I recently got asked by a potential advertiser “What makes your website special? How is it any different from what I can already get on social media?”
The simple answer is YOU. As in you, the reader of Iowa Racing News.
You love dirt track auto racing, and not just when it’s happening at your hometown track, or when it’s happening to your favorite driver. You want to know how the sport is doing all across the country, but especially across the four corners of our state – which gets scant coverage from the quickly dwindling number of local newspapers in Iowa.
Most of you are racers. And so a lot of the new content we’re going to be adding in the next few weeks will be more focused on things that might be of interest to racers. But we also want to bring added value to the fans, as well. Both are important to the long-term health of the sport, so they’re important to Iowa Racing News.
One way that I always felt we could be of service to the racing community is through driver features, and not just writing about the “big names” who usually find their way into the results stories every week. Each and every racer has a unique story that adds to the flavor of Iowa dirt track racing – so to my mind they’re all worth taking the time to tell.
That’s always been my mindset – even long before I started working on this website. Let me take you back a few years to 2004, when I was writing articles for the N’West Iowa REVIEW in Sheldon. The newspaper publisher knew dirt track racing was popular, but also knew he didn’t have a track in town, so he figured it wasn’t something he needed to cover.
I proved otherwise, writing more than a dozen driver features in that year alone about racers a lot of people hadn’t heard a lot about in that publication: guys like Randy Brands, Jay Noteboom, and Terry McCarl. Won’t it be fun to eventually catch up on the past 17 or 18 years for those guys?
Those features told some really amazing stories. But for my boss, more importantly, it sold newspapers. Why? Because of people just like you. People who love the sport. People who want to see it thrive. People who think it’s cool when the little guys (even those who will eventually go on to do big things) get a moment in the spotlight.
I’m right there with you. The feature stories are my favorite part of the job. I love to tell those stories, and I’m just excited – if not more so – than the subjects of those stories, when a new one is about to go live on our website.
This week, we’ve already debuted two new features about Kamryn Haggard, the 13-year-old Outlaw Mini Mod racer from Humboldt, and Mitch Swinton, founder of the Lil Racer Car Club at The Bullring at Benton County Speedway in Vinton and Davenport Speedway. Tomorrow, we’ve got another racer feature from the sprint car ranks.
And in the coming days, we’ll be getting in the garage to talk with some builders and mechanics, too. There are plenty more stories to tell, if you’re willing to let me tell them. So just drop me a note at email@example.com and I’ll get to work on your own story right away.
That brings me to another important part of why you’re all so special to what we’re doing. Racers and racing fans are excellent consumers. You not only take it and read it, but you share it, too. In the past, just sharing the link on “social media” might have been enough – but nowadays it’s not, and it has little to do with anyone’s political or religious persuasion.
In the end, it’s about profit motive. Facebook wants Iowa Racing News to pay to reach its full audience. That’s understandable and also reasonable. But at this stage of the game, just getting off the ground, we don’t have the resources to “boost” every Facebook post we make. As a result, only a tiny fraction of those who have “liked” our Facebook page actually see the posts there (I see the analytics for our page multiple times a day).
The best way to ALWAYS see what’s happening on this website is to subscribe to our weekly newsletter and to click the links on the articles. It’s absolutely FREE and the only information we ask for is your name and email address. Like our site, the emails are created in such a way that they can be read on any device, not just a desktop computer, so you can take them anywhere with you.
If you’re already a subscriber, thank you. Please share your emails with all your friends, family, fellow racers, and fans, and tell them to subscribe, too. Building up a big subscriber list is the best way to keep this site going for years to come.
It’s been a wild first two weeks, but I promise even more amazing things are yet to come. So, just keep watching, reading, and subscribing. In the meantime, and as always, thank you for doing what you do, which allows me to do what I do.
Bob Eschliman is publisher-editor of Iowa Racing News. He’s an award-winning professional journalist with more than 20 years’ experience covering dirt track racing – and more than 40 years’ experience watching fast cars make slide jobs for the win. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. For more news and information that “covers the Iowa dirt track scene,” visit www.iowaracingnews.com.