Posted on 05 Apr 11
Content is king on the Internet. You’ve heard that, you know that, and some of you are already on your way to creating great content to generate traffic to your website and build a community of advocates and evangelists for your products and services. One great way to produce relevant and authentic content is to blog. Google loves blogs because it generates pages (content), keeping your website fresh and current. Blogging helps with your searches and, most importantly, it helps to establish you as a thought leader in your community and get your clients and potential customers engaged.
But what makes a blog a must-read? Here are some key tips:
Tell A Story, An Experience About Your Product, Service
Go through your testimonials, think back to the customer who was so grateful after a loss because the policy you provided got their house back to the condition where it was a home again. Or, what about the business owner who called you to let you know that he was back in operation, thanks to the business income coverage that kicked in after a manufacturer could no longer supply the product he needed because of a fire at the plant. Think about the Long Term Care policy you insisted that one of your insureds purchased, and now years later that policy is providing the money needed for at-home nursing care that would have otherwise been prohibitive if the policy was not in place (by the way, this happened with my friend’s father, who is now sick…my friend is thanking his agent every day because that LTC policy was a lifesaver). Tell these stories, in your own words, in your own way.
Another idea is to go through the news, both locally and nationally (get Google Alerts for key terms that are relevant to what you provide), and if something is of interest to your customers, tell the story in your own words and how the incident or event that you’re explaining can impact them should it occur.
Your customers and prospects want to hear stories about things that matter to them: their loved ones, health, livelihood and responsibility to others (family, employees), and possessions. And they want to hear about it in a way that relates to them, not through a “here’s what I’m going to do for you” spin approach. Not in your blog.
Write Like You Talk
Use your voice, write as if you’re speaking face-to-face, one-on-one with an individual, sharing a meal, over a drink, on the golf course. So many blogs sound as if someone is writing a white paper or report, or at the opposite extreme written in advertising speak. Write as if you’re having a conversation. Get rid of anything that doesn’t sound natural and authentic, or that’s forced.
Show Who You Are
If possible, show the people behind your company in your blog posts. Let people know who is serving them or who will be serving them if and when they become a customer. You can do a post about how one of your customer reps helped out a client in a specific situation and include a photo of that rep. I remember interviewing someone for this publication, one of our agency customers, and he was raving about one of ProgramBusiness.com’s reps and how helpful he was in helping to get a market for one of the agent’s prospects. If I were to do a blog post on this, I would tell this story and include a photo of the rep.
Also, consider having guest posts on your blog. Perhaps ask one of your clients, one of your advocates, who can tell their story directly, in their own words, and include a photo of the client.
In the end, sincerity, transparency, openness, and authenticity are what will make a blog work, just like in any relationship.