Author, Photographer, Lover of Life
"Capturing moments others may never get to experience."
It wasn’t my first rodeo and those that know me know that it has been decades since the dust settled in the arena for my last.
The challenge was thrown out, I figured what the heck and entered on a whim throwing my hat into the arena with twenty-eight other like-minded people. It was October of this year that the Carrot Ranch opened entries. Each week there was a different event, different arena bosses, and different judges.
Just like the rodeos I was used to in days gone by, you took your chances by entering and everything was still the luck of the draw, especially in the bull riding. Sign up, and wait to see what bull you drew. The go-round list was finally posted and my nemesis would be none other than Blueberry Wine. I remembered this was the name of a PBR bull and did a little research to confirm my thoughts. Sure enough, he was retired at the end of 2005 and according to the PBR, this bull gave up only nine qualified rides in ninety-three outs. These stats were compiled from his seven-year career as a PBR bull. What had I got myself into?
Now, here’s the twist, the Bull Riding event at the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo had specific rules and guidelines, none of which included a bull rope, rosin or spurs but it did require a specific word count (107), a specific sentence count (8) and the use of the name of the bull we had drawn. That’s right folks, it was a writing rodeo and I was not about to pass it up.
The results of the bull riding event I had entered have now been posted. Turns out, old Blueberry Wine and I “garnered a judge’s top picks”.
by Ann Edall-Robson
The weeks leading up to the event had been excruciating. Starting with hours on hands and knees, stretching this way and that, picking just the right ingredients for success. The equipment had been carefully selected. Trial, error and finally accomplishing results from the hours of work. There was no room for any slip-ups and the rules needed to be adhered to impeccably.
When everything was ready for the big day, the anxiety of entering the competition intensified. The day came and at its end, the competitors stood in the arena waiting for the outcome.
“The Fall Fair winner of the Homemade Beverage Category is, the Blueberry Wine!”
One of the judges is a fantastic baker and cook and even concocts her own ice cream and sherbets. Perhaps that is why A. E. Robson’s “Blueberry Wine” resonated with her so strongly. Or maybe it is because the twist in Ann’s story was that the final product was wine. Regardless, Ann’s handling of Blueberry Wine garnered a judge’s top pick.
Throw a rock into the water and watch the ripples flow outward, reaching the unknown, affecting all in its path.
In business, it's known as networking. A concept of promoting yourself and your work to friends, family, and perfect strangers. You tell one person. That person shares with two others, and so the spread of information starts.
Not an easy task for people who prefer (willingly) to do anything they can, for anyone else. Gladly doing so as long as there is no public recognition. Yet, often we find these so-called wallflowers, behind the scenes people are an amazing artist, musicians, writers, and entrepreneurs. You may hear them say things like, “No one is interested what I do.”
Well, people, you need to change the way you think. It’s not necessary to spend money to get product marketing off the ground. It will, however, take an investment of your time; and, in the beginning, more time than you think you have.
“How can I do this without spending my life’s savings?”
The answer is simple, an internet connection. With it, the world of social media is at your beck and call and each available avenue should be considered.
There is no need to open an account for every social media platform you come across. Choose the one(s) beneficial to your promotional needs. Start slow, pick one or two that meld together and ultimately showcase your business. Grow your online visibility and add to your harem of followers.
Two of the bonuses of social media marketing come from planning and execution. Posting to one platform will, in most cases, be capable of automatic entry on others. And, pre-scheduling posts to show up in the future. Both have great benefits to time management and social networking.
In theory, pre-scheduling posts allow you to spend as much time as you want in the preparation. The result is having the information go live at your desired strategic time.
An original post to one platform links to your other social media accounts. The data shows up at the same time in multiple places. The work is done once and has the possibility of being networked out to thousands. The ripple in the pond!
This is not to say that all you need is social media networking to promote you, your product or your business. But think about it, it's only the beginning and if done consistently, it gives you the time to get out from in front of your computer and pursue other live networking opportunities.
Ann Edall-Robson is an author and award-winning photographer
Keeper of the Words