ZimmComm Agri-Blogging Internship Application

ZimmComm New Media is now taking applications for students in the agricultural communications field to attend and learn how to “agri-blog” some of the most important industry events held every year.

The opportunities will include all-expense paid trips to one or more industry events where students will assist in the compiling of photos, audio and video and posting of activities on pertinent websites. Interns will learn and develop the use of tools, techniques and technology to gather and distribute information through various social media channels. Per-diem and college credits may also be available.

YES! I’m interested in learning how to do some agri-blogging. Apply Below.
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ZimmComm Agri-Blogging Opportunities

ZimmComm New Media is now taking applications for students in the agricultural communications field to attend and learn how to “agri-blog” some of the most important industry events held every year.

The opportunities will include all-expense paid trips to one or more industry events where students will assist in the compiling of photos, audio and video and posting of activities on pertinent websites. Interns will learn and develop the use of tools, techniques and technology to gather and distribute information through various social media channels. Per-diem and college credits may also be available.

The events may include, but not be limited to:

• World Pork Expo – Des Moines – June
• InfoAg Expo – Springfield – June
• Farm Progress Show – Decatur – August
• Cattle Industry Convention
• National Biodiesel Conference
• National Ethanol Conference
• National Farm Machinery Show
• Commodity Classic

Students would be required to have some working knowledge of news gathering equipment and technology (i.e., camera, audio recorder, photo and audio editing software, etc.) as well as experience with social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr. Some pre-event training will be provided, but most of it will be “on the job” experience.

What is Google Juice?

Google Juice was the theme for our booth at the 2011 National Agri-Marketing Conference to show people how SEO our websites really are. We had Google Juice t-shirts and blinking Google Juice shot glasses among other goodies with the message that “ZimmComm Makes Google Juice.”

I have to give credit for the inspiration to Mike Deering with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Board, since the first time I ever heard the phrase was from him describing why he wanted us to cover an event for them. Then at Commodity Classic Nick Fassler with BASF told me that all the interviews and stories we had done with him on AgWired had made him very “Google-able.”

So I looked up the term “Google Juice” and the best definition I found was: “the mysterious quality that causes pages to come up high in a Google search.” That works for me, because we really don’t know why posts on our websites tend to often show up on top in Google searches, but they do. Pat Morrow with BASF agreed with that. “It’s true! If I Google for Kip Cullers BASF, AgWired is all over the first page,” Pat told us at NAMA. We also rank high in searches for photos, video and news on Google.

Why it works has much to do with how much content we post and the flow of hyperlinks between our sites and others. We don’t do anything special and we don’t pay anything for our websites to rank high on Google searches, but we know that our clients like it.

Another shot of Google Juice, anyone?

Social Media Business Summit & BlogWorld Expo

Registration is now open for this year’s BlogWorld and New Media Expo. I attended last year and am hoping to do so again this year schedule permitting. If you really want to hone your new media and social networking skills then this is the place to do it. It would be cool to have other ag folks there!

Join us at the World’s Largest New Media event and learn about Content Creation, Distribution and Monetization strategies, step-by-step techniques and bleeding-edge tools from the most successful Bloggers, Podcasters, Social Media Pro’s, Internet TV and Radio Broadcasters, and Podcasters! From the premier educational sessions at the Social Media Business Summit and BlogWorld Conference, to the resource-rich New Media Expo, to Amazing Networking events…it’s One economical trip, One weekend, One Big Show you can’t afford to miss!

New Media Reading Assignment

Six Pixels Of SeparationAfter writing about how marketers anguish over web numbers I came across this book and highly recommend it. Perhaps it will help you and your boss better understand what this “new media thing” is all about. It’s Mitch Joel’s “Six Pixels Of Separation.” I got it yesterday and believe it will help those of you who are over concerned about numbers and ROI of new media. Get it and let’s read it together.

We no longer live in the world of Six Degrees of Separation. We’re down to Six Pixels of Separation. Everyone is a simple Google search away.

We are all intrinsically connected. Mitch Joel unravels the fascinating world of new media and how it is changing business as we know it. Written in business language for business people, Six Pixels of Separation is a book about why these changes happened and what you can do about them to make your business grow. If everyone around you is asking what you’re doing on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and you’re still concerned about that newspaper ad you will be running next week, this book is the perfect business primer for you.

Measuring Web Analytics In The New/Social Media World

Does web analytics give you a headache? Do you have anyone on your staff who has training in how to understand web analytics? If you don’t then you’re not unusual. A story today on eMarketer provides some survey results about what marketers are thinking on this subject.

To prove the success of their campaigns, marketers need analytics. But many report frustration with understanding and using the Web analytics tools necessary to prove their success to management, according to “The Web Analytics War Reader Survey” by Unica.

The biggest challenge for marketers was integrating Web analytics with other marketing solutions, cited by 46% of respondents. Verifying the accuracy of data was a problem for 41% of marketers, while 32% reported trouble with analytics that were not comprehensive and 29% complained of budgets that were too small.

I take exception to the statement above about analytics proving success. If by analytics they mean just web analytics. By this I mean that just because I can deliver a ton of impressions (visits, visitors, clicks, click throughs, etc.) it doesn’t mean the company sold anything. But how often does an agency or marcomm staff member justify an investment by providing a report that says, “We spent X$’s and got a story that aired on 200 radio stations, a feature in a publication with 100,000 “subscribers” and a web banner or post that had 10,000 visitors.” Wow. Sounds good. But what was the result? Did they sell more? Did that story actually air on those stations? Who listened? Did every subscriber read the feature in that magazine? Did every web visitor see and/or click through on the banner or post? How often do you get that much detail? Ever?

I want to find out how you agrimarketers are tackling this issue. What metrics do you want from the web? What is meaningful? What form do you want it in? Are there certain services or software you prefer? If you place a banner ad, what do you want reported to you? How often do you need to see information? What do you consider reasonable?

This is a very important issue in today’s new media world and one that I have spent countless hours researching and discussing. As ZimmComm has developed online communities that revolve around a blog I don’t think reporting unique website visitors is very helpful for you in evaluating an investment in an advertising order. Why? Because there are over 12 other measurements that have nothing to do with website visitors that need to be considered. Here’s an example:

Let’s look at one day’s traffic on our AgWired site. It can be as high as 1,000 unique visitors. If I post your story does that mean that only 1,000 people saw it? No way!!!!! Consider that there are almost 1,000 subscribers to the AgWired RSS feed. They may not visit the site. That’s part of the value of the RSS feed. Consider that every post goes to my Twitter account with almost 1,600 followers and that every time one of my tweets is re-tweeted, it is seen by their followers. Consider that Twitter feeds my Facebook profile where I have 350 friends. Consider that this also updates my FriendFeed. Consider that the images or video I’m using in the story may be included in my Flickr or YouTube account. Consider that there are over 40 other websites that have installed the AgWired widget which displays homepage posts on their website. I’m not even counting the other less used social networking mechanisms I’m utilizing like Posterous, MySpace, etc.

But even beyond the above, what about the search engine aspect of all those places on the web that I have posted/distributed content that are now showing up in key word search results or key word news alerts? What about all the people who are re-publishing my information or sending it to their friends, neighbors and colleagues? Of course now you’ll ask the question, “Who are these visitors?” That’s a topic for another post.

Yeah. It adds up and all the sudden the total number of impressions for that one post could grow from the initial 1,000 unique visitor impressions to as many as 5,000 impressions. In fact, this number may only be good for just that one day or point in time. All our stories are archived. We never delete them. How much higher will that number grow within the next week, month and year?

This is what I’m talking about. This is what we do and excel at. This is what we preach and this is what can help grow your brand.

Don’t Depend on Your Website As A Destination

Several times in the last couple years I’ve written about the concept of “community” in online communications/marketing. By that I mean the fact that employing today’s new and social media tools allows us to connect and interact with our customers and members in ways we never could before. Using my AgWired as an example, I don’t just reach readers who think, “I’ll visit AgWired.com to see what’s new.” I reach them in Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn, email and in all the ways those people re-post or pass along or tell their connections. So for you marketers who just look at website visitors, you’re missing a lot of the story.

I still find so many in corporate communications who can’t wrap their mind around this concept. Granted there are a lot of control freaks out there who fear loss of the control they’ve enjoyed for so many years. It’s a mentality that says “I’ll build what I want them to see and give them the choices I want them to make.” But those days are coming to an end.

Today’s consumer (any kind, farmers included) not only want and demand freedom of choice but they’re just creating their own destinations and touch points. They’re leaving the old destination websites behind. I was prompted to write this after reading Steve Rubel’s post on Micropersuasion, “The End of the Destination Web Era.”

After years of erosion it now it appears the destination web era is drawing to a close. This a trend that digital thinkers like Om Malik have long noted. In fact, the numbers prove it.

In March the average American visited a mere 111 domains and 2,500 web pages, according to Nielsen Online. What’s worse, our attention across these pages is highly fragmented. The average time spent per page is a mere 56 seconds. Portals and search engines dominate, capturing approximately 12 of the 75 hours spent online in March. However, people-powered sites like Wikipedia, Facebook and YouTube are not far behind, snagging nearly 4.5 hours of our monthly attention.

He points to an article by ARAnet in conjunction with Opinion Research Corporation that talks about what you can do to break through the clutter. The answer doesn’t include fancy pop up ads.

Long-shunned pop-up ads remained the least favorable option for every audience segment, regardless of age, race, income, sex, region or size of household: 87% of respondents said they were not very likely or not at all likely to read and respond to them.

Their conclusion is that brand mentions in articles is one of the best ways to reach consumers. I would call that “meaningful content” that is posted into social networking locations and on highly search engine optimized websites (blogs). That’s why public relations folks are trying to figure out ways to present information to bloggers now. We’re not your ordinary msm journalists!

Do you get it? Are you willing to venture out into the online conversation or are you going to stay inside your “safe” online house and hope someone comes to visit?

ADM Glossary of Terms

Association for Downloadable MediaIf you’ve wondered about the definition of a podcast or any of the other terms used to describe new media today then you might want to check out the Association of Downloadable Media’s Glossary of Terms.

The ADM Glossary is a project of the ADM Terminology Standards Committee. The terms in the glossary are derived from the advertising and measrement standards documents, along with other terms germane to downloadable media. This list is always growing, and the definitions are being refined as the state of the art evolves. The status field in each definition tells you what level of editing and review has occurred. Most terms are in the state preliminary right now, meaning an initial definition has been written, but it’s not ready for formal review. Definitions move to the draft state once the author feels the definition is complete, and then to the reviewed state once the definition has had peer review.

YouTube Still 800 Pound Gorilla

eMarketer Online Video GraphicTake a look at this graphic from eMarketer today. Where would you like to have your video? For those of you wondering why it doesn’t list YouTube, remember that Google owns it.

The networks’ online destinations are a popular place to view video, but Google’s YouTube is still the 800-pound gorilla in the video viewing space.

Google, including YouTube, has a 55.4% share of video viewing visits to online video site properties among US Internet users, according to September 2008 figures from Compete.

All four networks made it into the top 10, but market share for each is dwarfed by YouTube. NBC, in third place, garners a mere 3.9% of visits, but this marks the first time NBC has been in the top five. Fox Interactive Media also has a 3.9% share. ABC commands 2.8% of visits to online video sites, and CBS Interactive accounted for just 2%.

Now you know why I YouTube. Shouldn’t you? Or are you still into “controlling the visitor experience?”

Inc. 500 Company Social Media Adoption Grows

Social Media Adoption Statistics
Perhaps you’re still wondering if your company or organization should be getting involved in new media. Have you started participating yourself (Facebook, LinkedIn, Blog, YouTube) to become personally familiar with it? It’s kind of hard to evaluate a medium you’re not familiar with.

I just saw some interesting new data on how Inc. 500 companies are making use of social media. Here’s a chart comparing their use in 2007 (green) with 2008 (blue). You can click on the image to see a bigger version of it.

Research Highlights:

* Four out of five companies in the Inc 500 rate social media technology as important or very important;
* 21% of the companies are podcasting and 39% blogging;
* The number of companies blogging and podcasting has doubled in the last year;
* The Inc. 500 are adopting new media technologies much quicker than Fortune 500 companies.

The research suggests that companies that are using social media & new media technologies are growing faster than other companies.

The research was done by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research. You can download the study, which I recommend.

Via Podcasting News.