I loved the movie Field of Dreams. It was well written and told an inspiring story. But let’s face facts – it was a movie in the classic Hollywood style that was designed to make you feel good and deliver the message that “if you build it they will come” which tugged at your heart strings. That message, tied to “The Great American Past Time” was an amazing formula that worked well…for a movie, that is.
I’m really amazed at how many authors and thought leaders that I speak with have actually subscribed to a “Field of Dreams” strategy for their respective businesses. Basically the assumption is if they write a great book “they will come.” There are a few problems with that.
Let’s start with the basics. Who are “they”? You need to have a very clear understanding of who your target market is. If the thinking is “everyone” it won’t apply to anyone. Not only do you need to clearly understand the needs of your target market and why your content is uniquely qualified to meet those needs, but you also need to understand how they prefer to consume content. If those two issues aren’t addressed you may have built yourself a beautiful baseball field but I guarantee you the stands will remain vacant.
The second problem is the “will come” problem. I’ve witnessed amazing books with break-through content that has the potential to alter both the business landscape and the personal development arena die on the vine because “they” didn’t come. I’ve also seen plenty of absolute crap gain traction and momentum and do incredibly well financially.
You need to design a strategy that attracts the target market in the right way and you need to immediately have the right mix of products and solutions developed so that they can engage you immediately. Don’t wait for the book to launch to figure out what you should be offering. For some reason many authors and thought leaders put all their focus and effort and resources into the writing and the launch of the book and a minimal amount of effort into what happens to their business after the book is launched.
The goal of a book is pretty simple. It’s a combination of enhancing your brand, building up your credibility and cache and lead generation. There are several other goals that may be important as well (such as the sense of accomplishment). I’d strongly suggest that you don’t let the more intangible goals get in the way of the tangible ones. You can do both – it just takes planning, discipline and focus.