By Chelsie Calliham
I had the opportunity to attend the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) 2018 Professional Development Conference (PDC) this month. The conference, hosted by The Ohio State University, is a workshop event designed to teach strategies and trends within the agricultural communications industry.
I am the Kansas State University ACT Secretary and Treasurer and attended the conference with my chapter. PDC featured several speakers who shared their knowledge and experience. There were many valuable takeaways focused on building a brand and sharing an organization’s story, but two key concepts really stuck with me. I’m excited to share the concepts of storytelling and becoming an agricultural advocate through marketing.
It is no secret that consumers love real-life experiences because they resonate with their own lives. Storytelling is a proven marketing strategy commonly used to focus the consumer’s attention on the story behind the product. By focusing on the story, products are passively promoted to the target audience without feeling like a sales pitch.
Before creating your story, you must break down the elements of a story.
Elements of a Story
Once you have identified the four elements of your storytelling, you must design the story to meet a specific goal. Ask yourself the following questions when brainstorming:
- Where will this content be seen?
- Who is supposed to see it?
- What do we want the viewer to do?
- What else goes with it?
- How will success be evaluated?
Digital media is ever changing, but communication will always be grounded in storytelling.
In order to tell your story, be native with your content. Become an expert on your favorite platform by seeking out training or instruction. Be novel with your content. What makes your business’ story stand out from the crowd? Your content should be unique and genuine to you and your brand. Be visual with your content. Are your visuals dynamic? Would you want to share your visual with all of your friends on your personal social media? Be consistent with your content. Branding is important because your business will be recognizable. Be valuable with your content. Don’t post just to have content on your social media account, but to inform, market, or educate your audience.
Effective Myth Busting
The agriculture industry is a hot topic. Uninformed consumers and their perceptions can damage businesses, large or small. Being vocal with your online presence and engaging with the consumers of agriculture is crucial. Effectively communicating the truths about agriculture, and what your business does, will not only increase business, but also help the industry in a big way.
Effective Myth Busting Techniques
- Listen for the opportunity
- Find the shared value
- Ask permission
- Share your story and the science behind it
A true agriculture advocate is always prepared to talk about the industry they love. Take all opportunities to spread the word about your business and the agricultural industry.
An easy way to start the conversation is by finding a shared value. You likely share many personal values with your consumers.
Before starting an in-depth conversation, ask permission to engage in the conversation. Remember, it should be a conversation, not a one-way lecture. If the other party is willing to listen, share your agricultural experience with supporting facts. Forcing an opinion or facts on someone will not change their perception.
I will implement storytelling and myth busting in my work at CREE by building our brand and considering the consumer’s point of view to spread the positive word of agriculture. I believe new media is the most powerful tool to accomplish my goals.