Editor's note: This article appeared in the August 2014 issue of Dairy Herd Management.
In last month’s column (“Our customers aren’t stupid,” July 2014 DHM), I wrote about how our customers are reaching out to Google and other Internet search engines to find out where their food comes from. This month, I’ll describe how to make sure our customers find truthful voices to answer their questions.
By now you’ve heard the term “blog.” But, in case you aren’t fully certain what a blog is, it is short for “web log.” It is similar to an online diary, but instead of keeping it under lock and key and hiding it from your brother, a blog is public and online, made to share whatever your heart and mind desires. Generally, a blog looks like any other website you may visit.
So, if a blog is an online and public forum to share, what’s being shared, and who is reading these things? While there are blogs covering just about every subject under the sun, the largest blogging demographic is the “mommy blogger.”
When blogs started being a thing, tech-savvy women created their own home on the web, chronicling their children’s lives and sharing it with friends and family. Well-written blogs developed followers, and communities were built around them. Today, some mommy bloggers are influential enough that they make part or the entirety of their income from selling advertising and content on their blogs. Companies work with the top mommy bloggers, because in the world of social media – where connections are made between people who will likely never meet face to face – a popular mommy blogger writing about “Product X” is the best word-of-mouth advertising they can get.
Why would the average mom buy the brand of canned tomatoes suggested by a mommy blogger in her “Best Ever Lasagna Recipe?” Because she trusts the blogger who wrote the post! At some point this blogger wrote something that resonated with the reader, and that connection makes her trust this stranger’s judgment on canned tomato products.
Now imagine the post above was actually a recipe for the “Best Vegan Lasagna Recipe.” Along with the recipe, the blogger wrote a few lines about why she no longer consumes dairy or meat. Now, this mom has someone she trusts telling her that dairy is cruel and unhealthy, and she’ll think about that on her next trip to the grocery store.
Dairy farmers need to have a voice in this medium. Blogging takes time, and it isn’t for everyone. However, it’s also not as scary as it may seem. The more dairy farmers we have joining the blogging ranks, the more connections that will be made, and the stronger our voice will be online. While the information dairy farm bloggers share may be similar, life experiences and personal style help us to connect to different people.
For those of you who are interested in starting their own blog, I suggest signing up on wordpress.com and taking a look around. The setup is quite easy, and it won’t take more than a few mouse clicks to have your own home on the web. Then, the next step is to start writing!
Carrie Mess farms in partnership with her husband Patrick and his parents on their 100-cow, 300-acre dairy farm near Lake Mills, Wis. She also speaks to agricultural organizations, empowering farmers to tell their own stories through social media.
“Dairy Carrie” can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow her blog, The Adventures of Dairy Carrie, at dairycarrie.com.