As a small farm or small business, you may not highly prioritize sitting down and writing about your farm. And you may not know “what” to say. But consider this: Customers seeking local food are interested in more than just the food. They are seeking a relationship with their food producers. They want to know your story and feel a part of your success.
You may not think you have time to blog, but here’s why you should.
A UC Davis survey of California CSA members shows that CSA members are willing to pay up to 19% more for their current CSA membership because they want to ensure that the farmer is making a livable salary. So your customers, both current and prospective, care and want to stay informed about farm happenings.
Blogging is one of the top three marketing tools for small farms, ranches and value added producers. The other two most effective marketing tools are e-mail marketing and social media. Blogging is powerful because it defines the voice of your business and builds an authentic relationship with your audience.
Not only does blogging build a relationship with your target audience, the fresh content generated by regularly blogging makes it more likely that your website will be “found” by search engines. Search engine algorithms prize new content and will rank websites with fresh content higher than those with static content.
You can also use your blog to feed your other marketing efforts, including content for your e-mail newsletter and social media. One blog can have a multiplier effect. Post the starting paragraph of your blog on social media and link it back to your website. Similarly, use your blog in your next e-mail newsletter and link readers back to your website where they can read the full article. Linking back to your website will help generate website traffic. You can then capitalize on this increased traffic by offering an easy way for website visitors to shop and purchase your product from your website.
What to blog, when and how often
Use blogging to educate, inform and communicate about happenings not only on your farm, but possibly larger issues that may have the potential to impact you and your farming community.
The length of your blog post will vary by topic. Off-season you may have time to dive into contemplative topics which might reach 2,000+ words. In-season blogs are more likely to be snapshots that are quick reads filled with current harvest information. Research shows the top blogs offer about seven minutes worth of content. But let your subject be the guide.
Off-season, consider writing robust content about life on the farm, your challenges and successes, and what you have planned for the upcoming season. Writing in the off season helps to maintain the relationship with your customer base, keep top of mind, and when the time comes, have that customer return to purchase your CSA or buy your products. Posting new content every month or every other week generates fresh content keeping your farm top of mind for current and prospective customers.
In-season when time is precious, consider asking an enthusiastic farm hand or volunteer to write content specific to the harvest. You can include educational information about what’s planted, crops harvested, and links to inspiring recipes for in-season produce. In-season use weekly posts to ride the wave of local buying enthusiasm while increasing sales during prime selling season.