Marketing made simple…or stolen?

Good morning.

It’s me, Travis, and welcome to the first edition of ‘Imagine Content A Little Differently.

You might know me as the guy who started the Magnetic Ag newsletter. Or maybe you’ve seen our team’s writing for a nearly a dozen brands in the agriculture industry. Regardless, I’m just glad you’re here.

And a quick heads up: On the home front, my wife and I have got Baby #2 coming any day now (tips, anyone?) while simultaneously potty-training Kid #1 (tips, anyone?).

Pray for us.

The plan for this newsletter is that we’ll share One Original Idea and Three Interesting Finds. Don’t ever hesitate to respond to give us feedback on what you like, want more of, or could do without.

Today’s estimated read time: 3.6 minutes

Let’s get to it.

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One Original Idea: Okay, I admit it. I’m a thief.

Most of you are here reading this because, well,… I’ve got sticky fingers.

Actually, make that sticky digital fingers.

And the best example of that comes from starting and scaling Magnetic Ag.

You might be wondering why I associate my ability to ‘borrow‘ a good idea with the origin story of an ‘all-thing-agriculture’ newsletter. But ultimately, that same ‘swipe file’ strategy is actually how I approach a lot of my marketing work in the industry.

Let’s go a bit deeper…

The backstory:

The year is 2018.

I’m flying out to San Francisco for an in-person week of work with an AgTech company. On the flight, I’m browsing emails and found myself toggling between a few ag-related news pieces and my go-to source for broader economy news, The Morning Brew.

And that’s when the question hit me:

‘Why isn’t there a Morning Brew equivalent for agriculture news?’

Something that had:

  • Concise, clear business insights
  • An engaging, witty tone
  • Plenty of memes and GIFs

It would definitely be a 180° pivot from the angle and distribution of how traditional ag media groups were approaching their editorial and audience-building.

So, I decided to test my own marketing chops. If no one else was going to do it, why not me?

And the rest is history.

Some 20 months and 11,000 readers later, it seems to have found product-market fit.

Now, some folks have credited our team with coming up with a new, engaging, original idea…

But that’s where I’d actually disagree.

We found a playbook, copied it, and made slight alterations for our industry.

Most folks don’t realize that I researched the Morning Brew’s beginnings and scaling tactics through dozens of articles, videos, and more.

(⬆️Just one example of many where I found inspiration.)

And that’s where I believe this approach can be applied to a lot of marketing and content creation efforts in agriculture.

Strong marketing doesn’t need to be 100% original thinking or execution.

The whole ‘work smarter, not harder’ approach is key:

  • Find playbooks and modify them.
  • Discover campaigns and tweak them.
  • Observe tactics and adjust them.

It can be hard to build an audience. It takes consistent publishing, some growth hacking, and an optimized tech stack.

But while hard, the playbook is dead simple. You just have to execute it.

It wasn’t rocket science. I’ll be the first to admit it.

So, what industry will you scour to find ideas? What company can give you some creative inspiration? What will you ‘steal’ today?

P.S. Even this newsletter format is a rip-off. I took James Clear’s masterful 3-2-1 newsletter framework and turned it on its head with my own spin. There ya have it… I’m a crook.

Three Interesting Finds

1. Steal Like An Artist

Did I mention I’m a klepto? I’m only half kidding.

I picked up this book last year after Tim Hammerich recommended it on Twitter. (Thanks, Tim! 👋🏼)

Austin Kleon’s fast read always jump starts my inner creative, especially when I’m struggling. A few of my favorite bits:

  • Chapter 2 – Don’t Wait Until You Know Who You Are to Get Started
  • Chapter 4 – Use Your Hands (Sub-title: Step Away from the Screen)
  • Keep a praise file (pg. 113)

Austin also has a 🔥 newsletter that hits on Fridays. Subscribe here.

2. I got goosebumps when I read this. And not the good kind.

twitter profile avatar
Kam Jenkins 👋

Twitter Logo
August 11th 2022

I’m guilty here. I’ve uttered the ‘audience is everyone’ line before.

And it’s typically led to an underwhelming, bottom-of-the-internet trash pit piece of content…

So now, to avoid that fate, I always start planning every piece of content with a ‘Harry’ or ‘Hermoine’ in mind. (S/out to my Hogwarts nerds. 🙌🏼)

  • Harry could be a traditional row crop farmer in the Corn Belt with >2,500 acres. He’s looking to rent 200+ acres within 3 counties of his home base.
  • Hermione might be a pricing analyst for a public crop protection company. She’s gauging 2023 North American fertilizer prices as she drafts rebate programs.

Regardless, it’s vital to get a target reader in mind, and then write to them and for them.

Cuz if you try to be all thing to all people, you won’t be anything to anybody.

3. My Egg Carton Hero

twitter profile avatar
Shaan Puri

Twitter Logo
Twitter Logo
July 28th 2022

This isn’t necessarily marketing related and only tangentially ag-related, but I couldn’t resist.

I’m a big fan of ‘at all costs’, scrappy entrepreneurial stories. Sarah Moore is a beast. She deserves all the success she achieves.

Read the whole Twitter thread: it’s business story gold.

That’s all for today, folks. If you think a friend or colleague could benefit from subscribing, send them here to sign up!

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Curious how the Imagine Content & Consulting team could help you build your audience and generate insightful, engaging content for your brand? Get in touch today.