When most of us farmers hear the word “networking” we get a little pang at the bottom of our stomach. The word sounds so modern, so glossy, so dare I say it - corporate. What this word has stood for over the last few decades in our culture is quite literally the opposite of why most of us farm. We farm to escape the rigidity of cubicles, the stuffiness of meetings, and the obligation of hard deadlines.
I want to reframe networking for you and your farm so it doesn’t make you want to turn tail and run to the back forty. Instead, I want you to see how networking is a powerful tool for you to get your farm featured in your local newspaper and beyond.
When it comes to your farm, networking is being your farm’s number one superfan. By being your farm’s first and biggest supporter, you invite others to do the same. Your farm is a business, and as a business, it needs a community of people that support it, believe in it, and ultimately, spend their money with it. When you are just starting out, you have only one person who believes in it, supports it, and spends their money on it. That person is you.
Starting out, you are your farm’s greatest ally and you have to play the part in order to invite others to become superfans too. So how do you become the best cheerleader possible for your farm (AKA network) so others can fall in love and become loyal consistent customers? The answer to getting great press exposure for your farm is to go local, go loyal, and go linked.
Why Local Publications Are Farm Customer Gold:
I’m sure you’ve browsed your local paper and seen features here and there on local businesses and causes that can cause quite a buzz. How do you think those features got printed? The answer is self-promotion. Public Relations is a department that most companies have to spread the word about their business. You have one too, it’s called the Department of You.
While it might feel weird or icky to call up a reporter and pitch yourself, the reality is you are solving a problem for them. Reporters need local material every single week, and you are helping them solve that problem by offering them a piece. The trick is how you pitch the potential feature.
The Four Crucial Steps When Successfully Pitching Your Farm To A Reporter:
Typically the reporter will have follow up questions, do an interview, will come out to your farm for photos or ask for a few to use, and may even screw up a few facts (it happens!). Regardless, having a local piece published that shows up not only in print, but online too, is going to become one of the top drivers of loyal customers for you. People will read the piece, fall in love with your story, and want to be a part of your farm’s success by supporting you (and benefitting from your delicious food!).
You can lather, rinse, repeat this process with other publications too, but I recommend starting out local first. Cut your teeth pitching your farm’s story with the little leagues because you’ll begin to understand what reporters are drawn to about your particular farming journey. From there, you can try for statewide publications and even national ones like Acres USA, Modern Farmer, and Mother Earth News.
How do I know this process works?
Hi I'm Kelsey! Using this simple process, I've been featured in:
My farm and my writing have been shared in local and national publications like the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Acres USA Magazine, Modern Farmer, and Countryside Magazine.
Go forth, network, and pitch!
Before I leave you, I have a call to action for you and your farm. Within the next seven days, I want you to identify one local reporter you could reach out to about your farm and a farm product. That’s it. Just do your research and find that one person and take note of their contact info.
You don’t have to reach out to them, just identify them and do some digging on their work. If you feel emboldened to follow my steps and do a pitch, that is amazing. Let me know how it goes if you do. I want you to understand that you have the power to put your farm on the map.
Go forth and be your farm’s biggest fan.
Did you love this info? You'd also love my post on how to reach out to an influencer to get great reviews for your farm's products that will drive customers.
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