Getting your agricultural business online or reviving your struggling website is an essential step to growing your reach and getting more sales.
But getting started with growing your online presence might be a bit daunting - especially if tech isn’t your strong point.
One easy way to grow your online presence is to launch an agriculture blog where you can share insights and opinions to attract a new audience.
Start Your Agriculture Blog by Choosing Relevant Topics
Before you launch into the logistics of setting up and maintaining a blog, you need to decide what your blog will be about. There are plenty of topics to discuss in the field of agriculture, and you’re not likely to cover everything.
Instead of trying to appeal to a large audience, choose a niche within agriculture where your expertise or brand has a particular advantage. For example, if your company offers financial products for farmers, your blog could focus on money management for farmers.
Narrowing your focus to a single niche puts you in a position of authority as an online spokesperson for the topics you cover. If you try to cover too wide a focus, you risk losing sight of your target audience, and you’ll have trouble attracting readers.
Of course, you also don’t want to pick so narrow a niche that there will only be a handful of people who understand and interact with your content. If you’re curious about striking the right balance, do some simple online searches for keywords related to the topic you want to write about and look at what similar blogs are already discussing and how audiences are interacting with the content.
Set Up Your Blog on Your Website
Once you’ve chosen your niche, it’s time to get your site online. This is one of the most technical aspects of launching your blog, but is approachable even for the tech novice.
First, you’ll want to decide where you want your blog to live online. This is your platform. One popular platform for bloggers is WordPress, since it allows users to have complete control over your blogging site, design and management. However, there are options for drag-and-drop site builders, like Weebly and Wix, that offer a user-friendly experience for those who don’t want to deal with any of the technical aspects of site management.
Regardless of your chosen platform, your website will need a domain name: this is the web address where your readers can access your content. If you’re attaching a blog as part of your existing business website, you can attach the blog as a page or subdomain at your company’s existing domain.
If your blog is an entirely new venture, you’ll need to select a domain that relates to your niche or blog name, like financeschoolforfarmers[dot]com. Then, you need to purchase your domain from your website builder or another domain registration site.
Spend Time Designing a User-Friendly Experience
When you’ve got all the tech details out of the way, you can get to the fun of designing your site. The first step in designing your site is choosing your theme - this is the template that adds color and character to your site.
There are plenty of free themes available online, and may come as part of your web builder package. You can also find free and paid themes online if nothing provided with your site builder subscription suits your needs.
Your theme should ideally coordinate with your brand’s colors and logo for consistency’s sake. This will help to draw readers in and make your content work well with your overall branding and marketing strategies.
If you’re working with a self-hosted WordPress site, you also have the flexibility to choose plugins that make your site display in a certain way and that give you options to customize the user experience on your site. Most websites utilize a variety of plugins to manage blog posts, sidebars, subscription boxes and more.
Develop Your Editorial Schedule
Once your site is ready to go, it’s time to get your written content strategy put together. Most blog managers create an editorial schedule to manage blog posts by type and frequency.
Start by coming up with blog ideas. The best way to do this is to simply ask, “What questions are my potential customers asking?” Once you have a list of those questions, then convert the questions into statements and write your posts on those topics - being sure to provide substantive answers.
Not only will this help you keep your blog relevant to your audience, it has the added benefit of increasing traffic due to SEO rankings.
An editorial schedule doesn’t need to be complicated - you can simply use a spreadsheet or paper calendar to keep things straight. If you plan to work with multiple writers on your agriculture blog, you may want to use a scheduling program that lets you communicate with your team about post topics and deadlines in a central location.
Consider carefully your post frequency when you’re developing your editorial schedule. Ideally, you want to strike a balance that lets you present frequent, well-curated content with a post frequency that you can manage.
Many bloggers find that one or two posts a week is a manageable load for a single writer. If you’re working with a team, you might be able to post four to five posts a week, which will attract traffic to your blog much more quickly than a couple of posts a week will.
But the most important thing to remember is that you need to stay consistent. No one wants to stick around a blog that isn’t regularly and predictably updated.
Bottom line? Choose a schedule that works for you and stick with it.
Now that you’ve got a plan, it’s time to get to writing. After all, your written content is what’s going to bring readers to your blog.
You can start writing with a simple introduction post where you introduce your brand, yourself and the theme of your blog. If you’re not blogging as part of your business or brand activities, you’ll need to spend more time introducing yourself and the scope of your blog - perhaps a few posts, rather than one simple introduction.
Once you’ve got the introductory blog post(s) out of the way, you can get to the meat of your content posting. Use your editorial schedule to fill in the gaps and let your planned content drive your post topics.
Ideally, you’ll want to include different content types, like storytelling posts, product reviews and other informative resources that you think are relevant to your audience. You can use your editorial schedule to manage the frequency at which you post each type of post. For example, you might have a storytelling post each Monday, a list of some sort on Wednesdays and a behind the scenes look at what your company does on Fridays.
Additionally, you’ll want to consider post length - at a minimum your blog posts should be between 300 to 500 words long, because search engine crawlers won’t rank pages that have less than 300 words of copy. However, including a variety of short posts and long (between 800 and 1200 words), or even very long (2000+ words) attracts a broader audience and can boost your search engine rankings.
Promote Your Blog to Your Farmers
Having great content doesn't mean much if you don’t have anyone to read it. When you’ve got some content up on your blog - perhaps six posts or so - it’s time to share the content with your audience.
You can reach your audience in a few ways. If the blog is part of an existing business or brand website, you can use your email lists to disperse content to your existing customers. This may draw in a certain cross section of loyal readers.
If you’re starting an agriculture blog from scratch, you’ll need to build an email list from scratch. You can do this by integrating an email subscription service to manage subscribers through your blog page.
For any blog, you’ll want to expand your audience by promoting your blog on social media sites. Most bloggers choose to start social media pages for their blogs by using the blog as a persona and building fan pages around the blog itself. Social media sites allow you to share your blog posts and updates, as well as interact with your fans to develop a closer connection to your audience.
Starting an agriculture blog is not as challenging as it may seem at the outset. In a few hours, you can get a site off the ground with a domain and host. In a few more hours or days, you can have a robust offering of written content that’ll bring readers flocking to your site.