NAMA Shortcuts
Member Directory
Best of NAMA 2014
Upcoming Events
Chapters
Agri-Marketing Conf
More NAMA












BUILDING BROADCAST RELATIONSHIPS
Good marketers understand the value of maintaining relationships with farm broadcasters. Five agrimarketers share their views on the importance of farm broadcasting and how to build strong relationships with broadcasters.

How do you and your organization work to build relationships with farm broadcasters?

Ron Arp, senior vice president/senior partner, Fleishman-Hillard, Kansas City, Mo.
Arp

First and foremost, we treat them with respect. They represent a powerful medium that many marketers and communicators overlook. When speaking with broadcasters, we get to the point because they are very busy people.

Cunningham
We take an active role in getting to know the farm broadcasters and participating in their organization, but we also work on getting to know them on a one-to-one basis. If you already have that relationship built, it is a lot easier to call them up when we have a hot issue. In addition to just calling them from time to time, there are several built-in opportunities, such as staying for the whole annual meeting, even after Trade Talk is over.

Harrington
The information we supply - whether it's through a press release, sound bite series or media event - has to stand on its own value. We treat farm broadcasters as customers for our information and act accordingly. That means responding immediately to requests for information, providing them good interview sources when asked and being conscious of deadlines. Relationships are built on personal contact; nothing beats it.

Jeff Lacina, public relations manager, Garst Seed Co., Slater, Iowa.
Lacina
Good relationships are built over time and by becoming directly involved with farm broadcast organizations, activities and events (NAFB, conventions, meetings, etc). These efforts help me better understand the challenges and issues facing them in their day-to-day efforts to bring their listeners high value news and information. I respect what they do, and I hope they respect my job and me as a communicator.

Stemme
Farm broadcasters speak directly to thousands of farmers every day; therefore, the leaders of the Missouri Corn Growers Association see them as key to the success of our organization. Thus, we sponsor weekly "CornTalk" radio programs with Missouri farm broadcast stations. Because we have a consistent relationship with farm broadcasters, we can rely on them to help carry our message, and we're also not just calling when we "need" something.

How do you get farm broadcasters excited about your news or cause?


Arp

A new product or service may be interesting, but it is far more valuable when you've helped farm broadcasters answer the question, "Why should my listeners care?" We feel our clients' energies are better invested answering that question than cooking up some clever gimmick or glossy press kit. Sometimes, it's as simple as an interview contact or facts that localize the story.

Cindy Cunningham, assistant vice president of communications, National Pork Board, Des Moines, Iowa.
Cunningham
I think the best way to get them excited about our issues is to show them the value to their listeners. Try not to make it a PR pitch, but show the on-farm value of your news. It's even better if you can provide them with a producer or expert interview. If you are truly excited about your news, that will also help get them excited. Real news from a trusted source adds to your credibility and makes it easier to pitch your story the next time.

Lacina
Obviously, my news or information has to have real value for them and their listeners. I strive to provide them with good, timely news as well as some "off the wall" or unusual story ideas and angles that pique their interest.

Fred Stemme, communications and marketing director, Missouri Corn Growers Association, Jefferson City, Mo.
Stemme
We get them actively involved in our campaigns. Farm broadcasters have been incredible partners for change in our state; for example, MCGA leaders firmly believe that we now have two farmer-owned ethanol plants in Missouri due to the help of farm broadcasters. They believed in the value-added concept and helped us sell the idea of new generation cooperatives to Missouri's farmers and leaders.

What are some situations where farm broadcast has worked successfully for you?

Arp

Farm broadcast is about the only way to reach farmers during busy times of the year, and it should be in the mix year-round. There is unending potential to localize and personalize information through farm radio and to communicate in unique ways, including remote broadcasts and call-in shows. One novel approach involved a company sponsoring radio messages recorded by every youth selling an animal at the county livestock auction. Each was as simple as, "Hi, I'm Sally Jones, and I hope you'll come bid on my steer at the county 4-H auction this Saturday." The sponsor was flooded with praise from aunts, uncles, grandparents, neighbors, third and fourth cousins - practically everyone.

Cunningham
Farm broadcast is a critical part of our communications plan. By using the NFBS we can get fast accurate information to producers as issues develop. It seems to work great for us. We put stories up with audio, and the broadcasters always know they can also call to get interviews. It only takes a few minutes to reach all of our producers.

Jerry Harrington, sales and marketing public relations manager, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Des Moines, Iowa.
Harrington
Virtually all farm broadcasters cover a specific region or area, and they need expert resources for information pertinent to their local area. One of our more successful programs has been to make available the nationwide network of local Pioneer agronomists for interviews.

For example, Duane Frederking, agronomist in Chatham, Ill., provides agronomic reports every two to three weeks to Roger Ward of WLDS in Jacksonville. During 2002 when growers in his area began seeing corn leaf aphids, Frederking contacted Roger to provide scouting recommendations, discuss threshold levels and offer treatment options. He was there to make sure growers were properly informed and could avoid unnecessary insecticide treatment.

Stemme
Farm broadcasters play a key role in our grassroots, "call-to-action" campaigns to influence legislation and other public policy. We know farm radio is the best way to reach farmers where they do business - in the shop, truck, home office, tractor or combine cab. The farm broadcaster helps us become a subtle intrusion into their daily work. We know farm radio works for us because, as the tenth largest corn producing state in the nation, Missouri corn farmers logged the second and third most calls from one state to Congress in two separate national policy campaigns.

How do you handle situations in which broadcasters do not advocate your cause?

Arp

We expect fair and balanced coverage, but we don't ever expect advocacy. That's the fastest way to ruin a half-century of broadcasters building credibility with rural audiences. As communicators, it's our job to offer valuable information, and it's the broadcaster's job to sift.

Cunningham
It is important for all of us to remember that farm broadcasters are reporters, first and foremost. In the long run, it actually adds credibility to your story if they present the facts and the listeners make up their own minds. There may be times when the farm broadcaster seems to take the opposing side to your issue. If that is the case, work with them directly and find out why. They may not have had access to all the information, they may not have realized how important the issue was, or they may truly disagree with your position.

Harrington
Frankly, we don't expect broadcasters to advocate our cause. It's up to us to make sure our cause is in sync with what broadcasters need to inform their listeners. The information or interview sources we offer have to stand on their own as news. If the broadcaster doesn't use our information, it's our fault.

Lacina
For the most part, that isn't a problem because we both have a mutual common cause: the success of farmers. But when there are certain issues that farm broadcasters question or don't support, I view that as an opportunity to learn from each other and find ways for both sides of the story to be told.

How do you convince budget managers of the importance of farm broadcast?

Arp

I believe individual farm broadcasters should spend more time marketing their actual product to companies and organizations, in addition to time and space reps. They need to overcompensate because it's far easier to tear out and circulate a print placement. One broadcaster forwarded a tape from a relevant on-air interview to the CEO of a client company. It was played during a senior management meeting. It's a great thing when senior managers ask, "Where's broadcast?" when marketers present plans and budgets.

Harrington
Personally, I believe buying farm broadcast time is one of the more efficient and effective ways to communicate with producers. It gives us the ability to shape regional messages to targeted geographies and communicate timely messages quickly and economically. Most importantly, these communications are carried within a medium that has high listenership among farmers, delivered by a broadcaster they trust.

Lacina
Farm radio is a very big part of our overall marketing communications budget, both from an advertising and public relations standpoint. However, when the dollars are tight, farm broadcasters are very good at coming up with some excellent "value- added" components that help me justify the expenditures I do commit to farm radio.

Stemme
Fortunately, our board of directors and CEO are believers OR=black>in the power of farm radio. We're in that position today because we directly involve our farmer-leaders and staff as spokespeople in our weekly "CornTalk" radio programs. Over time, most of our leaders develop both a professional relationship and a friendship with local farm broadcasters. Our leaders also believe in farm radio because they've seen the results of farm broadcasters' involvement in our campaigns. AM


Search News & Articles




















Proudly associated with:
American Business Media Canadian Agri-Marketing Association National Agri-Marketing Association
Agricultural Relations Council National Association of Farm Broadcasters American Agricultural Editors' Association Livestock Publications Council
All content © Copyright 2014, Henderson Communications LLC. | User Agreement