Do you see your blog as a living growing thing? Think about it. It starts with a seed--a germ of an idea or some plan of action, one part of your business platform, or just a way to express yourself or vent your gripes. You plant your seed in the blogfarm and stand back and wait for something to happen. But wait!--You don't see results and growth unless you do something.
A farmer doesn't just throw out a bunch of seeds and leave them to start growing. The land must be prepared and the planting planned. After the seeds are in the ground, the plot must be watered and weeded. Perhaps growth will need to be trimmed, thinned, and pruned. A garden requires attention and work. And so does your blog or any other writing endeavor.
I saw this in action over the past couple weeks of my vacation. As some regular readers of this blog may recall, I had set a goal of reaching 100 followers by the end of 2009. Didn't happen. Close, but no cigar. When I left my blog on auto-post 2 weeks ago I had about 80 or so followers. Now it stands at 96 followers as I write this. Mostly there was no activity because I was not as attentive to my blog as I had been over the past few months. There were, however, spikes which can be directly attributed to active work on the pursuit of gaining followers.
Most hotels that cater to business travelers now have business centers that provide computer access to guests. I was fortunate to be at one such establishment on the first few days of my vacation. The Staybridge Suites Hotel in Eatontown, New Jersey offered a comfortable area in the lobby area with 3 computer stations that had very fast internet access. For five days I was not only able to tend to my blog, but also to take time to seek out new blogs on which to comment. During this period I added a few more followers as I tended my garden.
At a few of the social gatherings I attended, I handed out business cards that I had had printed up at my local Staples before embarking upon my trip. I made every attempt to explain thoroughly about my blog and the process involved in signing up as a follower. This also brought a few more followers. I am hoping that some of the other card holders will sign up later. Those are seeds planted on my blog farm that might take root eventually.
Now this brings me to the problem that I think many non-bloggers may encounter: I think they sometimes don't understand the sign up process or lack the patience to follow through. Some people have told me that they didn't understand what they were supposed to do after they clicked the "Followers" button. Then there are those who tell me that they don't have the time. These are often the same people I see playing FARMVILLE on FaceBook with great intensity. They are too busy with their farms to indulge me, while I am too engrossed in my Blog farm to do whatever they keep asking me to do with that Facebook Farm stuff. Give me a break! And I'm not going to play MAFIA WARS or any of those other games either.
And I'm still posting daily. Cultivating, sowing, and harvesting in my blog farm. Somewhere during my vacation time I passed the 100 post mark and now I'm working toward my next 100 posts. Some of the followers probably don't read my posts regularly, if ever. While others have surprised me. My dear friends Jim and Deb Dunlap in Maryville called me while I was in Tennessee because they had seen on my blog that I was in town. We had a great visit and they told me how they read my blog fairly regularly. This really made me feel good and that my work is not totally in vain. Likewise for all of the wonderful readers who comment on my posts. It's work and if I don't work I don't see the results. And I appreciate the work that the readers put in with their comments.
How about you? How much work are you putting into your blog? What is the harvest you are expecting to reap? Have you printed up business cards or done anything to call attention to your blog? Have you found that non-bloggers sometimes have a difficult time "getting it"? What do you think of FARMVILLE and MAFIA WARS and all those other Facebook diversions?