Stephanie Fisher

adirondack park, ny

803

18

Tending Goats and Hopes

This is a well-worn narrative by now: trendy urbanite leaves her metropolitan haven for a slower-paced life in the country and realizes that it's not quite the blissful, bucolic experience she anticipated...

My story isn't quite like that; it's a story with real trials and hard-learned lessons. In 2012 I left behind my life in NYC for an internship on a goat dairy in southern Vermont. Fast forward nearly 2 years and I'm now the proud herd manager at a respected farmstead goat dairy in upstate New York. Many people ask me how I got to be a herd manager, not even aware that such agricultural positions exist beyond the ambigious job of "farmer." I decided to start a blog: Tending Goats and Hopes: Diary of a Young Farmer

I've maintained blogs in the past but I'd like to take my work to the next level, to write with intention and focus, and to more actively engage a clearly defined audience.

My primary purposes:

  • maintain a creative outlet to share my day to day life as a young, female farmer
  • express the nuances in modern agriculture, particularly the small-scale dairy, and provide a fresh voice to the sustainable food conversation
  • communicate the realities of rural agriculture to an urban audience
  • create engaging written and photographic content; maintain a consistent written and photographic style
  • become a voice (contributor) for young dairy farmers among the popular blog circuit
  • gain freelance work as a writer or rural photographer
  • ultimately, gain a book deal

Style:

  • relevant - trite = meaningful
  • charming - precious = fetching
  • informative - drab = enterprising
  • funny - silly = light hearted
  • thought provoking - edgy = challenging

Audience: My three audiences are a) sustainably minded urbanites; b) aspiring or beginning farmers interested in commerical goat dairy production; c) foodies and cheese lovers. All three of my audiences fall in the 20s to early-40s age group. They are have moderate to high incomes, and are interested in spending more of their money on healthy, sustainably produced, and handmade foodstuffs. They appreicate specialty products, niche markets, and farmer's markets. 

Margot is in her late twenties. She lives in Greenpoint and commutes to DUMBO where she works as a digital desginer at a boutique adverstising agency. She patronizes her independently owned coffee shop on her way to work. On her weekends she enjoys biking around the city, shopping at farmer's markets, and visiting cultural insitutions. She appreciates the start-up culture of NYC, and believes strongly in the importance of the sustainable food movement. Her desire to support herself financially and emotionally manifests in her love of cooking and homemaking. Her life in Brooklyn is comfortable, but she hopes to someday move upstate and work from home on a small homestead where she can be an integral player in a rural community. She dreams of keeping chickens and a small vegetable garden bordered by lush flowers. Hey boyfriend is DIY-minded, and although he spends his days (and nights) as a restaurant manager in the Lower East Side, he similarly yearns to brew beer, learn to hunt, and build useful objects in the country.

Brand Statement:

Tending Goats and Hopes is an enterprising, light-hearted, and fetching blog focused on providing content about a young farmer engaged in small-scale commercial goat dairy production to sustainably minded urbanites, beginning young farmers interested in commercial goat dairy production, and artisan cheese lovers to enhance their understanding of and interest in sustainable farming and dairying.

Why am I doing this?

  • As a creative outlet to share my experiences as a young farmer
  • To write and photograph consistently; to improve my writing and photography; to maintain a cohesive written and photographic style
  • As a marketing tool to gain an audience that will follow us from "in-training" to owning our own farm and dairy
  • To establish myself as an expert in small-scale commercial goat dairy production

By putting in the effort to develop quality content on a regular basis, I plan to:

  • Gain 15 subscribers in the next 90 days
  • Be invited as a guest poster on 2 popular blogs (personal list) in the next 6 months
  • Gain 2 freelance jobs as an expert in commerical goat dairy production in the next 12 months

Content pillars:

  • People, places and things: stories about relevant individuals, farms or places, and books, podcasts, etc. that could enhance or spark the readers’ interest in the subject matter (engagement)
  • Updates from the farm/goats: posts that are tied to an occurrence on the farm; more likely to be light-hearted or fetching (events)
  • Struggles, achievements, and farming issues: posts that are more intellectual or insightful; engage readers in the reality of being a young farmer and herd manager; a response to trending or current food issue (evergreen)

Source Library and Inspiration: I'm using Feedly to subscribe to all my favorite blogs, and I'm using Evernote to store/save all the of-interest and relevant content. I've also found Evernote to be a great place to brainstorm and draft posts.

Where to Publish: Besides the blog, I'm going to link to my posts on my PinterestTumblr, Twitter, and BlogHer. In the future I'd like to create a separate facebook page. 

Frequency, People, and Processes:

  • I commit to posting to the blog twice a week, and will publish on Monday and Thursday mornings. One post a week will be heavier on the content side, and one will be more about the photography/pictures.
  • I am an essentially a "one-woman show," although I would love to expand to other guest bloggers in the future. So for now, I will serve as Content Strategist, Copy Writer and co-Approver. My boyfriend (who is my toughest critic and a great proofreader) will Proofread and serve as co-Approver. A friend and her boyfriend who are graphic designers based in Brooklyn will do all of the Design work in exchange for cheese and goat's milk caramels :-)
  • Since it is just me (and my boyfriend), my workflow is much more truncated: Publish = 0; Content Approved = 0; Content Revised = -1; Content Proofread = -2; Draft for Review = -3; Calendar Submitted: -30

Still in the works, my editorial calendar! UPDATE December 31, 2013: working on creating a calendar for February through April!

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