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Is it time to outsource your writing?

As risk management and insurance professionals, most of us are excellent writers. But if your writing takes a back seat to your professional practice, you may find your organic (unpaid) internet traffic lags in contrast to your competitors.

If you have struggled to write your own content, you may have thought, “Maybe I should outsource this to a professional.” Now may be the time to consider hiring a content writer. Whether you hire or keep your writing in house, here are some tips for strong content writing.

Hire a copywriter who specializes in “content.” Copywriting is writing for advertising and marketing. Content writing appears in blog articles, White Papers, web page and LinkedIn copy, case studies, articles in professional journals, press releases, and so on. Content writing means delivering content (information) for a precise purpose. For example, you may educate your audience about how to prepare for a deposition or for a market conduct review. When you position your expertise and your clients have similar problems, your name is the one they will remember.

Content marketing must be well written – logical, flowing, interesting, even humorous. It must entertain the reader to keep them reading. Your words must sound sincere, not condescending, because you are building trust.

Stories are sticky – tell a story that demonstrates your point. Tell a tale about a customer you helped. Many statistical studies show that people remember stories many times longer than facts. If you can stage a solution to a common problem, you will stand out from your competition.

Let one of your favorite clients tell a story. Allow your clients to talk about their pain points and how you helped find resolutions. Managers today face significant staffing and other challenges; they all spend much of their time simply putting out fires. If you doused the flames of one client’s problem, you can certainly help a client with a similar problem douse theirs. Case studies are especially effective at this.

Forget the call to action. With content, you usually don’t ask someone to stop what they’re doing and contact you; you are branding your company so that your name sticks. There are times when you should employ a call-to-action in content writing; however, in most cases, your content builds your reputation by humbly highlighting your capabilities. Few people like to be sold. The harder you sell, the more potential clients back away. Instead of asking for interaction, simply educate your potential customer through content. It may be a year or more down the road, but with strong content, that person will remember you. Even if they don’t remember your name, they can easily find you with a Google subject search.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is important, but strong content is critical. More than ever, Google and other search engines want lengthy, unique, quality content. That content must be organized, understandable, free of industry buzzwords and obvious SEO loading, and relatable. You must also publish regularly. A 2015 study by HubSpot found that companies publishing 16 or more posts per month received more than three times the traffic than companies that published zero to four times per month. You cannot sporadically develop blog posts or expect one well-placed article in a trade magazine to change your business overnight. You must post regularly in a variety of venues and then distribute your content through social media.

Hire a writer who thoroughly understands your industry. Sure, a good writer can research and construct an acceptable article; but a writer who has traveled in your clients’ shoes as a risk manager or a claims person or an agent, for example, crafts exceptional content because they’ve walked the walk. They have experienced the challenges your clients encounter daily.

If you’re struggling to find time to write your own content, consider a content writer who understands the insurance industry and can get to know your company, your products and your marketing goals.

Nancy Germond

Executive Director, Risk Management and Education

Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association