Have You Read Your AgriMarketing?

Chuck Zimmerman

The March issue is out and it’s all about “Connecting To Rural America.” I wrote an article on blogging in it which you can read online if you don’t get the magazine.

There are other good articles as usual. You’ll notice a reference to the fact that Becky Rasmussen has moved on. I know she’ll be missed at the magazine but she’s now working for Steve Drake at Drake & Co. on the National Christmas Tree Association account.


The Difference Between TNR’s and NAFB’s NFBS

Chuck Zimmerman

What’s the Difference Between TNR’s and NAFB’s NFBS?

This is one of the questions we are asked most often by ag related agencies and companies, right after “can we track who uses our releases?” I’ve been meaning to write about it for a while as a way to help answer the question.

TNR’s are our Talking News Releases, which are basically news releases with audio. NFBS is the National Association of Farm Broadcasters’ National Farm Broadcast Service.

The short answer is – the differences are significant.

First let me point out that both Cindy and I are current members of NAFB and have been so since the early 1980’s in one capacity or another. Currently, Cindy is an emeritus member of NAFB and I am an associate member. Both of us have been voting members in the past and we highly support the organization and believe NFBS is a valuable service to members.

Having said that, here are the primary differences between our service and NFBS:

NFBS is a member service and a passive system. It’s only available to NAFB Broadcast Council members by password. Members have to log into the website where they’re presented with a menu of story/news release options. Members can choose to download audio and story information. It was originally intended as a system for members to share story ideas and audio. Some of the information is contributed by members but most is regularly posted information from major information partners like NCBA, ASA and others. There are approximately 140 NAFB members who can choose to log on to NFBS to peruse the offerings and download audio they might want.

Talking News Releases is a push through production/distribution service of ZimmComm, a privately owned company. We work with our clients to produce an electronic news release that contains hyperlinks to audio files. We then email that document to reporters in whatever area is selected. Reporters get it delivered to them where they can easily use it immediately or archive for future use. ZimmComm has over 2,800 radio news reporter email addresses, which includes all NAFB members. It can be sorted by a number of parameters including state. In addition, we’ve created commodity area groups to make sending commodity-specific material easier.

We’ve received very positive feedback from NAFB members who really like the information we send them and the quality of the audio. They also like it that we often are able to make sure the releases we send are written in broadcast style, which makes using the release much easier for them.

Additionally, non-NAFB radio reporters provide us with the same feedback! As you know, there are a lot of local radio stations. Radio news reporters in a rural area where agribusiness is vital to their local economy are likely to use an ag oriented release if it pertains to their area.

We believe it is important to include non-NAFB members in the distribution of ag-related news releases for two reasons.

First of all, NAFB members simply do not cover all areas of the country where agribusiness is important. That’s just a fact of the radio world today.

Second, it is vital to keep the non-farm public informed about agriculture and its importance to the U.S. economy and livelihood of our country. I find it interesting that some of our larger commodity groups seem to think that their information should ONLY go to farm broadcasters, that non-farm broadcasters would not be interested. Fact is, it all depends on how it is packaged. Granted, a station in downtown Miami might not care about a new fungicide to control soybean rust, but they might very well be interested in how a new trade agreement would affect the farm economy and ultimately the economy of the South Florida area! That is why we strongly urge the use of TNRs to make the non-farm audience part of your overall public relations strategy.

I also encourage NAFB to conduct more outreach to these radio stations and their news directors to encourage more regularly-scheduled farm programming and more regular attention to farm stories (okay, so maybe not the stations in downtown Miami!) But, the fact is, there are many reporters scattered around the countryside who regularly report agricultural news who aren’t or can’t be NAFB members due to the organizations’ current membership requirements.

I’ve been in literally hundreds of radio stations in my career all over the country and I can tell you that if they have a news department, a good story is a good story even if it’s about agriculture.

I hope this answers the question and I’d welcome comments and feedback.

Talking News Release

A Blogging Broadcaster

Chuck Zimmerman

I’m proud to point you to a great farm broadcaster who’s embraced the blogosphere.

She’s Cyndi Young and she’s the Farm Director of the Brownfield Network.

Cyndi just went on the Valley World Tour with another former farm broadcaster and good friend Kim Lang who is now the Valmont Irrigation Communications Director.

Cyndi not only sent in reports for Brownfield programming but is also using the blogging tool.
You can see what’s she’s posted on their website here.

Blogging, Media

Blogging Articles To Read

Chuck Zimmerman

Probably many of you already subscribe to AgriMarketing Magazine.

In case you don’t they have a good website and online versions of the magazine. In a bit of shameless self-promotion you might want to read this article in the March Edition. I kind of like the author. There are other good articles including one written by my good buddy Steve Mays.

I also just had another article pointed out to me in the WSJ. You can find it here.

Blogging is a great tool and I know the agribusiness world will embrace and use it. I’m scheduled to make a few presentations to agencies on blogging and Talking News Releases in the next month or so. Consider putting me on your calendar. My fee is reasonable!


Missouri Agricultural Leaders Luncheon

Chuck Zimmerman

The Missouri Agricultural Leaders Luncheon is an ad hoc group. That means no membership or staff. Just your handy volunteers which this year are Cindy and myself.

We coordinate a meeting monthly that rotates between Jefferson City and Columbia. At our March meeting our new Director of Ag, Fred Ferrell, spoke to over 75 people at Summit Lake Winery.

Ag Group

You Can’t See It But The Wind Was Gusting & Cold

Chuck Zimmerman

Here’s a better photo of Jack Arute, who was the Team Ethanol/IndyCar Press Conference emcee. It was sunny outside of Union Station in Washington, DC but the wind was blowing hard and the wind chill had to be about 10 degrees! By the time we were done I had no feeling in my hands and could barely hold a camera and recorder. Posted by Hello


Reporters Like Talking News Releases

Chuck Zimmerman

We don’t get much feedback sent to us but when we do it’s almost always positive. We really appreciate people like Jarrod who wrote this little note today:

PLEASE keep sending these. They’re great!
Jarrod Allen
News Director
Newark, Ohio

Jarrod’s note was in response to the release we sent out today for Team Ethanol. You can view it here: Ethanol – IndyCar Announcement

Media, Talking News Release