Sustainable Ag Marketing: Four Resources on Engaging Food Bloggers

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Richard W. VanVranken
Agricultural Agent
Rutgers Cooperative Extension – Atlantic County
6260 Old Harding Hwy.
Mays Landing, NJ 08330

The concept of using any and all methods to promote and sell products devised by Jay Conrad Levinson continues to evolve since he wrote his classic book Guerrilla Marketing – Secrets for Making Big Profits from your Small Business in 1984. Many authors and marketing consultants have added to the ideas that Levinson fashioned, including our own Bob “Matty” Matarazzo who adapted the model to farm direct marketing in his own book, Marketing for Success: Creative Marketing Tools for the Agricultural Industry (1996).

Today, entrepreneurs have all the tools described by Levinson and Matarazzo, as well as all the new tools available via the internet and the World Wide Web. And beyond static web pages and email, the new interactive tools of Social Media open tremendous possibilities for reaching out to new customers, communicating with regular clientele, and gaining almost instant feedback about the business and product offerings.

One of Matty’s most effective ‘tricks of the trade’ was to develop a mailing list of newspaper editors and reporters whom he kept supplied with regular updates via press releases. Like many of these savvy marketing techniques, it costs very little, if anything, to reach consumers via the internet, except time. When it got to be more than he could handle along with managing the farm production, a farm market and a winery, he hired someone to take on the responsibility to keep those reporters supplied with news about those business enterprises.

The same is as true today about using Social Media as it is to maintain contact via press releases. It’s great if you have time to tell your story via a blog, on FaceBook or Twitter, but what if you just don’t have the time, the wherewithal, or the urge to start typing about your business, are there options? You can hire a web marketer to try to tell your story, or you might consider sending your news to an established food, travel or news blogger.

Just like the restaurant critique by a local food writer, it’s a more credible story if bloggers who have nothing to do with your business write about you and spread the word to their thousands of followers? So in addition to the traditional media types that you might contact about a news event, consider inviting a blogger to your farm to help you tell your story? An internet search for food/farm/travel blogs about your town/state will turn up a surprising list that you can add to your media (e)mailing list.

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