Marketing is a simple, yet commonly misunderstood word in the english language. In fact, you are probably using marketing techniques in your daily life as you advocate for agriculture. Every time you talk to a consumer about agriculture, you are using sales techniques, a part of marketing. Every time you use social media to advocate for agriculture, you are marketing. The definition give by the American Marketing Association is:
Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
I bring this up because there is a new form of marketing that has popped up since the dawn of social media. It is a new a tool that works competely different from anything before. It is called, content marketing. One expert on this new form of marketing is Joe Pullizzi and he is a part of the Content Marketing Institute. This institute is helping people all over the world understand content marketing. The definition of content marketing from the Content Marketing Institute is:
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
You may be wondering why content marketing applies to advocating for agriculture, especially when it seems we as agvocates are not trying to “drive profitable customer action.” But wait, aren’t we trying to drive profitable customer action? After all, we as agvocates, are trying to make agriculture more profitable right? We want to sell consumers on agriculture?
Content marketing is the best way to connect with consumers about agriculture and sell its importance. As agvocates, we need to “attract, acquire and engage” our target audience of consumers. Those consumers may want to know about organic food or more about tractors. These consumers may want to know about animal or food safety. Maybe you want to talk to consumers that are other farmers and ranchers. There are many different kinds of consumers, but it is our job as agvocates to create valuable content for them to use.
You may be wondering how you, an agvocate, can create content for consumers. Well, there are many different forms of content. You can create a blog like Carrie Mess (@dairycarrie), Ryan Goodman (@AR_ranchand) or Michele Payn-Knopper (@mpaynknopper). You can make videos like the Peterson Brothers or Lil’ Fred. You could also make a blog using your favorite farm pictures, your favorite recipes using farm fresh ingredients or how-to information that you need to know to live on a farm, like how do you start a tractor? You can do almost anything, but it needs to be relevant and valuable.
For instance, say you like Coca-Cola, I mean you really like Coca-Cola. You discover they have a blog and the first post you see is about Coke Zero. You read the blog and it only talks about the selling points of the soda. It has 95 calories and this much sugar, etc. How long would you sit and read a blog post like that? I would leave after the first sentence. This is why relevant and valuable information is important. It needs to be appealing to your audience and shouldn’t be trying to sell someone on agriculture. Tell your story, not why they should support the farm bill.
Now that you understand content marketing and why it is important when advocating for agriculture, next time I will explain the first step in creating this content, your strategy.