Blogging: Why your agency should get over the fear and loathing
Why Does Almost Everyone In Insurance Hate Blogging? That's an excellent question posed by Kelly Donahue-Piro of Agency Performance Partners. She tackles the topic in one of her blog posts, and effectively shoots down five common rationalizations that agency principals often pose about why they don't have an agency blog ... she's heard them all: "I'm too busy;" "I don't have anything to write about;" "nobody buys from blogs" ... etc.
We hear the same things.
We hear a few other excuses, too. Perhaps the most common rationale agents say to us is that they don't need a blog because they already post on Facebook.
OK, it's great if you post on Facebook, you get high marks for that. But guess what? You don't own Facebook. You are in somebody else's sandbox, following their rules which could change at any time. Your blog, on the other hand, is your own proprietary content and we think it should be your cornerstone social media. Here are a few reasons why:
First, it's part of your website so every post you make is a Google cookie trail back to your site. Make 2-3 posts a week and you are expanding your site content by 100 to 150 pages a year.
Second, you can and should deploy your posts to social media Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even use post excerpts in emails or newsletters. You can re-link and re-purpose the content for years!
Third, we think of blogging as the modern day PR. It's a platform to showcase your expertise and to put your agency's public face (aka "brand") forward. Sales efforts are for making the phone ring. PR initiatives are for long-term brand building.
Fourth, it's a discipline that can get you and your agency staff thinking creatively about how to tell your agency's story in fresh and different ways - particularly to younger audiences. The more you blog, the more you will spot topics and ideas for how to do that.
We could go on, but those are the big ones. We love and agree with Kelly's idea that you expand your blog topics beyond insurance. We'd call that the "spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down" approach. While all of us who work in the industry find insurance fascinating, it probably doesn't make the top 100 topics of interest to the average citizen. As Kelly notes, start with the story about race cars, and then add an item about insurance at the end, with a call to action.
Here are a few ideas for blog posts just to get you started:
- What's in the news? Sometimes a popular or quirky news story has an insurance angle that would add another interesting dimension. For example, "Why Beyonce should call her insurance agent right away" might be an interesting angle on how major life changes like having twins should trigger a notification to your agent. But even if there is no insurance angle, if it's an item you find noteworthy, funny or educational, why not share it and comment on it to your readers?
- What are the questions you answer for clients over and over again? Why not make a post about those issues so that the next time you are asked, you can reply, but also follow up by sending a copy of your post. Same with the most annoying and common misconceptions you hear about insurance - tackle those in blog posts, too: "3 crazy insurance myths we heard last month" "The need-to-know basics about protecting your recreational toys"
- What's going on in your community? How better to show that you are a good local citizen than by promoting community services and events? "10 cool things we bought this week at Hopkinton's Farmer's Market." "Best places for roller skating in Connecticut." "Why we're running in the 5K Fun Run for the Woburn Fire Department -and why you should, too."
- Have a neighboring restaurant or shop you'd like to insure? Visit the business and make a blog post about your experience using their service, which you can then post on Twitter and Facebook, too. Drop them a note to be sure they are aware that you gave them a plug. "We had an amazing meal at Pete's Grill in Springfield last night" "Joe's hardware helps solve your trickiest home repair riddles."Even if you don't get the business, you made a friend and deepened community ties.
- Give a little insider peek. After a big local weather event, talk about some of the common claims and challenges you handled, and what customers could do to prevent such claims. "Three things we learned about basement flooding after tropical storm Henry." "Post-hurricane restoration tips from the pros."