• Featured Video:At the 2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop, Rachel Burton with Novozymes demonstrates a video game learning tool that helps educate ethanol plant workers.
  • ZimmNews – June 5, 2015

    ZimmNews – June 5, 2015

    New Holland Expo Milano 2015 - New Holland hosted agricultural journalists from around the world to CNH Industrial Village in Turin and Expo Milano 2015 in Milan.

    ZimmNews – May 29, 2015

    ZimmNews – May 29, 2015

    2015 World Pork Expo - The 27th World Pork Expo takes place in Des Moines, Iowa. Nearly 20,000 attendees crowd the Iowa State Fairgrounds where over 400 exhibitors are here to share their expertise about the pork industry. Thanks to Boehringer Ingelheim for making our coverage possible.

    ZimmNews – May 22, 2015

    ZimmNews – May 22, 2015

    2015 West Central Coop Press Conference - West Central Coop announced $27 million expansion to their SoyPlus plant in Ralston, Iowa.

    ZimmNews – May 15, 2015

    ZimmNews – May 15, 2015

    2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop - The 31st Fuel Ethanol Workshop too place June 1-4, 2015 in Minneapolis, Minn.

    ZimmNews – May 8, 2015

    ZimmNews – May 8, 2015

    2015 Alltech REBELation - Over 3,000 rebels gathered for REBELation in Lexington, Kentucky.

Blogs Are Your Search Marketing Tool

Chris Baggott BlogWorld ExpoChris Baggott, Compendium Blogware, provided the most clear reasons for why companies should be blogging that I’ve heard in a while. If you value how your business or brand shows up in search results then having a blog is the best way to improve your results. He quoted a study by HubSpot that showed that companies that have blogs have significantly higher traffic, link and indexing.

He says that not only do blogs increase your searchability but also your results because you’re making the searcher happier. He says to remember that social media is about people. It’s about human beings and blogs help articulate the humanity of the organization.

Chris is seen in the photo talking with some BlogWorld participants after his talk.

Listen to my interview with Chris here:

BlogWorld Expo Photo Album

ROI of Social Marketing

ROI Social Networking PanelHow do you measure ROI for a social media campaign? Boy that’s a loaded question. Are we talking “return on investment” or “return on influence?” Those are very different things.

I think most companies choose investment since they’ve got cash in the game. They want to know what they’re getting for their money. That goes for an ad buy on a blog all the way to creating their own social networks via tools like Twitter. I attended a session on this subject this morning and afterward spoke with one of the panelists, Jim Marks, Virtual Results.

Jim says the most important component is setting goals and expectations up front. What is it that you hope to achieve for example? Then he does place a lot of weight on traffic (to your blog, # followers, # friends, etc.) and conversion.

Listen to my interview with Jim here:

BlogWorld Expo Photo Album

Become Awesome With Social Media

Laura Fitton and Rick Calvert BlogWorldHere’s the founder of BlogWorld, Rick Calvert, with opening speaker Laura Fitton. I’m going to find an opportunity to talk with Rick about how and why he started this conference.

After the opening session I did get to speak with Laura, Pistachio Consulting. Laura says that the main message she wanted people to walk away with was “Be Awesome.” She also wanted to plant the idea of using social networking mechanisms like Twitter to connect with other people and get your ideas out in the world where they might yield awesome results.

She says Twitter has helped take her from a busy stay at home Mom to giving the keynote here, publishing a book and launching her business. She points out how well Twitter works for business since there are so many Twitter tools.

Listen to my interview with Laura here:

Opening Session at BlogWorld and New Media Expo

Laura Fitton BlogWorld New Media ExpoThe opening session of BlogWorld and New Media Expo features Laura Fitton, Pistachio Consulting. She’s challenging and inspiring us. And many need that after their first night in Las Vegas!

Part of her message so far is to be or become lucky and she’s telling her story of how she has become successful through her expertise in “microsharing.”

I’ve started a photo album for the conference which I’ll be adding to periodically over the next couple days: BlogWorld Photo Album

Let The BWE09 Games Begin

BlogWorld & New Media Expo - Las Vegas Convention CenterThe 2009 BlogWorld & New Media Expo is about to get underway in Las Vegas. ZimmComm New Media team members Carly, Robert and I are on location (finally).

I’m looking forward to several days of immersion in all things new media and will be posting here as often as I can. I’ll also be tweeting so make sure you’re following along @ZimmComm.

My hope is that I can shed a little more light on how and why you and your company should be utilizing new media mechanisms like blogs, podcasts and social networks.

Looking Ahead To BlogWorld & New Media Expo

150pxIt’s almost time for BlogWorld & New Media Expo.

If for some reason you can’t make it then I will be writing about what I see and hear. So I can be your new media eyes and ears. You can count on posts starting a week from today. With me will be daughter Carly and our webmaster, Robert. Robert and I are cooking up plans for new capabilities for ZimmComm and our websites and the Expo gives us some good face time to discuss.

Now if you really want to create some online branding for your company while learning more about today’s communications tools and mechanisms then I will be happy to have you “sponsor” my coverage. Just let Dave Larson or me know and I’m sure we can work out a deal!

Are You Afraid of Social Media

You know the world of communications has changed. You know it’s about more than having a static web page that you only update every six months. You know your customers, family and friends are all “on Facebook and Twitter.” You know your company should be engaged with people using these mechanisms. But you’re afraid. At least that’s what’s being reported on eMarketer.

But fears still abound. Online retailers remain worried about their own competence at using social media and losing control of their brand.

Their concerns also showed that retailers understand the importance of social media: One of their biggest fears was that customers would abandon their site in favor of one that was more socially engaging. Using social media might be scary, but avoiding it is becoming less of an option.

The primary social media goal of the retailers surveyed was to increase customer engagement, followed by boosting brand loyalty and spurring word-of-mouth among brand advocates.

But I say, “Be Not Afraid.” If you don’t have the expertise to utilize social media then look to your staff or a company like ours to outsource your “engagement practices.” I’m not sure how you would lose control of your brand. Are you sure you have control now? Your customers or members are going to talk about you (online and person to person) and say whatever they want. You don’t have control of that. That’s what social media is all about. People communicating with other people. You need to be there. So get with the program!

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.

ZimmComm Update

I’ve been holding off on new posts here on ZimmComm.biz while we decide about some major changes to the site. Those are in the process of being developed and I decided it’s time to provide some updates about what’s going on in the ZimmComm world.

To start with, we can’t say enough good about our relationship with Dave Larson and Larson Enterprises. In just a few months, with Dave’s assistance, we have obtained a number of new clients who are utilizing our services and websites. He’s keeping us busier than ever and our schedule is filling up for the next few months.

I’ll start more regular posting here and bring you more up to date on ZimmComm activities in coming days.