Released in 1989 and starring Kevin Costner as an Iowa corn farmer, Field of Dreams was nominated for Best Picture and is now regarded as a classic American film.
The baseball field that Costner’s character, Ray Kinsella, builds could stand for a number of ambitious, seemingly irrational undertakings. Perhaps that’s why the movie struck a chord with audiences: Everyone has dreams that break the mold of convention. Pursuing those dreams is inspirational.
After watching the film again, we couldn’t help but see Ray as a business owner, and his baseball field as a blog. When observed from that perspective, the skyward voice that communicates with Ray seems to offer some terrific advice for not only building, but also nurturing a blog and growing its audience.
A lot of business owners think that if they create a blog, readers will magically appear like the ghosts of the 1919 Chicago White Sox. Sadly, this is not the case.
What Ray actually heard from above was, “If you build it, he will come.” This scenario is more likely, with the he being a spam-bot promoting a miracle-drug website. The hard truth is that nobody cares that you started a blog. But as long as you care that you started a blog, you might be able to get past the lack of a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
We suggest that you embrace the initial anonymity. Before you begin writing, remember that nobody is reading your stuff. No one will receive an email alert that you just posted. Nobody is going to comment, and nobody is going to tweet it or share it with friends. It’s a position that many popular writers probably envy, because it means that you can write with freedom. You can experiment. You can edit after it’s posted, and nobody will notice. This is the time to try out the feeling of typing your thoughts onto the Internet. It feels awkward at first, like throwing a baseball with the other hand. But if you stay diligent and have some fun, it will eventually feel natural.
“Ease his pain.”
Once you’re getting the hang of posting at least once a week, it’s time to get the word out. The trick to promoting your blog is to not seem like you’re promoting your blog—at least not at first.
Consider the other 7 billion people in the world. Some of them probably have an interest in what you have to say. Now find them. Search keywords on Twitter. Search tags on WordPress. Search news on Google. Chances are people are talking about the same things you are. Now participate. If someone has a question, answer it if you can. If someone tweeted something you find interesting, reply, retweet, and follow.
If you addressed an issue on your blog that is relevant to someone’s question, then by all means link to the specific post, but don’t worry about linking to your blog in every interaction. Put the domain on all of your social media profiles, and let people find it themselves.
It’s about easing his (or her) pain. Trust that the favor will be returned.
“Go the distance.”
Progress will be slow. Your brother-in-law will be telling you to plow the field and replant the crops. If you decide he’s right, then he is. If you decide he’s wrong, he still might be right. If you go the distance anyway, it means you’re enjoying yourself and seeing some positive results in the form of higher search results, more buzz on social media, and deeper engagement with customers and leads.
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