From the moment I was asked to speak at FarmSmart about agvocating, something didn’t sit well with me. It isn’t that I’m not a huge fan of telling farmers’ stories, because I am and it isn’t that I believe we don’t need to do more of it, because I do. It is more that with all the encouragement about agvocacy happening out there, I’m not sure if it is getting us anywhere. In fact, every time I turn around, I see examples of what look, to me, like the opposite – farmers talking to each other. I agreed to the speak anyway though and wondered if I could apply everything I’d learned about customer-centric marketing to agvocacy. We needed to unagvocate.
Then, on the Monday morning before the conference, when I was standing in the security line at Pearson International Airport, forcing myself to think about anything except the monstrous line I was standing in, an idea started forming in my mind. Maybe it was time I start blogging regularly again. Not about agriculture issues, which has more or less been the main focus of this blog for the past 3 years, but about something different. Something I loved. Something that inspired me to write. Something I did all the time. Something people besides farmers might care to read.
You see, this was my recommendation to agvocates and along with being someone who likes to learn by doing (I like to think I made the 4-H motto my life motto), I also try to practice what I preach. “Do as I say, not as I do” certainly does not hold water with me as a leadership philosophy.
This is what made me so uneasy when I said “yes” to FarmSmart. I had ideas about what could make us better agvocates, but I wasn’t putting them into practice myself. I had no experience to lean on in this space to show this can work but I saw others who were doing it well. And I did have a pile of knowledge on content marketing, customer-centricity and “unmarketing” , which I strongly believe is relevant. After all, we may not be selling our story, but we sure want people to take notice and listen. In today’s internet wasteland there is no hope for a “build it and they will come” approach. In 2014, 72 hours of video were uploaded onto YouTube and 220,000 photos posted on Instagram EVERY SINGLE MINUTE! You can bet it’s more today. And you can assume if you aren’t strategic you won’t be found, at all.
So, it’s time for a change. I loved having an outlet to share my thoughts on farm policy, but I also really love being able to write about travel. Just check out all my “Travelling farmgirl” posts! There’s something about the way you see new places for the first time that is poetic and beautiful. The words appear without even thinking, and I want to share that. I want to share the photos of food and early morning walks. I want to share what I learn on these adventures, even if they are only to convention centers in downtown Omaha.
I have shoeboxes of ticket stubs and tattered, worn city maps I’ve never been able to part with, Maybe this is why. They’re waiting for their story to be told. I logged 50,000 km in 2014 and didn’t share near enough of it. It’s time for a change. I hope my current readers will enjoy taking flight with me and for new ones, welcome aboard!