This fully integrated team, with true ‘muddy boots’ credentials, works across all media to deliver content for print, web and face-to-face activity.
A creative approach, and use of social media have expanded its readership beyond its core audience, while imaginative changes to working practices have lifted efficiency and given greater flexibility and immediacy online. Respecting existing journalism skills while learning and developing new ones have both been key.
Highlights of the FW editorial team’s work
- Live coverage of the Young Farmers’ AGM, generating record traffic
- A petition which mobilised the UK farming industry, with thousands of signatures, and led to a ‘watering down of EU legislation on pesticides’
- Driving the success of the 2008 Farmers Weekly Awards, generating entries online, handling all 42 farm judging visits and producing words, pictures, videos and podcasts from the Awards night
- More than 100 videos produced in the past year
- The team has pioneered FWI Academies – sponsored online interactive tests on technical subjects, which link to continued professional development
- Its web first approach has led to an increased circulation for the FW magazine, and added content in the form of ‘reverse published’ news and photos, not least from the 1700 user images for the 2008 harvest
The team invented two new mechanisms – the matrix and the scrum – to refine multimedia content planning. The matrix is a content tool listing all stories, their priority and progress through production. The scrum is a 10 minute daily meeting to discuss breaking news and resourcing.
A mix of serious and light-hearted content is offered under a web first policy, with some differentiated for print. The team’s approach has been vindicated by growing print/web circulation growth, and profit reaching record levels in 2008.
“I find the site invaluable for keeping up to speed with what matters in farming; it’s a darn site more up to date than DEFRA!”
Building editorial engagement
Engagement with FWI’s market takes place in various forms from blogs, forums, image sharing, competitions and citizen journalism. Agriculture is a colourful and vociferous community that gives feedback 24/7.
This ensures that the team is always listening and keeps its feet on the ground. From a data perspective, site metrics are used by the team to inform decisions every day.
Farmers Weekly Video Channel
Over half of the FWI journalists are from farming backgrounds, and still hands on with agricultural businesses. Channel editors in livestock, arable, machinery, poultry, business and news champion content in their respective areas. They write and facilitate content, but are also, crucially, participants in the industry community.
“Fwispace is open 24 hours a day and there when I need it. It is an interesting but friendly place where I can read, ask questions and take advice”.
Web personas have been produced by the team for six typical users of our online service. These direct FWI on web users’ motivations, enabling the team to position content more appropriately.
“FWI’s editorial team demonstrated a great knowledge of their market and passion for their subject and audience, with whom they showed deep engagement in the past year.”