Herd Check

How to blog for consumers in agribusiness

As a company with an internet presence, you know the main audience you cater to is essentially your customers. Here in agribusiness world I see this done pretty well, especially when directed towards farmers and other ag industry professionals. Unless you’re already savvy on the topic, how to make some of your blog for consumers can be a bit murky.

Even if you are aren’t selling them a direct end product, like a food or beverage, you need to care about how consumers perceive your company. Bad reputation or weak online presence can hurt your clientele and industry. Remember, people don’t just buy an end product, they’re also buying all the inputs that went into its production.

Online presence, advertisement and content all matter even when they’re viewed beyond your main or intended audience. (Side note: I’ve previously written on the significance commodity-based advertisement has played in our food and pop culture.)

But if you don’t have a specific end product to sell to them, how do you make sure they are still being included in your company’s blogging strategy? Well, let me tell you…

The content

Company blogs are important. They serve not only as a platform to share your news, but also as a way to subtly grow your client base, promote branding and build reputation. Consider that 77% of internet users read blogs and companies who blog get 97% more links to their website.

When exploring your website, a link to the blog will immediately give visitors a window to your identity and values. That in mind, you want to make this experience appealing to the first time viewer and the repeat customer.

Your audience identifies with your tone, so keep it uniform with your branding and values.

Keep a familiar tone – Your company’s branding isn’t just visual, it encompasses things like values, attitude and individuality. It can be casual, professional or even tongue-in-cheek, just keep it consistent from post to post. Your tone should reflect your consumer audience as well as your brand.

Find the balance – One of the delicate parts of blogging is finding the balance between hard promotion and enjoyable, casual content. Part of your blog’s job is to share things like press releases, announcements and other things you care about. But you should also create content that’s meaningful even when not directly promotional. A great way agribusinesses can do this is pay attention to what’s happening in the allied industries. Is a certain sustainability story a hot topic? Is #NationalFarmersDay trending? Take note and act accordingly.

Post consistently, and share like crazy – Not every topic will have the same appeal, but posting on a regular basis helps improve your odds of getting those lucky strikes. Plus, every time you share a post across all your social media channels, your brand is fresh on feeds, minds and wide open to clicks. Be sure to set up a schedule that links your latest blog posts immediately to social media. And of course, don’t be shy about re-circulating certain posts, especially when they are relevant to current news or discussion.

Make it attractive

Part of keeping people on your site involves having good eye appeal that is both professional and fresh. This isn’t just about the blog for consumers, its a rule of thumb for any audience. Blogs are great because it’s easy to format them in a very professional way with lots of room for creativity and individuality.

Visual aids – Photos are a powerful way to break up a text-heavy story and make it a more enjoyable read. Besides the myriad of stock photos available, you might be surprised at what your coworkers and employees are able to capture candidly. Data visualization is another great tool to have in the belt. They are great ways to summarize overwhelming information and stand out among the competition. If this isn’t your strong suite, consider giving some of the work out to a graphic designer who cam help bring your images to life.

Readability – Text doesn’t need to be boring. Having nice serif fonts in headers and subheadings, or giving them color to reflect your branding, is a good way to accomplish this. Likewise, you want to double check your subtitles, spacing and formatting for errors before pressing “publish.”

Collaborating

Collaboration is a powerful tool to keep your content fresh and expand your audience

Collaborations with social media influencers, other bloggers and fellow industry contributors is a goldmine of opportunity. These are ways to not only hit your audience, but to introduce your farm, company, products and/or services to entirely new eyes.

Especially if you are a small or very niche business, there’s a lot of potential to get exposure through local outlets, journalists and influencers who capitalize on your niche. Check out this story from AGDAILY on how local growers and food bloggers were able to collaborate in this way.

I understand how “influencer” leaves a bad taste in a lot of mouths, partly due to fear of becoming overtly “sales-y” or “selling out.” One of the nice things about blogs as opposed to paid advertisement is you treat an influencer as a guest. This offers a fresh take on your business from a new perspective and a great way to generate new interest or start conversations.

There’s no exact science to blog for consumers and stepping outside your established online audience. But remember, being in the food business is about an end product for a consumer, so while you can’t cater to everyone it doesn’t hurt to keep your nets wide when possible. Do you have any similar experience for tips from your own blog for consumers? Please drop them down below!

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