Last week, I wrote about the choice insurance marketing and communications executives often face when looking for public relations and marketing services. They can either rely on insurance subject matter experts who are not effective communicators or public relations and marketing firms that do not understand insurance.
Then the question becomes, how can insurance industry companies deal with the Hobbesian choice?
The answer is hiring the rare find: a communications firm that understands insurance. Too often, however, insurance industry public relations and marketing executives either cannot find this rare breed or do not have the resources to acquire such talent.
As a result, insurance company marketing and communications personnel, along with vendors that offer industry services, end up exploiting and frustrating internal subject matter experts or hiring public relations and marketing companies that provide assistance on the cheap.
The best Search Engine Optimization approaches
in the world cannot overcome fluffy content
that lacks substance.
The first approach can become a human resources problem. The second approach could risk your company’s online reputation by publishing materials that will actually turn potential customers away from your business.
This is happening more than the penny-wise and pound-foolish financial professionals want to believe. They don’t understand that potential clients have become more sophisticated and expect more from content, such as insight and problem-solving strategies. I used to write such content full-time as a journalist, but few publications can support expert reporters.
Once potential customers decide to ignore your company’s marketing emails and social media posts, reversing this rejection becomes very difficult. Reputation damage is much more expensive and difficult to overcome than establishing a credible presence in the first place.
But Annmarie, you say, true insurance experts who are also schooled in public relations or journalism can be expensive. Sure, they cost more, but you will not be paying for them to become educated about insurance. Further, the expertise of a quality professional should be reflected in the content and marketing strategies.
With a minimal budget, focus on quality over quantity. I have long told my clients that it is better to publish less often and offer higher quality than to publish a lot of junk. What you want is to see your company’s name associated with must-read content.
This means re-evaluating all the marketing and communications channels and even cutting back in some areas.
Begin by maximizing the company website. There is no point in investing in social media and other digital marketing approaches if the content bread crumbs will just lead to a unappealing website. The best Search Engine Optimization approaches in the world cannot overcome fluffy content that lacks substance. Then there are the ever-changing Google algorithms that strive to reward the best content available and punish those offering content garbage.
Think about it. You get frustrated by wasting your time on shallow content produced by novices. What makes you think your potential customers are any different?
Evaluate the website and ensure that everything adheres to what I call The Credibility Factor. That means:
- getting rid of all the fluff and telling your potential customers what they need to know to ease the buying process. Simple websites are more effective than fancy and complicated ones.
- considering the structure and how often a viewer has to click to find what they really want to know.
- looking beyond the latest and greatest in design and stick with what works.
Once the website is scrubbed of hype, begin planning magnetic content. That means:
- creating an editorial calendar.
- approaching internal subject matter experts and freelance writers with the topics and schedule.
- producing several evergreen pieces first — just in case the schedule falls through – and it will.
Now that your company’s website is top notch, your content rocks and your blogging schedule is consistent, return to social media one venue at a time. As you offer online content breadcrumbs, you want them to lead to your company’s website and ultimately its call to action piece.
For commercial lines customers, you’ll get better results from LinkedIn and Twitter than Facebook. Make sure you have maximized both before moving forward to Facebook. As a tip, I am amazed at how many visitors I get from Google Plus. Be creative on how to use other social media sites. Personal auto and homeowners’ insurers can benefit from Pinterest and Snap Chat with the right approach.
Get rid of all the fluff
and tell your potential customers
what they need to know to ease the buying process.
Once you have established substantive content, you can repurpose it as the core of what must be a fascinating and engaging video.
Personally, I am not a fan of videos. Since younger audiences like to watch videos, I am including them.
Here’s why I give them a lower priority. First, I can read faster and would rather not spend two-to-three minutes on a video. Second, videos tend to be very superficial. Video production is not cheap and it requires another set of expertise to be effective.
And finally, please do not produce another boring “teaching” video that mimics a typical classroom experience. The video must personify your company’s brand and insurance is already considered boring enough.
Do you agree with my blog or would you care to share one of your own best practices? Please let me know by responding in the comments section or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.