Happy New Year From ZimmComm

Chuck Zimmerman

ZimmComm, Marketing & CommunicationsIt’s the end of the year and although I don’t have a “year in review” to offer I do have some statistics, reflections and ideas to share. Statistics as in traffic to the ZimmComm blogs. I’ll update this post if there’s a big change in the numbers by midnight (that is if I remember). ZimmComm is the publisher of World Dairy Diary and also publishes other blog sites.

NUMBERS

AgWired got it’s “official” start on March 15. In 9 1/2 months we’ve had 16,000 unique visitors who have visited a total of 51,000 times. I like the fact that we’ve had 1,000,000 hits. That’s a million folks! Page views is right at 750,000. I’m happy with this. Talk about WOMA. We’ve only promoted this site to about 1,300 people. Somebody is telling somebody else about it. A very tiny percentage of our visitors come from a search engine. Most type it directly into their browser or are using a bookmark.

This fall we started 2 more farm news blogs. World Dairy Diary was kicked off in August in advance of World Diary Expo. To date it’s had 7,000 unique visitors that have visited a total of 15,000 times. Our latest blog is Energy.AgWired.com. We haven’t really promoted it yet but it’s already had 1,500 unique visitors who have visited 7,000 times. We’ll see a lot of growth in 2006 on these sites as we begin to develop and promote them more with the addition of new sponsors!

REFLECTIONS

ZimmComm was started with the idea that it would be a “traditional” advertising agency. That was in March of 2004. Very quickly it was obvious that our talents could be put to use by our prospective clients in some non-traditional ways. For example, as former farm broadcasters, Cindy and I created Talking News Releases, a service that targets broadcast reporters and includes pre-recorded audio. We developed a list of farm and non-farm reporters to push these releases out to. This led to conducting audio production work for clients which is used on-air and online. The evolution of this service is now AgNewsWire.AgWired.com. Besides distributing news releases to reporters we’re now posting them directly in front of farmers via website content managed by Quickfarm. This is “unfiltered” content that the farmer gets to read, interpret or just ignore. His/her choice.

I quickly realized that I don’t speak html and do not like designing and managing traditional web pages. At Steve’s suggestion I started a blog site. Once I realized what you can do with a blog I started preaching the power of the blogosphere and we now create blogs for clients and manage several of our own. I look at these blogs as online publications that contain media rich content (audio, video, pictures and perspective). This led to podcasting and the ZimmCast was born. We now produce client podcasts and expect to see this portion of our business explode in 2006. As I like to say, “create your own media.” Let your customers and members get what they want when they want it and wherever they want.

So I guess you have to say that we’re a “new media” company. We want to help our clients deliver their message directly to the people they want to reach in as efficient and cost-effective a way as possible. As my friends at Learfield are realizing, it’s time to get on the Long Tail.

IDEAS

Blogging: Think about it. How are you personally communicating with your members or customers now? Are you? Do you email some and snail mail others? Why not let them see inside your company or organization? Maybe it’s your CEO or maybe its a technician. Somebody on the staff probably has a blogger inside. Just don’t think that you can have the PR department ghost write for someone else. It will probably backfire. People want honesty and transparency. That’s what makes you credible. This new look inside will really set you apart from your competition. If you’re not sure who on staff can do this you might want to find out who already has a personal blog. You might be surprised.

Podcasting: The video iPod is here and the walls of traditional media are tumbling down. Even if you don’t think you’re a broadcaster you can hire a company like ZimmComm to create your own radio or tv show. You control the content. Your customers can subscribe to it (opt-in) and watch or listen to it whenever and wherever they want. That can be on their computer or on their portable digital media player. I can even do it on my mobile phone!

RSS: I’m not going to try to explain this. For a reasonable fee though . . . Actually I just want you to think of “feeds.” It’s the future, my friends. New browser software will have this built in. You can create custom search engine pages now that handle this for you. By this, I mean subscribing to feeds of information. This can be information that you produce like a newsletter. It can be audio or video which makes it podcasting. It can be any kind of content that you want to syndicate to your customers. They’re looking for it. Why not make it easy for them to get it. The best part is that it’s not email. You’ll probably see it showing up on websites using this icon: RSS Feed

That’s it. I’m done for 2005. I hope ZimmComm has helped you in your business in one way or another. We’re very excited about 2006. The new media business is just starting to heat up in agriculture. We’re proud to be a part of it and will see you onsite or online in the new year.

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