What Every Ohio Insurance Agent Should Know Before Starting Content Marketing

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Guest blog post by Joey Giangola, Managing Editor of Agency Nation and host of Insurance in Your Words podcast (listen on iTunes or PlayerFM)

I know, you’ve been told repeatedly how important it is to market your agency online, to the point you’re not sure if you should be worried or annoyed.

Honestly, you probably need to feel a little of both.

But if we’re going to be even more honest, it’s okay, because not everyone is willing to tell you about the crazy ups and downs along the way.

Which, if you think about it, really isn’t fair.

I’ve had plenty of ups and downs creating content for my family agency and these are the things I wish someone told me six or seven year ago before I got started.

To help you learn from my mistakes and NOT come terrifyingly close to a nervous breakdown in the process, let’s take a few minutes to help you set the proper content expectations.

It Will Take a Lot Longer Than You Think

This is the only test you have to pass if you want to be successful making people want to buy insurance from you on the internet.

If you can push through the amount of time it will take for you to create enough good content for people to take you seriously, that’s most of the battle.

If you expect three videos and a blog post to open your prospect flood gates, the amount of disappointment you’re setting yourself up for is dramatic and severe.   

Find Time Right Now

Give yourself permission to put “content creation” on your schedule during business hours.

I’ll give you a moment to gasp audibly.

I’ll also give you a chance to read that one more time to emphasize its importance.

Give yourself permission to put “content creation” on your schedule during business hours.

If you’re not willing to respect it that much now, it will only get much worse. I promise.  

I watch agent after agent attempt to create content “when there’s time” or “after business hours” and it never gets done.

These content appointments should be treated with the same level of seriousness as a meeting with a real human, even one of your biggest clients.

If you want to take it a step further, find someone in your office or extended insurance community to be an accountability enforcer.

Make them make you write when you’re supposed to.

Alright, fine, that might be a little domineering and possibly overkill, but I think you get my point.

Be Yourself

If you’re not willing to let your hair down, stop right now.

There’s absolutely no reason you have to pretend you are unaffected by human emotion and weren’t borderline sobbing watching the end of Mr. Holland's Opus for the 10th time last night.

Who you are is what makes people want to come back for more. That, and the fact that you know insurance.

If you only give them insurance, you miss out on differentiating yourself based on who you are and why you do what you do.

I’m sure you don’t run into your office before a client comes in and hide all the pictures of your family or stuff all your personal items into your jacket pockets.

Well if you do, you probably have bigger issues to work on besides writing an 800-word blog post.

Be Specific

I don’t care how many companies you have or how many lines of business you write. You’re going to pick your best one (see: profitable or enjoyable) and only talk about that.

It’s going to dramatically cut down on the amount of time it will take for things to start producing results.

Once they do, and you’re confident in your ability to add another spinning plate, rinse and repeat the same steps that got you there.

Let’s break that down a little more if you don’t believe me.

Let’s say your agency is really good at selling six different types of insurance.

If you wrote a blog post every week for one year, you would have 52 posts.

If you rotated between those six lines of business, you would only end up with eight posts for each line of business.

That isn’t enough for Google to think you’re an expert in any of them.  

You Need More Than You Think

If you're good enough to consistently produce content once a week, and it’s all focused on one line of business, you’re still just barely crawling out of the practice round.

Understanding that really helps provide perspective on the size of the whole project. Obviously, don’t let it overwhelm you, but you at least have to be aware so you know what you’re up against.

If you're just starting out, producing content once a week should be your minimum, with your ideal goal being two or three times a week.

No One Cares About You

I know this might sound extremely hypocritical and contradictory if you’ve read the entire article up to this point, but let me explain.

The content you create should never be focused on you the agent or the agency.

No one cares about the new market you added or if company XYZ gave you an award.

Your content should always be focused on solving the problems of the people you want to do business with.

End of story.

If you have a hard time believing this, think of a time a company you do business with told you something you didn’t care about? You don’t remember? Exactly.

That thing probably felt earth shattering to them and you shrugged it off in less time than it takes to skip a YouTube ad.

Quick side note: If you still watch ads on YouTube, get a YouTube Red subscription, which also comes with Google Play Music. It will change your life. You can thank me later.

The Bottom Line

It’s always best to know what you’re getting into before getting into it.

If you work hard, be patient and have fun, you should look up a year from now and have a hard time seeing over all your leads.

Alright, fine, that was a bit of an overstatement.

I won’t sugarcoat it. If you’re just starting your content marketing journey, you have a long road ahead of you. But knowing how to avoid some of these very common roadblocks will dramatically improve the time it takes to reach your inbound marketing destiny.

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