Insurance agencies can beat writer's block by pre-planning online content

Expert recommends looking to current events for inspiration

Insurance agencies can beat writer's block by pre-planning online content


By Alicja Grzadkowska

Insurance agencies that want to keep customers’ eyes on their websites would do well to plan their online content a few months in advance and keep a steady flow of information coming.

The payoffs of a defined and robust online marketing plan are manifold. Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC) found that insurance companies that blog more than 16 times per month receive more than four times the number of leads, versus companies that publish four or less posts. However, a key challenge to getting started with online marketing is coming up with topics to write about. To that end, ITC has released a free e-book to help agents brainstorm ideas and create content. The e-book provides a full calendar year of planned digital content, including topics that are insurance consumer-centric and evergreen.

An important benefit of planning content in advance is avoiding the dreaded writer’s block, while ensuring that posts appear on a tight schedule.

“I think writer’s block is a big reason why some people struggle to make content marketing work, because content marketing is something you have to continually feed fresh content into,” said Becky Schroeder, chief marketing officer at ITC. “But, if you keep a list of topics, when that inspiration is not forthcoming you always have that well of ideas to pull from … Mapping out the topics in advance also keeps you accountable. You know what you’re going to publish when, so you know what you need to write and when you need to write it by.”

For agencies struggling to find that spark of an idea, Schroeder says that the events in the news can serve as good inspiration. The recent wildfires and hurricanes, for instance, can prompt agencies to write about home insurance coverage options, disaster readiness kits, business continuity planning, as well as what happens if a home or business is damaged during a natural catastrophe.

“It’s also back to school, so what do parents of college kids need to know about how their insurance needs might change in this phase of their life?” added Schroeder. “And for health insurance agencies, it’s almost open enrollment season, so what do your clients and prospects need to know [right now] about open enrollment?”

The pandemic is another catastrophe that insurance agencies can take inspiration from. For instance, when auto insurers were providing discounts at the start of the pandemic in the US, that was a great opportunity for agencies to share the news with their clients so that insureds were better informed of what was happening with their policies.

“Consumers also look to their agent for better rate management options, so use a blog post or newsletter to educate clients about how you, as an agent, can help them better manage their policy premium,” said Schroeder, adding that while agents can’t give specific advice in this content, they can communicate that clients have more options when it comes to their auto insurance than just not paying the policy premium and letting that policy lapse.

It’s likewise always good to emphasize an agency’s local presence by writing about and sharing news or information that’s relevant to their community.

“During the pandemic, local news has been so important,” noted Schroeder. “[Your website can be] a place where you can share that information, showing that you are a local presence and that you have a commitment to the local community – and people really respond to that.”

Agencies shouldn’t be shy about keeping their content solely on their website. They can – and should – pump out content on their various social media channels to extend their reach. After all, said Schroeder, “Not everybody is going to get your newsletter and not everybody’s going to follow you on Facebook.”

A blog post from an agency’s website can easily be shared across different channels, but agencies can also create bite-sized content specifically for social media platforms, by providing local community updates or updating followers on the events going on within the agency. For agents who aren’t camera-shy, they can create quick three-minute videos about whatever news they have to share and post that on the agency website, or potentially do this for Facebook Live.

Schroeder’s last tip for agencies mapping out content ideas and putting online marketing plans into action is to write content for people and not search engines.

“Don’t stuff keywords into [the content], because if you write content that is easy for people to read and that they want to read, that’s going to help your SEO far more,” she said.

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