Get social with your network
“We started getting calls from universities around the area,” said Sheahan. “If you did a Google search for stripe rust in wheat at that time, our blog was one of the top returns. We had articles every week with pictures and comments from the universities as to why and how it happened and how the year differed from previous years.”
The attention and the effective delivery of key information proved the blog’s value to growers and staff, suggested Sheahan. “
The results helped establish the blog as a legitimate way to get information out to growers and continue to establish us as market leaders and advanced agronomists in our area.”
Local Focus, National Reach
The local market is the focal point of the blog. “We have 60 to 70 out of the total of 85 to 90 followers, who represent the majority of our larger customers,” said Bennett. “We try not to put too much in a post, but suggest they contact their agronomist for more information. Customers will reference the blog, so we know they are reading it. Some will ask for follow-up all the time, and others ask occasionally.”
Focusing locally in the Willamette Valley hasn’t limited the reach of the blog, which gets hits from around the world. “Using Google Analytics, we can monitor what posts are most visited, where viewers are coming from and more,” said Sheahan.
Staff does follow certain guidelines. Rates are never discussed. Neither are specific recommendations, much less any off-label research. Vendors are not allowed to use the blog as a sales point.
The blog is also not a cheerleader for agriculture or the industry. Neither Dannen nor Bennett sees their role as peaking to urban audiences on behalf of agriculture.
As a result, the Tangent blog may offer the best kind of promotion of agriculture to a non-farm audience. It allows farm and nonfarm viewers alike to see and understand what a professional agronomy staff does.
“Through our blog and our community outreach locally to schools and other groups, we try to show good stewardship,” said Bennett. “Through our work, we try to show that we are good stewards of the land.
That is as much a message for our customers as for anyone else.”