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HAMPTON ROADS, Va - A former journalist and media relations expert, Alison Maloni offers insights on how to manage your reputation on social media and in the news.

I travel a lot. So much- that the flight attendants are beginning to recognize me. Yes, that’s me…I was on your flight to Norfolk two weeks ago!

I am anxiously waiting the day when I board a plane to go to a remote tropical island. Anyone interested in setting that up? I’m all ears.

Okay, back to the story. The other night I was on a plane after one of the toughest weeks that I have had in my life. I was mentally and physically exhausted.

I sat there in the back of the plane looking out the window thinking about the past week, my future and for the first time in a while I did a little bit of praying. 

After that, I began to look around the plane. I couldn’t help but think about all of these passengers sitting there. What are they traveling for? Where are they going? What is going through their minds?

Maybe- some were excited to attend a wedding, while others are going home to bury their parent. I couldn’t help but want to know- what is their story?

The journalist in me would have loved to have interviewed everyone on that small American Airlines plane. I wanted to know everything about them? They are all traveling to a place for a specific reason. Maybe the man next to me is about to propose to his girlfriend, or the woman in front of me is about to tell her husband that they are having a baby, or the teenage girl behind me is going to interview at her dream college. So many stories!

Traveling is such an emotional and exhausting experience. When you’re excited to get somewhere it feels like it can take forever and you just want to get off the plane. When you are sad or grieving you feel like it takes forever and you just want to get off that plane.

I’m pretty much interested in hearing about why all of these 70 people are flying with me. But many of you probably don’t care much about that. What you may care about is why the person next to you who decided that eating a taco at 6 am thinks it’s a good idea. And let’s talk about that. Why do they think that eating a burrito or taco on any flight is a good idea? Stick to plane snacks, like chips and granola bars. That’s the rule.

I honestly think I could write a whole blog on that. In fact, yes, let’s to that. I want to your crazy stories about being on an airplane. From the passengers and crew to the well anything…let me know. I’ll share them along with my funny stories. And boy, do I have stories!

Okay, back to this story. I just find it fascinating to be on a plane or even in a room with strangers. You never know what they have gone through or the knowledge they have to share. I swear every time I have a conversation with a complete stranger they have similarities to me. Whether they were in love with a veteran, had three children or had family in New England or Virginia. It really is bizarre. Has that ever happened to you?

As I sit here in the airport delayed, yet again I just feel compelled to share my story about the unknown stories of the passengers. Maybe you can relate to it. If not, I am certain that you can relate to the 6 am taco.

So cheers to those who have to travel for work or love. Cheers to the pilots and flight attendants who keep us safe. And cheers to those who stick to the rules and bring non-smelly plane snacks on board.

I’d love to hear your travel stories. Please comment and share!


Owning a business is a challenge, but taking the time to market your own business is a challenge in itself.

I get it. You’re busy with clients, employees, and the day-to-day tasks. But, it’s critical that you dedicate a certain amount of time to provide your customers and followers valuable content, which in turn will help market your brand and business.

Content is King
Take a few hours and write down what type of content you can provide. By content - I mean blogs, video blogs, Facebook Lives, Instagram Lives and podcasts.

Next, look at your list of topics and make sure that what you are sharing is important to your readers. Mary Hawkins, Senior Editor, Entertainment & Special Projects at Café Mom, says that her number one piece of advice for people writing content is to always write with a purpose. “Ask yourself does your content offer the reader some sort of takeaway? Does it spark emotion or make them react? Is this something that I would read and feel compelled to share with others?” says Hawkins. She says that she always has writers ask themselves those questions before any piece of content goes live.

Just Do It
Once you have the list, create a calendar and a to-do list. And most importantly hold yourself accountable. Carve out a few hours a week that you will focus on this. If you don’t have time to do it, have someone internally handle it or outsource the work.

When you’re writing a blog be sure that you have the appropriate keywords in your article and meta tags on the back end of your website.  

The main goal is to have the appropriate keywords in your introduction, title and throughout the article that Google will like. For example, if you are writing about a construction project, you will want to make sure that the keywords reflect what you are really writing about. The same applies for the meta tags. Google uses meta tags to place your content in the appropriate searches.

Here’s How to Do It
Here’s an example. Let’s say that you are a chef. You can write a blog about using local ingredients in your latest recipe. You will then put that on Facebook and direct people to your website. Next, you film a video of you making the recipe. While filming it, you shoot an Instagram and Facebook Live talking about the recipe and encourage people to stay tuned for the full video. You can also host a live event where you encourage followers to ask cooking questions.

After that, you post the video on social media and tease them with your next one. That one small blog can morph into so many pieces of content on multiple different platforms.

Engage With Your Audience
Of course, we want the readers to be so enthralled with our content that they either use our services or buy our product. But, you must be careful to not sell to the reader. You want to have conversations with them. Ask them what they want. Encourage them to share their advice, stories…etc. You want them to feel as an extension of your brand and let them know that their opinion matters.

Ask the Experts
A great way to give your audience valuable information is to include other experts in your blogs and video blogs. Team up with other business owners and leaders in the community to share their insight. Not only does it add more credibility to your content, but it helps them with their business. Plus, they will share out your content too!

Have Fun
Have fun with this. Sharing your knowledge through writing and videos is not meant to be as serious as many people think that it is. Let your personality shine and be yourself. The more you are authentic, the more your followers will connect with you.

Share Your Success
I’d love to hear what you are doing to get your message out. What’s working for you? What’s putting your company above the competition? Share your thoughts and I’ll post them on our social media!