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Blogging Tips to Reach Consumers
After receiving a number of cow-theme gifts for her wedding in 2012, Ashley Kennedy had a realization.
“Is this all people think about me?” she thought. “Do people think that’s the only thing I like? Because I like a lot more than just cows.”
Don’t get her wrong – the Bad Axe, Michigan, dairy farmer loves cows, and she loves her cow-theme gifts. But she also loves books, podcasts, running, and writing. This realization made her rethink the angle of her blog called Dairy Innovation.
“That got me thinking that if I could write about other things, maybe I could connect more to people outside of farmers, which was my whole goal,” she says. “That’s when I made the change from Dairy Innovation to Messy Kennedy.”
Messy Kennedy (Messykennedy.com) is a more accurate reflection of who Kennedy is today: a mom, a dairy farmer, a cook, and much more.
“My goal is to reach out to a mom like me – a busy, working mom who cares about what she is feeding her kids and her family, because I’m that mom, too,” she says.
The name comes from one of Kennedy’s friends who always thought “Ashley Kennedy” sounded a bit like “Messy Kennedy.” Plus, “I’m like a walking hot mess all the time,” laughs Kennedy.
This is the third iteration of Kennedy’s blog. She started the first version – The Scoop – in college.
As the Michigan dairy ambassador at the time, one of Kennedy’s mentors recommended that she start a blog to share her insight into the dairy industry and to comment on hot topics. “I loved writing, so that’s when I fell in love with blogging, and I’ve been with it ever since,” she says.
After college came Dairy Innovation, focused on technical information. At the time, Kennedy was working in the dairy industry, but she hadn’t found her way back to the farm yet.
“I missed home and the farm, and knew I wanted to come home eventually,” she says.
In 2011, Kennedy started milking cows for minimum wage on her parents’ dairy farm. Since then, Kennedy and her husband, Eric, have worked on a plan to purchase the farm. They officially bought the operation in the summer of 2017.
“If we could see into the future, we would have waited another year, because who wants to take over a farm when milk prices are down in the gutter?” she asks. “But my husband and I just keep saying, ‘If we can make it through this, we can make it through anything.’” The farm includes 240 cows with four robotic milking systems.
Tips for Beginners
“Figure out who the audience is you want to reach,” advises Kennedy. “If your goal is to reach out and talk about things besides farming, then some strategy is probably needed.”
For Kennedy, this means thinking about each post and whether or not a mom who doesn’t come from a farming background would want to read it.
For farmers who just want to share what they do on a daily basis and aren’t working to reach a larger audience, Kennedy says just go for it. She also doesn’t want farmers to underestimate their reach among family and friends.
“If all you do is share on your personal social media, you can be that farming source to 200 people,” she says. “You can make a huge impact that way, too.”