.

I Decided To Participate In #NaNoWriMo2016

By Cheval John

For the entire month of November, I will be blogging everyday as part of Nina Amir’s National NonFiction Writing Month also known as #nanowrimo2016.

#NaNoWriMo2016 is an annual challenge for aspiring authors to blog a book in 30 days during the month of November.

About two years ago, I participated in the #nanowrimo challenge and blog my second book, “8 Lessons Every Podcaster Needs To Learn,*” which became an Amazon Best-Seller.

I decided that since the Super Bowl 51 will be occurring here in Houston next year, I wanted to write a book that will be beneficial for an estimated 1 million people who will be visited the fourth largest city in the USA.

Since many will be going out to eat during the Super Bowl, I decided to blog about the top food and coffee restaurants that are locally based in Houston that most people don’t know about.

I know that once people check out these local restaurants, they will truly fall in love with the hidden food and hospitality scene that Houston has to offer.

So to keep up with this challenge, you can subscribe to this website to see the preview about the restaurants of houston and even help me decide the name of this book.

Happy blogging.

*That is my second book connected to Amazon