• Featured Video:Commodity Classic 2015 trade show ribbon cutters were having a hard time with some dull scissors so it came down to a pocketknife to start the show.
  • ZimmNews – April 2, 2015

    ZimmNews – April 2, 2015

    2015 ACE Fly In - The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) brought the troops to Washington D.C. to talk with our Nation’s leaders about the importance of the Renewable Fuels Standard.

    ZimmNews – March 27, 2015

    ZimmNews – March 27, 2015

    2015 Ag Day - The National Activities of the 2015 Ag Day took place in Washington, DC. Chuck was there to capture it all.

    ZimmNews – March 20, 2015

    ZimmNews – March 20, 2015

    2015 Agri-Pulse Farm to Fork Politics - On the eve of the 2015 National Ag Day, the Agri-Pulse team brought us a great panel themed on: Unleashing Innovation in Agriculture.

    ZimmNews – February 27, 2015

    ZimmNews – February 27, 2015

    2015 BIVI Swine Health Seminar - On the eve of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians annual meeting folks gathered to discuss PED, pig welfare and education.

    ZimmNews – February 20, 2015

    ZimmNews – February 20, 2015

    2015 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show - The show brings together farmers from Texas to Missouri to the southeast Gulf coast.

A Look At The Podcast Consumer

Edison ADM Podcast SlideI missed the Association for Downloadable Media’s webcast titled, “The Podcast Consumer Revealed.” The session was conducted by Tom Webster, Edison Research. The audience for podcasting just keeps growing. The main reasons people watch or listen to podcasts is so they can do so whenever and wherever they want. Here are some key points from the session.

* 1 in 5 Americans (22%) have listened to a podcast.
* 59% men 41% women, 18-44 demo = 60% of podcast users.
* Most downloadable media is consumed via desktop, mobile growing.
* Podcast users are very active on social networks – mainly Myspace and Facebook
* 24% of podcast consumers feel “emotional connection” with their favorite podcasts.
* Podcast consumers are more receptive to advertisers heard in podcast vs heard via internet radio.
* Producers need to do a better job of selling the portable aspects.

If you’d like to know more then feel free to watch the recorded presentation here.

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?

WSJ Mostly Clueless Article on Blogging

The Wall Street Journal has a Microtrends article about blogging that has some interesting points. However, like most mainstream media reporting on “new media” you can see their blinders clearly. When I see statements like, “Already more Americans are making their primary income from posting their opinions . . . ” I know they just don’t get it. These traditional journalists see blogging as only about someone posting their opinion. It isn’t. I can show you lots of examples of the opposite, of blogs being used to post facts and figures for example, or even “news.”

For some reason mainstream media want to position blogs as something other than a communications tool that effectively reaches niche audiences, something they can’t do and don’t want to do. They’re all about reaching a huge mass audience and charging a fortune to advertisers to reach it even though the advertiser really only needs to reach a small segment of that audience. I think they’re jealous and scared to death of those of us who have figured out we don’t need them any more. Why should I pay huge sums of money to reach an audience I only need about 2% of? Why not invest in my own medium and reach my own customers/members? I’ll save money and have direct interaction with my audience. No more relying on some gatekeeper to deliver my message for me.

This WSJ article is so full of misinformation it’s ridiculous. Here’s another item that shows where this writer’s head is at, “It takes about 100,000 unique visitors a month to generate an income of $75,000 a year.” Say what? Can you over generalize any more? There are lots of examples of people with small audiences making very good money blogging. It’s not about how many but “who.” If I reach 100 people you want to reach then I have a valuable audience that you might be willing to pay me to get exposure to. It’s happening all over the place.

The id who wrote this article even refers to unions and bloggers working long hours of up to 60 hours a week. Must be a union member I would guess. The article also says that bloggers are overwhelmingly happy with their work but that may change if they lose work and don’t have unemployment insurance, yadda, yadda. I guess it’s hard for a non-motivated anti-entrepreneurial 8-5er to understand people who value their independence and who don’t need to rely on unions and the government to care for them.

Full time bloggers I know, me included, don’t want or need the safety net this reporter obviously relies on. I highly recommend starting a blog and with it your own business. It’s working for a lot of people. This article shows me why so many are no longer employed by newspapers today.

More Podcast Growth Data

Podcast Research Edison AbritronEdison Research and Arbitron have produced some very interesting new data (pdf) on media usage. Some tidbits that stood out for me include:

  • 43% of Americans are aware of podcasts and 20% have listened to them
  • Internet access from any location is now approaching 9 in 10 Americans
  • Dial-up is down to less than 1 in 6 homes with internet access
  • Growth of iPod/portable MP3 players continues in 35-64 age demo
  • Digital radio audience continues to listen to AM/FM radio


Americans are increasingly enhancing their use of traditional media with new ways to control how, when and where they consume information and entertainment

Use of online radio, online video, podcasting, and iPod/MP3 players are on the rise

Consumers say flexibility, control and variety drive their use of online and portable media options

Social Media Good Choice In Recession

According to Forrester via Podcasting News more marketers are looking online for investing dollars these days.

During a recession, marketers are often forced to reduce budgets, in fact, it’s often one of the first buckets to get trimmed. In our latest research: Social Media Playtime is Over, we found that 53% of marketers are determined to increase their social media budget during a recession, and 42% will keep it the same, a total of 95% of marketers bullish on social media marketing. Why? The reasons are obvious to some, it’s inexpensive and the opportunity to benefit from cost-effective word-of-mouth, are promising.

I’ll be presenting a breakout session at the upcoming National Agri-Marketing Conference titled, “Social Media DOES Fit in Your Marketing Decision – Moving Beyond This Decision.” Sounds like we’ll need to point to this article on Forrester.

The State of The News Media Report

This PEW Project For Excellence in Journalism has just issued a report on the state of the news media as they see it. It’s a very negative outlook and seems to overlook what a lot of independent journalists are doing today that is contributing to good quality online news content that is also providing good revenue to those who are doing it. The focus seems to be on “legacy” media companies who are not doing well and just because they didn’t see the changes in technology coming or refused to jump into them and invest in them. Of course, if you combine a bad economy on top of it things just get worse for those companies.

There’s a lot of interesting facts and figures in the report. When it comes to online though, not much is said except to point to it as one of the factors contributing to the problem these companies are facing.

But the rise in the Web ’s news audience in 2008, even at legacy news sites, only added to the crisis in facing journalism.

For it also became patently clear during the year that the economic model largely responsible for financing journalism in the old media, advertising, will not do so in the new. Online advertising over all began to slow down, and display advertising in particular, the primary ad-revenue source for news, appeared to actually decline. The internals of the data look even bleaker still.

By all appearances, the limited prospects for online advertising that supports news in 2008 became a settled issue. Even worse, little progress appeared to be made during the year in developing any new revenue models, the biggest challenge the news industry faces in its fight for survival.

New media options are now being invested in by large media companies but it may be too little too late, especially since they can’t seem to figure out a revenue model to support their huge overhead.

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.

Association for Downloadable Media Members Adopt Standards and Measurement Guidelines

Association for Downloadable MediaThe Association for Downloadable Media has issued the following release about members (including ZimmComm New Media) adopting standards and measurement guidelines.

Ad Standards Define Industry Units and Organize Audience Reporting

Washington, DC — February 1, 2009 — The Association for Downloadable Media (ADM), which facilitates the monetization of episodic consumer-downloaded content, today announced a list of members who are in voluntary support of the first standards and guidelines agreed upon by the organization. This further advances the organization’s charter of creating a landscape favorable to the commercialization of web-delivered shows.

Both the ad standards and audience measurement guidelines were created by open committees, then offered for public comment, edited and ratified by the organization. Though many members have been following these formats as a standard practice of doing business, the member organizations are now organizing to publicly support these standards in an effort to create a scalable, organized market for advertisers to easily flight campaigns and become sponsors of episodic podcasts and vidcasts.

“Our members’ voluntary support of the ADM standards and guidelines provides structural integrity across separately-held ad networks, inventory pools and publisher assets, to create the scale needed to operate in today’s advertising marketplace,” says Chris MacDonald, Chairman of the Association for Downloadable Media. Continue Reading…

Agri-Marketing Conference Session

NAMA Session 2009At this year’s Agri-Marketing Conference I’ll be moderating a sizzling breakout session on social networking. We’re going to have some hot solutions for all of you who are scratching your heads over Twitter, Facebook, forums, blogs, podcasts, YouTube, Flickr . . . Pictured are (l-r) David Coustan, Vice President, Digital, Edelman Digital, Kyle Flaherty, Director of Marketing and Social Media, BreakingPoint Systems, David Brazeal, General Manager, Learfield Data and yours truly. The session is titled, “Social Media DOES Fit in Your Marketing Decision – Moving Beyond This Decision.” Here’s the session description:

Social media is everywhere these days. It is no longer a question whether social media fits your marketing strategy. Now it’s a decision of, “How? Where? What type?” Learn how to take the first steps in answering these questions and working to complement existing strategies.

The panelists, from both inside and outside of the agriculture industry, will share real-life examples of social media successes and failures. Take their hot ideas and lessons learned to create sizzling solutions that make your organization stand out!

Dave Coustan, Vice President, Digital, Edelman Digital

Dave was one of the first official corporate bloggers for a national brand, serving as blog master and social media strategist for Fortune 1000 Internet service provider EarthLink. He has led best practices sessions on social media strategy and corporate blogging at nationwide events.

Kyle Flaherty, Director of Marketing and Social Media, BreakingPoint Systems

Kyle is an experienced social marketing and technology communications professional with a broad range of skills characterized by successes in high-tech marketing communications, public relations, social media, web development, community creation and community engagement.

David Brazeal, General Manager, Learfield Data

After attending J-School at the University of Missouri, David Brazeal worked as a radio reporter and wire service editor. Then the Internet lured him away from the newsroom. Now, he uses his experience to help clients communicate better with their customers and employees through a wide range of social media tools.

And you know who I am.

IFAJ Congress 2009 Website

IFAJ/AMSOne of our recent projects has been the development of the IFAJ Congress 2009 website. Yes, it’s a WordPress blog and as we get closer to the event in July the content is being posted more frequently. I dare say this is way better than a static web page that doesn’t ever change.

Registration is now open for the event by the way. This is a “must-attend” event for anyone in agricultural communications. I don’t care if you’re a farm broadcaster, podcaster, editor, publisher, blogger or agriblogger. You need to be there.

It’s not just that there will be good professional development sessions although that’s reason enough. It’s also because this is your chance to interact with some great people from around the world who will be attending. Many of them will be coming to the United States for the first time. Let’s give them a fantastic welcome.

It’s the first time that the IFAJ Congress has been combined with an event like the Agricultural Media Summit and I think it’s going to go down as the best ever. There are a lot of people working to make it so. Maybe our new administration in DC will find a way to participate.