Archive | January 2016

Five Years And Counting As A Blogger

By Cheval John

Photo courtesy of Forbes via

Photo courtesy of Forbes via

I still remembered the day I first started blogging five years ago.

I was about to start graduate school and was at an on-campus job fair at my alma mater, Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.

There were many university departments ranging from the career services to the athletic department looking for people who would fill their positions as an intern or part-time work.

I first approached the athletic department about the possibility of working with their marketing team.

I felt that I was qualified because in the previous semester, I interned at an on-campus public relations agency called Priority One.

The public relations agency is part of the class where students form a company and do real work for clients with the SHSU university departments and in the process gain class credit towards their Mass Communications degree.

In my case, I was auditing the class (which mean I got no class credit, but payed less money for the class)

I took that route because I knew that I would have the opportunity to gain actual public relations experience that would give me an opportunity to compete with other graduates for work at a marketing/public relations company.

So I applied for the marketing position at the athletic department’s booth and got rejected because I was overqualified.

A couple of minutes later, I saw the booth of the college’s newspaper of record, “The Houstonian”

I went up to the booth and the editor-of-chief of the newspaper had asked me if I had wanted to be their blogger.

Prior to her asking me about becoming their blogger, I had a vague idea of what a blog was.

That idea of a blog probably came about from an NCIS episode when the main character, Gibbs, asked the forensic scientist, Abby, what a blog was since the sister of special agent McGee, who was portrayed by Trioan Bellasario, had a blog.

And since I did not had any prior blogging experience, I could have told her, “No, I don’t want to work as a blogger.”

However, I said yes to the opportunity of becoming a blogger because I knew that it would allow me to become part of the college newspaper and gain experience as a journalist.

I was then connected with the person who was in charge of their social media to set up an account for the blog.

She had “recommended” using WordPress to set up the blog.

It was at that time, I came up with the name, “What’s The Word?” and created the blog with the free account.

After that, the social media editor linked the blog to the school’s newspaper account.

Then, I written my very first blog post on January 27th, 2011 entitled, “Hello Everyone,” which for some reason, the blog date is 6 hours ahead of central time.

It was awesome to realize that I was simultaneously blogging for the school newspaper and myself because I was the only one who had access to this blog.

I also knew that I had the platform to share my opinions of what is happening on my college’s campus, the sports world, etc.

It was also cool that blogging led me to become a sportswriter because of my curiousity to see what it would be like to cover a sporting event.

And the opportunity came about when the SHSU baseball and softball team was hosting a weekend series during spring break.

I decided to attend the softball double-header matchup on Saturday and then the baseball matchup on Sunday.

This blog post, “A Weekend Not To Remember” came about from covering both athletic teams that weekend.

Also, that spring break weekend of covering those sporting events got me hooked on being a sports writer.

As a sportwriter for the college newspaper, I was able to cover the SHSU Volleyball team and simultaneously covered the SHSU Football Team run toward the national championship for the blog.

Eventually, I “left” the school newspaper after I took a semester off from graduate school and converted this blog into my media company, “Vallano Media.”

At the same time, I became a freelance sportswriter for the Huntsville Item in addition to running this company and covered teams that won conference championships in their respective sports.

I have also written two books and hosted a podcast called, “What’s The Word?” on BlogTalkRadio (now recording the show on the live streaming platform called blab first).

The reason why I will continue to blog is because I still have the desire to make a positive impact in the world for the better.

Plus, I know that I am apart of a crowd who are setting themselves up for success for the better because of their blogs, podcasts, YouTube channel, etc.

The people above will thrive for the better despite the continued layoffs due to companies shutting down or merging to become a giant corporation.

Established Companies Needs To Engage On Social Media

By Cheval John

In the age of social media. it is important to build trust with your audience if you want to succeed.

There is no more putting out advertisement in hopes of making a sale like it was before social media.

Unfortunately, many businesses have not got the message that engaging with your audience on social media is the only way to be successful.

The only time you would see them on social media is if they have something to sell to their followers.

In a lot of ways, I understand why they believe that they can do business as usual because they are already established in their respective industries.

For example, Coca-Cola has been in business since 1886 and they have built a strong brand throughout the years.

Take a look at this tweet that documents Coca-Cola’s relevancy in the world

That is why when they or any other established organizations like Pepsi, American Airlines or celebrities join any social media platform, they have a large following very quickly.

Now what would have happened if social was around in the 19th century or the 20th century when these same organizations like Coca-Cola was starting out?

Would they have been doing a lot of self-promotion about their products or services?

No, they won’t.

What they would have been doing is building trust and friendships with people in order to gain business and be profitable for the better.

One could believe that what they were doing before the age of social media.

But we do know is that they established themselves with old school advertising in newspapers and television stations in order to gain recognition.

That is why most large companies can get away with promoting their products or services on social media because they have an established audience.

One could wish that most larger companies will take the time to engage with their audience to build a deeper trust with their brands.

The good news is that some larger companies are taking the initiative to adapt to the changing times of social media and live streaming platforms like most small business owners, entrepreneurs or solopreneurs.

Examples of larger company who are doing well with social media are Applebee’s.

Applebee’s are doing the same thing in buying ads and using social media to promote their different type of foods on social media like their competition.

They were the official sponsor of ESPN‘s Monday Night Countdown which get fans ready for the already established Monday Night Football between teams that are part of the National Football League (NFL).

Applebee’s could have said, “We don’t need to do more because we are already recognized by millions of people.”

But they didn’t because they understood that if they were going to succeed in social media, they had to engage with their audience.

So they went the extra mile and participate in different social media group chats and even host their own Twitter chat every Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. eastern, noon central called #livelunch, where they chat about different topics related to food.

People who are food lovers can interact with each other in the #livelunch chat and share about their favorite foods.

In turn, Applebee’s wins because they build a deeper trust with their audience because of their transparency.

Take a look at this tweet from AppleBee’s in asking Marsha Collier to be a part of their #livelunch twitter chat and Ms. Collier’s response to their invitation:

This alone shows why Applebee’s will be fine in this social media age.

Another thing that is happening is that most of these larger businesses are hiring people who are succeeding at social media to teach them how to succeed with social media.

One of the influencers that larger businesses are hiring is Tamara McCleary.

Mrs. McCleary is one of the most influential person on social media because she showcases her personality and brings a positive energy that draws people to her speaking engagements.

Tamara also provides insights to why people cannot separate their personal and business lives because they both are interconnected with each other.

Her signature trademark, “Relationshift” showcases that if you are going to be successful in your business, you must know how to treat people correctly and uplift them to be better people.

When people do the above, they will be successful.

Her Maverick Mastery Group program gets to the root of helping people to figure out what they want to accomplish in their lifetime so that they can make the world a better place.

That is why many businesses like IBM have brought on Tamara to work with them on how to be better organizations because she uses the same methods from her coaching program that have made them better businesses

And I know this because I am a part of Mr. McCleary’s Maverick Coaching Program.

You see, she has earned my trust because she always bring valuable content everyday whether it is through social media with uplifting quotes or her uplifting content from her blog.

And she has also shared her story of how she became a national speaker on my show What’s The Word?” that has inspired me and the listeners to continue to be better people and make the world a better place.

So in the end, a business must provide uplifting content that will allow them to build trust with potential clients if they are going to succeed for the better with social media.

Even if they will not become your customers, they will spread the word about your business to their friends and family about how your business made their lives better which in turn, made the world a better place.

Strong Values Leads To Success

By Cheval John

When a person knows their destiny, they will work extremely hard to fulfill their destiny for the better.

Monique Hoffman, a.k.a. Q The Brand, knew that she was meant to do more with her life.

She discovered her path to success as chef after leaving the mortgage industry.

In that process of discovery, she developed strong friendships and provided her perspective on her love with cooking.

And since she was showcasing her expertise in the culinary arts on social media, she was growing her social network following and many businesses were asking her about how to grow their businesses for the better using social media.

Q was able to transition her brand into social media and created a consultancy that helps businesses to be successful on social media for the better.

She shared with me on What’s The Word? about what drove her to be successful with her business and her Marketing Therapy show that is recorded on the live streaming platform called Blab and is available on iTunes.



College Football Playoff’s Impact on Phoenix

By Cheval John January 11th, 2016

Tonight, the nation will see who will win the College Football Playoff National Championship matchup between No.1 Clemson Tigers and the No.2 Alabama Crimson Tide in Glendale, Arizona on ESPN.

Everyone will expect Alabama to win their 11th national championship in the sport of football and fourth in seven years because they have a tradition of winning.

Many can almost compare Alabama to an NFL powerhouse because of the way their head coach, Nick Saban run the program.

No one would expect Clemson, who is seeking their second ever national title, to beat Alabama despite being the lone undefeated team in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

History have a way of repeating itself.

Clemson’s last national title in 1981 has some similarities.

In that year, they opened the season against Wofford, an Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponent en route to their first championship.

In the 2015 season, the Tigers opened their matchup against Wofford.

Just maybe, Clemson will pull off the shocking upset.

What is really interesting is the way the coverage of the national championship game has been displayed leading up to the matchup.

ESPN, the world wide leader in sports, have been broadcasting the events and interviews with the football players and the coaches today.

You can at times have a sense of the atmosphere that the fans of both Clemson and Alabama are experiencing at the pre-championship football matchup events.

You might come to a conclusion that the events is almost like the Super Bowl.

And you can expect to see major corporations and non-profits capitalizing on the opportunities to promote their uplifting services and products during the national championship game.

Looking at these tweets below:

And even some are using this matchup to promote their causes.

Like this tweet from the U.S. Fish and Wild Life

And let’s not leave out the SEC Network:

And this tweet from the College Football Playoff

Now with all of the media attention that the national championship is getting, you can expect the Phoenix metropolitan area to benefit financially from this.

In a lot of ways, Phoenix is benefiting tremendously from the media exposure that they are receiving.

But from an insider’s perspective, the media attention that they receive is only when a major event like the Super Bowl or in this case, the national championship, happens in their surrounding area.

Monique Hoffmann, a.k.a. Q The Brand, shared with me on the live streaming platform called Blab, that many people don’t know about the positive offerings that the Phoenix area gives to businesses.

She also brought a bigger perspective on the fact that many large businesses are not taking advantage of social media to promote their businesses for the better.

She also mentioned that if they do use social media, they are looking for the quick return on investment (ROI) and not looking at the long term positive results due to their efforts from being on social media.

It is like they miss the boat on the fact that they have to build trust with their customers and fans if they want to be successful.

And the most interesting thing that was mentioned in the blab show about the College Football Playoff by Clair Wyant, a fellow Phoenix resident as Q The Brand, is that Clemson Athletics have been utilizing social media the correct way to build further trust and engagement with their students, faculty and alumni base.

So in essence, Clemson understands the true value of social media.

So if you can continue to use social media correctly to build a loyal audience, you can succeed in your business as an small business owner or solopreneur for the better.

As for my predictions regarding the national championship matchup, my intuition says that Clemson will pull off the shocking upset and win their second national championship.

You Can’t Win With Stupidity

By Cheval John

The National Football League (NFL) playoffs began yesterday.

You can say that the playoffs set the tone for what we are anticipating to see.

Except someone forgot to tell the Houston Texans.

The Texans was shutout by the Kansas City Chiefs 30-0 in front of a sellout crowd of 71,000 people at NRG Stadium.

It was the worst loss in playoff history for the Texans.

Video courtesy of NFL

The last time Houston, who was at the time the Oilers (now Tennessee Titans) experienced a loss in the opening round of the playoffs was in 1993 against the same Kansas City team.

Joe Montana,who was a former San Francisco 49er quarterback, led the Chiefs to a 24-21 nailbiter at the Astrodome.

What is ironic is that another former 49ner by the name of Alex Smith, led the Chiefs to that epic beatdown that left the city of Houston wondering why they could not score a single touchdown.

In reality, the Texans was doomed from the start when Knile Davis returned the opening kick-off for a 106-yard touchdown that took the life out of the crowd.

The kick-off return was the second longest in playoff history.

Then the Texans offense could not muster a drive for most of the matchup as Brian Hoyer, a.k.a., Mr. Interception waiting to happen, threw four interceptions and had a fumble.

One of those interceptions happened when the Texans were in the red zone as they were trailing 13-0 at the closing minutes of the second quarter.

Before that, head coach Bill O’Brien send out J.J. Watt, who led the league in sacks,and Vincent Wolfork out on offense to try and throw off the Chiefs’ defense.

Watt, who was suffering from a hamstring injury and a broken bone in his wrist, was stopped at the line of scrimmage for a 1-yard loss.

Then “Mr. Interception waiting to happen,” threw an interception that killed the drive and hope of a chance for the Texans to make a comeback.

The fans booed their team like they deserved.

And despite the worst loss in playoff history, I still see the Texans and their fans as being one of the classiest and well-run organizations in the NFL.

Which leads me to the Cincinnati Bengals and their fans’ lack of class.

The Bengals was trying to win their first playoff game since 1990 when Boomer Esiason was their quarterback.

Cincinnati’s previous 6 losses were heartbreakers.

Many were questioning if head coach Marvin Lewis, who have a 112-90 regular season record with the Bengals was the correct person to be their coach since all of his previous 6 playoff appearances were losses.

But before we get into the implosion of the Bengals, let’s focus on the fans.

When Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlesberger went down with a shoulder injury, the fans not only cheered, but they threw stuff towards his direction.

That classlessness by the Bengals fan base made the Philadelphia Eagles’ fans look like saints.

It was clear that they were bad blood between the Bengals and Steelers.

However, one have to understand that it is just a game and life moves on.

The fact that some of the fans or the majority of them threw stuff at Roethlesberger showed their true characters.

And maybe their disgraceful behavior inspired the Bengals defense to commit two stupid penalties on one play with less than a 1 minute left that allowed the Steelers to kick a game-winning field goal.

The Bengals scored 16 unanswered points to take a 16-15 lead with about two minutes left.

Then Jeremy Hill fumbled the football trying to run out the clock.

During the Steelers march across the field, Roethlesberger fired a pass for receiver Antonio Brown and Brown missed the football.

On that same play, defensive player Vontanze Burfict hit Brown in the head and was called for a 15-yard unneccesary roughness penalty.

During that moment when the referees was discussing the penalty, Bengals’ defensive player Adam Jones threw a punch at Steelers’ assistant Joey Porter that led to another 15 yard penalty on the Bengals.

All of a sudden, the Steelers was in field goal range and they were able to convert the game-winning field goal that sent the Bengals packing.

Video courtesy of NFL

If those two stupid penalties did not occur, Cincinnati would have broken their playoff winless streak and Mr. Lewis would not have to worry about having an 0-7 playoff record.

However, this also shows the lack of leadership that Cincinnati has because coach Lewis allowed his team to lose control.

He did not stress to his team that despite the bad blood, they had to maintain their professionalism during critical moments of the game against the Steelers.

If an employee was to act like an idiot during an important meeting with a potential client that would lead to them gaining business for their company for the better, the CEO and executives would not only fire that employee, they would fire their boss as well.

The reason is because the employees are a reflection of their bosses.

If they act correctly for the better, then their bosses will look good in front of the CEO.

In this case, the lack of discipline by the Bengals defense made coach Lewis look bad in front a national audience.

And if coach Lewis is not fired because of the mediocrity and lack of discipline that the Bengals shown during his time as their coach, then the Bengals organization is sending a message that we accept mediocrity.