Monday, February 28, 2005

NRECA Sends Talking News Release to over 2,300 Reporters

It was a busy day at the NRECA convention. We worked out of the newsroom and produced a couple of Talking News Releases today and conducted interviews for several that are going out tomorrow.

You can see the first one we did today here: NRECA Convention Release

This release was sent out nationally from the newsroom. We're mobile! I can't say how much I liked the internet connection they set up here. It was secure wireless and faster than anything I've used yet! In fact, the emails to the reporters went faster than my Dell Inspiron could send them! My Outbox was constantly empty as my contact database program slowly pumped out the release to Outlook. Wish I had that much speed at the office.

Posted by: Chuck at 9:56 PM | |     | Permalink

Relaxing With The "Uncle"

We just had to post a picture of us at the NRECA convention with our old buddy, "Uncle" Nip Neidert. We worked with Nip at Learfield Communications for many years and he's still a valued friend and associate. We're proud of him and the job he's doing for National Country Market. Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 9:46 PM | |     | Permalink

Hanging Out With The Big Names

Cindy had a nice chat with former U. S. Senator Bob Dole who was the keynote speaker at the NRECA convention. Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 9:44 PM | |     | Permalink

Run The Audio & Video Into The Newsroom Please

Here's what every good newsroom should have in it. It's a monitor with a video feed from the general session and with it a mult box, which contains the audio feed, allowing multiple reporters to plug in and record the speeches! It makes it so much easier for reporters, especially when the newsroom and ballrooms are so far apart.

I wish every convention or organization would do this. Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 9:42 PM | |     | Permalink

The Best Reporter In The Business

Working on a Talking News Release for NRECA, Cindy is focused on editing audio from the first general session. She is much faster and better at editing audio and writing than yours truly. That's why I'm taking the picture and she's working! Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 9:39 PM | |     | Permalink

Sunday, February 27, 2005

The ZimmComm Team Ready For Action!

We just got set up in the newsroom at the San Diego Convention Center at the NRECA annual meeting. We've got audio piped in from the General Session Ballroom. Tomorrow former Senator Bob Dole will be the keynote speaker right after Glenn English, NRECA CEO, makes his opening speech. We'll be using audio from the speeches as well as other audio we collect through personal interviews to include with Talking News Releases that will be sent out nationwide. Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 5:51 PM | |     | Permalink

Put A Little Corn Power In Your IndyCar

The ethanol industry is getting a new champion. It's an organization called EPIC (Ethanol Promotions and Information Council). It's so new that I guess their website isn't open to the public yet ( But it should be available soon.

I'll be travelling to Washington, DC this week to attend their press conference. The invitation says it's an announcement about the IndyCar Series partnering with ethanol. ABC racing broadcaster, Jack Arute, will be emceeing the event. I don't have information on who the speakers are yet.

The press conference will be at 11:00am, Thursday, March 3 at Union Station. If you would like to attend you can rsvp to Joanna Schroeder by email or calling 515-247-2868.

EPIC appears to be supported by Broin, Fagen, Inc. and ICM. Additional support is provided by ACE (American Coalition for Ethanol) and RFA (Renewable Fuels Association).

At the Commodity Classic last week I was given an invitiation by Tom Slunecka, Executive Director for EPIC. He was visiting with media members in attendance their to solicit interest in the new organization and it's upcoming press conference.

Posted by: Chuck at 7:51 AM | |     | Permalink

Next Stop San Diego

The Commodity Classic is behind me and the next stop is San Diego for the NRECA (National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association) annual convention. Cindy's with me on this trip as we set up shop in the newsroom to help NRECA distribute Talking News Releases from their convention.

We expect to send out a release about their CEO's message to the membership on Monday and others as the topics and opportunities arise.

These early morning flights are getting to be the norm lateley. It's only about 6am St. Louis time.

Later this week I'll be in Washington, DC for a unique press conference for a new organization that's been formed to promote the use of ethanol to consumers. Keep an eye out for the announcement which you'll read first here at Agrimarketing Pros!

Posted by: Chuck at 5:47 AM | |     | Permalink

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Pros And Cons Of Corporate Blogging

I get sent great information from some good friends like Steve who's been a great resource and guide as ZimmComm plows through the blogosphere.

Here's an example that contains a link to a great article you'll find worth reading:


When we first started talking about blogs and their potential for businesses and corporations, I cautioned that they can be a double-edged sword.

I found a really good article on that explores both the upsides and the risks of corporate blogging.,15114,1011763,00.html

I strongly urge you to read this very comprehensive piece. It gives specific, useful examples of how companies can do this wrong and how they can do it right. It's not as easy as it looks at first glance.


Thanks Steve. You have offered great advice. I hope I can repay it someway.

Posted by: Chuck at 2:01 PM | |     | Permalink

Friday, February 25, 2005

1,547 Reporters Sent John Deere Talking News Release

Yesterday I had a chance to show Barry Nelson, John Deere Public Relations Manager, how Talking News Releases work. He decided that his announcement today would be a good chance to try it out so . . .

John Deere had a press conference this morning. I recorded audio from each of the representatives quoted in the release. Those sound bites were edited and converted to mp3 files which are on our web server. Those files are then linked to in the release itself. We then emailed the release to reporters in the 31 soybean growing states. Those reporters not only have the release now but 8 different sound bites they can put on the air!

You can see the release here: John Deere Release

Isn't that simple? And now John Deere's release went to many new reporters who have the information they need for their medium. That audio can also now be used for other purposes and projects!

Posted by: Chuck at 1:59 PM | |     | Permalink

Listen To Sec. Of Ag Johanns

I promised audio from Mike Johanns. I caught the start of his press conference just a couple seconds late but you can listen to his opening statement here: Johanns Opening Statement

If you'd like the whole thing, please feel free to contact me and I can arrange to make more available to you.

Posted by: Chuck at 12:23 PM | |     | Permalink

Quite A Few Reporters Eager To Meet Sec. of Ag Johanns

The press facing Sec. of Ag Mike Johanns. Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 12:03 PM | |     | Permalink

Press Conference With Sec. of Ag Johanns

Here's Sec. of Ag Johanns speaking to the press at his Commodity Classic press conference. Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 12:02 PM | |     | Permalink

Monsanto Press Conference Picture

At the Monsanto press conference Monsanto's Dr. Todd DeGooyer, next to the podium, discusses new corn rootworm research findings with Iowa State University entomologist, Dr. Matthew O'Neal and Purdue's John Obermeyer. Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 11:54 AM | |     | Permalink

Pictures From Press Conferences

John Deere's Product Planner, Mike Miller, talking about Soybean Rust Spray tests at the early morning press conference. To his right is Barry Nelson, Public Relations Manager. To his left is Dr. Jeff Barnes, Crop Systems Specialist and then Don Borgman, Manager of Market Planning. Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 11:50 AM | |     | Permalink

Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns

New U. S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns speaking to corn and soybean growers in Austin, TX at the Commodity Classic. I should have audio from his press conference later. Right now I've got to work on a Talking News Release for John Deere that needs to go out to reporters still this morning. Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 10:32 AM | |     | Permalink

Opening General Session Photo

Here's a shot of Leon Corzine making his opening comments at the General Session of Commodity Classic. I wrote about this earlier. Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 10:27 AM | |     | Permalink

In The General Session

I'm in the opening general session here at Commodity Classic. Leon Corzine, President, NCGA, is speaking about re-energizing rural America and how important farmers are to that growth.

Next up is Neal Bredehoeft, President, ASA. Neal is now talking about accomplishments of the soybean industry and the Asian Soybean Rust problem facing growers this coming season.

Coming up soon is our new Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns. I'll record his statement at his press conference later and provide a link to it by lunchtime.

This morning things kind of got started out with a press conference by Monsanto. They were there to talk about some new research that has found that a corn rootworm variant now has somehow adapted and learned that it can lay eggs in soybean plants since the field will be planted in corn the next year. So it kind of lies in wait. Pretty scary huh?

Next press conference was with John Deere who was presenting information from some research they did in South America about the most effective way to spray fungicide on soybean plants to treat Soybean rust.

As I've been typing Secretary Johanns was just introduced. He's telling Nebraska jokes now and talking about his first political campaign.

Time to head back to the newsroom. If you want to know what Johanns comments are today come back later to listen to his press conference.

Posted by: Chuck at 9:43 AM | |     | Permalink

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Lots Of Good Looking Booths

Another company that incorporates Talking News Releases into their communications strategy is BASF through their agency, Brighton Agency. In this picture the Commodity Classic trade show was just kicking off on Thursday afternoon.

In the BASF booth they have an outdoor scene complete with the sounds of crickets and birds. The audio changes throughout the day to match what you'd normally hear outside. Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 10:00 PM | |     | Permalink

Commodity Classic Trade Show Kicks Off

Monsanto has been one of our biggest supporters and first Talking News Release clients. Through their agency, Osborn & Barr Communications, we've sent out numerous product-related news releases with audio. They have the first press conference on Friday morning bright and early at 7am. I'll be there to record the announcements and bring it to you here on Agrimarketing Pros. Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 9:57 PM | |     | Permalink

NCGA CEO Talks About Putting On Commodity Classic

You can listen to my interview with Rick Tolman, CEO, NCGA here: Commodity Classic 1.

Rick talks about the jointly run annual meeting of ASA and NCGA. He says that they've actually formed a separate corporation with farmer board members from each organization to run this meeting and there is a separate full time staff that works on it all year long. The interview is less than 5 minutes.

Posted by: Chuck at 1:57 PM | |     | Permalink

First Press Conference Completed

At the first press conference Leon Corzine, President, NCGA, made a speech to a large gathering of media. Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 1:53 PM | |     | Permalink

Commodity Classic Newsroom - We Need More Internet Access Points

Here's some working journalists at the Commodity Classic. This is the very small area set up with internet access. There's actually a line waiting to get connected. Thanks to Jeff Nalley, pictured in the back, interviewing Rick Tolman, CEO, NCGA, we have a multiple access switch which allows more reporters to get connected to the interne! To the right is Sara Wyant, Agripulse, working on a newsletter.

Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 1:52 PM | |     | Permalink

In The Commodity Classic Newsroom

Hi from Austin.

I made it and am in the convention center newsroom. Sitting here among a bunch of reporters like Jeff Nalley, from Kentucky (Cromwell Ag Media) and Michelle Rook from South Dakota(WNAX), Sara Wyant from Illinois, (Agripulse) and others.

C5 internet connection jacks are at a premium here. Commodity Classic needs to double the connections or arrange for wi-fi for the press!

I'm hoping to interview leaders from NCGA and ASA and post those for you to listen to in a few minutes.

Later this afternon the trade show opens to the media only and I've got interviews scheduled with John Deere for a Talking News Release project tomorrow! I'll post it here as well as sending out to the reporters in the areas they want me to.

Posted by: Chuck at 11:56 AM | |     | Permalink

Posting From The Plane In Dallas

On my way to Austin. I had to get one of those connection cards for my notebook. It's not broadband speed but I'm connected.

I can't believe how many Blackberry's I've seen this morning on the plane and airports. They must be doing good. People are walking around talking and typing. It's almost weird to see this many.

Maybe they're posting to their blogs as they walk!

You never know.

I've already been able to chat with some of the communications folks from Monsanto on the way down. There should be between 3 to 4,000 attending Commodity Classic this week.

More to come.

Posted by: Chuck at 8:57 AM | |     | Permalink

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Blogging My Way To Austin & Back

It's almost Commodity Classic time. Well some folks are already there.

I'll be heading that way tomorrow and will be providing reports on what I see, hear and participate in. I can tell you that the trade show and press conferences alone would keep a person busy full time for 3 days. You should see the press conference invitations and notices I've got!

A highlight on the schedule will be the general session on Friday. Most of the attendees will get their first personal contact with our new Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns.

The session will start with a panel discussion, followed by a speech from Johanns.

Ag commentator John Phipps will moderate the panel, which includes Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore; agriculture biotechnology expert Sano Shimoda; and Lynn Jensen, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development director for South Dakota.

Panelist will talk about topics, including the promise of biotechnology, combating negative consumer attitudes toward technology and farming, redefining U.S. agriculture’s role in improving the economic and social well-being of Americans and strategies for moving rural America forward.

Look for pictures and audio file links to statements and interviews I'll conduct while I'm there.

It should be a very busy agenda!

Posted by: Chuck at 11:36 AM | |     | Permalink

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Blogs About Agriculture

I was looking around and found some ag-related blogs I thought you might be interested in taking a look at:

Extension Daily
Cowboy Commentary
Green Digit

Didn't see much else on this search. Know of any? Please pass them along.

Posted by: Chuck at 6:53 PM | |     | Permalink

Ahh, Swiss Agriculture

We all know that the world has become much smaller due to new technologies. Journalists of all kinds are travelling all over the world covering agricultural news and information. We've got friends outside the country right now on the Valmont World Tour for example.

You may be familiar with a number of professional improvement groups here in the U-S like NAMA, NAFB, AAEA and LPC whose members are covering the industry wherever it takes them but did you know about IFAJ?

That's the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists. As they describe themselves on their website:

Our members are writers, broadcasters, photographers and designers working in all agricultural communications media. Members report on all aspects of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, fishery and food production industries.


promote the research and distribution of fair and accurate information
encourage unbiased and objectively presented work
help foster professional and personal contacts between agricultural journalists
assist in training of members
contribute to a better understanding between agricultural industries and all other sectors of the community including those active in environmental and animal protection issues.

Once again this year IFAJ will be holding it's annual World Congress. This year in Switzerland in late August. The program will feature presentations on Swiss agriculture, the role of agriculture and the role of media. Sounds interesting. I think it would be a great place to be and blog what I learn there. We'll see what happens. I hope they have good internet access.

Posted by: Chuck at 9:11 AM | |     | Permalink

Monday, February 21, 2005

2,803 Reporters! Over 6,000 Radio Stations!

Yes, I'm still bragging about it. That's a lot of radio stations and reporters.

I know I wrote about this in my last post. But I think it should be repeated.

If you had us send your Talking News Release to our complete reporter database, that's how many would be on the receiving end. Where else can you get your news release in front of that many eyes?

The best part is that we push it through to them. They don't have to travel to a website or look it up on some service. It's right there in their inbox.

If they're pressed for time but think you've got a good story then they even have immediate audio available to them.

This is why we encourage you to start using our service on a regular basis. It doesn't have to be just for some extremely special purpose. The cost is very reasonable.

Of course you should also send your release to print, tv and other reporters (we can help with that too). Why not send them the "Talking News Release" we've created? Then they can hear you while they read your release. Many print publications are incorporating audio into their online e-zines and you can certainly use the audio yourself on your own website.

It just makes sense to put all your technical options to work for you. That's what we're here for.

Call me today - 573-896-5842.

Remember our 2 for 1 offer which ends this week. Place your Talking News Release order by March 1 and we'll give you a 2 for 1 deal.

Posted by: Chuck at 7:51 AM | |     | Permalink

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Here's How Many News Directors We Can Email To

After doing a little updating on our radio station news director database I thought you might be interested in a little bit of analysis. We get asked these questions all the time.

We have individual email addresses for 2,803 different radio reporters across the United States. However, they work for and are heard on over 6,000 radio stations! A few of these reporters are also reporting for radio networks in programming that can be aired on many radio stations. You can safely assume that on the average most radio reporters are doing double duty and reporting news on at least 2 stations. Hopefully this helps you understand the potential number of stations a news story could air on when a news release is sent.

These are the folks we email Talking News Releases to. As you may know we can break out any state or group of states and even station formats.

Regular breakouts of states that we use include the top 15 corn and soybean growing states as well as other commodity area breakouts. We'll custom create one for your Talking News Release project!

Posted by: Chuck at 4:09 PM | |     | Permalink

ZimmCast - Our Version of the Podcast

We finally got it figured out and now it's available. The ZimmComm podcast is the ZimmCast!

We'd like to know what you'd like to hear. Listen to the first one, it's short, then provide your feedback. We intend to interview agrimarketing pros and provide their ideas through this new form of "radio/audio" communication. We recommend you get podcast software like Ipodder or iPodderx to manage your podcast subscriptions.

You'll find it in a sidebar box on the right side of our blog. The graphic looks like this: . It's a link to the subscribable file for our podcast. Right below it is a traditional audio file link to the same file if you don't have podcast subscription software. All you have to do is click on it and your media player should automatically download and play the mp3 file.

For those of you who may wonder what this actually means, here's a rather long definition of the term from the free online encyclopedia-Wikopedia:

The term "podcasting" is a portmanteau of the words iPod and broadcasting. Although an iPod is currently the playback device of choice for many early adopters of podcasting, a portable music player is not required to take advantage of this method of content distribution. Podcasting is functionally similar to the use of timeshift-capable digital video recorders (DVRs), such as TiVo, which let users record and store television programs for later viewing.

A podcast is much like an audio magazine subscription: a subscriber receives regular audio programs delivered via the internet, and she or he can listen to them at her or his leisure.

Podcasts differ from traditional internet audio in two important ways. In the past, listeners have had to either tune in to web radio on a schedule, or they have had to actively download individual files from webpages. Podcasts are more flexible and much easier to get. They can be listened to at any time because a copy is on the listener's computer or portable music player, and they are automatically delivered to subscribers, so no active downloading is required.

Here's a couple links to websites where you can learn more about it.

Wired article, 10/8/2004
The Podcast Directory
Podcasting News

Our plan is to provide ZimmCast on at least a weekly basis to start with. We'll post a notice each time a new one is available as well. Happy listening!

Posted by: Chuck at 8:11 AM | |     | Permalink

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Commodity Classic - Austin, TX

I know I mentioned this in a previous post but here's a little more information.

I'll be blogging at the upcoming Commodity Classic in Austin, TX. This is the combined annual mtg. of the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association. It has a large trade show, along with member meetings and awards dinners.

From a press standpoint there are numerous press conferences already scheduled. In fact, I've got more places to be to find out the latest on products and services than there's time to attend!

U. S. Secretary of Ag Mike Johannes will be there. It'll be his second major event outside DC since taking that office. He was at the NCBA convention a couple weeks ago and you can see and hear him in previous posts from that event.

I'll be heading out there on Thursday, so that's when I'll start posting more information. If there's something you're particularly interested in let me know and I'll make sure I cover it.

Posted by: Chuck at 6:52 PM | |     | Permalink

Ag Media Summit - New This Summer

I'm borrowing from the AAEA website for some of this post to help get the word out about the Ag Media Summit. Here's what they had to say:

The Steering Committee of the Agricultural Publications Summit (APS) has voted unanimously to change the name of the annual professional development conference to the Agricultural Media Summit (AMS).

"Our members are involved in much more than publications today, including Web sites, radio and television," said Betsy Freese, APS chairman and livestock editor of Successful Farming. "The new name better reflects the mission of our alliance of organizations."

The AMS is a limited partnership of the American Agricultural Editors' Association (AAEA), Livestock Publications Council (LPC) and AgriCouncil of the Association of Business Media Companies. It will continue to feature professional development sessions in all phases of ag media, as well as an ever expanding Info-Expo trade show.

The first Summit was held in 1999. Approximately 400 members of the ag communications industry attend the annual event.

The 2005 Agricultural Media Summit will be held July 31 to Aug. 3 in Milwaukee.

In addition to the name change, Freese announced that AMS will launch a new interactive Web site that will provide updates on programs, speakers, exhibitors, sponsors and registration. The site, which is still under construction, will be located at

The website isn't currently active but should be in the near future.

ZimmComm will be attending and of course blogging through it. Ag communications professionals should plan to attend. This was a great event in 2004 !

Posted by: Chuck at 6:47 PM | |     | Permalink

What A Week And A Busy One Coming Up

While we had a very busy week the flu bug hit little old ZimmComm so I haven't posted much for a few days. However, things are looking up.

We'd like to welcome a new client this week, Lutheran Senior Services. This company manages elderly care facilities including one in Jefferson City, MO - Heisinger Bluffs. We've been employed to conduct a community image assessment survey and report and also to submit a PR plan based on our findings. It's an interesting project and we look forward to working with LSS in the future!

During the week we began conducting some new services for the Missouri Corn Growers Association as they have some staff transitions. Our good buddy Fred Stemme is moving to the National Corn Growers Association and this past Friday was his last day on the job in Jefferson City. I'll be looking forward to seeing Fred at the Commodity Classic this week in Austin, TX.

I'll be blogging away at Commodity Classic so keep checking back for new and updated information on the convention's activities.

Posted by: Chuck at 10:55 AM | |     | Permalink

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

New Look And Name!

Welcome to the new look for the ZimmComm blog. We're currently transitioning to a new webserver so not all of our links are set up and working yet but that should be remedied within a couple days.

In the meantime all our posts and archives are active. Let us know your thoughts.

Posted by: Chuck at 3:31 PM | |     | Permalink

So Glad To See Him

Here's Dick Marshall receiving the Lifetime Communicator Award from the Missouri Corn Growers Association. With Dick is family members including his brother Gary (far right) who is the Executive Director of MCGA. The award was presented at last yesterday's MCGA Annual Mtg. in Jefferson City, MO.

Dick used to work for me at the Brownfield Network. He was a longtime farm broadcaster and one of the best market reporters in the business. Of course he was taught by the best, Derry Brownfield. Dick has been away from the business for a while due to a rare illness. It's great to see him and this is a much deserved award! Way to go Dick. Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 12:05 PM | |     | Permalink

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

How To Get More Publicity Than The "Others"

A friend told me about a comment he heard the other day from an ag group leader here in Missouri who was complaining that the Missouri Corn Growers Association (MCGA) seemed to be quoted and heard in the news more than his group.

The reason is pretty simple. MCGA is doing more media outreach, which includes sending Talking News Releases with sound bites and images to radio, tv and newspaper reporters all over the state.

Take yesterday for example. MCGA had ZimmComm prepare a Talking News Release (click on the link to download the file) on behalf of Mid-Missouri Energy to announce their physical plant's opening day. We sent the same release to all reporters. Since the audio files are available by hyperlink from our website a reporter can choose to listen and download or not.

MCGA has proactively been assisting efforts like the one at Mid-Missouri Energy for the benefit of all Missouri corn growers. By making sure that this release went out they are better communicating with the public and their own membership.

This was a good story for reporters because it was timely and the plant has a significant impact on the economy, especially in its local region.

The best part for MCGA was that they gave ZimmComm a heads up by email that they wanted the release done. We took it from there. All MCGA's Communication's Director, Fred Stemme, had to do was approve the final version! That's why we're here.

By the way, Fred is moving up in the world. He's accepted the position of Vice President of Marketing with the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) in St. Louis. I know why they picked Fred. He's aggressive and progressive. That's how you move up in this world. Congratulations Fred! ZimmComm hopes to be able to continue working with you in your new position.

Posted by: Chuck at 8:03 AM | |     | Permalink

Monday, February 14, 2005

Blogging Services & New Rate Card

I know we've told you that we offer blogging services but what does that mean and how much does it cost?

Let's first of all say that the cost is determined by what you want us to do so we'll provide you with a quote after you describe what you want us to do.

To address this new service we've updated our rate card. I'll be emailing it out next week when our new blog site is up and running. In the meantime you can contact me directly and I'll email it to you.

If you still wonder if anyone cares about blogging consider the sold out American Marketing Association conference on blogging this Friday.

Here's a short description of some of the things we can provide you or your client:

1. Blog Creation and Design - If you've already got a website then you should consider how a blog can work with what you've already got. Perhaps you want a new design or maybe you want something that uses elements of what your traditional website looks like. We employ the services of several excellent design artists to create the personalized custom look you want.

2. Training - We can provide onsite or conference call training for you and your staff. We would custom design our presentation to your needs. In an extended session we could cover the basics of blogging and move into advanced uses and tools.

3. Content - I know you may wonder about starting something that's just one more thing to do. That doesn't have to be the case. Just like with any other communication tool we can provide on-going assistance such as posting information for you, or even creating custom content. Just consider what your goal is with your blog and we can help make it an easy process to keep fresh content on your blog. Content could include text, images, audio or even video.

You'll find our prices competitive and less expensive than traditional website design and maintenance.

Contact me for more details - Chuck at 573-896-5842!

Posted by: Chuck at 10:02 AM | |     | Permalink

Saturday, February 12, 2005

How About the St. Louis Ag Club Mtg Monday

Here's another meeting of note. The St. Louis Agribusiness Club, along with the Gateway NAMA chapter have a meeting Monday:

Looking to the Future

What's on the horizon? How will it effect you and/or your business? The Gateway NAMA will host a join meeting with the St. Louis Agribusiness Club featuring Carl Casale, Monsanto Executive Vice President Commercial, North American & Latin America North. Carl will discuss some of the products coming down Monsanto's pipeline. Come network with friends and colleagues and explore potential new products.

Holiday Inn Westport, St. Louis

Monday, February 14, 2005; reception at 11:30 a.m. and lunch at Noon

$20 - Please RSVP by February 10 at 314-995-4960

Save the date: March 14 - University of Missouri student NAMA chapter presents their marketing presentation for NAMA's Annual Conference.

Posted by: Chuck at 7:36 AM | |     | Permalink

Do You Know About the Kansas City Agricultural Business Council?

You may not be aware of this recently formed organization in Kansas City. They're having a great program coming up you might want to attend though:

The Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City will be hosting nationally-renowned speaker Steve Kopperud for breakfast on Friday, February 25, 2005, 8:00 a.m. The event will be held at the American Royal. Members’ cost for breakfast is $10.00; Nonmembers’ cost is $20.00.

Steve Kopperud has special expertise in agriculture and food issues. He speaks to the topic of how the extremists’ have influenced agricultural policy, among other very pertinent issues facing the agricultural industry. Prior to his current leadership position with Policy Directions, Inc. of Washington, DC, he served as senior vice president of the American Feed Industry Association. He is also the former president of the Animal Industry Foundation; and chairs the Animal Welfare Coalition. He has been quite involved in policy-making efforts which has involved the animal science, veterinarian medical and animal agriculture industries. Before his successful career in government relations’ efforts, he was a reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the San Diego Union. He served as bureau chief and Washington editor for ABC’s publishing division. He has been interviewed many times, on behalf of animal agriculture, by Fox, MSNBC, CNN and ABC.

Reservations can be made online via the following website: Please RSVP via website or email if you are planning to come and/planning to bring your colleagues, so we may ensure an accurate headcount.

I'll be happy to post information like this for groups that promote agriculture locally. Just let me know as Gina Bowman did with this meeting notice.

Posted by: Chuck at 7:32 AM | |     | Permalink

Friday, February 11, 2005

Jazz Up That E-Newsletter With Audio!

This is one of those "duh" why didn't I think of that ideas. You can listen to me talk about this here: ZimmComm Podcast.

If you've got an e-newsletter why not insert hyperlinks to audio that your subscribers can listen to on their computer?

Let's say you've hired ZimmComm to produce a Talking News Release. We have to do an interview to collect audio for sound bites. We can edit the full interview and make it available in your e-newsletter or just the sound bites!! Heck, we'll conduct an interview just to create audio for your newsletter even if you don't want or need a TNR.

The easiest way to do this would be to either email us your newsletter prior to distibution and we can insert the hyperlinks for you and return it to you or we can send you the URL of the audio file and you insert the hyperlink. Isn't that simple?

And you'll have really jazzed up your e-newsletter!

Posted by: Chuck at 8:31 AM | |     | Permalink

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Missouri Beef Industry Council Takes The Stage

One of our charter client's the MBIC just sent out this Talking News Release today. This a general consumer release that was sent to radio, tv and publication reporters. There are hyperlinks in the release to audio and image files. The subject is MBIC's sponsorship of the cooking stage at the St. Louis Women's Show.

Addtionally, we produced a self-contained interview on the same subject which was distributed to traditional farm broadcast reporters as part of the MBIC's weekly MBIC Report series. This is done to help communicate MBIC activities to cattle producers whose money is funding these projects.

I hope these will give you ideas of how you can use ZimmComm to produce and distribute quality information targeting both consumers and producers.

Posted by: Chuck at 4:27 PM | |     | Permalink

Monday, February 07, 2005

Podcasting In The News

Even CNN is recognizing podcasting. Here's a great story published today: 'Podcasting' takes broadcasting to the Internet.

We'll begin regular podcasts here from ZimmComm very soon so stay tuned!

Posted by: Chuck at 10:05 PM | |     | Permalink

Latest Talking News Release

We'll begin posting links to our latest Talking News Releases as they are sent out and as long as our client is okay with it. They might give you some creative ideas for projects we can do for you. You'll be able to click on the audio file links just like a reporter would and who knows what you'll learn.

Keep in mind that I'm available for on-site training in news release creation and distribution too. Just call to schedule. My fees are reasonable!

Today we sent a release for Missouri Agricultural Statistics Service. It's part 3 of a 5-part series on the ARMS survey that's currently being conducted here in Missouri.

Posted by: Chuck at 11:59 AM | |     | Permalink

NAMA - Convention Coming Up In Phoenix

Many of the people who are aware of this blog and I hope are paying attention, are members of NAMA - National Agri-Marketing Association. However, not all of you are.

A great place to learn more about it and network with people from across the country is the annual Agri-Marketing Conference and Trade Show. This year it's in Phoenix, April 20-22.

ZimmComm will be there, blogging our way through.

Just thought you might be interested.

Posted by: Chuck at 11:38 AM | |     | Permalink

New Ag Blog

I was just alerted to an ag blog you might want to check out. You can see for yourself at the Center For Rural Affairs .

See? There's more of them happening all the time.

Feel free to contact ZimmComm if you'd like help in learning how to blog. We can set yours up for you and even help you maintain it!

Posted by: Chuck at 11:24 AM | |     | Permalink

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Polar Express Snow Plow

I couldn't resist posting a picture of this little guy from the NCBA trade show. Especially since New Holland is a client and we helped with their Polar Express movie promotion by sending a Talking News Release! Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 2:41 PM | |     | Permalink

Definition Of A Blog

This is from Webopedia:

(n.) Short for Web log, a blog is a Web page that serves as a publicly accessible personal journal for an individual. Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author.

(v.) To author a Web log.

Other forms: Blogger (a person who blogs).

I've found that so many agricultural communications folks don't know much about it that I thought it might be helpful to put a definition.

I would add that this year will be the year that companies start using blogging and RSS as a way to communicate in a very personal way and to easily syndicate that information.

I wish there was a prettier word to use than blog though.

Posted by: Chuck at 2:21 PM | |     | Permalink

Friday, February 04, 2005

We Are The Media

Or are we the media?

Interesting question.

It used to be that companies had to push their information to their customers through "traditional" media (newspaper, magazine, radio, tv). The web has opened up a whole new world though.

What about blogging, or as I'd rather say, self-publishing and syndication? If I create an easy to use and subscribe to web log site then I'm going directly to the audience I want. My site can include audio, video and of course text.

Although not blogging, look at what companies like John Deere are doing today. They announced this week that member organization NCBA has "endorsed" the Gator and Buck as their official Utility and ATV vehicles. I'm sure this provides the organization with much needed and welcome revenue for it's programs and services. In return, John Deere gets mentioned and plugged in NCBA news releases and materials which I assume will include their website and other member communication devices. They've passed the traditional media by to reach their customers directly in a relationship that seems to work for everyone.

Does this mean that NCBA has become the "media?"

I got my latest edition of NCGA News of the Day by email. It talked about a new agreement with Eden Bioscience that allows NCGA members to receive product discounts and participate in field demonstration trials with a product they hope to receive registration for prior to the upcoming planting season.

Does this mean that NCGA has become the "media?"

Love to know your thoughts on this.

Posted by: Chuck at 5:14 PM | |     | Permalink

More Blogs Coming

I've only been spreading the word about blogs for a couple weeks. Just in the past 24 hours I've been contacted by 2 ag communications people about their new blogs. They're getting their feet wet and seeing what blogging is all about. They're brave new souls who will continue to succeed in their careers because they're willing to try something new.

I'll post links to ag-related blogs when I find them. If you have any send them to me and I'll pass them along.

Posted by: Chuck at 10:34 AM | |     | Permalink

Gotta Get The Beef Logo On Here

U. S. Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns, talking to the press in San Antonio. Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 10:28 AM | |     | Permalink

Facing The Press

U. S. Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns, facing the press at the Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio. This was his first public speech and press conference as Secretary outside of Washington, DC. Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 10:27 AM | |     | Permalink

Close-up Of U. S. Secretary of Ag Mike Johanns

U. S. Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns, speaking to cattle industry members in San Antonio.

One of the nice things about being a member of the media is the ability to get close to the stage and take a nice picture! Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 10:26 AM | |     | Permalink

Sec of Ag Johanns First Speech Outside of DC

U. S. Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns, talks at the Cattle Industry Convention on Friday, Feb. 4. You can listen to a few minutes of his comments here: ZimmComm Podcast.

Contact me at ZimmComm if you'd like to hear more from the Secretary. He spoke for about 30 minutes and then answered questions at a press conference and I have all the audio. Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 10:24 AM | |     | Permalink

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Record Media Attendance

I've been told that we have a record number of media representatives (reporters) covering the Cattle Industry Convention this year. I know I saw more at the media reception tonight than I've ever seen before. Thank you Merial for sponsoring it and the excellent food, especially the little steaks that were fork tender!

Because of all the reporters here I've spoken with many people we send Talking News Releases to. I like hearing the comments like, "Love what you send me. I've been using it." Thank you. I wish they would write that to me and to you our clients!

As I was wishing that I got to my computer and checked email. Here's part of an email I got from a farm broadcaster today that I thought you might be interested in:

"I also wanted to let you know that when you had the Machinery Link interviews months ago I had listeners comment on that report and really enjoyed the information about machinery cost, etc.

I told you about that at the NAFB convention, but never got it in writing! Thanks for your efforts!"

She's referring to a release we sent on behalf of Blasdel, Cleaver, Schwalbe Communications for their client Machinery Link. Feedback is great.

So this is how I know our TNR service is being used by the reporters we send them to. We talk to them and know so many of them personally. Of course nothing beats a good story though.

Posted by: Chuck at 8:27 PM | |     | Permalink

Blogging Poll

I've been asking all the public relations professionals working here that I come in contact with if they know what a blog is. This is very unofficial or scientific and who knows what the margin of error is.

I'd say 95% don't know. In fact, most say they've never heard of the word! Well that's changing and this blog is helping speed the change up.

I'm also finding that it's a lot easier showing them how this works and giving them examples of how they can use it than to just try to explain it in a casual conversation. Most discussions have started out as an "I've got 5 minutes to talk" and turned into about an hour of pretty intense discussion. I need to start charging for these initial consultations!

So, I can see that there's a learning curve to go through and I hope I can help you with it. Some folks have given me the impression that they think this is just another fad that they're not going to bother learning and that can be a little discouraging. But then the next call gets me fired up again.

Like this morning, I had an account executive from a major advertising/public relations agency call me today and spend almost an hour talking about how they can create blogs for themselves and their clients. They'll be having an agency creative team meeting next week to discuss it and she was asked to contact us to help prepare information for the meeting.

They're fired up about blogging and what it can mean for them and their clients.

Are you?

Posted by: Chuck at 5:32 PM | |     | Permalink

The Secretary is Coming!

Friday morning new U. S. Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns, will speak at the general session of the Cattle Industry Convention. Come back tomorrow late morning and we'll have audio from his comments. He's also going to be speaking to the media after his speech.

I'll have a picture then too.

Posted by: Chuck at 5:29 PM | |     | Permalink

Customers Playing Games

The trade show here at the NCBA convention is huge. Producers have lots of opportunities to talk to company reps or here at the Novartis booth, they can compete in a computer quiz for prizes that are awarded each day to the 2 highest scorers. Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 1:26 PM | |     | Permalink

Impromptu Press Conferences

Although there's a formal press conference room, impromptu press conferences pop up everywhere. Here's Phil Seng (USMEF President) holding court with reporters in the news center. Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 1:25 PM | |     | Permalink

Even The News Room Is Sponsored!

I know it's not a very exciting picture but you can see how everything is sponsored. Reporters at the news center will leave this convention weighing several pounds more due to the large quantities of food bestowed upon them. Thursday's breakfast included large steaks! After all we have to get our beef quota. Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 1:22 PM | |     | Permalink

Farmers Getting High Speed Internet Access

Thanks to the USDA Rural Development Broadband program more and more rural communities are getting access! Listen to my interview with Gill Gonzalez, Undersecretary for Rural Development with USDA as he talks about the loan program that's helping bring broadband to the countryside.

Listen here: ZimmBlog Podcast

Posted by Hello

Posted by: Chuck at 11:56 AM | |     | Permalink

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