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CALL ME: (913) 441-3970

Does today's easily curated, hastily produced and widely spread marketing content leave you feeing too much like Kiefer Sutherlin's character in Young Guns II?

Too many of our trusted, cherished metrics rely on that tons-of-it, quantity-over-quality mindset. In an age when spambots can outscore live experts on influence-score peddling systems, when user-generated content systems code-in self-destruction as the only means to make content seem fresh past its sell-by date, all those gamed Facebook like stats and stand-up cutout bloggers have become just so much Content Kardashianism in farmer's flannel: flip, fleeting, frenzied, flooding, foolish, fatal.

But I'll let you in on an old-timer's secret: It has always been that way. At least with ag marketing.

Today's blinding infatuation with the cold numbers of analytics differs only in degree from the days when ag-agency media buyers bought the book without ever being troubled to look at a single page of editorial, but simply because the numbers had been burnished until they could blind you like the fat rhinestones on the state-fair showmanship winner's bling belt. Quality content has always mattered more to the farmers than to the funders of ag media. Because they always knew it when they saw it, a metric notoriously hard to measure.

Farmers do, in fact, care about quality content that educates and helps them go about their daily business. And while supply of true quality has grown tight, demand has continued. Recall your AgEcon 101, and you should immediately spot the great opportunity for ag content marketers willing and able to do it right. And when you start it with a strategic plan that, as digital marketing consultant Jay Baer once said, considers business objectives before content objectives, you're back in charge of your own branding destiny.

Content done right improves purchase decisions, makes customers feel closer to the sponsor, and opens readers and viewers up to allowing you permission to sell within the venue. But, generic “content” won’t cut it: Nine in 10 of those consumers say accurate, reliable and usable information is any custom media’s most important trait. So once again history has come full circle, from trade-vertical print to mobile digital: The real standouts are those who successfully focus commodity information to the reader’s advantage.

That challenge constitutes the true hard work of content publishing--whether it's being done by your marketing department or a third party. There's no shortcut. Content marketers who fall for the illusion that smirking young women and know-it-all hipster bloggers blathering on about the "sharing economy," dropping the F-bomb and writing. with. periods. constitutes some fundamental shift in the underlying mechanics of good content are going to find themselves ignored by this market as thoroughly as that shiny cutting-edge BetaMax video on "New Horizons in Jerusaleum Artichoke Farming. Blog, tablet newsletter or print newsletter, those fundamentals have changed only cosmetically.


Click here to read the details"What do you do," the American Business Media asked, "in the face of pseudo-science dressed up as the real McCoy, inventive media promotions that win lots of crisp headlines but add little substance to the debate, and a sense of media sophistication completely foreign to your nose-to-the-grindstone audience?" You turn to a seasoned content producer who knows the audience, knows the issue and can communicate it cleanly, meaningfully and powerfully. Here's what that looked like when Mike Smith guided Alpharma's 10-year For the Record project to accolades from the business press association for groundbreaking use of custom content.


Click for a sample
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 to read it.

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. Click here to view a sample (Adobe Acrobat format).

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


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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Still have that marketing or technical content project sitting on your desk? Waiting for a cost-effective, no-drama way to get it done? Send me the details, deadline and budget. I'll bid it and get it moving. Now.

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