On the Farm Beat
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CALL ME: (913) 441-3970


Why can't we all just get along? Mike Smith sifts through the new-age philosophy behind today's resentment toward Big Farming.

Why agriculture is losing the moral argument

Reprinted from Missouri Beef Cattlemen, November 2010

How will you answer the one, simple question we’re all going to face: Is this right?

Content @byMikeSmith

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Whether writing directly to farmers and veterinarians or writing about their issues to other audiences, Mike Smith continues to live by the rule that consumers still turn to good writing in traits like trustworthiness, relevance, permanence, personalized insight.

Want to be taken serious in the market? Be serious

Some of Mike Smith's best writing you've no doubt read over the years has been under someone else's byline, applied artfully in service of building the brand of marketers, associations and individuasl by using a trained editor's ear to improve their words without burying the character of those words.

Need help with your words? Turn here

Journalism design pioneer Jan White once said the best content is that which always pleasantly surprises your audience with more than they expected. Mike Smith has lived a rural career by that philosophy, as was the case with the rich, artful tone of this simple copy for an AGCO combine line.

Not afraid to dream in diesel

Mark Twain said the difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. That's the attitude that has kept Mike Smith's words, like this excerpt from the online magazine he founded, Truth in Food, fresh across changes in time and media.

When only the right word will do

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This 10-year project began as a 4-page printed insert into the livestock books of Vance Publishing, eventually evolving into direct-mails, newsletter and website campaign, and spearheaded Alpharma's public- and industry-relations efforts to combat intrusive antibiotic regulation and legislation. Click here for samples.

Want to really earn customer loyalty? Stand up on their behalf when it counts

Important scientific advances that had languished in the relative obscurity of self-produced MicrosoftWord-ism for a decade came to new life with a powerful graphic redesign and editing by Mike Smith, making Colorado State's Diagnostic Labs the envy of its industry.

Speak like a scientist; look like a million bucks

Food-Chain Communications helped bring the farmer's message to the retail grocers of four midwestern states by contracting Mike Smith to write, design and execute its "Farmer Goes to Market" campaign, consisting of individualized monthly state e-mail newsletters and collaterol customized websites. And the results? Message open and clickthrough rates two to three times higher than industry averages. That's meaningful engagement.

Bring disparate audiences together to support your marketing message? Here's how it's done.

When Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica needed to keep its time-strapped and geographically far-flung sales and distributor force updated on critical product and marketing updates, Mike Smith's design, writing and execution of the monthly digital newsletter "The BriefCASE" kept it quick, easy and meaningful. Click here for samples.

Engage your distributor sales force by educating them first

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Walco Animal Health's Dairy Health Update program included a high-quality quarterly magazine, digital presence, a cusomized lead-followup system for all field divisions and collaterol marketing campaigns, all aimed at building longterm customer value for the sponsor by post-sale nurturing that encourages customer retention.

Foster longterm value

Traditional ag journalism gave up the shop when it turned itself into stenography rather than story-telling. That's good news for content marketers with the vision and courage to lean in and really stand up for what their brand believes. This is what that strength of voice looks like, through the words and pictures of Mike Smith.

Fearless ag journalism for a fearful age

The paradox of modern journalism is this: As the traditional advertising-based funding has dried up, the demand for quality information has only increased. For the visionary professional association, the opportunity to becoming the go-to source has never been better, as the National Grocers Association demonstrated when it revamped its fatigued show-based magazine into "i Magazine" by calling on the design, editorial direction and writing capabilities of Mike Smith

Take back the mantle of authority

Who better to teach the technical aspects of your customer's business than your own experts? Farmland Industries' Practical Health series, including beef- and dairy-cattle health-care magazines, a collateral newsletter to help dealers capitalize on the program, and a pilot horse and companion-animal care spin-off magazine, all worked to turn that company's dealers into the center of expertise in helping customers work through animal-health buying decisions. Can you think of a better invitation to sell?

Want permission to sell? Then educate

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You want a level of expertise and research your customers can rely upon? How about nearly 50 cited scientific references in just five pages of copy, as Mike Smith demonstrated in this cattle-health native advertised researched, economically written and attractively designed for Elanco Animal Health through McCormick Advertising and Farm Journal Media. That's content that builds your sales case.

Expect more from your freelancer

Well-executed marketing content creates an air of expertise that takes you beyond simple seller of products into the realm of objective expert on the daily business problems your customers face. Merck Animal Health experienced that power of branded content when its communication agency, Osborn Barr contracted Mike Smith to design, research and execute this tech-savvy insert.

Turn your marketing content into evangalizing for your brand

Selling via educational training requires that rare creative ability to mix communicaton that explains with communication that persuades. Case in point: Fort Dodge Animal Health contracted Mike Smith to design, write and execute the sales training materials for the introduction of an entire new molecule to the U.S. equine dewormer market. Starting with careful explanation of the underlying physiology and history of the market, it culminated in a natural conclusion that led customers organically to the purchase decision. 

Training: From the Latin "to draw"

In a market where readers count teats on a sow illustration or notice first the plant population in that ad slick for a half million dollar combine, the credibility stakes of even the smallest technical mistake are high. Big marketers invest heavily to ensure technical expertise gets matched with creative execution by hiring large staffs or agencies. Small marketers accomplish it by finding a resource who combines the skeptical editor's eye with graphic artistry that has a little manure on its boots, and years and years of sweating the small stuff. Nobody does it better than Mike Smith, who brings not just deep technical knowledge of the agricultural and animal-health markets into your content, but years of agricultural writing, graphic design and publishing experience into the creation of technical training materials.

Trust the medium...and the message

The digital age has changed the sales cycle: Most prospects now come to your door already knowing a lot about you. That means the marketers who step up with well-built, well-executed creative information that moves to the next phase are the ones who survive the initial cut. Take for example, this set of technical bulletins crafted by Mike Smith for Intervet to explain the new discoveries about its equine anthelmentic product line.

Confidence sells

Or, better said: Tell to sell. Even the most mundane sales brochure and technical bulletin today faces that new challenge to be educational first; promotional, second. When you make that leap of marketing faith to serve the content needs of your stakeholders, as Bayer Animal Health did with this extensive antibiotic brochure which Mike Smith wrote for its agency Bernstein Rein, your content developer has to be up to the task, technically and creatively.

Tell, don't sell

Cut the B.S.

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Long before the rest of the content world was suddenly discovering native advertising and advertorials as shiny new marketing tools, Mike Smith had developed a long and successful track record proving reader-centric content works to position companies for stronger sales in the agricultural market.

Native advertising before native advertising was cool

You would think the content-marketingage has killed the brochure, but adding the power of visual thinking to the weight of strong writing only adds new life to promotional brochures, as Mike Smith has accomplished for years in this market.

What's old is new again

Never underestimate the power of simplifying the complexity that surrounds your brand. Ad copy that gets to the relevance remains one place where the science of content management still calls for a little art. It requires powerful, confident, directed storytelling that focuses on one point at a time and makes the implications to the customer crystal clear.

Where art still meets science

Not many marketing writers have honed their journalism skills and experience sharply enough to effectively tackle the in-depth white paper. This 24 page summary of research conducted by Food-Chain Communications on the state of agriculture in today's university, designed, written and executed by Mike Smith, showed how his capabilities can make your message a serious one.

White papers are the new investigative feature story

Another example of the old-school tools that have taken on new life in the digital age, the old-fashioned news release still commands a presence. Mike Smith has decades of experience in making them read and effective.

The only good news release is a read news release


Step 1: Choose your audience

Picked your Audience?

Ag marketers use print magazines at a rate nearly two-thirds higher than the average marketer, with just under seven in 10 saying they still make use of magazines in some way. Why? Fewer and fewer farmers every year taking a larger and larger market share means today's ag customer requires a long-duration sales cycle emphasizing after-sale nurturing and focus on long-term customer value. Targeting the existing customer base makes print content a natural customer-retention tool.
Step 2: Set objectives

Defined your Objectives?

This is not your father's marketing communication. It's not even your older sister's. Custom content, print or digital, in today's market has to answer to a tall order when it comes to performance standards: Strategically concepted, flawlessly targeted, carefully executed and fully held to results controls.
Step 3: Hire Mike Smith

Hire the Best

Once you have the audience and objectives and you need the inspired mechanic to put his hands on the job and execute from the beginning concept to the final ROI evaluation and all points in between, call. With decades of content experience, I am your content marketing advocate not afraid to get dirt under his fingernails.
Need that content project turned around now?
Click here to send me an RFP

Custom Publications by Mike Smith

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24195 W. 63rd St.
Shawnee, KS 66226

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